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Thornton Hall

The Revolution Will Be Kuhnian.

The Folly Of Bullshit Beliefs

The problem facing a political party that has left the reality based community is that there's no clear line telling you to stop believing your own bullshit.  At some point, bullshit facts will cause bad electoral strategy. Without a way to stop the spread of bullshit, the GOP is in a death spiral. 

The problems with bullshit beliefs sneak in like a thief in the night. At first, Reaganists bullshit beliefs are only a problem for the rest of us. The fact that Paul Ryan honestly believes that government benefits make people lazy is a direct cause of the billions of dollars in SNAP cuts taking place this year. One Wisconsinite is wrong so millions go hungry. Oh well. 

The negative consequences come when electoral strategy is based on forecasts which in turn are based on bullshit. Enter the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. 

Here's Martin Longman at Wasington Monthly How To Assess Impact Of Obamacare Rollout On Midterms (first quoting Greg Sargent):

[The GOP is] constrained from advocating only for repeal, because the law’s provisions are kicking in for millions, and they are broadly popular. But they are also constrained from offering any meaningful alternative, because as Jonathan Cohn explains well, that would require supporting the tradeoffs necessary to accomplish what Obamacare accomplishes. Republicans either have to quietly back away from repeal or support ”replacing” it with something that looks a lot like Obamacare. Yet both are nonstarters because the base won’t allow for it to be anything other than an unremitting catastrophe.

Actually, the Republican strategy is dependent on ObamaCare being an unremitting (unmitigated?) disaster. This is why I talked about putting all your eggs in one basket. The law was supposed to provide health insurance that no one wanted and it was supposed to collapse of its own weight. Basically, the Republicans thought the law would work out about as well as the invasion of Iraq and that they would look wise for opposing it. That’s obviously not going to happen.

And the poll results already reflect that, with the number of people supporting complete repeal plummeting even among Republicans. And that’s a key, because the advantage the Republicans have on the issue is much more a matter of a differential advantage in base motivation than it is on the merits. A minority of Americans support the Republicans’ repeal rhetoric, and their disadvantage there is only going to grow with each passing month.

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