Watching the Republicans Delude Themselves in the Election Aftermath

The dissecting and pulling apart of Mitt Romney‘s defeat has begun in earnest by the media on all sides of the political spectrum. Most of this has focused on stuff like voter demographics, the voting patterns of minority groups, and how successful both parties were (or were not) in getting their supporters to actually vote. A couple of things that have happened over the past few days are far more interesting to me. They offer a tantalizing glimpse into the minds of previously-hopeful Republicans — I say “hopeful,” though it may very well be a case of delusion more than hope.

First: This may be one of the amazing, beguiling, scary, and hilarious three minutes ever seen on FOX News Channel… which is saying something, given their standard content. I am, of course, talking about the moment FOX News finally called Ohio for Obama, thus ending the race for the White House:

It’s Karl Rove‘s refusal to accept the situation developing around him, the imminent confirmation of President Obama’s second term that makes this clip so memorable. In a little under three minutes, he powers through the first four of the five stages of grief. First, denial: he just flat-out denies the call FOX News makes that Ohio has been won by the Democrats. Second, anger: he becomes angry at the result, angry at Ohio, and angry at his on-air colleagues for making the call. Third, bargaining: he backpedals, trying to claim that it’s still too early, too close to call, and maybe Romney can still snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Fourth, depression: Rove and the whole FOX News studio go into a deep funk as it sinks in that Romney has, in fact, lost and Obama has won a second term in office. The final stage is acceptance; I guess we’ll have to see how that pans out.

It’s almost impossible to top that clip, but not to be outdone, Romney’s team accidentally launched a “President-elect” website for Mitt Romney. Clearly, this was some kind of accident — some tech guy pressed the wrong button, or something like that, but still! The campaign is over and they’re still making gaffes! 

Mitt Romney’s President-elect website (via The Telegraph)

The site was not up for long but Taegan Goddard, who runs the website Political Wire, grabbed screenshots for the world to see. The screenshots were dated Wednesday at 8:40p, nearly a full day after Romney had conceded the election. The site invited people to his inauguration in Washington and included links to a newsroom and applications for jobs in the Romney administration. 

In some ways, I’m glad this whole thing is over; in other ways, I’m sad the circus is gone and there are no more clowns to laugh at. Still, with a Republican-controlled House it’s going to be interesting to see how well they react to defeat in the presidential race. I’m guessing not very.

About Mark Turner

Mark Turner was born and raised as a Catholic in the North East of England, UK. He attended two Catholic schools between the ages of five and sixteen. A product of a moderate Catholic upbringing and an early passion for science first resulted in religious apathy and by mid-teens outright disbelief.


  • Tim

    If the Republicans were smart then could decide to earn respect of the voters by working constructively with the President.

    I wouldn’t bet on it though.

  • Geek Hillbilly

    Jon Stewart was right – Avalanche on BS Mountain.Fox News has lied so much for the GOP that they really believe their own BS.Well Obama won,Romney Lost.Rove has a lot of explaining (and lying) to do at those RWNJ Billionaires who sank Hundred of Millions to buy the election.The Voters sent another message-The Election is not for sale at any price.

  • C Peterson

    The funniest story I’ve read so far said that the Republicans lost because they weren’t conservative enough…

    Seriously, this was obviously a matter of demographics. It’s been well described in recent years that the 2012 election was probably the last one that Republicans had any chance of winning given the demographic trends. By the next, too many old white men will have died. Much analysis has been directed towards the Latino and other (ethnic) minority votes that go to the Democrats; what has been glaringly absent is the impact of the “nones” in all of this (except indirectly, in looking at the under-30 vote). That’s an analysis that needs to be made, and that I look forward to seeing.

  • Col Duke Lacrosse

    Is this blog for atheists or Democrats? Because  there is enough delusion to go around. I’m a Republican atheist who proudly supports others in the community- that is until they veer into pure political stuff. I know that there are more Republican ‘believers’ but Democrats should be carefully about throwing the ‘irrational’ stone.

  • Epinephrine

    Both sides spent absurd amounts of money.  I don’t know that this shows anything about the futility of spending money to get elected. 

  • WoodyTanaka

    It’s for atheists.  And you might be willingly blinded yourself to the fact that your political party has welded itself to the worst impulses of religious people to destroy the secular nature of this Government and destroy the First Amendment separation of church and state, in order to enact their morality by force of government, but the rest of us have not. 

  • WoodyTanaka

    Demographics undoubtedly paid a large part in this, both directly and indirectly. 

    But I also think that ideology is a bigger deal than the right wingers want to admit.  The nature of the Republican coalition is such that if you don’t buy into their entire programs, the things you disagree with can be deal-breakers.  That’s not so much the case with the Democrats. 

    If I were to have agreed with Romney on economic matters and military matters (not that there’s much difference between the parties anymore on military issues, more’s the pity), I still wouldn’t have voted for him.  A vote for him is a vote to empower people who are looking to impose their religion on other people, (gays, women, etc.)  Getting a tax break simply isn’t worth getting another Scalia, Thomas, Roberts or Alito on the bench for a generation.

  • Democrat

    Easy. The facts are the Repugs lost. They lost their asses. They lost on social issues. They lost seats in the house and senate. They lost the executive branch.

    You have become obsolete in regards to the current incarnation of the party and the new demographic of America. No mater how hard you whine, hold your breath and act petulant, the facts will not change.

    Now, you have lost but that does not mean you do not have a seat at the grown-up table. What you and your party choose to do with that seat is entirely up to you. You can continue to be a party that caters to the religious right, advocates oppression via women’s rights and LGBT issues, placate plutocrats et al. But be aware that should you continue this behavior you will see the end of the Republican party. You will fade into irrelevance. 

    It is your choice now. You have a seat at the table; are you going to work for the country or for yourselves and the 1-percent?

    I sincerely hope it is the former.

  • Sven2547

    The Republican Party is a Christian-supremacist party.  It sounds harsh but it’s true.  It really shouldn’t come as a shock to see atheists gloating over their loss.

  • C Peterson

    Exactly… which is why I think the impact of “nones” needs review. Call that demographics or call it ideology, I think it may have been an important factor.

  • C Peterson

    The Republicans are basing a significant part of their political position on religious philosophy- something that helped cost them this election, and which also opens up their politics to discussion in forums like this.

  • 3lemenope

    Some republicans even tried to warn the GOP that that was what they were becoming. Goldwater, towards the end of his career, saw what is now plainly obvious to everyone: that the GOP has abandoned conservative principles in favor of chasing the religious vote, which had become easier to organize esp. post Roe v. Wade.  The ideological alignments reorganized around issues to which (esp. Southern) religious conservatives would respond. Take a look at this electoral map, and then this one

  • 3lemenope

    The GOP brand has become so poisoned by right-wing populism (driven mostly by religious extremism and racism) that many people who might otherwise be inclined to prefer some of their other ideas cannot in good conscience vote for them. I am one of those people. It is impossible for me to bring myself to stand next to people who are busy living in the 20th century and pining for the 19th.

  • Gregory Marshall

    Personally I hope the keep thinking all these things. That way they will keep losing elections and eventually go the way of the Whig and Federalist parties, at least nationally.

  • Sven2547

    I’ve never had a Republican explain to me the logic of moving AWAY from the middle.  It boggles the mind!

  • Rachel

    A Republican atheist? You realize you’re not welcome in your own party, right?

  • Tim

    “The funniest story I’ve read so far said that the Republicans lost because they weren’t conservative enough…”
    Well when the British Labour party lost an election in the 1979 it decided it was because it wasn’t left-wing enough and transformed itself from a left-of-centre social democratic party to a proper socialist party and was embroiled in internal division between the extremists and the moderates.  Result was they they ended up in the political wilderness for 18 years from 1979 to 1997 until a new younger generation of party members, lead by Tony Blair,  bought them back to the centre ground over which elections are fought.
    So there is precidence from the UK at least for electoral defeating to result in a self distructive lurch to an extreme which satisfies the party members and their egos but turns the voters off completely.
    I watch the Republican party with interest.

  • C Peterson

    I’m a registered Republican, but it’s been a good many years since I’ve actually cast a vote for a Republican candidate in a general election. All my votes have either been for Democrats (in close races) or third-party candidates where I could afford to waste the vote. The current system where all Republicans stand as a block, rather than voting as individuals, makes it essentially impossible for me to support Republican candidates even where I do agree with some of their views, since I’d just be empowering a wingnut bloc.

  • Sue Blue

    I’m not holding my breath either.  Instead of admitting how horribly, horribly wrong they’ve been about everything, they’ll just double-down on all the shit that got them to where they are now –  misogyny, racism, bigotry, hatred, cronyism, and pandering to old white rich men while in bed with the god-botherers.

  • Octoberfurst

     I love reading the comments on conservative sites as to why Obama won. NONE say that it was because the GOP was too extreme in its views. They say inane things like Romney “wasn’t conservative enough” even though he was following all the right-wing talking points to a “T”. Or they say “not enough Christians showed up at the polls” as if all Christians are hard-core wingnuts.  Or they get racist and say, like Bill O’Reilly did, that too many minorities were voting. But my personal favorite was the meme that “all the moochers came out to vote.”  Yes indeed, everyone who votes Democratic just wants “stuff” and is a parasite on the system.  Such arrogant BS!  But they have convinced themselves it is true.
       But they never consider that their extreme opposition to abortion—no abortion ever for any reason–played a role in their demise. Nor their refusal to raise taxes on the wealthy even though we desperately need revenue.  Nor their opposition to letting contraceptives be covered under health-care.  Nor their catering to the Religious Right crazies when it came to gay rights. Yep none of those things were a factor.  They lost because Romney wasn’t right-wing enough, too many of the “wrong type of people” voted, the media was biased, etc. It’s all self-serving delusional nonsense.  As they say, those who don’t learn from history are destined to repeat it.  

  • Ibis3

     It’s because they think that the more ideologically pure they are, the better God will favour them. If God can harden the heart of Pharaoh or make certain the high school football team wins, surely God will unskew the polls and deliver their side the Electoral College votes in Colorado if they display how much they hate gays and women even more.

  • Sue Blue

    Watching the Fox News/Karl Rove Meltdown: Like watching all my dreams come true.  Seeing the insanely ridiculous reactions of Republican pundits like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Ann Coulter:  Like savoring the smooth rich taste of the finest whiskey ever made.  Witnessing the stunned reactions of the Romney campaign as they realized that all the money and endorsements by rich CEOs  in the world couldn’t buy the presidency for them: Pure, unadulterated existential bliss.

    Oh, the joys of such hard-earned schadenfreude!  Now if only Obama will step on their necks while they’re down and crush them.  Otherwise they’ll just keep coming back, like the not-quite-dead serial killer in every crappy horror movie ever made.  Kill them – and make sure they’re REALLY dead!   

  • Stev84

    Read the Republican platform. They despise you and think you’re not American

  • Raising_Rlyeh

    I’m just waiting for the GOP obstruction to continue. Boehner has stated that they won’t budge on raising revenues. 

  • CultOfReason

    Is this blog for atheists or Democrats? Because there is enough delusion to go around. I’m a Republican atheist who proudly supports others in the community- that is until they veer into pure political stuff. I know that there are more Republican ‘believers’ but Democrats should be carefully about throwing the ‘irrational’ stone.

    While I acknowledge that atheist republicans exist, I’ve got to imagine they are a rare breed that hold a love-hate relationship with their party.  

    What is it about the modern Republican party that appeals to you? 

    If it’s strictly fiscal conservatism, then I would suggest focusing your support on fiscally conservative democrats (yes, they exist). 

    If it’s the misogyny, anti-intellectualism, pro-religion, anti-atheist, anti-abortion, anti-contraception stances of the modern day republican party, well, then there’s not much I can help you with.

  • Octoberfurst

     I totally agree with you. There are two people in my local atheist group that are Republicans and I can’t for the life of me figure out why. They say it is because they are “fiscal conservatives” and “gun rights advocates.”  Ok, but the GOP just talks about fiscal conservatism but in reality when they are in charge they spend money like drunken sailors. (The George W. Bush administration is a prime example.)  And no one on the Democratic side is talking about taking away anyones guns so that is not an issue. 
      So what is it about the GOP that keeps them there? The modern day GOP is fanatically anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-science, anti-contraceptive & licks the boots of the Religious Right!  Plus they have veiled racist polices. So what is there for an atheist to like? Seriously.  They would be much more at home in the Libertarian party.  Atheists for the GOP? Why?

  • Jayn

     “The funniest story I’ve read so far said that the Republicans lost because they weren’t conservative enough…”

    I’ve been trying to wrap my head around that one. The only conclusion I can come up with is they think that a lot of people didn’t vote, or voted third party, because both major candidates were too liberal for them. The whole ‘silent majority’ thing.

    I’m also not sure if that’s funnier than people saying they’ll move to Canada/Australia because of this, though.

  • Trickster Goddess

    Hey, Karl, how is that “permanent Republican majority” thing working out for you?

  • Paul Paulus

    Every single vote cast for romney was a waste of ink…. every person that penned an X next to his name is a complete fucking moron.

    The USA is in such a bad way generally but after this election it looks like plenty progress has been made.

  • 3lemenope

    As much as I think it’s plain that the GOP by-and-large believes that atheists are not American and should be despised, I can’t seem to find that sentiment or anything like it in the platform. The closest they come is complaining that they believe their opponents hate religious people.

  • northierthanthou

    I love Rove’s concern about taking care with these calls, and worries about previous errors. As if those errors didn’t help his party steal an election!

  • No

    Wow, how did I miss the story about them accidentally releasing a President-Elect Romney site? This is the first I’ve seen that, and you’re right: They can’t stop screwing up. Man alive, imagine what we were in for if MR was able to eke that one out. Even with D gains in the Senate and a narrowed GOP majority in the House, his administration would have screwed the pooch on everything.

  • No

    Agreed. The GOP response to Tuesday has been to blame everyone else, and spend zero time evaluating themselves. Only a couple Republicans have talked sense, but they are, as is always the case when it comes to Republicans I think make some sense, drowned out by the far more numerous talking heads that always default to attack mode in all things.

  • GwydionFrost

    If the message was “the Election is not for sale at any price”, we’d be celebrating a Gary Johnson victory.

    Just saying.

  • Baby_Raptor

    This. The Republicans I know that voted for Obama didn’t do so because they liked him, they did so because of his views on abortion. 

  • mobathome

    When I hear about “tax and spend Democrats” I speak up about “borrow and spend Republicans” :).

  • Greisha

     Who said *you* would get any tax break?

  • Baby_Raptor

    Would you be calling for neutrality if Hemant was a Republican? I doubt it. Take your butthurt elsewhere.

  • Greisha

     Many publications state that by his stance and policies Obama is Eisenhower Republican.  It creates unavoidable question who the hell today Republican Party is?

  • Dfg52

    The five stages of grief model is a pernicious myth. How ironic that you use it here.

  • Sandy Kokch

    Whilst I hesitate to throw the proverbial bucket of cold water over the victory celebrations, really guys……

    Red on the bottom, Blue in the middle, Black on top.

    What has changed?

    So…..why do you expect anything else to have changed from the last two years? Do you really not expect a rolling repeat of the last two years of GOP obstructionist policy from the bottom, GOP fillibusters in the middle, and poor old Obama up at the top desperately trying concession after concession to get anything done?

    Do you really expect the deafening levels of racist dog whistling to decrease, and see less overt racism in every aspect of social and political discourse?

    Really? Wow…. you guys are really optimistic.

  • Heidi

    Too bad they didn’t notice that their god sent them two hurricanes (Isaac and Sandy) to tell them not to vote for Romney.

  • David Starner

     Which is the Kool-Aid that the Libertarians drink. Americans today can’t get behind the idea of legalizing marijuana; full legalized marijuana is only true in 2 of the most liberal states, and only 18 (mostly liberal) states tolerate it under the gaze of medicine. Politicians have long since learned that Medicare and Social Security are dangerous topics.  Americans do not want a president who promises to cut them deeply. Unfortunately, they want to have their cake and eat it too, but I think even forced to the cold alternatives, they’d rather pay for at least large parts of what we have now then to take huge cuts in them.

    Even straight Johnson versus Obama or Johnson versus Romney, I think Johnson would have lost. Mainstream candidates specialize in selling fantasy worlds with minimal controversial changes, because that’s what sells.

  • Aaron

    Because the other side of my family are Fox-sheep, I happened to be watching Fox on election night. It was pretty amazing watching as the Fox people fumbled for words and it was declared that Obama won Ohio, thus winning the election. 

    The entire room I was in also went through the stages of grief. “Well, he’s winning the popular vote! They shouldn’t say he’s winning because more people are voting for Romney! The election is rigged!” 

    You know, because the Electoral College only benefits Democrats, apparently. Then, as Obama took the popular vote, the room fell silent.

    It was pretty priceless.

  • troller #6

    Says the Obama Kool-aid addict. Theres only 1 FAUX News but there are 10 MSNBC’s . Point being, if you’re watching cable news networks for your information and bad mouthing the one you disagree with, then you are no better than the Fauxbots. Chris Matthews, Olberman, Blitzer, and Jesse Jacksons cronie who’s name I’m drawing a blank on atm. Cable “news” is anything but.

  • Mark

    I hope Mitt is still optimistic about the future of our nation and he can get started right now helping to put Americans back to work with his hundreds of millions of dollars.  Hurray – Go Mitt !!