My post earlier about election predictions was inspired by some conversations I had with my wife. She was being encouraged by friends to vote for Mitt Romney. Most of the people we know are conservatives. My question to her was this. Why would they push? We live in Michigan. It's a foregone conclusion that Obama will win Michigan.
Not according to these conservative friends. Romney's probably going to win, and he could win Michigan as well.
Frankly I didn't care who my wife voted for because I was confident Michigan would not be close. My belief was that Obama would win overall, but I wasn't super confident. I thought Krugman had the right idea. Seems Obama is up in the polls, so we should expect he would win, but there's a chance he won't.
Why would people like Dick Morris and Newt Gingrich make such confident predictions when so much of the evidence is against them? I first thought maybe it's just manipulation. They think this will help get out the vote better. Maybe they don't believe what they say, but they just want to improve Romney's chances.
But I don't think that's it. I was checking Dick Morris' twitter posts. He really seemed to be thinking Romney could win. He sounds surprised to discover that it isn't happening. He's a guy that is being ridiculed rather intensely today. It's surprising to see him risk his reputation just in a last ditch get out the vote effort that probably won't work. You know what I think? I think he believed what he said.
Here's my overly simplistic generalization. Conservatives are just much more capable of believing what they want to believe rather than what the facts show. Start with religion. I mean, come on. Talking donkeys. Talking snakes. Floating axe heads. Jesus rising from the dead for their salvation if they would just believe, floating up to the sky in resurrection. I loved that story and I really wanted to believe it. But I can't. You know who can? Conservatives.
What about global warming? You think I want to be convinced that we are headed towards disaster? Do I want to struggle to reduce my meat consumption, feel guilt for my own excessive consumption, foresee a bleak future for my children? Pretending it's all a liberal conspiracy so there's nothing to worry about is very comforting. I can drive a gas guzzler, live in a huge house, maybe just pretend that none of it matters because Jesus will come back and clean it all up anyway. Who is capable of believing that? Conservatives.
There's this comfortable bubble that Dick Morris and George Will helped create in preparation for the election yesterday. Paul Krugman would certainly have loved to believe it was all pretty much over and Obama would win. But he didn't say that. He said what he thought the data was capable of showing. Obama should win, but he might not. No prediction of landslide. That's why Krugman is such a better predictor than Cal Thomas and George Will. For these guys they believe what is comforting. Their delusions yesterday didn't hurt anybody, but their comforting delusions regarding environmental catastrophe affect us all. Will some conservatives, once again misled by the same people that told them Saddam had WMD's or tax cuts would spur economic growth, will they finally recognize that these pundits just sell comforting delusions rather than what the data show? That's what I'm hoping.