The most striking feature of the current right-wing obsession with “skewed polls” is that it combines two of modern conservatism’s most pronounced tendencies: A complete rejection of empirical reality, and a deep conviction that said reality is in fact a conspiratorial plot by the enemies of America (a.k.a. the liberals) to poison public opinion—to win through deception what they cannot achieve openly.
Memories of the right's insistence that all was going well with the bloody occupation of Iraq are hard to avoid—likewise the manufactured “debate” over the causes and consequences of global climate change, the imaginary role of ACORN and the Community Reinvestment Act in the subprime mortgage meltdown, and just about every other instance in which conservative ideology has had to come face to face with the cold, hard facts of life. In each case, the kneejerk conservative response to inconvenient (and unfriendly) truths has been to mimic Adam Savage’s line from Mythbusters:
“I reject your reality and substitute my own.” Except Adam was being ironic. They are not. (Continue reading below the fold.) I suppose we should be thankful that the stakes in this year’s psycho-conservative break with reality are relatively trivial. We are not, after all, talking about the deaths of thousands of American soldiers and/or innocent civilians (although the coming war with Iran might put that one to the test), or the collapse of the global financial system, or even the fate of the earth. It’s not even all THAT important politically—unless, of course, you happen to subscribe to the popular conservative theory that an unchained second-term Obama will try to annex the U.S. to Russia, or something. But, what the skewed polls fantasy lacks in significance it more than makes up for with its pure mind-bending insanity, to the point where the Unskewed Polls guy could actually publish the following sentence ... 'The Fox News poll released today continues the trend of skewed polls that over-sample Democratic voters to produce results favorable for the president.'
... and not have his head explode—at least not yet. (O et tu, Roger Ailes? Et tu??)
At this point, it’s a little surprising that conservatives aren’t insisting that babies really do grow under turnip plants. But maybe that’s because Todd Akin hasn’t weighed in the subject yet.