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The Irreality-Based Community

Why do people support George W. Bush? According to PIPA it's because they think he supports stuff he doesn't actually support but which they do support, and because they think Iraq had actual WMD (they didn't), that Duelfer discovered evidence of major WMD programs (he didn't), that most experts believe Iraq gave substantial aid to al-Qaeda (they don't), that world opinion was either behind the Iraq War or closely divided (it wasn't), and that world opinion is either behind Bush or closely divided (it's for Kerry 2 to 1). Nothing could beat complete denial.

October 21, 2004 | Permalink


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Shorter MY:

"Why do people support George W. Bush? Because they have not yet joined the reality-based community."

Posted by: cmdicely | Oct 21, 2004 12:12:55 PM

Never mind, you'd think that I wouldn't use that joke given that it was already Matt's headline, but apparently I was attacked by headline blindness. Read the whole bit, but the headline never registered in my brain, hit the comment link, again, headline doesn't register.

I think I should go get some coffee.

Posted by: cmdicely | Oct 21, 2004 12:14:35 PM

Q. [From audience] What is reality?

A. [GWB] And we're not afraid of it, either!

[An obscure cultural reference from my youth . . . ]

Posted by: rea | Oct 21, 2004 12:15:21 PM

The worst part is there is almost no way to reach this community. There is no wedge issue to bring them to our side and no way to make them wake up and realize what is going on.

That is, unless the Democrats decide to take each of those voters into a small room with a cult deprogrammer.

Now that'd be grassroots activism.

Posted by: dstein | Oct 21, 2004 12:20:53 PM

Ah, this "poll" gives the game away in the very first question!

Has the economy improved as compared to a year ago? 1,700,000 more jobs? Unemployment rate down from 6.0 last October to 5.4 now?

Who exactly is not living in the "reality-based" world?

Posted by: Al | Oct 21, 2004 12:30:21 PM

The worst part is there is almost no way to reach this community.

Sure there is. Bush reached them, after all, so they are clearly reachable. But they are reachable only through those institutions in which their faith is placed. So its likely that fallings-out (like the Bush-Robertson spat over Iraq) within the various irreality-based communities to which they are attached and through which Bush appealed to them will have more effect than any direct appeal from the reality-based community.

Then again, saying that its easier to appeal to someone from within their own fundamental world-view or one closely aligned with it than from a radically different world-view probably isn't all that amazing of a revelation.

Posted by: cmdicely | Oct 21, 2004 12:30:49 PM

Not so obscure, Rea. Shoes for Industry!

Posted by: PeterG | Oct 21, 2004 12:32:17 PM

"Q2a-b. Based on what you know, do you think the U.S. DOES or DOES NOT participate in the
following treaties and agreements?"

What the hell does "participate" mean? In fact, we DO "participate" in those treaties -- we have signed each (although we "unsigned" the ICC). Turns out GOPers are again living in the "reality-based" world, and Dems are not.

Posted by: Al | Oct 21, 2004 12:32:42 PM

"And we're not afraid of it, either!"

Firesign Theater?

"The worst part is there is almost no way to reach this community."

I am thinking about this. Presuming we want them, and I do want them in order to create a dominating progressive majority, how do we approach them. There are arguments with facts(nope), arguments with bribes(interests, Thomas Frank, FDR and rural electrification)...and arguments with a rhetorical and emotional frame. Even as the coalition was dying(1955-65) due to civil rights and desegregation, strident anti-communist rhetoric on the part of Democrats held the South for a couple of elections.

Poor southern cracker gotta have someone to hate.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Oct 21, 2004 12:33:14 PM

Matt, I would say that this is a case of cognitive dissonance. People who already support the President would prefer to hold those false beliefs than to abandon their support of the President. The really interesting statistics to see would be among Bush leaners, or people who made up their mind recently -- I wonder how many of them hold these false impressions.

Posted by: Mithras | Oct 21, 2004 12:34:29 PM

"Q12a. Do you think a majority of people in the Islamic world favor or oppose US-led efforts to
fight terrorism?"

So, the assumption here is that the majority of people in the Islamic world SUPPORT TERRORISM? Well, that's patently false.

AGAIN, we see that Kerry supporters are not living in the "reality-based" world.

Posted by: Al | Oct 21, 2004 12:35:19 PM

"Q13. Is it your belief that, just before the war, Iraq. ... Had actual weapons of mass destruction?"

Well, he DID have actual WMD. He did not have STOCKPILES of WMD.

Once again, Kerry supporters are not living in the "reality-based" world.

Posted by: Al | Oct 21, 2004 12:36:53 PM

I had not read Peter G's before typing my post. I claim half the prize. Gimme my groatcake.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Oct 21, 2004 12:37:53 PM

how do we approach them

I have a theme.....God hates George Bush

If God were behind GWB would the stock market be lower than it was in 2000?

If God supported GWB would 1000 soldiers have died in Iraq?

If God wants GWB to win this election wouldn't there have been a net gain in jobs over Bush's first term?

You get the idea.

Posted by: Just Karl | Oct 21, 2004 12:39:33 PM

CNN was airing a weird Gallup poll today.

Apparently, 57% of Kerry voters would be very upset if Bush was elected, but only 50% of Bush voters would be upset if their guy lost.

Either Bush voters are more easy-going, as a whole, or...

If it drops below 50%, I'll take that as a binding referendum.

Posted by: Grumpy | Oct 21, 2004 12:39:43 PM

Just Karl:
Pat Robertson may be doing that for us.

Posted by: C.J.Colucci | Oct 21, 2004 12:47:26 PM

in Q13, what did Saddam have and what threat did it pose?

In your response to Q12a there is a difference between supporting terrorism and not supporting current US efforts to fight terrorism. They might think that those efforts are not very successful for example or they might think that they are poorly prioritised.

So despite the shouting I still don't get your point>

Posted by: Jack | Oct 21, 2004 12:47:32 PM

So, the assumption here is that the majority of people in the Islamic world SUPPORT TERRORISM?


Its quite possible to oppose both terrorism and the US-led efforts to fight terrorism.

Just as it is possible to oppose drug abuse and the war on drugs, or abortion and its criminalization, people of the same sex getting married and prohibiting them the choice to do so, jaywalking and executing jaywalkers, etc.

So quit with the false dichotomy.

Posted by: cmdicely | Oct 21, 2004 12:48:58 PM

Amazing. You are not a philosopher Matt because you let your ideology influence your fact set. You people are what's known as truth haters.

Polish Army Buys Cyclosarin On Iraqi Blackmarket

U.S. Forces Attacked With Sarin

New Photos Prove Mobile Labs Were For WMD

Duelfer says nuclear program to be restarted as soon as sanctions lifted.

Saddam’s former nuclear chief, Mahdi Obeidi, wrote a piece for the New York Times saying that the
Iraqi nuclear weapons programs could have been reconstituted within months.

Saddam Hussein directly harbored Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi and has connections to Al Qaeda going back a decade to Sudan. Saddam Hussein had Abu Nidal killed over an Al Qaeda argument. And of course Saddam Hussein was found guilty for 9/11 in a court of law. You might want to try and connect the dots.

Real Americans don't care what "world" opinion is because the "world" is evil. The "world" is genocidal. Anyone who supports the "world" is a terrorist.

Posted by: Modern Crusader | Oct 21, 2004 12:51:24 PM

In fact, we DO "participate" in those treaties -- we have signed each (although we "unsigned" the ICC).

Participating is more than signing. A treaty like the ICC, for example, creates a set of institutions. Also, there is a difference between whether we do -- present tense -- participate in a treaty and whether we did -- past tense -- participate in a treaty.

Under Clinton, the US was actively involved in pushing reforms to the Rome Statute as it was developed. It could be said, at that time, to participate in the ICC, in a sense.

Under Bush, the US has not participated in any way, and in fact as actively threatened countries to discourage any participation in or cooperation with the ICC.

Posted by: cmdicely | Oct 21, 2004 12:55:00 PM


Modern Crusader, everyone's favorite new troll, illustrates the problem quite succinctly: the widening epistemological divide.

Posted by: praktike | Oct 21, 2004 12:58:37 PM

The modern crusader, in bugs bunny's immortal words, is a "morooooon," but Al, though generally wrong, at least has some intelligence, so it's fun to pick at al, whereas picking at the modern crusader is a waste of time.

so al, others have covered some of your points, but no one hit you on the economy, so i will. A year ago, you may recall, was Q3, 2003: the one blow-out quarter of the entire Bush administration, the one with 8.6% GDP growth.

So yes, compared to a year ago, the economy isn't doing as well, since we'll be damn lucky to hit 3.0% GDP growth this quarter.

nice try, though: at least you summoned some facts, indicated that you are trying to be part of the reality-based community.

Posted by: howard | Oct 21, 2004 1:31:05 PM

Saddam Hussein was found guilty for 9/11 in a court of law.

well, that settles it.

Posted by: cleek | Oct 21, 2004 1:32:19 PM


Posted by: Modern Crusader | Oct 21, 2004 1:33:35 PM

My problem with Modern Crusader problem isn't just that he's a troll-- he's a blogwhore.

Posted by: Constantine | Oct 21, 2004 1:33:58 PM

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