Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

Republicans think that the passage of health care reform will deliver them an overwhelming electoral sweep of both houses of Congress in November.

Have they gone mad?

Here’s Politico yesterday. You would think that they had actually achieved something historic by losing  the vote:

Boehner, who helped orchestrate the 1994 GOP takeover of the House, was somewhat of a rock star Saturday. He ditched his black SUV for a trip back from the Cannon House Office building to the Capitol, crossing Independence Avenue on foot to waves of cheers. He posed for a photo – the unfortunate gentleman’s camera was full – and even kissed a woman on a motorized scooter. Perhaps the most stunning – and unscripted – moment for Republicans came when they emerged from their conference meeting to a stakeout point that’s typically filled with a handful of Capitol Hill reporters. Roughly 100 citizens gathered in the Cannon rotunda – held back by Capitol Police officers – cheering the GOP’s leadership. The rhetoric was hardly new – Republicans rehashed many of the same lines they’ve been using for about a year. But judging by the crowd’s response, it seemed as if the party’s leadership had spontaneously topped Shakespeare.

The Democrats, by passing the health care reform bill today, have boxed in the Republicans. The Republicans will figure this out in a few months when they find their electoral prospects for November actually ebbing. For now, they’re Wile E. Coyote pulling back the arrow string and imagining themselves on the verge of downing their enemy. But they’ve been attending too closely to their own Fox Noise media echo chamber and have mistaken that  for reality.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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