Dan Larison makes a great point about a Newt Gingrich interview with Steve Kornacki, in which the former speaker admits that he and other Republicans were completely wrong about the likely outcome of the 2012 election in part because of the conservative information loop. As Larison points out, Gingrich still apparently believes that economic fundamentals favored the Republicans, but that “in many ways identity politics beat economic politics.” But that’s wrong! In fact, the economy basically favored President Obama, as lots and lots of political scientists have pointed out.
Of course, we don’t get to know whether Gingrich really thinks that Obama’s victory was a result of “identity politics” or if it’s just more of the snake oil he’s always selling to his customers.
What’s more interesting is what it suggests about the Republican reaction to the 2012 elections. It seems that Gingrich believes it is acceptable to admit that “conservatives in general got in the habit of talking to themselves,” but it is not acceptable to admit that the economy was actually far better than how Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and the rest of the GOP portrayed it during the election.
Or: It’s okay to accept that Republicans “in a sense got isolated into their own little world,” but it’s not really okay to step out of that world and look around. Kornacki presses Gingrich on it, but all he seems to have is that there are two different versions of reality, and that it just so happened this time that Republicans had the wrong one. There’s nothing at all about what they could do about it, or even that there is anything that could be done about it.
Again: What Gingrich or other GOP leaders actually think about any of this is unknown. But if it’s what Gingrich is saying, Republicans certainly aren’t going to learn anything from their troubles.