Want to see a great example of the closed GOP information feedback loop, and why it may prove dangerous for the Republican candidates?
Think about the two Barack Obamas that Republicans are running against. One of them is basically a fraud; he’s never held a job before he somehow wound up the Democratic nominee in 2008. Or, as Mitt Romney asserted today: “It’s hard to create a job if you never had one.” Oh, and he’s entirely dependent on a teleprompter.
The other Obama is the scheming, nefarious, stealth left-winger who any day now is going to unleash his radical socialist agenda. This Obama requires Republicans and conservative to chase down every radical “association” and every allegedly radical thing he’s ever said, no matter how mild.
As many have noted, these two Obamas are somewhat at odds with each other. But the more important point is that neither version builds a convincing case against supporting Obama in 2012. No one is going to buy that Obama is too inexperienced to be president; no one is going to buy that he has some secret agenda that remained secret during four years in the White House.
But Mitt Romney and the rest of the GOP field has have spent three years now speaking only to confirmed Republican voters. And those voters live in the world where reality is defined by Fox News and Rush Limbaugh, in which all of that stuff makes perfect sense. Even worse, the candidates and their operatives themselves live in that world, or at least spend an awful lot of time there. It wouldn’t be surprising if the Romney campaign believes (on some level) that Obama never held a job in his life before mysteriously winding up as president, or that he can’t get through a debate without a teleprompter.
If Romney keeps up these themes after he nails down the nomination he may be surprised at how poorly they play to swing voters. And Romney might well do that if his team really has come to believe these images are damaging and if his team has lost touch with just how far out of the mainstream they really are. How much of a difference any of this might make in November is hard to say. But if spending three years in a world created by conservative media leaves Republican operatives ill equipped to see what swing voters outside that bubble really care about, it could matter.