Republicans Drink Their Own Kool-Aid, End Up Looking Like Idiots

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Jonathan Bernstein makes a telling point today about the Fox News bubble that so many Republicans are trapped in. As you may recall, last week House Republicans released a survey suggesting that only 67 percent of Obamacare enrollees had paid their premiums. It was a laughably dumb survey, and it prompted the usual question: stupid or mendacious? Did Republicans really believe this nonsense, or were they just tossing out lies to muddy the waters?

Bernstein says the Republican follow-up to the survey demonstrates that they really believed their own spin:

This could be just a story of ineptitude. The House Energy and Commerce Committee wouldn’t be the first to construct a survey poorly….But yesterday, a House subcommittee invited insurance company executives to testify and, according to the Hill, Republicans on the panel were “visibly exasperated, as insurers failed to confirm certain claims about ObamaCare, such as the committee’s allegation that one-third of federal exchange enrollees have not paid their first premium.”

We don’t have to rely on reporter interpretations (here’s another one). It made no sense to hold the hearing unless Republicans were (foolishly) confident that the testimony would support their talking point, instead of undermining it.

The only plausible explanation is that closed feedback loop. Either members of the committee managed not to be aware of the criticisms of their survey, or they mistakenly wrote off the criticism as partisan backbiting.

Good catch! Obviously Republicans were caught off guard at yesterday’s hearing, and that could only happen if they really and truly believed their own flawed survey. And that, in turn, could only happen if they get pretty much all their information from Fox News and don’t bother with anything else. After all, the flaw in their survey was obvious. You didn’t have to be a brain surgeon to know that it would never stand up to scrutiny.

Welcome to the alternate universe of movement conservatism. Sometimes it bites you in the ass.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America will move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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