How do you break reality to someone who is completely unself-aware? That should be the question on the minds of Sally Kohn’s friends. She has just penned a column for CNN titled “A plea for sanity in a GOP Congress,” in which she charmingly conflates her worldview with that of America. Not realizing that she is pretty far on the fringe of her party, she excoriates the Republicans for everything they have done and then gives them advice on how they should conduct themselves going forward. Here is a little flavor of self-delusion at work:
For six years, Republicans have condemned President Barack Obama and the Democratic agenda. Regardless of how the midterm results panned out due to a handful of races in red and maroon-ish purple states, the fact remains that the Democratic agenda is broadly and strongly supported.
Most Americans support extending unemployment benefits, passing paid sick leave, lowering student loan rates and raising the minimum wage, as was reflected in ballot measure results across the country Tuesday.
I hate to break it to Kohn, but a few ballot measures that passed in different states isn’t exactly smoking gun evidence of her claims. I believe there were four ballot initiatives that raised the minimum wage. Four divided by fifty equals 8%. I wouldn’t stake a claim of “most Americans support” based on an 8% figure.
Further according to Kohn:
Going into this election, while only 23% of Americans have a “very positive” view of Obama and just 12% view the Democratic Party very positively, the favorability percentage for the Republican Party is even lower — just 7%, according to one survey. Not exactly time to spike the football.
A word of advice: using old data to support a claim that has been superseded by new data is not a winning argument. Kohn quotes a poll taken before the election, but now we have the election results, so we don’t need the poll. From the election’s results, we can infer that the percentage of people that have a low opinion of the Democratic party’s and Obama’s handling of the country’s affairs is higher than those that have a low opinion of the Republican’s chances to run things better.
The denial continues:
Sure, the American people blame both parties for gridlock. But when asked, they place more blame with Republicans. Now that they have full power in Congress either to compromise or not with the White House, Republicans have no more excuses.
If Kohn is right, then a LOT of people must have made a mistake when they filled out their ballots. Clearly she is wrong. I should also note that Kohn cited a poll from July of 2013 to bolster her claim in what I regard as something akin to journalistic malpractice. Kohn seems to think that if a number has ever been published it can be used to justify a policy argument. I presume she wouldn’t find it satisfactory if I took a poll from the 1980s regarding views on gay marriage to make some sort of ridiculous claim that America was overwhelmingly against it – nor would it be.
There are a number of other examples of wishful thinking in Kohn’s piece – how the country really is bent towards the Democratic view of the world, and she offers all sorts of intellectually weak arguments to support her theory. However, reality looks much different. The proof that she is living in a fantasy are the House elections, Senate elections, governors’ elections and legislatures’ elections. At every level of government her arguments have been repudiated. It takes a true idealogue with rose colored glasses to put forth the claims that she makes. That is not to say that in two years’ time the overall tenor of the country won’t change drastically, but as of today her arguments bear no relation to reality.