No one is happier about Tuesday's election outcome than the ghost of Ronald Reagan. Finally, the Gipper's spirit can pass over the River Styx to his great reward after being held hostage by a menagerie of right-wing freaks and loons since his death in 2004.
No name has been as consistently invoked during the primaries by candidates President Reagan wouldn't have bothered to spit on even had they set themselves on fire in front of him. Still, the Gipper was their spiritual prisoner despite the fact that he couldn't win a single GOP primary if he ran today because of the party's extremist drift.
Ironically, it took President Barack Obama's decisive re-election victory over the sad and delusional regional political party the GOP has become to finally liberate the Gipper's exhausted ghost from its ectoplasmic chains.
By giving the Republicans' chameleon-like presidential standard-bearer a proper and well-deserved drubbing in the electoral college, while also winning the popular vote, Mr. Obama has successfully defied the asinine meme that he was Jimmy Carter about to meet his fate at the hands of the new Reagan.
If anything, former Gov. Mitt Romney is President Gerald Ford minus the core of conviction that made the 39th president a far more credible and admired political figure.
"Obama wins because it's not a traditional America anymore," a visibly stunned Bill O'Reilly said on Fox News as the scope of America's rejection of the GOP's antediluvian political philosophy rolled in on election night. "The white establishment is in the minority. People want things."
For Mr. O'Reilly, the barbarians at the gates returning Mr. Obama to the White House on Tuesday night weren't fellow Americans asserting their constitutional right to elect their representatives. They were the deadbeats Mr. Romney referred to far less obliquely at an infamous fund-raising dinner as the "47 percent."
Mr. O'Reilly couldn't tell his viewers without bemoaning the death of "traditional America" and the white establishment why blacks, Hispanics, Asian-Americans, working-class whites in the Midwest and single women overwhelmingly rejected the "enlightened" majority rule he believes is America's birthright.
Mr. O'Reilly isn't alone. The entire ecology of right-wing punditry and so-called "news" is characterized by a stubborn resistance to facts that don't fit the script. There is no dialogue or discussion across the impermeable surface of the right-wing bubble. The voters who rejected Mr. Romney don't exist, which is why the right-wing media's internal polls insisted Mr. Obama would be swept away in a GOP landslide.
Between Karl Rove's stunning on-air attempts to get Fox News to reverse its call that Mr. Obama had won Ohio, and thus the presidency, and Donald Trump's bizarre Twitter meltdown in which he urged Republicans to "rise up against this travesty" and join him in instigating a revolution, there appeared to be way too much daylight between reality and those on the right wing.
Election night 2012 was both a hilarious and pathetic spectacle for those of us who couldn't wait to see the GOP get its much-deserved comeuppance. We knew disaster was coming because we get our facts from outside the conservative movement's impenetrable bubble of unreality.
Those of us in the real world have black, lesbian and Hispanic friends who haven't been shy about expressing their rage at the GOP's attempts to marginalize them. They couldn't wait for Election Day. Most people I associate with who aren't journalists sent money to the Obama campaign, so I couldn't understand why Fox News analyst Dick Morris insisted that minority turnout would be less than 2008 and that there was an "enthusiasm gap."
Then again, fantastic slanders about where Mr. Obama was born, his intellectual fitness to hold office and his political philosophy have preoccupied the right wing's dullest and most credulous minds since he took the oath of office in January 2009.
Since then, Fox News, Drudge, gullible newspaper columnists and right-wing talk radio shouters have become as unmoored from reality as Wile E. Coyote chasing the Road Runner off a cliff. They have convinced a lot of folks that a second term for Mr. Obama will usher in an era of Stalinesque terror and military occupation by the United Nations.
Fine with me. Every day away from reality by conservatives means more room for progressives in politics. Ronald Reagan is dead. The future looks bright.
Tony Norman: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1631. Twitter: @TonyNormanPG.