Peggy Noonan writes,

I suspect some conservative used the Romney campaign’s listless response as a stand-in for what they’d really like to say to Mr. Romney himself, which is, “Wake up, get mad, be human, we’re fighting for our country here!”

And if you want to see equally venomous comments coming from the left, just visit the links that Mark Thoma posts every day (and realize that he likes these things).

I am pondering civil war scenarios. Here is one:

1. There is a close election in November, and the losing side has a credible case that the winning side cheated in some way. Some voters on their side were turned away from the polls because of technicalities, or some votes on the other side were counted that should not have been. Whatever.

2. The losers launch a campaign not to accept the results of the election. They organize a massive rally in Washington to try to block entrances at government agencies and Congress.

3. Similar protest movements break out at state capitals.

4. The winners get angry at the protesters. They launch counter-protests.

5. Confrontations take place, and people get hurt. Powerful resentments build.

6. Significant segments on both sides arm themselves in order to retaliate for the perceived wrongs of the other side. Fighting escalates.

Yes, it is far-fetched. But I would argue that it is even more far-fetched, even if the election result is not in dispute, that the losing side will politely accept it and adopt a constructive, compromising stance.

This year’s pre-election hatefest is already out of control, in my opinion. It will not end well.