It was pure political entertainment theater
watching Mr. Rove on Fox News election night frantically claiming that the network’s calling the election for President Obama
was premature because votes in Ohio had not been counted. Listening to Rove was like listening to Lucifer trying to convince you to bring a fur coat to hell. Is this the same Karl Rove who was part of the GOP cabal
that manipulated the 2000 election and got conservatives on the U.S. Supreme Court to hand George W. Bush an unearned victory?
It was that type of night as President Obama’s victory
left the Fox News Channel and Republican commentators overall looking dumbfounded and befuddled. Rupert Murdoch’s conservative squawk box - the GOP’s media arm - did everything possible during the campaign to rile up Republicans to vote for Mitt Romney. Even its morning show “Fox and Friends” was an extension of the Republican campaign, mixing morning chatter with consistent attacks upon the President. You could have put a mannequin in place of host Steve Doocy and gotten a more intelligent conversation than what the show’s three hosts offer up each morning. True to form, “Fox and Friends” found a way to dumb down further with its post-election analysis the morning after the President’s victory.
Despite polluting the airwaves for four years, the Fox News daily evening lineup of Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Lou Dobbs and Neal Cavuto were unsuccessful in their attempt to swing the election for Romney. Credit is due to Fox News election night anchor Shepard Smith for speaking honestly about the Republican Party’s racial blind spot in the wake of the utter abandonment of the party by voters of color. I suspect he has fresh copies of his resume ready for he might need it.
It begs two questions; firstly does Fox News serve its viewers well? If anything, the reverse is the case as its overwhelmingly Republican viewers serve as unwitting puppets of the station. There is little doubt to any honest observer, that the “news” agency is little more than a self-serving mouthpiece for the GOP
. Secondly, should the GOP abandon the station?
It can be argued that the rosy outlook that the channel was presenting about the campaign led to a lower turnout among the voters that Mr. Romney needed most for a victory – older white men. Romney won that voting block by double the margin (65 to 32 percent) over President Obama. But the perception Fox and Republican pollsters like Frank Luntz
and Scott Rasmussen
promoted, based on flawed or positively skewed models, contributed to a lesser percentage of white men (72 to 78 percent) going to the polls than did for John McCain in 2008. That more than anything turned the electoral map in the President’s favor.
That electoral map that his party constructed to try to preserve white hegemony, is the very map that was giving Rove fits Tuesday night. It was the Republicans undying devotion to a “southern strategy” the GOP built upon Jim Crow era fears and modern day racism that ultimately sunk the party’s presidential fortunes. Yes, the vote was close in Florida, Virginia and Ohio but those margins are only going to grow and in the coming years and will be insurmountable if the Republican Party continues its present course
. The same southern states that Republicans have relied upon are changing
. There is an influx of Latinos and an African-American population returning to the south in reverse migration from the north. These numbers are only projected to grow. Once you include the Asian-American population, there is a formidable voting bloc that the Republican Party has cast as the enemy.
Speaking of Karma, it brings to mind President George H.W. Bush who faced a Democratic campaign in the 1992 General Election
that made “It’s the economy, Stupid,” its rallying cry. Ironically, that same sentiment beat Mitt Romney who thought he had the economic upper hand
and could use it to incite voter wrath against President Obama. What he failed to take into account is that the coalition that supported the President did not hold him responsible for the mess he inherited from his predecessor George W. Bush
. Coupled with the undeniable fact that many people feel the economy is improving, albeit slowly, and recent data suggests there is reason to be more optimistic. While Romney stoked anger with his campaign of lies, voters wanted truth and hope. They opted for a President they believe is competent, capable and compassionate, and who speaks truthfully to the challenges our nation faces in the coming years.
There was also something particularly telling about the reports of Mitt Romney’s decision to only write a “victory speech,”
unwilling to even fathom the possibility of losing. While some would claim that to be confidence, it should be seen more as arrogance. His political epitaph will reference miscalculation and missed opportunity. Romney held up the President’s rightful declaration of victory because the Republican candidate had been too full of himself to write a concession speech. His solitary figure on the stage, without his family in tow as usual was quite revealing. Throughout the campaign Romney spoke often of the importance of family. But at arguably his most gracious time of the entire campaign
, his family was nowhere to be seen only joining him on the stage after he delivered his remarks. It was another one of those moments when Karma was ever present. His presence on stage alone put his six year quest for the presidency in proper perspective; it was always about Mitt Romney alone - not his family and not the American people.
Despite all the supposed post-election soul searching by Republican insiders
, I suspect that a change will not come anytime soon to the GOP. It is a party in denial and on life support.