Monday, November 19, 2012

Blinded by partisan hubris

     The highlight of election night for me was when Karl Rove, an on-air host for Fox TV, publicly challenged the decision of the Fox News analysts that President Barack Obama had won Ohio, and thus the election.
     Not so quick! Rove even got one of his co-anchors to lead the charge against the Fox News decision desk. They were, in effect, demanding a recount.
If nothing else, this points out the dangers of trying to serve two masters. Rove was posing as a pundit, but acting as a partisan — and a  partisan who was totally, especially financially, invested in a Republican victory.
     His two super PAC s — American Crossroads, and the dark super PAC Crossroads GPS, the one where we never get to find out where the money came from — spent upward of $300 million on organizing and on buying ads, mostly for naught.
Perhaps that is why Karl could not see the forest for the trees. He was blinded by the light of his own partisan hubris.
     He was shell-shocked to see the reality of losing that was staring him in the face. The reality that he, Karl Rove, boy genius and Bush's brain, was wrong. Not just wrong, but profoundly and completely wrong in his assessment of the state of the campaign, and the election.
The indelible image of the Wicked Witch of the West comes to mind: "I'm melting! I'm melting!"
Or perhaps an even better analogy would be that of the Great Wizard of Oz trying to crank away behind his velvet curtain, saying, "The great and powerful Oz has spoken!" while all the while Toto was nipping at his heels, and pulling back the curtain for all to see the Great Wizard in his diminished glory.
     Face the facts, Karl. Obama now owns the presidential megaphone for the next four years. If he plays his cards and utilizes his bully pulpit right, he could be every bit as much a transformational figure in American politics as was Ronald Reagan.
     Tuesday night, on national TV, the time had come for Rove to face his moment of truth —the truth of his failure and its enormous consequences. Yet he just couldn't do it, and his reluctance to accept the reality of the moment apparently helped to delay Mitt Romney's concession speech.
Ultimately, sanity prevailed. Romney conceded, and eloquently so. The need to heal the nation and move forward trumped Rove's clinging to his charts and his convictions, while reality was knocking ever more loudly at his front door.
     America has indeed arrived at Karl Rove's Crossroads. The American people have chosen a road diverging in the woods. That, at last, has made all the difference.
Time to move past your own crossroads, Karl, and get on with the business of fixing the future of the body politic in this great country.
Forward! Not backward, and not sideways. Forward.
     As Lee Iacocca so famously put it, "Time to lead, follow, or get the heck out of the way."
Move over, Karl. The train has left the station, and you are no longer on board.