You know it’s a good Election Night when Karl Rove throws a hissy fit on national television.
It came just after 10 p.m., when the man known as George W. Bush’s “architect” heard a TV network declare Obama the winner in Ohio. This wasn’t just any network, but Fox, the Republican Party’s official propaganda machine. The rabidly partisan GOP hit man doubles as a Fox commentator.
Rove was just off-camera on the Fox set as the on-air anchor team called Ohio, the state that sealed Barack Obama’s re-election. In fact, he was on the phone at the time with a top Romney staffer who was wailing that Fox was wrong, that Romney was winning Ohio.
Rove immediately demanded to be put on the air to rebut the network’s own professional vote counters. He got what he wanted, spewing a bunch of out-of-context numbers and publicly chiding his Fox colleagues for being “premature.” This prompted a rare moment of dead air, after which anchor Megyn Kelly said, “Well, that’s awkward.”
Every media outlet and even Republican officials were by then recognizing Obama’s win. So Kelly asked Rove the night’s most memorable question: “Is this just math that you do as a Republican to make yourself feel better, or is it real?”
Bingo! Karl the Kingmaker was having a really bad night. He had talked assorted corporations and fat cats into putting some $300 million into his attack ads against Democrats — and he had some serious explaining to do. American Crossroads, one of Rove’s two political funds, spent $103.5 million to defeat Democratic candidates, but the return on that investment was a pathetic 1.29 percent. Billionaires expect better.
In response to this brouhaha, Jon Stewart said that “Math You Do as a Republican to Make Yourself Feel Better” is a better slogan than the one Fox has now. No kidding.
Jim Hightower is a syndicated columnist. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org