Rove and McCleskey Can Slither Back to Their Holes Now

Did you see Karl Rove squirming on Fox News last night when word came Obama had been reelected? He had a white board he kept staring at, while desperately pulling numbers and Ohio county names out of his ass. The anchors were looking at one another with these wide, nervous eyes, wondering if it was all right to cut off a Republican overlord and start reporting on the president’s reelection. Megyn Kelly actually said “That’s awkward.” 

Rove’s brain had to be seething behind those soulless black eyeballs, and we watched his painful reaction to the loss in real time. Bret Baier actually taunted Rove, telling him “Maybe we got you a slow computer.” Hell. Yes. What sweet glory. 

There’s terrific stuff all about this all over the internet today. Barack Obama’s reelection was the second-best thing that happened last night, thanks to Rove and Fox News. This is from Salon: 

Rove’s defeat did not come from want of trying. Throughout the entire campaign, on the surface, he played the lofty pundit pontificating for Fox and the Wall Street Journal as if he had no role whatsoever in the campaign. But whenever one looked closely beneath the surface, one found the Mark of Rove. Under the radar, via his surrogates in the Romney campaign, Boss Rove orchestrated massive, multi-million dollar political ad campaigns that inundated the swing states with countless ads funded by his SuperPACs and “dark money” groups. He drummed up narratives portraying Obama as a latter day failed, weak, Jimmy Carter, and reawakening paranoid fantasies that suggested America still lived in the aftermath of 9/11, cringing in fear of the terrorist threat. In more than 30 states there were attempts at voter suppression—Jim Crow 2.0– in one form or another, a strategy Rove had begun to employ by 2004. In Ohio, Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted, who had worked on Rove’s Ohio campaign in ’04, did everything he could to limit early voting. Nathan Sproul, a former Rove operative,  launched nationwide schemes to disenfranchise Democrats, but was investigated by authorities for electoral  misconduct and voter registration fraud. And various electronic voting machine companies were suspected of positioning themselves to rig the vote.

Rove took insane amounts of money from billionaires to spend on skewing the election toward Romney. They’ve got to be angry. Maybe Karl Rove is ruined. 

Gov. Susana Martinez’s top advisor, Jay McCleskey, is a Karl Rove disciple (and also a former partner of Sproul’s) who was, likewise, attempting to use money from oil companies and casino mogul Sheldon Adelson to swing the New Mexico elections for Republicans. McCleskey had targeted Senate Majority Leader Michael Sanchez, a badass Democrat from Belen. Sanchez decides what bills get heard in the senate, and he opposes the governor’s top political priorities. McCleskey had been pounding Sanchez hard on TV ads as pro-child killer. It didn’t work. 

The Senate President Pro Tem Tim Jennings, also very powerful, had criticized the lucrative state-fair contract the governor awarded to her campaign donors, and for that he was also a target of McCleskey’s. Soft-on-child-killer ads and mailers blanketed Jennings’ district in Roswell, and he wound up losing to a guy in his 20s. This, though, may not work out for the governor like she thinks, according to politics guru Joe Monahan, who writes this on his blog today: “The irony for Martinez is that by taking out Jennings she may have dissolved the Senate coalition that he led and that made possible her getting a budget through the Legislature. The Senate could actually get more liberal with Jennings gone.”

The governor went hard after Jennings because he was outspoken, but in actuality his politics are pretty Republican-friendly because he’s been a Democrat representing super-conservative Roswell for decades. Jennings may have lost, but the Senate remains in Democratic control and can still stand up to the brazenly political priorities of our brazenly political governor. 

So the big loser, on this day after the election, is cynicism. McCleskey’s scorched-earth sliming strategy in races all over the state was a partial success, at best, despite the millions he was handed. And Karl Rove melted on Fox News like the witch at the end of “Wizard of Oz.” Watching him writhe with denial was heartening, because it means evil actually can lose in politics. 

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