Loser: Karl Rove

I’m having way too much fun checking out the right-wing bloggers who so confidently believed in the coming Romney wave. I take it I’m not the only one.

One of the biggest losers yesterday was Karl Rove. He didn’t just lose an election; he lost his aura as the guy who could manipulate American politics to his will. He controlled about $300 million dollars; his groups were the largest single outside group trying to swing this election. Big-money donors trusted Karl to give them the outcome they wanted. Karl was the inside guy who could pull the right levers and drive the right wedges and stampede voters to vote for Republicans.

He did not deliver. He didn’t even come close to delivering. All that “smart” money was pissed away.

Karl’s meltdown on Fox News last night wasn’t really about Ohio, or Mitt Romney. It was Karl being stripped naked and shown to be a fraud, and a fool. He obviously was not expecting to lose Ohio. He is not the all-knowing guru of politics after all.

I’ve long thought Karl was overrated. If you look closely at his background, you see that he made his reputation in politics by managing campaigns that picked off Democratic incumbents in southern states by relentlessly smearing them. It was cheap and dirty politics. He became a bogyman to liberals while working for the Bush Administration, yes, but to a large extent he was riding a wave of right-wing ascendency. But that’s over, and so is Rove.

Liberal America?

I see that all the states have been called except Florida. And that’s fine; Florida can take the next few days to count chads to its heart’s content, and it won’t matter. That’s nice.

Later on I’ll probably write something about What It All Means, but I was struck by this column at Buzzfeed, of all places, by Ben Smith:

ObamaCare is now a firmly rooted component of the nation’s social compact. Americans appear to have accepted his campaign’s argument that he deserves more credit for a nascent economic recovery than blame for its slow pace.

And the vision of a conservative resurgence appears to have fallen short. The best the Republican Party could muster was a Massachusetts moderate masquerading as “severely conservative.” The Tea Party is a memory, an embarrassment to a party that didn’t even mention it at its national convention in Tampa. And the network that led the conservative resurgence, Fox suffered a sort of televised meltdown as the results came in, with Karl Rove berating host Megyn Kelly for calling the election, he said, prematurely.

Republicans have warned of a more liberal Obama over the coming term, an outcome Democrats hope for and consider likely. But the scale of the decisions facing the country will create an intense pressure for compromise, and now on Democratic terms.

But the 2012 election marked a cultural shift as much as a political one. Ballot measures that had failed for years — allowing the marriage of two men or two women in Maine and Maryland; legalizing marijuana in Washington state and Colorado — were voted into law. The nation’s leading champion of bank regulation, Elizabeth Warren, handily defeated moderate Sen. Scott Brown in Massachusetts, and the nation’s first lesbian senator, Tammy Baldwin, was elected in Wisconsin. Even climate change, which was absent for nearly the entire campaign, came roaring back with Hurricane Sandy and was the subject of endorsements for Obama and harsh attacks on Romney.

These measures were passed, and Obama re-elected, by an American electorate that Republicans had dismissed as a fluke of African-American pride and youth enthusiasm, and which a generation of pundits — Michael Barone, George Will — wrote off as a fantasy.

What I’m seeing, here and elsewhere, is a sad admission that the day when the angry white male voter ruled is over. Of course, in some states, especially the South, it will linger for a long time. But on a national level, the racial dog whistles don’t work. Putting down feminists, promising to repeal Roe v. Wade, doesn’t work. Hysteria over same-sex marriage doesn’t work. Nativism doesn’t work. The All Hate All the Time campaign doesn’t work.

Smith’s column is headlined “Welcome to Liberal America.” Heh.

Mopping Up: Watch Nevada

Not surprisingly, Mittens is sulking and refusing to concede. However, before I turn in for the night, I want to point out that President Obama right now is just short of 270 without Ohio, Virginia, and Florida. And by my calculation, the state that could put him over the top without OH, VA, and FL, is Nevada.

Nevada hasn’t been called yet. With the states called for Obama minus Ohio, by my count the President has 265 electoral votes. Nevada has 6 electoral votes, and it is expected to go to Obama. Once he has Nevada, the President has 271 electoral votes without Ohio, without North Carolina and without Florida.

And Nate Silver believed Nevada is safe for Obama.

Right now I don’t have a sense of where Nevada is in its vote counting, so I’m not going to wait up for it.

Update: Alan Grayson wins in Forida! He’s back!