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Fox News’ dark night of the soul

WEDNESDAY, NOV 7, 2012

[quote]Karl Rove tries to undo Ohio, and Sarah Palin laments "catastrophe" as Fox faces the horror of Obamapocalypse

By the time we got to the 11 o’clock hour of election night on the East Coast and it all fell apart fast for Mitt Romney and the Republican Party, the atmosphere had turned grumpy and pugnacious on Fox News. No one was in any mood for the grace that the network’s commentators had displayed – no, really! — after Barack Obama’s historic victory four years ago. If Karl Rove’s on-air hissy fit about whether his colleagues had prematurely called Ohio for Obama (they hadn’t) was the undoubted highlight, the generalized sourness and weirdness spread much wider than that.

Carl Cameron, Fox’s top political reporter, generally prides himself on playing it down the middle, at least by the network’s standards. But he couldn’t stop himself from delivering an impassioned standup from Romney HQ in Boston that felt like an extended paean to a guy that almost everyone in the country will be delighted never to see or hear anything about again. It was OK and maybe even noble, Cameron insisted, that the Romney team were hunkered down in their hotel suite and unwilling to concede, even after Fox and numerous other news organizations had called the election. Romney had fought so hard for those who believed in him, and wanted every vote to be counted. On Election Day, he had made one final campaign trip to Ohio and Pennsylvania, “on behalf of those who are looking for work.” Cameron did not observe that Romney now belongs to that demographic himself. I know: Oh, snap.

In fairness, Romney didn’t drag it out much longer before giving the most pained and awkward presidential concession speech in recent memory. But Cameron’s soaring farewell aria, coupled with Rove’s mad-scientist desire to reanimate the past – meaning, specifically, the election fiasco of 2000 – pretty much expressed the Fox Zeitgeist. It was clearly traumatic. As election night moved rapidly from uncertainty to Republican doom, no one felt ready to let go of the robotic dream of a Romney presidency, or any of the talking points that have driven the network’s political coverage for the last couple of years: Obama was a Muslim-apologist weakling who was doomed by economic conditions and had been abandoned by his base, the polls were fatally skewed toward the Democrats, America was fundamentally a “center-right country” eager for ever lower taxes and ever smaller government.

Early in the evening, anchor Megyn Kelly and commentator Tucker Carlson even made a lackluster effort to harp on the auto bailout and the Benghazi killings, two so-called issues we will never hear about again. (The mainstream media pilloried Romney unfairly on the former issue while ignoring the latter, etc.) But it obviously didn’t make them feel better. This was around 9:30 Eastern, when Pennsylvania and Wisconsin had already been called for Obama and the writing was on the wall in numerous other states. Those things were already the fading flowers of youth, nostalgic reminders of that lovely week in early October when Romney seemed to be leading but probably wasn’t.

“Oh, there’s a subdued feeling to this, if you’re a conservative this evening,” pronounced former George H.W. Bush speechwriter Peggy Noonan during her celebrity cameo, which was one of the most entertaining segments of this peculiar variety show. I’m actually not being facetious. I have a soft spot for Noonan, probably just because she’s educated and speaks in complete sentences and looks like exactly the kind of society lady who’d be a hoot to talk to if you were trapped at the wrong kind of party.

by Anonymousreply 5111/08/2012

Thing is, Peggy Noonan is pretty much Lorenzo de’ Medici compared to Charles Krauthammer, whose leathery, undead visage appeared several times to urge the GOP not to engage in unproductive “soul-searching” and indeed to do more of everything terrifying they’ve been doing all along. Looking as if he’d just eaten a urinal cake, and bearing a striking resemblance to the plastic-surgery-impaired gay supervillain played by Javier Bardem in the new James Bond film, Krauthammer was Fox’s begrudger-in-chief, insisting that Obama won by going “very small, very negative” and would “slide through a second term” with no mandate. He made no effort to conceal his scorn for the “Northeastern liberal” Romney: “That’s not where we’re going.” A return to virile, Reaganite conservatism could be found on the “deep Republican bench,” which had sat out this election for unspecified reasons (that had nothing to do, clearly, with Obama’s popularity or political aptitude).

Unsurprisingly, Fox was foot-draggy throughout the evening on calling swing states and major Senate races, even before Rove tried to make the network backtrack on calling the entire election. My Twitter feed was full of news about New Hampshire and Colorado and Elizabeth Warren and Claire McCaskill that went ignored while Rove held up magic-marker charts about relative trends in exurban counties in northern Virginia or southwestern Ohio that he insisted would save Romney’s bacon. I can think of lots of adjectives one could use to describe Rove, most of them unflattering, but I honestly never expected to see him become the most boring person on Fox News Channel.

If you didn’t get to see it, Rove’s attempt to overturn Fox’s 11:15 P.M. call of Ohio and the election was completely nuts. First of all, co-anchors Kelly and Bret Baier were caught by surprise when a graphic went up announcing that Obama had been re-elected. You could almost feel the disapproval emanating from Brit Hume, who may be a right-winger but is a genuine newsman and a TV professional. Then Rove, getting increasingly hot under the collar, began to protest that unnamed sources in the Romney camp weren’t happy about this, and that the president’s margin in Ohio was disappearing. This led Kelly to wander through a backstage corridor with a cameraman in tow, like a character in a backstage drama or reality show, in order to confront the statistics wonks at the “decision desk,” or at least to escape from Rove’s blather about whether the outstanding votes from Hamilton County, Ohio, were or were not from the city of Cincinnati.

In his new role as commentator rather than anchor, Brit Hume mostly came off like an actual grownup, if an embittered one. He was clearly surprised that all those swing-state polls showing Obama leading turned out to be correct, but had the decency to admit it, and made other real-world points as well. Conservatives have long believed they were in the ascendancy, he said, but this outcome “tells us something about moderates: A lot of people who call themselves that are actually liberal, more liberal than many of us thought.”

During a brief and entirely incoherent video interview from her home in Alaska, Sarah Palin pronounced Obama’s re-election a “catastrophic setback” and said something about the Founding Fathers. She had an American flag jammed up against her fireplace and an odd, doggy-looking new hairdo, and appeared crazier than ever. Bill O’Reilly announced “traditional Americans,” who “do things for themselves,” may now belong to the past, and the new attitude is “I don’t want to do it, I want them to do it for me.”

by Anonymousreply 111/07/2012

Onetime Democratic pollster Pat Caddell suggested that the Republicans now have a branding problem similar to the one that doomed the Whig Party in the 19th century, and that they need to attract moderates and minorities in order to survive. That sounds convincing, but people have been saying that for decades, and there’s no reason to believe that another narrow defeat will compel any major intra-party change. After Karl Rove had been beaten back into his chair and petulantly accepted reality, he mumbled that perhaps Obama had won the battle but lost the war. First of all, as Turd Blossom should know, that’s the kind of mealy-mouthed truism uttered by losers. Second of all, he’s partly right; we just don’t know how much. Obama won a big, bruising battle, and now has a brief and limited opportunity to assert leadership. But we just spent an entire year and $2 billion to end up with the same president, the same House and the same Senate. That sounds a lot like everybody losing, but at least Mitt Romney and those who financed him and pumped him full of hot air lost most of all.

by Anonymousreply 211/07/2012

[quote]Sarah Palin pronounced Obama’s re-election a “catastrophic setback” and said something about the Founding Fathers. She had an American flag jammed up against her fireplace and an odd, doggy-looking new hairdo, and appeared crazier than ever

Great read. The part about Sarah Palin made me laugh out loud.

by Anonymousreply 311/07/2012

I can sum up the downfall of the Republican Party...Christian lunacy. Barry Goldwater, himself a bat shit crazy Republican, summed up his feelings about the future of the GOP when he was described thusly by Wikipedia: "Present day conservatives take many of their marching orders from the Christian right, also known as social conservatives, but Barry Goldwater resoundingly rejected them as extremists who disgrace the word ‘conservatism.’"

by Anonymousreply 411/07/2012

I really think someone's FIX got deflected.

The way Rove was carrying on was beyond Reason. Like he REALLY, REALLY jUST "KNEW" Ohio was going to Flip.

Rove was going to drag it out and heexpected the Media to bite and follow his lead. They said no. I honestly think something happened behind the scenes. Someone stood up to someone, somewhere and said NO, Not this time.

by Anonymousreply 511/07/2012

It's the Obamapocalypse! Founding Fathers! Like my new bouffant?

by Anonymousreply 611/07/2012

Palin's new hairdo reminds me of the old joke that Anita Bryant is mad because she can't get her hair done.

by Anonymousreply 711/07/2012

Ack, R6!!!

I was thinking along the same lines as, R5. I didn't watch Fox, obviously, but the description in the article made it sound like Rove was waiting for the fix to come in [italic]any time now.[/italic]

by Anonymousreply 811/07/2012

God, I'm enjoying this. Must get back to work.

by Anonymousreply 911/07/2012

[quote]Republicans now have a branding problem similar to the one that doomed the Whig Party in the 19th century, and that they need to attract moderates and minorities in order to survive.

Good luck with that. They kick and scream when they have to admit one token Black person into the local Country Club.

by Anonymousreply 1011/07/2012

What I love most about that Palin picture is that she's so obviously in front of a green screen (probably living it up in some hotel) yet they crammed that fireplace/flag in the picture to make her look "homey" and completely failed.

by Anonymousreply 1111/07/2012

Regarding the branding problem. Rachel Maddow mentioned this a couple of weeks (or even months?) ago that the party is at a crossroad where it has to come to a decision how to proceed further (going even further to the right or opening up to more moderate conservatives) and/or risk extinction.

by Anonymousreply 1211/07/2012

[quote]Regarding the branding problem. Rachel Maddow mentioned this a couple of weeks (or even months?) ago that the party is at a crossroad where it has to come to a decision how to proceed further (going even further to the right or opening up to more moderate conservatives) and/or risk extinction.

Steve Schmidt concurred last night, getting in a good dig at Rush Limbaugh in the process.

by Anonymousreply 1311/07/2012

Goldwater was also the guy who said that every good American should punch Jerry Falwell in the mouth.

by Anonymousreply 1411/07/2012

On a lighter note, Sasha and Malia, an age timeline:

by Anonymousreply 1511/07/2012

r6, why are you posting scary Halloween pics in a political thread??

by Anonymousreply 1611/07/2012

I am thrilled that Romney could not buy the election as I feared. Clutched my husband all night!

by Anonymousreply 1711/07/2012

OMG. R6's link is the first time I've actually seen her in a while. Is that real?

by Anonymousreply 1811/07/2012

r6's link looks like some scary movie poster!

Is it Halloween again? It feels like I celebrated Halloween only a couple of days ago.

by Anonymousreply 1911/07/2012

It's real. There's another Palin thread with the clip of her little hissy fit.

by Anonymousreply 2011/07/2012

What if, and this may be nuts, but what if the Obama team knew what Tagg was up to and a covert ops was played on the Repubs that neutralized the "patch."

God, I hope we get the goods on all that played out behind the scenes one day.

by Anonymousreply 2111/07/2012

I had this James Bond heist type of maneuver in my mind where those evil henchmen technicians (responsible for the voter fraud to go smoothly) are all taken down so that a fake news feed would go to the Republican headquarters with the results they expected while the real results would go to the public and the Republicans celebrating and patting each other on the back and then waking up to a brutal reality that they've been had.

by Anonymousreply 2211/07/2012

[quote]Regarding the branding problem. Rachel Maddow mentioned this a couple of weeks (or even months?) ago that the party is at a crossroad where it has to come to a decision how to proceed further (going even further to the right or opening up to more moderate conservatives) and/or risk extinction.

See: Roman Catholic Church.

by Anonymousreply 2311/07/2012

Fun to think that Romney was sitting in a smoky, locked room while Koch Bros and others offered him the keys to the kingdom for his soul, Rove just waiting for the repeat of 2000 Florida announcement, and he balked.

by Anonymousreply 2411/07/2012

That was such a deliciously cunty article. Made me chortle several times.

by Anonymousreply 2511/07/2012

You do have to wonder if Rove's disbelief had something to do with election fraud and a certain expectation for the outcome.

by Anonymousreply 2611/07/2012

The loons on Townhall are already saying Mitt was too moderate - Obama-lite. Its beyond parody.

by Anonymousreply 2711/07/2012

Absolutely r26, Rove's foot stomping and Ohio emphasis was clearly his disbelief that the disenfranchisement and rigging hadn't been carried out completely and he wanted to wait and see it happen.

The huge Democratic voter turnout killed Rove's scheme.

by Anonymousreply 2811/07/2012

The paragraph about Krauthammer ("Looking as if he'd just eaten a urinal cake...") was priceless.

by Anonymousreply 2911/07/2012

I think Turd Blossom thought he could pull the same spread the lie and it's the truth that got Dubya the win in 04.

by Anonymousreply 3011/07/2012

Sarah's hairdo looks like something out of "Married to the Mob."

by Anonymousreply 3111/07/2012

Thank you for the Malia and Sascha timeline. They have certainly grown up quickly!

by Anonymousreply 3211/07/2012

[quote]Fun to think that Romney was sitting in a smoky, locked room while Koch Bros and others offered him the keys to the kingdom for his soul, Rove just waiting for the repeat of 2000 Florida announcement, and he balked

The problem with this fantasy is that I can't imagine any set of terms anyone could offer that Romney wouldn't take. His soul was bartered away ages ago.

[quote]What if, and this may be nuts, but what if the Obama team knew what Tagg was up to and a covert ops was played on the Repubs that neutralized the "patch."

This scenario was already played out in a science fiction novel by Kim Stanley Robinson, "Sixty Days and Counting." The election was stolen by rough CIA baddies, then stolen back by good CIA types. I'd believe it.

by Anonymousreply 3311/07/2012

[quote] Charles Krauthammer, whose leathery, undead visage

LOL! So fucking true.

by Anonymousreply 3411/07/2012

Krauthammer is scary-looking. He looks dead. He looks like a mannequin, or something out of a Hammer Horror film with Christopher Lee.

by Anonymousreply 3511/07/2012

In my paranoid political freakout mind, Rove got what he expected in Florida. It still hasn't been called and is/was there for the stealing. He didn't get what he expected in Ohio when they called it.

He's such an arrogant little fuck. How DARE they call Ohio when his voter suppression scheme was supposed to clusterfuck it? Give the clusterfuck a little more time to develop!

I have the Faux coverage on DVR. I haven't had a chance to watch it yet but I think it will be quite enjoyable.

by Anonymousreply 3611/07/2012

I agree that behind the scenes someone with a moral fiber said "no". I actually think the popular vote was padded 5% in Romney's favor.

Due to the overwhelming Democratic turnout, even with the "fix", they couldn't win.

Rove was dumbfounded. How else do you explain Morris' rants about a Romney landslide.

Scary America.

But, now it's time for the DEMOCRATS to get a spine and get things done. THE LIBERAL AGENDA. Why the fuck not??????

by Anonymousreply 3711/07/2012

Except for his droopy eyelids, Krauthammer reminds me of internet meme Brian Peppers.

by Anonymousreply 3911/08/2012

hump

by Anonymousreply 4011/08/2012

I flipped on Hannity tonight just to see what the enemy was doing. Was he doing a wrap-up of the election, admitting he was wrong, talking about how the Repugs might have made some tactical mistakes and misjudgements of the issues and the public?

Oh no, Hannity spent most of the hour talking of Benghazi, Libya, and how Obama screwed it up.

Guess he didn't learn anything from his colossal humiliation last night? Another douchebag.

by Anonymousreply 4111/08/2012

Nearly every news website has Obama's victory as the headline. But what does Fox News have as the headline:

"Investigating Benghazi: House Panel to Hold Hearing on Libya"

Sorry the link goes to Fox, and of course, the headline will change eventually, but as far as Fox is concerned, the election is over, and it's off the headline. And it's back to Benghazi.

by Anonymousreply 4211/08/2012

I think that's a picture of Peggy Hill, R6

by Anonymousreply 4311/08/2012

It's truly terrifying to think of but I really am coming to the conclusion that several other posters in this thread have come to...the GOP/Romney campaign had laid down plans to steal Ohio and something or someone backfired/betrayed them.

If the media is to be believed, Romney didn't even plan a concession speech. How could someone who was running so close the entire time not even do that if they didn't KNOW they were going to win?

Also, Rove's behavior was very odd. He really was expecting Ohio to go to Romney and when it didn't he seemed, not angry, but genuinely confused.

by Anonymousreply 4411/08/2012

I agree R44, it was bizarre and my first thought, Rove seemed confused like, no, the fix is in, just give it a minute. No concession speech? That's CUH-RAZY hubris.

by Anonymousreply 4511/08/2012

Oh and all that it'll be the reagan revolution all over again, it's going to be a landslide. What was the point of not whipping the base into a frenzy to get them out to vote?

by Anonymousreply 4611/08/2012

But isn't it the case that Obama had such a good ground plan that he didn't need OH to win?

by Anonymousreply 4711/08/2012

Yes, R47. I think Obama's ground game overwhelmed Romney's vote rigging - they probably based the program on the 2010 electorate.

by Anonymousreply 4811/08/2012

R48, Dick Morris admitted he had inexplicably based his projections on the 2004 electorate.

by Anonymousreply 4911/08/2012

g

by Anonymousreply 5011/08/2012

Bill O'Reilly:

by Anonymousreply 5111/08/2012
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