Politically speaking, last week was one for the history books. A black man with a funny name was voted to the highest office in the land for the second time, proving 2008 was no fluke.
And the right wing’s chief screw tightener lost his shit during a live “news” broadcast.
In case you missed it, Fox News called Ohio, and thus the election for The President. Karl Rove said not so fast, just like he did in 2000 for Bush. Except this time, he was way off, and the Fox anchors were forced to say so. But before they were willing to put this highly paid mouthpiece in his place, the producers asked Megyn Kelly to walk back to the war room, where the real data crunchers were pouring over the results.
Just the suggestion from Rove that Fox might be in error, led to a five minute fact-finding mission aired live on national TV. Rove had power, but he lost it on Tuesday. Even his right wing friends are turning on him. Brent Bozell, president of For America, said, “If I had 1/100th of Karl Rove’s money, I would have been more productive than he was.”
New York Times op-ed writer, Frank Bruni, reflects on the Rovian meltdown:
Of course arrogance, or at least self-assurance, is a consultant’s stock in trade. That’s what we buy when we buy advice: not just the content of it but the authority, even the grandiloquence, with which it’s delivered. We exchange the anxiety of autonomy for the comfort of following orders. And Rove gives great orders, rife with arcane historical references and reams of data.
Historically, the need for bluster and misdirection may have been there. But thankfully, the times they are a changin’. Rove’s game is from another time. Twelve and 8 years may seem like just a moment ago, but in terms of the digital dynamic and its impact on communications as a whole, and thus politics, it was eons ago.
Let’s marvel for a minute at what communications technology is doing to our culture. The Web is deeply democratic and thus totally revolutionary. People are empowered by the information they take in and share, and an empowered electorate is a massive disruption for old time pols and their advisors. As Romney learned in Ohio this fall, we live in a nation of fact-checkers now, and that makes it real tough to lie and get away with it.