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Jack Zaleski, Published November 10 2012

Zaleski: No matter how they spin it, it’s a loss

It’s a hoot to watch losers act badly. Shell-shocked Republicans are tying themselves into granny knots in a losing effort to explain why President Barack Obama easily won re-election, why the U.S. Senate did not flip their way, and why predictions by their most respected political gurus were so-o-o wrong. Fun stuff.

Karl Rove, he of Wall Street Journal column, political analytics and campaign financing fame, misread the presidential race by a helluva lot. Rove is a delightful and insightful gentleman (visited with him a couple of years ago in a Forum Editorial Board meeting). But last week, Rove stumbled and stammered through several post-election interviews. He blamed everyone and everything, except his own failure, for missing the president’s win over former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. It was not his finest hour.

It was Superstorm Sandy, Rove said. It was the president’s pandering to minorities and women, he said. It was Obama’s refusal to detail a plan for a second term, he said. Apparently Romney’s similar lack of detail for a first term didn’t count.

About the big storm that slammed the Northeast: The Republican line is the storm suppressed the vote. Maybe so, but those who might not have voted were blue-staters from New Jersey, New York and Connecticut. If the vote was suppressed, the president would have lost votes in states that were in his column, storm or no storm. No effect on Romney.

What about these ill-timed storms? Religionists who inordinately influence the Republican Party believe God uses weather to punish. When Katrina destroyed New Orleans, they said (remember Pat Robertson?) that the “sinful and corrupt” city was a modern Gomorrah, so God did his thing. I hear New Orleans is back to its hedonistic ways. Didn’t get the message apparently.

If they believe that stuff, what are they to make of Sandy, which, Republicans say, helped propel Obama to victory? Is God on the president’s side? It’s a puzzlement.

Closer to home, similarly afflicted true believers said in 1997 and again in 2011 that floods in Grand Forks and Minot were the good Lord’s way of dope-slapping North Dakota because abortions are performed in the state. Curiously, Fargo, which is home to the state’s lone abortion clinic, was spared from major flood damage, not once but three times in the past 15 years. Go figure.

Back to the election – the U.S. Senate. If Republicans want to elect senators, they’ll have to shut down tea partiers. Republicans would have held onto or won Senate races in Indiana and Missouri had not tea party candidates knocked off moderate Republicans in primaries. Democrats won, so the tea party and the GOP lost. Nice going.

Republican recriminations are rising like the storm tide that inundated New York City. The face of the party that emerges when the tide ebbs will determine whether Republicans can ever again get one of their own into the White House. And that is what Rove and his pals should be thinking about.

Contact Editorial Page Editor Jack Zaleski at (701) 241-5521.