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Republicans Allowed Karl Rove to Mislead Them Again

A willing suspension of disbelief allowed the GOP faithful to see victory in all the wrong places, writes Matt Latimer.

The first obvious target, of course, is Mitt Romney himself, who managed to lose to a president with one of the worst economic records in memory. Then eyes turned to Romney’s campaign staff, which somehow could not turn a vibrant, brilliant, Cary Grant–in–the–making into the next president of the United States. Perhaps the fault lies with President Obama, who only pretended that nobody in America liked him. Or it was those tricky young people, who somehow managed to vote when everyone assumed they were too lazy to bother. Perhaps it was Nate Silver and his crazy belief in “theory” and “science.” Or the latest suspects: Martha Raddatz and Candy Crowley in the conservatory with the lead pipe.

Personally I love scapegoating as much as the next guy—was Jar Jar Binks really the only reason the Star Wars prequels were terrible?—but I can’t let them pin this one on Martha and Candy. Nor can I allow Republicans to pull an O.J.—stopping at nothing until they find the “real killers” of the 2012 campaign.

We know where they are. We know who they are. We’ve been here before. Years ago, as an escapee of the George W. Bush administration, I wrote a whole book about it. The only question is whether or not enough Republicans want to do anything to solve the problem.

This is not the first election cycle in which Republicans have been shell-shocked by reality. Six years earlier, Republicans across the country believed they would retain control of the House and Senate. That’s because Karl Rove and his acolytes in the Bush administration and the Republican Party told us so.

All the polls were wrong, they said. They were hopelessly biased or skewed by liberal media organizations out to suppress the vote. Republicans were more popular than people thought. Billionaire donors were urged to stick with the party and its leadership or pay the price. Anyone who disagreed with their thinking, including fellow Republicans, was a traitor, or a liar, or a dupe. Say, any of that sound familiar?