The Washington Post

Karl Rove, read Nate Silver


Embattled Karl Rove has laid out his qualms about the presidential election in an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal. President Obama managed to go effectively negative on Mitt Romney, he writes; President Obama merely kept his coalition from “shrinking too much,” he snipes; President Obama is hardly a “colossus,” he judges.

Delicious sour grapes, in all. Fair judgments, too.

Yet Rove has yet to learn what many others have taken away from Nov. 6, namely that New York Times election forecaster Nate Silver rules. Rove presents his Silverian ignorance right here:

The president was also lucky. This time, the October surprise was not a dirty trick but an act of God. Hurricane Sandy interrupted Mr. Romney’s momentum and allowed Mr. Obama to look presidential and bipartisan.

Here’s the link to the Silver tract that debunks this bit of conventional Rove wisdom. Superstorm Sandy hit the New Jersey shore Oct. 29. On Oct. 25, Silver had written a post signaling that Romney’s “momentum” in the polls stemming from his phenomenal Oct. 3 debate performance had petered out days before.

In other words, Sandy destroyed lives and property, but not Romney’s momentum. At least, that is, if you trust Silver, who called all 50 states correctly in the presidential election.

Facts notwithstanding, there is a clear argumentative appeal to Rove’s retreat to Sandy. Far more convenient to blame Romney’s troubles on a whimsical creation of the skies and the seas than on any deficiencies in his campaign or message.

More from The Washington Post:

Karl Rove: Obama won by “suppressing the vote”

Rove’s Ohio moment on Fox News

George Will: The Republican Party is endangered

Alexandra Petri: Don’t make a bet with Nate Silver

Greg Sargent: Obama pollster says the GOP is “out of gas”

Jennifer Rubin: Building a bigger Republican Party

Matt Miller: Obamacare is vindicated

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.


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