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Wednesday, Nov. 21, 2012 05:29 pm

Billionaires crap out in 2012 elections

They came. They spent! Then, they limped home, tails between their legs.

“They” are the far-right corporate billionaire extremists who tried to become America’s presidential kingmakers this year. Unleashed by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United edict allowing unlimited sums of cash in our elections, they spewed an ocean of money into efforts to enthrone Mitt Romney in the White House and turn the Senate into a GOP rubber stamp for totally corporatizing government.

On election night, they gathered at exclusive Romney victory parties, but the celebratory mood quickly soured, for key states were choosing Democrats. The people were speaking, and (damn them) they seemed to be deliberately voting against the barons.

Take casino baron Sheldon Adelson, for example. He became the 2012 caricature of an obscene billionaire trying to buy democracy. Adelson rolled the political dice on eight candidates, betting more than $60 million – and crapped out on all of them.

Also, the uber-arrogant Koch boys, Charles and David, amassed some $200 million to knock out President Obama. But at evening’s end, there the president stood, reelected by a majority of voters and winning with more than 56 percent of the electoral votes.

And Bob Perry, another self-serving, ultra-rightist billionaire dumped $21 million into GOP Super PACs trying to win senate races in Florida and Virginia, as well as the presidency. All for naught.

Democrats not only gained two seats in the Senate, but new senators such as Elizabeth Warren, Tammy Baldwin and Mazie Hirono are expected to make the Senate more populist and much feistier.

Of course, the billionaires aren’t through. So look for even more obscene spending in 2014 and 2016.

Meanwhile, let’s check in on the premier political bagman for moneyed corporations: Karl Rove. You know it’s been a good election night when he has a hissy fit on national television.

It came at just past 11p.m., after he heard a TV network declare Obama the winner in Ohio. This was not just any network; it was Fox, the Republican Party’s official propaganda machine! Rove, who is a rabidly partisan GOP politico and fundraiser, also doubles as an expert “analyst” for Fox. (Proof again that this network has amputated the word “conflict” from the ethical concept of “conflict of interest.” But I digress.)

Rove was sitting just off camera on the Fox set when the on-air anchor team made the call on Ohio. With his right knee jerking furiously, Rove demanded to be put on the air to rebut the network’s own professional vote counters. He got what he wanted, publicly chiding his Fox colleagues for being “premature.” This prompted an unusual moment of dead air, after which anchor Megyn Kelly said, “Well, that’s awkward.” Since every news outlet and even Republican Party officials were by then conceding Ohio (and the presidency) to Obama, Kelly asked whether Rove was using his own math just to “make himself feel better.”

Bingo! Karl the Kingmaker was having a really bad night. In the past year, he had talked assorted corporations and fat cats into putting some $256 million into his attack ads, assuring donors that their money and his political genius would put the White House and Senate in GOP hands. He came up a bit short. For example, American Crossroads, one of Rove’s two political funds, spent $103 million to defeat Democratic Senate candidates, but the return on that investment was a pathetic 1 percent. Billionaires expect quite a bit better, so Rove had some explaining to do and some crow to eat.

Jim Hightower is national radio commentator, columnist and author.
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