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Friday, December 7, 2012

Rove and Tumble

No, not everything is perfect.

I didn’t really think that it would be. We’re a divided nation. Obama won by three percentage points of the popular vote. I would hardly call it a mandate, and it scares me to think how easily it could have gone the other way. Nate Silver said there was a 90% chance Obama would win, and thankfully all the critics of both Silver and Obama were proven wrong. But what about Karl Rove?

Rove’s arrogance about Ohio on election night is unsettling. Add to that all the reports that Romney himself was completely blindsided by his loss, even though he was still slightly behind in his own internal polls, makes me wonder: What had Rove promised all the wealthy donors to his Super Pac? What had Rove promised Romney? And why did Rove risk public embarrassment and the marring of his political guru image to argue that Ohio was still too close to call, if he didn’t think he knew something that we all didn’t know? In other words, had Romney actually won Ohio, would Democrats have reason to cry foul and demand a voter fraud investigation?

My husband would have found reason, no matter what.

“I think I’ll just quit my job.” Monty spoke this morning while he was helping me load up the car with our children. “I want to start my own practice, and its mission statement will be ‘Put Karl Rove in Jail.’” He strapped Noah into his car seat as he spoke, and the click of the safety belt added a dramatic emphasis to his statement.

“Do law firms have mission statements?”

“Mine would.” He walked around to the other side of the car, where Abby sat already strapped in, and kissed her on the forehead. “Have a good day, baby.”

She smiled in adoration. “Bye, Daddy.”

 Monty’s the only person who can get away with calling Abby “baby.” But he’s always been good at getting away with saying pretty much anything to anyone while suffering no repercussions. I wish I had that talent.

“You got everything?” He asked me.

I balanced my travel coffee mug and my car keys in one hand, while I sorted through my messenger bag to search for lecture notes, eyewear, and my cell phone. “Yeah,” I said. “Thanks for helping.”

He leaned down and gave me a kiss. “Have a good day. And think about my idea.”

I furrowed my brow and cocked my head.

“My law firm.” He sighed. “Pay attention, Sweetheart. And think about it. We could move to D.C. to go after Rove. You’d love that. And think about how much you’d love me if I succeeded and put him in jail.”

“Umm hmm.” I brushed some lint off the shoulder of his dark wool jacket. “I already love you.”

“Yeah, yeah.” He walked down the length of our little driveway, to the curb, where his car is parked. He waved as I drove off, and I smiled and waved back.

 Monty’s been back from Ghana for almost two months now, but it took so long for him to actually be present. Only recently has he gained back the weight he lost, weight he hadn’t needed to lose in the first place. Only recently has his color and his energy level become what they used to be, and only recently has not been waking me every night with a hacking sort of cough.

So I’m standing firm in my anti-African travel stance. His previous bout with Malaria, his reactions to the anti-malarial drugs, and I don’t know, just his lack of physical resilience to the stresses of travel don’t add up to anything good. But his job as a program director and policy writer for the Malaria vaccine project requires that he go to all the places I find the most threatening to his health. So nearly every other day, usually right before he leaves for work, he comes up with a new, fantastical idea for a career change. I don’t think he has any real intention of leaving his job, but I play along.

Since the election nothing’s changed, exactly, except that I no longer have the fear that everything will change. But the day after Obama won, suddenly we’re on the edge of a fiscal cliff, which is like a tepid mid-season replacement for a riveting prime time drama. I don’t doubt that we need to figure out how to make cuts and raise taxes to avoid massive unemployment and further recession. But all the talk of the Republican standoff and Boehner’s ultimatums is tedious, even for someone like me. Enough already.

I don’t understand conflict for conflict’s sake, and I can’t believe the Republicans really believe that a tax hike for super-wealthy would harm the economy, when all the evidence is to the contrary. So perhaps they’re just saying what they need to say in order to appease their base, but if so, that’s even more deplorable. It's taking a punch to win the round, inflicting pain while bowing down.

However, I’m hardly one to talk. A week after my argument with Jack last October, I called to apologize, not because I was sorry, but sorry for myself. I got his voice mail. My message was something like this:

“Hey, I’m sorry about our last conversation. I was really stressed and most of what I said had nothing to do with you. Please call me; I’d really like to talk to you.”

I heard nothing back.

A couple of days later I called again. Again, I got his voice mail. “Hi. Maybe you didn’t get my last message. Please call me. I’ll apologize some more if you do.”

But he didn’t call. So after another week I tried one more time. “Jack,” I said into the recording. “What’s up? I know you’re mad, but come on. I’m sorry. If you love her, then marry her, but don’t shut me out. Seriously. Call me back.”

That was a while ago, and he never called, and it’s probably for the best. Because I lied in my last message; I don’t think Jack should be engaged to his twenty-six year-old mistress before his divorce has even gone through, but I said what I thought I should say to avoid further conflict and appease my base.

But like I said, nothing has changed. Now the holidays are upon us. It's a season that's easy to stumble and tumble through, and I just hope I can land on my feet without putting my foot in my mouth.