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Menachem Rosensaft Headshot

The Clown Parade

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You gotta love the clown parade.

There will be plenty of time to analyze both the magnitude and the depth of the Obama victory. The same goes for discussions of the respective Obama and Romney campaigns, what went right and what went wrong, what surprisingly worked and what, in retrospect, were strategies that were doomed from the outset.

We will also have ample opportunities to reflect on the class acts of the campaign, not just the president who reminded us almost daily (but especially in his handling of the Superstorm Sandy crisis) why we voted for him four years ago, but also first and foremost former President Bill Clinton as well as, among others, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, Michelle Obama and Ann Romney, Chris Matthews and Joe Scarborough, the always insightful hosts of, respectively, MSNBC's Hardball and that network's Morning Joe, former Republican National Committee chairman and MSNBC commentator Michael Steele, who demonstrated repeatedly and consistently how to be partisan with integrity, and, for the grace and dignity of his brief concession speech, Governor Romney.

But the political junkies among us can allow ourselves a brief moment to gloat at the court jesters whose contempt for our collective intelligence as the presidential campaign came to an end last night and who broke new ground in the realm of Chutzpah even as the votes were being counted.

First and foremost, Dick Morris, the supposed political maven (that's Yiddish for someone who supposedly knows what he or she is talking about) who on Monday, in what could only have been a desperate attempt to play head games with the electorate, predicted "A landslide for Romney approaching the magnitude of Obama's against McCain."

No joke. "Romney," Morris wrote, "will win the states McCain carried in 2008, plus: Florida, Indiana, Virginia, North Carolina, Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Minnesota." Even with Florida still officially undeclared, Morris was wrong on Virginia, wrong on Iowa, wrong on Ohio, wrong on New Hampshire, wrong on Pennsylvania, wrong on Wisconsin, and wrong on Minnesota.

"In the popular vote," Morris went on, "Romney will win by more than 5 points." Again, nope!

The rest of Morris's classic "virtual reality" analysis was equally off the mark.

Morris wasn't alone. "My final prediction," Kimberley Strassel wrote yesterday in a Wall Street Journal article headlined "I'm calling it for Mitt!" while Americans were voting, "is that at a minimum, Mr. Romney wins 289 electoral votes, a tally that includes Florida, Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Wisconsin. If it is a big night, he also picks up Pennsylvania and maybe Minnesota." A large serving of crow seems in order.

More disturbingly, Bill O'Reilly opined on Fox News that the United States is "not a traditional America anymore" because "the white establishment is now the minority." According to O'Reilly, the president was re-elected because of "a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama. Overwhelming black vote for President Obama. And women will probably break President Obama's way. People feel that they are entitled to things, and which candidate between the two is going to give them things?"

For four long years, the cacophony on the right has sought to impugn the legitimacy of President Obama's first victory. The offensive slur that the president is somehow not sufficiently "American," whatever that means, is now apparently being replaced by an even more scurrilous attempt to delegitimize the millions who voted to re-elect President Obama.

Sarah Palin told Fox News' Greta Van Susteren last night that President Obama's re-election was "a catastrophic set-back to our economy and to any opportunity that we would have for Supreme Court justices to be appointed who would be strict adherents to the traditional interpretation of what our Constitution says."

No congratulations. No reaching across party lines in the interest of the country. Not even a hint of an acknowledgment that more than the voices of more than 50 percent of the electorate deserve even a modicum of respect. Just anger and feigned disbelief.

And then there's Rush Limbaugh, who said during his Election Day rant that "Michelle Obama is also telling crowds in Florida, 'Don't let anybody push you out of line.' Don't let anybody push you out of line? What, is she worried about Bull Connor?" Actually, yes, but the 2012 versions of the bigoted Birmingham, Ala., Commissioner of Public Safety who set police dogs on civil rights demonstrators are the GOP operatives who have desperately tried to disenfranchise minorities by making the electoral process as difficult and onerous as only possible.

But the prize goes to Donald "Obama is a Kenyan" Trump. "We can't let this happen," he tweeted at 8:30 pm last night when the president's victory became apparent. "We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided!"

Really? A "travesty" just because the voters chose to ignore his ravings throughout the campaign? A "march on Washington" to protest against the outcome of the democratic process just because it didn't go his way? Someone should tell Trump that he can yell, "You're fired" out his window all he wants, but no one, absolutely no one, will take him seriously.

While politics "ain't beanbag," it also shouldn't be a theater of the absurd.

Menachem Z. Rosensaft teaches about the law of genocide and war crimes trials at the law schools of Columbia, Cornell and Syracuse universities.