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Rove: My Take

Karl Rove has announced he is stepping down from the White House staff. When he goes, the President will lose one of his ablest advisors, and the Republican Party its finest political strategist.

In Texas, over the course of two decades, Rove engineered a series of victories that took the Republican Party from the hopeless underdogs to the unquestioned masters of the Lone Star State. Even in 2006, when the national Republican Party was suffering defeats from East to West coasts, the Republican majority in Texas remained rock solid.

Rove easily transitioned from the direct-mail politics of the 20th century into the internet-driven politics of the 21st century. In the wake of the 2000 election, he designed a 72 hour program that gives the Republican Party the edge in any close election. But Rove was more than a political strategist.

Unlike many of his contemporaries or predecessors in both parties, Rove was also a master of policy. Few political strategists have understood the connection between tthe two more than Karl Rove, and this was perhaps his greatest strength as well as the quality that most irritiated his critics on the right and the left.

This would seem to be a good place to note that despite irrational opposition from right-wing talk radio hosts, Rove attempted to undo the damage done by several decades of neglect through a concerted outreach effort to minorities.

While the gains have been slow, the Republican Party has made its voice heard in areas of America where it was silent for too long. It may be some time before these efforts realize their full potential, but when they do, no man will deserve more credit than Karl Rove.

In his victory speech the day after Election Day in 2004, President Bush referred to Karl Rove as the "architect." It could not be more true. In 2000 and 2004, by any reasonable standard, George W. Bush should have lost, and lost big. The country was at peace in 2000, and the American people were still experiencing the false euphoria of the 1990's economy.

While the scandal-ridden Democratic Bill Clinton had been impeached, the country had shown no inclination to punish Democrats for his faults in 1998. In spite of all this, George W. Bush led in the polls throughout most of the campaign and won a 30 state victory.

In 2004, again, by any objective measure, President Bush should have lost re-election. The economy was recovering, but was by no means strong. Employment growth throughout the summer had been weak. The war in Iraq, already in its second year, was already starting to become a drag on the President's political fortunes.

Yet, whether it was his preemptive attack on the Democratic nominee in the spring, or the highly effective Republican Convention, Karl Rove ran a disciplined campaign that made George W. Bush the first candidate to win a majority of the popular vote in 16 years. While the President lost many Northern and Midwestern states by painfully small margins, he won the West and South by margins that seem to put them out of play for a long time to come.

Democrats and similarly obsessed conservative critics will point to 2006 as a blemish on his otherwise sterling record. This is extremely unfair. At the beginning of the 2006 fall campaign, the polls showed the parties running relatively even as the Democrats foolishly opposed the Military Commissions Act.

The wheels came off the Republican wagon in the wake of the Mark Foley scandal and the October offensive by insurgents in Iraq. It had very little if anything to do with any mistakes by Karl Rove. Each of the Republican Senate incumbents who lost did so because of either their own gaffes or guilt by association with corrupt Washington/local politicians.

Indeed, one could argue that the relatively limited nature of Republican losses, given the terrible conditions that the party faced in the fall of 2006, was due in no small part to the highly efficient 72 hour program that Rove created.

My only hope is that Karl Rove will emulate one more time the man who he has often cited a role model - Mark Hanna, the man who ran both of President McKinley's campaigns. If a Republican wins the White House in 2008, it is conceivable that he might select one of the Lone Star State's Senators for the Supreme Court or a Cabinet position. I could think of no one who would deserve that vacant seat more than Karl Rove.

And so, for three national victories, I can think of no better way to end than by saying:

Thanks Karl, and good luck!


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Comments (35)

I honestly don't know if it... (Below threshold)
pennywit:

I honestly don't know if it's possible to apply the "genius" label to Rove. In the 2000 and 2004 elections, victory for his candidate all but literally came down to a hair. I wonder if, without that hair, today we would be celebrating the genius of departing White House adviser Bob Shrum ... and Karl Rove would be sitting in the analyst's chair at Fox News.

--|PW|--

I just explained why the el... (Below threshold)
Alexander K. McClure:

I just explained why the elections were close. Change the Penny to Dim to make it more accurate.

1st RD, 1 punch KO goes to... (Below threshold)
GianiD:

1st RD, 1 punch KO goes to Alexander....

He sure had a good record o... (Below threshold)
jp2:

He sure had a good record of winning. I'm convinced Republicans have been only good at one thing - winning elections. (certainly not good at running the country, as we've seen)

The fact that he turned a chickenhawk silver-spoon blue-blooded politician's son into a cowboy war hero and an actual silver star war hero into a whiny Frenchman is a testament to his skills.

That being said, he has a history of unethical behavior from the start of his career and it's seems that his tragic flaw of hubris has come crashing down. I will always remember him for this conversation re: 2006 elections:

Rove:...You may end up with a different math but you are entitled to your math and I'm entitled to THE math.

SIEGEL: I don't know if we're entitled to a different math but your...

ROVE: I said THE math.

"ablest advisor"? <p... (Below threshold)
civil behavior:

"ablest advisor"?

Bush is going to so miss his brain.

Leahy was getting too close for comfort. Another sacrificial lamb thrown off the bus.

The wheels are definitely coming off.

The wheels are def... (Below threshold)
The wheels are definitely coming off.

We've been hearing that for years. Hasn't happened yet, and probably won't.

How long ago was it the left was frog marching Rove out of the White House?

...and an actual s... (Below threshold)
...and an actual silver star war hero into a whiny Frenchman is a testament to his skills.

You mean a manipulative, self aggrandizing narcissist who lied before Congress, consorted with the enemy in violation of the UCMJ (while he was still subject to it) and slandered his fellow servicemen?

Furthermore, Rove didn't have to turn Kerry into a whiny fwenchman, Kerry did a fine job of that by himself. He needed no help. His affectations of Beacon Hill blue blood and attempts to create the image that he was the new JFK and his disdain for the common man were all character faults that over rode any positive he might have garnered from his military service.

Did you see any of the pictures of the klutz trying to catch a football? Sheesh. It looked like he thought it was some slime covered object that he was trying to avoid.

And the phony local vocabulary he tried to use in Ohio when getting a duck stamp? Besides, what is it with the democrats trying to talk like someone they ain't? Do they think it endears them to people? All it does is make regular folks think they are pandering phonies. Which is an accurate depiction of a democrat in most cases anyway; you'd just think they would have learned not to make it so obvious after all this time.

But, since you assign so much value to Kerry's war record, I presume you'll be voting for John McCain.

Point of information: Did R... (Below threshold)
Rance:

Point of information: Did Rove hatch the plan to split up the electoral votes in California, or did someone else?

If it was someone else, I would say that person would be a good candidate for his replacement.

Rove's in the WSJ intervie... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Rove's in the WSJ interview seems particularly proud of the part of the 'Bush Doctrine' that will live on (after them); "the preemption part" (that is the preemptive war in Iraq. "It's going to be hard for any president to reverse that". Americans can thank Rove and Bush, joined at the hip, for this 'folie de grandeur' which after 4 and half years has caused nearly everyone, to radically rethink their views of the costly role of the US as the world's policeman, except for the principal architects of this nightmare :Rove, Bush and Cheney.

Angry Liberals: Check... (Below threshold)

Angry Liberals: Check

Kneejerk reactions by said Liberals: Check

Mouth foam at the mere mention of 'Rove': Check

The "Rove" effect remains at full potency.

Did you see any of the p... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Did you see any of the pictures of the klutz trying to catch a football? Sheesh.

Yeah, now there's a good basis for choosing someone to run the country.

The absolute bitterness in ... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

The absolute bitterness in not being able to touch Rove? Priceless. ww

I wonder what the possiblit... (Below threshold)
Zelsdorf Ragshaft III:

I wonder what the possiblities are that after Bush leaves office Rove sneaks into the Nation Archieves to remove documents? I suggest there is no chance what so ever.

Yeah, now there's ... (Below threshold)
Yeah, now there's a good basis for choosing someone to run the country.

The point, Brian, is that John F'ing Kerry was trying to be something he wasn't. Which was the whole foundation of his campaign - he was trying to be something he wasn't - primarily he was trying to be president, a job for which he was only a pretender to.

His lame attempts at creating an image in the likeness of the real JFK was fraudulent. That's because he's a fraud.

Not that he even had a hand... (Below threshold)

Not that he even had a hand in it, but we didn't need Rove to expose Kerry for what he was. All we needed was a camera.

All I know is that Keith Ol... (Below threshold)
Dirk:

All I know is that Keith Olberman has more wood today than that time Helen Thomas sat on his lap.

Given the effect Karl invar... (Below threshold)

Given the effect Karl invariably has on the moonbats, he must be doing something right . . .

Funny how bold they get after winning one election in a row, isn't it?

;-)

"Remember that all through ... (Below threshold)
Steve Whiteley:

"Remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall -- think of it, ALWAYS."

Mahatma Gandhi quotes

Given the effect Karl in... (Below threshold)
Brian:

Given the effect Karl invariably has on the moonbats, he must be doing something right . . .

Guess you'd say the same about Clinton and the wingnuts, hmm?

"Remember that all... (Below threshold)
C-C-G Author Profile Page:
"Remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall -- think of it, ALWAYS."

Yep.

Truth: Al Qaeda is in Iraq.
Truth: We are fighting Al Qaeda in Iraq.
Truth: Dems want to pull out of Iraq.

Therefore, while the Democrat majority may seem invincible now, those truths, and others, will cause them to fall.

Thanks for posting that quote! And remember, never post a quote that can be turned back on you like that... unless you like looking like you have nothing between your ears but sand.

With Karl Rove resigning in... (Below threshold)
Herman:

With Karl Rove resigning in disgrace, yet another corrupt Republican bites the dust (but they just keep a-comin').

Since his days pushing for Dick "You're President Is Not a Crook" Nixon, through his time spent being mentored by the Master Slimeball Republican, the late yet not great, Lee Atwater, up until the present where even the spouses of opponents are, in Rove's telling words, "fair game," Turdblossom has amply proven that he truly possesses the sleaze, the shadiness, and the wickedness that Republicans so admire.

The question is, though, will he ever strongly repent, will he undergo a "deathbed conversion" like his hero, Lee Atwater??

I predict: no way.

Herman, how many Republican... (Below threshold)
C-C-G Author Profile Page:

Herman, how many Republican presidents have been disbarred by their own state bar associations and the Supreme Court for perjury?

Just wondering...

"While the scandal-ridden D... (Below threshold)
Herman:

"While the scandal-ridden Democratic Bill Clinton had been impeached, the country had shown no inclination to punish Democrats for his faults in 1998. In spite of all this, George W. Bush led in the polls throughout most of the campaign and won a 30 state victory." -Alexander McClure

The only poll that ultimately mattered was that of the American voters on election day, and these voters gave Al Gore more than half a million more votes than they gave your beloved Chimp. Deal with it. But, true to their nature, the Republicans clearly showed after the election that they were interested in winning by any means possible, fairness be damned.

As a result, the country's stuck with a complete moron as its "I aim to be a competitive nation" president for eight long years.

And Herman, later recounts ... (Below threshold)
C-C-G Author Profile Page:

And Herman, later recounts by your own beloved media showed that under every scenario but one, including he law of the state of Florida for counting "hanging chads," Bush won that state.

But you haven't answered my question... how many Republican Presidents have been disbarred by both their state bar and the Supreme Court?

and these voters g... (Below threshold)
and these voters gave Al Gore more than half a million more votes than they gave your beloved Chimp. Deal with it

And we don't elect the President based on popular vote. We elect him based on the Electoral College. Deal with it.

In 2004, George Bush won both the popular vote and the Electoral College. Despite that, people on your side are still trying to cast shadows of doubt over that election.

The fact of the matter is, Herman, your guy lost in 2000 and 2004 and you can't deal with that.

"Herman, how many Republica... (Below threshold)
Herman:

"Herman, how many Republican presidents have been disbarred by their own state bar associations and the Supreme Court for perjury?" -- C-C-G

My guess is one, which is the same as the number of Republican presidents pardoned by other Republican presidents before they could be tried, convicted, and incarcerated for attempting to subvert democracy through the cover-up (and perhaps even the ordering) of spying on the headquarters of the leading opposition party. And attempting to subvert democracy is just a tad more significant than making false statements about questions one should never have been asked in the first place (recall that a majority in your Republican-controlled Senate chose NOT to convict Bill Clinton for perjury or anything else), wouldn't you say so, C-C-G???

As I have provided you with an answer to your question, I anxiously await your answer to mine.

Actually, no. Mr. Nixon was... (Below threshold)
C-C-G Author Profile Page:

Actually, no. Mr. Nixon was never disbarred from the Supreme Court, just his state bar.

Little distinctions like that matter, Herman.

More Nixon facts... in the ... (Below threshold)
C-C-G Author Profile Page:

More Nixon facts... in the 1960 election against JFK, Nixon was as close as Gore was in 2000... and he declined to call for a recount, saying that it would cause a constitutional crisis.

In other words, he took his loss like a man. Can you say that about Gore?

"And Herman, later recounts... (Below threshold)
Herman:

"And Herman, later recounts by your own beloved media showed that under every scenario but one, including he law of the state of Florida for counting "hanging chads," Bush won that state."

This is definitely a lie. See, for example, here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florida_election_recount

With recoverable overvotes counted, Al Gore wins.
And just why do recoverable overvotes matter? Because your own damn U.S Supreme Court says so!! One of the reasons they stopped the recount of solely undervotes was that the majority on the Supreme Court thought that this violated the "equal protection" rights of those whose ballots may have had, say, two holes punched for president, but written on the ballot, "I made a mistake and I vote for Bush!" Don't believe me? Read the majority opinion of Bush v. Gore, paying particular attention to the parts dealing with overvotes.

Using Wikipedia is, in and ... (Below threshold)
C-C-G Author Profile Page:

Using Wikipedia is, in and of itself, an admission of failure because Wiki is not a valid primary source.

However, because you used it, I shall too, and bring this out from your own source:

After the election, USA Today, The Miami Herald, and Knight Ridder commissioned accounting firm BDO Seidman to count undervotes, that is, ballots which did not register any vote when counted by machine. BDO Seidman's results, reported in USA Today , show that under the strictest standard, where only a cleanly punched ballot with a fully removed chad was counted, Gore won by three votes.[15] Under all other standards, Bush won, with Bush's margin increasing as looser standards were used. The standards considered by BDO Seidman were:

* Lenient standard. Any alteration in a chad, ranging from a dimple to a full punch, counts as a vote. By this standard, Bush won by 1,665 votes.
* Palm Beach standard. A dimple is counted as a vote if other races on the same ballot show dimples as well. By this standard, Bush won by 884 votes.
* Two-corner standard. A chad with two or more corners removed is counted as a vote. This is the most common standard in use. By this standard, Bush won by 363 votes.
* Strict standard. Only a fully removed chad counts as a vote. By this standard, Gore won by 3 votes.

The study remarks that because of the possibility of mistakes, it is difficult to conclude that Gore was surely the winner under the strict standard. It also remarks that there are variations between examiners, and that election officials often did not provide the same number of undervotes as were counted on Election Day. Furthermore, the study did not consider overvotes, ballots which registered more than one vote when counted by machine.

From this Wiki article right here.

C-C-G,The majority... (Below threshold)
Herman:

C-C-G,

The majority on the U.S. Supreme Court did not approve of a "recoverable-undervote-only recount, so your last post is worthless.

Please see (and try to understand) my previous post.

"Actually, no. Mr. Nixon was never disbarred from the Supreme Court, just his state bar." -- C-C-G

Truly pathetic, lame statements such as this make me glad that the Republicans are now the minority party, not just in Congress, but also among voters.

The majority on th... (Below threshold)
C-C-G Author Profile Page:
The majority on the U.S. Supreme Court did not approve of a "recoverable-undervote-only recount, so your last post is worthless.

Ahh, so let me get this straight.

SCOTUS decision in Brown v. Board of Education is the law of the land.
SCOTUS decision in Roe v. Wade is the law of the land.
SCOTUS decision in Bush v. Gore is a travesty of justice and should be ignored and Gore declared President.

Did I get that right? Are you saying that SCOTUS decisions only matter if your side wins?

I seem to remember SCOTUS f... (Below threshold)
Robert the Original:

I seem to remember SCOTUS found that different standards in different counties created an Equal Protection violation, and further that the Florida Supremes had violated Florida State law and procedures.

It was simply not fair for Gore to mine for extra votes in three selected counties only. (the vote was 7-2 for this part).

Further, as the counts had been taken and confirmed three times by then, and that the circumstances were such that there was no time left under Florida law, no recount could continue.

The nation, as much as they... (Below threshold)
kim:

The nation, as much as they loved Bill Clinton, would quite cheerfully forget him, except for the spectre of his distaff side.
=====================================

Very funny - is this suppos... (Below threshold)
Rob Shuemaker:

Very funny - is this supposed to be satirical? What next, a blog about how Herman Goering wasn't such a bad guy. Holy crap..the Supreme Court?




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