Open Thread - Overrated Genius Edition
The Post runs a good Page One in Monday’s paper about how the 2006 election may define Rove’s legacy. If the GOP somehow holds on to both houses of Congress without vote fraud, then Rove’s predictions and claims about district-by-district GOP strength in the face of many experts who say the opposite would make him a legendary political figure. But if the GOP loses one or both houses of Congress, then Rove would be seen as a one-note hack who rode 9/11 through two elections and overestimated how base-driven politics could forge a GOP realignment. In reading the story, it appears that the verdict is the latter: Rove is delusional.
"I look at the individual races as clear-eyed as I can every single day, knowing what we are doing and knowing that we have the capacity to move the resources in if we need to do more," Rove said in a brief telephone interview from the road last week. "Incumbents are hard to defeat. Our candidates by and large have significantly more resources than they have. And we have succeeded in making these races choices between two local candidates."
But he hasn't. Rove assumes that the GOP's money advantage can overcome disgust of GOP incumbents. He also assumes that he has made these races local, when polls have consistently shown that national issues like Iraq will drive this election. And experts at Congressional Quarterly and elsewhere are looking at district-by-district results just like he is, except they aren't coming up with Rove's rosy scenarios.
"It has been clear for a long time that the independents are consolidating a view that is very anti-the-Bush-administration, very anti-the-Iraq-war," said Ruy Teixeira, a joint fellow at the liberal Center for American Progress and the Century Foundation. "Maybe they were believing their press clippings that all they need is their base."
Rove voices impatience with the notion that his own reputation is on the ballot. "I understand some will see the election as a judgment on me," he said. "But the fact of the matter is that, look what has been set in motion -- a broader, deeper, strengthened Republican Party, and with an emphasis on grass-roots neighbor-to-neighbor politics, is going to continue."
That last sentence from Rove seals it for me that he is purely delusional. The man thinks that ditching the moderates in his party and turning the GOP into a far right fringe movement somehow translates into a “broader, deeper, strengthened Republican Party” simply because he can get the cultists out to vote. Rove dismisses the role of independent or swing voters. He assumes that the Stepford base will never stay home out of disappointment (see: Mark Foley), and he assumes this base will never realize that the corporate wing of the GOP is just using them for its own purposes.
Rove doesn't believe that abandoning the center is a problem for the GOP because he assumes that the Democrats cannot take the necessary steps to portray his version of the GOP for what it is: a fringe party. A flexible and nimble Democratic leadership that makes room for moderates of both parties to build a consensus-driven foreign policy, while pursuing a domestic agenda of reform, accountability, and Main Street priorities will make Rove's GOP a minority party for years.
OK, it’s your turn.