Eric Boehlert over at MediaMatters pens a good piece on the hero worship of Karl Rove among our major media. All during the summer, reporters like Time Magazine's Mike Allen wrote stenography for Rove, spinning the meme that Democrats were headed for a fall and that Rove and his mythical powers would rise up and crush Democratic hopes again. It wasn't just the media, as many center-left bloggers, me included, believed that Rove and his voter targeting strategy coupled with his "scare the base" approach could wash away 2-3 points of a Democratic lead all by themselves.
But last week proved that Rove terribly misjudged the electorate in 2006, downplaying the impact of Iraq and the six-year itch and overestimating the fear of taxes and terrorism upon his base. He ignored national polls and even district-by-district analyses by seasoned folks like Charlie Cook and Stuart Rothenberg to instead focus on NRCC polls of their own cultists and his own data, and made the mistake of convincing the president that he was right and everyone else was wrong. And then to compound that mistake, he convinced Bush that they could wait until after the election to dump Rummy, which only made sense politically of course if you wrongly assumed you were going to still be in charge on November 8th. Instead, congressional Republicans are seething that they had to walk the plank just so the White House didn't look reactive.
Rove has led the GOP to defeat and borderline irrelevance. He and his political strategy have pushed the party to an internal battle between the cultists and everyone else which threatens to consume their chances in 2008. It pays to remember that of the four national elections that Rove has been involved in during this decade, he is only batting .500, and those two wins came about solely because of 9/11. Rove lost the 2000 campaign, and lost again in 2006 when time ran out on his strategy and voters finally had enough of the GOP.
Perhaps the media will now take off their kneepads and see this as well.
Image courtesy of lowculture.com