Thursday, August 7, 2008

Karl Rove—Mandrake the Magician or Reverse King Midas?

Since leaving the White House in August 2007, Karl Rove has become a political pundit on Fox News and a regular contributor to the Wall Street Journal. His modus operandi is to offer advice on what political candidates should do to win, with special attention given to Senator John McCain.

Rove is often credited with masterminding President Bush’s two electoral victories. But consider the state of the Republican Party in August 2007 following the November 2006 elections.

The Republican Party has gone from being the majority party to the minority in both Houses of Congress. Democrats gained 31 additional seats in the House and 5 in the Senate. They secured 28 governorships, raising their number from 14, and picked up more than 300 seats in the state legislatures.

Having failed to use his veto pen during the first six years of his two administrations, as the Republican majority spent money like there was no tomorrow, President Bush suddenly discovered the veto, which had lain dormant in Article 1, Section 7 of the U.S. Constitution. Inheriting a fiscal surplus from President Clinton, the Republicans ran off seven consecutive deficits, only partly explained by expenditures in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Has Karl Rove turned gold into lead? Will his legacy be the great realignment of 2006 that resurrected Democratic Party control of Congress?

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