It’s very tempting to just ignore Karl Rove and his occasional assessments of the political landscape. After all, his “genius” has always been wildly exaggerated. On Election Day 2000, it was Rove’s idea to keep his candidate in California in the waning days, instead of campaigning in key battleground states. Bush lost California by a wide margin, and Rove’s strategy practically cost his candidate the election. More recently, Rove’s single recent responsibility was overseeing the Republican Party’s 2006 election strategy — and Dems won back both chambers of Congress in a historic victory.
But Rove’s reputation as the president’s “architect” continues to endure, most notably in conservative circles, so when he offers his take on what’s likely to happen in this year’s presidential campaign , it’s probably worth taking note. At a minimum, if Rove believes it, chances are much of the Republican establishment does to.
The other day, Rove told a group of state Republican officials at the RNC’s winter meeting that he sees the path to beating either of the Dems’ top two candidates in November.
Readers can take a look, but I have to say, I’m pretty underwhelmed. His case against Clinton includes warmed-over GOP talking points, and an odd attack about secrecy. (It’s ironic that Rove would accuse anyone of trying to hide documents from public scrutiny, and more importantly, the substance of his attack is plainly false.) As for Obama, Rove’s case is equally weak. The “present” flap is largely nonsense, and accusing Obama of being a “liberal” is about as cliche as conservative attacks get.
Last month, it was Rove imploring Republican presidential candidates to cozy up to Bush and his presidency. This month, it’s Rove arguing that every candidate in the GOP presidential field can beat every Democrat.
If Dems are really lucky, Republicans will continue to take Rove seriously.