Rove Losing His Touch

After winning in 2000 and 2004 the conventional wisdom was that Karl Rove was a political genius. Winning was all that mattered. Few paid attention to the fact that if not for butterfly ballots in Florida and a friendly Supreme Court he could have lost in 2000. Fewer paid attention to the fact that Bush won reelection by a remarkably small margin for an incumbent president during war time. The results of the 2006 election made some finally question his tactics, and the 2008 election made many question the future of the entire Republican Party. I’m not sure if anyone is really playing attention to Rove’s advice as to how the GOP can make a comeback.

Rove has a number of fairly basic recommendations. The problem is that he seems to lack understanding of how bad a predicament the GOP is in and why it is where it is. He is in serious denial if he thinks that the three Republican wins after the November election mean anything. Nobody is surprised by the Republicans winning in the south. Their problem is that, with the exception of some sparsely populated states in the west, the Republicans will have difficulty winning anywhere outside of the south. It certainly was not impressive for Joseph Cao to defeat William Jefferson since Cao ran on a clean government platform and not as a typical Republican.

Republicans will have great difficulty winning a national election since their views are no longer in line with the majority of the country. Rove fails to realize this writing, “The GOP has the right principles to become the majority party again.”

Republicans lost this year primarily because Americans thought the Democrats can best handle economic matters. Making matters far worse for the Republicans is that they are also losing ground in other areas besides economic policy. At one time Republicans were considered the party of stability and common sense on foreign policy. Now they are the party of the nutty neocons who got us involved in one of the worst foreign policy fiascoes of all time, while Obama has taken the center on foreign policy. Extremist views on social issues, along with a hostility towards science and reason, has led to educated, affluent voters switching to the Democrats. Similarly large percentages of young voters do not take the Republicans seriously. A party in which many members live in a fantasy world and promote views such as creationism is an anachronism in the 21st century. Republicans must either change their views or be content remaining the party of the reactionary south, and ultimately they risk even being rejected there. They cannot fight the modern world forever.

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