Posted by: mutantpoodle | August 15, 2007

Rove’s legacy

Cartoon by Mike Luckovich - Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Cartoon by Mike Luckovich - Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Several people have been hawking this Democracy Corps poll about the “Contours of the New Electorate”, but since James Carville started the group, I thought I’d let him go through some of the highlights, which he provided in this post-resignation Financial Times piece on Rove’s legacy.

Short story? Karl Rove is like a major-league pitching coach who, by working his young-phenom pitching staff overtime wins a pennant or two, and then watches as all of them succumb to sore arms and the team founders for years in the cellar:

The evidence is now pretty conclusive that Mr Rove may have lost more than just an election in 2006. He has lost an entire generation for the Republican party.

A late July poll for Democracy Corps, a non-profit polling company, shows that a generic Democratic presidential candidate now wins voters under 30 years old by 32 percentage points. The Republican lead among younger white non-college-educated men, who supported President George W. Bush by a margin of 19 percentage points three years ago, has shrunk to 2 percentage points. Ideological divisions between the Republican party and young voters are growing. Young voters generally favour larger government providing more services, 68 per cent to 28 per cent. On every issue, from the budget to national security, young voters responded overwhelmingly that Democrats would do a better job in government.

It is not just Democracy Corps that has found this. A host of new polls and surveys over the course of the past few months has served as a harbinger of a rocky 2008 election for Republicans….

Mr Rove’s famous electoral strategy – focusing on the Republican base first – is also largely responsible for a shift in international public opinion against the US. It would not be fair to blame Mr Rove for the Iraq war. But it is clearly fair to blame his strategy for the Terry Schiavo fiasco and the Republicans’ adherence to the policies and doctrines of Jerry Falwell, Pat Robertson and James Dobson. The world and now most of the US are contemptuous of the theocratic underpinnings of the policy Mr Rove ushered into government….

Mr Rove was as powerful a government figure as he was a campaign figure. The past six and a half years of Mr Rove’s career were spent as a very, very senior and extraordinarily influential Bush administration official.

He has been assistant to the president, senior advisor and deputy chief of staff. Mr Rove was the architect of social security reform, immigration, the hiring and firing of justice department officials and the placement of literally thousands of ideologically driven buffoons throughout the US government. As deputy chief of staff he was also responsible for handling the White House post-Katrina reconstruction efforts. On these actions, history has already rendered its judgment on Mr Rove. And, as we say in Louisiana, “it ain’t pretty”.

As Digby points out,

It’s a mistake to be complacent. A lot can happen in the next year and a whole lot of this comes from the incredibly sour taste in people’s mouths after six years of the Bush administration. (Thanks Turdblossom.)

But you have to be optimistic, at least, that the American people are eager to hear a new story. The question is whether the Democrats can tell it.

I’d say the top three Democrats are way more skilled at telling the story than John Kerry, who almost won in 2004 despite his almost criminal incompetence as a campaigner.

And surely they will be able to tell that story, unfettered, as the mainstream media reports accurately on the critical issues facing this country.

Oh, shit.

[Cartoon via Mike Luckovich / Atlanta Journal-Constitution]


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