Even Rove Is Running Away From These Guys
Beyond the bravado, it looks to me like Karl doesn't want his genius reputation tarnished, so he's shifting the blame:
Check out this passage at the end of today's Washington Post piece on Rove:
"Associates say Rove is privately frustrated that individual candidates have not been more aggressive in drawing contrasts with Democrats on national security. In Buffalo, Rove dished out red meat with relish...
Rove this summer signaled his desire that the war could be neutralized or even turned into an asset for Republican candidates who cast Democrats as defeatist. Instead, many candidates have been distancing themselves from Bush on the war."
Assuming that the Rove "associates" were authorized to leak Rovian spin or that the "associates" are Rove himself speaking on background -- a pretty safe assumption, given that Rove cooperated for the piece -- the emerging Rove line on a possible GOP loss is this: The GOP is losing not because Rove's strategy is a failure, but because Republican candidates didn't implement Rove's game plan of painting Dems as weak aggressively enough. Yet this notion is beyond ridiculous. As we've been documenting over at Election Central for months, scores and scores of GOP candidates in all sorts of districts have been using Rove's basic rhetorical construct -- staying in Iraq is strong and patriotic and represents eventual victory, while calling now for any sort of plan to begin withdrawing represents weakness, defeatism and surrender -- to paint Dems as weak. And the GOP is still on track to what may be a catastrophic defeat.
You have to look at this as Rove managing the post-election spin early. In truth, Republican candidates are to blame. But not because of their message; because they're some of the most sorry lot of people I've ever had the misfortune of knowing a lot about.
Let's just tick off a few examples:
• ID-01: Republican candidate Bill Sali faked a brain injury to collect money in a lawsuit.
• NY-20: Republican Congressman Mike Sweeney's wife had to make a 911 call because she alleged that Sweeney was "knocking her around".
• NV-Gov: Republican gubernatorial candidate Jim Gibbons may have assaulted a cocktail waitress after a night of drinking in Vegas.
Dozens more exist. And the personal character stuff pales in comparison to the fact that none of these lesgislators are doing the business the American people sent them to Washington to do. They're spending like drunken sailors, failing to engage in oversight of the executive branch, giving large portions of the national treasury off to corporate special interests, remaining silent on the rising cost of healthcare and the imminent threat of global warming, and allowing the Bush Administration to bungle through a foreign policy that has made us less safe.
Karl Rove's right. I'd run away from these guys too.