October 30, 2006

"Karl Rove, somewhere inside that massive brain of his..."

"... has figured out the political landscape more clearly than the entire collection of conventional-wisdom pundits and pollsters in the entire city of Washington."

Obsessing about Rove:
Is Rove just acting cocky as a way of lifting GOP morale, or does he really believe it? And, if the latter, is he deluding himself, or does he once again know something that Democrats do not?
We're in this crazy period where we're analyzing what happened in the election that hasn't happened yet, and part of the craziness is the gripping fear that Karl actually knows.

48 comments:

RogerA said...

Rove could be trying some kind of "psyche out," or trying to mobilize the base for turn out, or even a combination of above--But I also suspect is reading some internal polls which are making him feel a bit better--While the national polls are grist for the MSM mills, it is the internal polling that the pros watch most closely.

My election day prediction: Dems take the house although very narrowly; Reps hold the senate.

Fenrisulven said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Fenrisulven said...

Nevermind. I'm not telling :)

Jake said...

Rove' confidence probably comes from three sources.

1. Republican internal polls must be showing different numbers from MSM polls. This would not surprise me as MSM routinely cooks poll numbers to suit their left-wing propaganda purposes.

2. Rove has confidence in the Republican's get out the vote system that worked miracles in 2002 and 2004.

3. Rove believes that most voters do not make up their minds until the last week of the campaign. So for Rove, this campaign has just started.

Anthony said...

Rove's genius lies in simply encouraging those on the left to talk a lot.

Pogo said...

I think if Rove stopped wearing that high-necked smock, and had those ears looked at, he'd look alot more normal.

Tom C said...

All he's attempting to do at this point is to spin a repudiation of the president into some kind of Republican "victory"; even in New Hampshire the Republican incumbents are running so hard from President Bush that they're out of breath. The national republicans had to put $350k into a northern New Hampshire campaign this week...I guess maybe those internal polls aren't looking so great after all.

Joe said...

I have never been accused of being an optimist, but I don't see the devastating losses for the GOP that the dems and media (pardon the redundancy) are predicting. The antiwar, anti-Bush wave that they are pushing appears to be no more than media hype and wishful thinking - much as the polls and coverage in 2004 and 2002. There are no massive antiwar marches, most rational people understand what we are facing in terms of national security. And as someone mentioned, the MSM polls are skewed to the democrats. But at least the left will have another "stolen election" myth to feed on. After all, who cares about the actual votes if the polls show them winning?

Shanna said...

I think there is a lot of backlash against Bush, but I don’t think that translates to a groundswell for the Democrats because it’s mostly from conservatives. I know for me personally, whenever I get mad at Bush and the Republicans in congress I turn to the Dem’s to see what they’re saying and it seems to be worse. (for instance, I don’t like the high spending on the medicare drug bill, the Dem’s don’t like it because they want more. Meanwhile Walmart’s making the whole thing a moot point using the market and god love em for it).
Even if Rove thinks we’re going to lose, what is he supposed to be doing? Spending all his time in the media looking scared? That’s unrealistic. He acts confident and optimistic and I think he would be doing so no matter which way the polls were swinging. People need to get a grip sometimes when they talk about Rove.

Anonymous said...

Karl's got it all wrong of course. He's busy getting people from the constituencies of his candidates to go to polls and pull levers for them. What a waste of time, when he could be photoshopping cable news hosts into blackface and posting them on the internet and, you know, really making a difference!

I bet he uses Microsoft Photodraw on a PC! And I bet he calls it "The Adobe Shop." Man, he's square.

Al Maviva said...

Karl is too busy making Bob Casey's mouth move and sounds come out to be involved with stealing the election. That honor falls to Diebold's, er, I mean Hugo Chavez's voting machine company. Chavez is, of course, another Rove plant like Joe Lieberman, Ben & Jerry's-Powered Howard, and Harry Reid on any day that he doesn't climb onto the Senate's lectern and try to gnaw Orrin Hatch's throat out in a show of real resistance to the Republican program.

Garage Mahal said...

More people believe in talking to the dead, than approve of this President. Double digit deficits in polls across the country. Terrorists that killed us campaigning for you, that you haven't caught yet.

A Genius Strategist I tell ya!

Jeremy said...

Garage,
Doesn't that indicate that crazies and people who approve of Bush are different subsets? Is that really the Democratic strategy this time around, GOTCV (Get out the Crazies' Votes)?

BJK said...

More people believe in talking to the dead, than approve of this President.

The danger in using Presidential approval as a metric is that it presumes that the audienced polled are disapproving for the same reason. As has been mentioned by others, much of the increasing disapproval numbers come from Republicans. For some of us, that means he isn't being conservative enough on issues like spending and balancing the budget.

Legitimate campaign issues, to be sure, but not one that would make the voter more likely to vote Democrat (unless you know multitudes of people who enjoy voting themselves a tax increase; I don't).

Factor in the redistricting advantage that Republicans enjoy in a number of states, and the demonstrated ability to generate turnout, and I stand by the sentiment that the Republicans will maintain control of Congress...barely.


Then again, if the American public thought rationally, cellphone ringtones wouldn't be a multi-million dollar industry.

Anonymous said...

More people believe in talking to the dead, than approve of this President.

And just as many think Kevin Barrett is on to something. Therefore ... ???

RogerA said...

40 percent of the people polled believe the administration is manipulating the cost of gasoline; I suspect even more Americans dont know who our largest supplier of petroleum is (crude and finished products. eh?

I am not sure just what people believe is all that important a guage for reality.

Joe said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Garage Mahal said...

And just as many think Kevin Barrett is on to something. Therefore ... ???

Therefore either:

a.) Karl Rove isn't a genius.
b.) You can't put lipstick on a pig.

I think Dems just squeak by though in the House, as the polls don't reflect gerrymandering. (As BJK noted) And if they do win the House, I doubt there will be a noticable difference honestly, as the war will still rage on.

Anthony said...

One thing is certain: If the R's do, in fact, retain control of both houses, the media will, following the protocol established in a number of foreign elections, immediately backtrack on their pre-election pronouncements that this election is a referendum on Bush/Iraq/Etc., and claim that, oh, it was really a lot of local issues that overshadowed that stuff.

Balfegor said...

Re: Anthony:
One thing is certain: If the R's do, in fact, retain control of both houses, the media will, following the protocol established in a number of foreign elections, immediately backtrack on their pre-election pronouncements that this election is a referendum on Bush/Iraq/Etc., and claim that, oh, it was really a lot of local issues that overshadowed that stuff.

That's possible. I think it's more likely that commentators will run with they "they won, but!" storyline, about how they eked out a victory, but it nevertheless stands as a stern rebuke to the President, and now he had better listen to his betters, etc. etc.

Gahrie said...

Sorry anthony and balfegor, but you are both wrong.

When the Republicans retain both houses, the media will be far too busy covering stories about the Democrats complaining that the election was stolen, and the lawsuits they have filed.

Next will come all the talking heads trying to defend their polls, which once again will have proven to be totally inaccurate.

By December, they might finally get around to discussing the meaning/implications of the election results.

StrangerInTheseParts said...

Shanna said, "Even if Rove thinks we’re going to lose, what is he supposed to be doing?"

I think that's all there is to be said.

On another subject: am I the only person who's noticed that the endless attacks on media bias - while largely true - have nevertheless completely lost any bite. It has become the most shallow and tiresome meme in the blogosphere.

Too Many Jims said...

I think gahrie, balfegor and anthony are measuring the drapes in the endzone.

Revenant said...

I think Rove honestly believes what he's saying. He'd look like too big of an idiot if he predicted victory -- in the face of most of the conventional wisdom -- and then his party got pasted in the elections.

But he could very well be wrong (and I think he is). Rove's brilliance has been seriously exaggerated. It wasn't his political genius that won the 2000, 2002, and 2004 elections -- it was the Democrats' political stupidity. His candidates win because the other side seemingly does everything it can to make swing voters not want to vote for them.

AJ Lynch said...

I believe Rove is a super smart guy. But I get tired of the media covering the race and making prognostications rather than covering the issues.

When is the last time the MSM actually presented the problem with let's say social security and analyzed options to fix it?

Like never- it's much more fun and easier to assemble four pundit duestchbags on Sundayt morning to guffaw at Chris Matthews' attempts at being clever and throw out guesses on who will win an election.

Anyone ever hear Nora O'Donnell's laugh? She almost gets hysterical at his crappy schtick. She certainly knows where her bread is buttered.

I guess I really hate Matthews huh? Need to go take my medicine -LOL.

RogerA said...

AJM asks, "When is the last time the MSM actually presented the problem with let's say social security and analyzed options to fix it?" AJ: I fear you have set the bar much too high for the MSM. You suggestion would require the MSM to actually know something.

Anonymous said...

Some previous mid-term elections results during the second term of a Republican Presidency (via yargb.blogspot):

1986 (Reagan): Democrats add eight Senate seats and 5 House seats. Gain the majority in the Senate 55-45. Keep the House majority (258-177)

1958 (Ike): Democrats +14 Senate (65-35 majority) and Democrats ; 48 in the House (283-153 majority).

And also:
1938 (FDR): Dems lose 6 in the Senate, 76 in the House.

Even if the Democrats live up to some of the pundits's promises next week, historically, the Bush/Rove machine still comes out looking pretty good. But if the Republicans gain seats in the Senate or House or in both, well, then, once again, the social scientists, the sophisticates, and the cheerleaders will have been caught with their pants down. Truman holding up the paper. Wall of Berlin falling kind of stuff. I for one believe something reflecting a more fundamental change in the electorate is going to occur. But I'm usually wrong. In any case, a very, very telling election, or, hum-drum.

Daryl Herbert said...

Anyone who questions why Bush/Cheney/Rove are upbeat right now is an IDIOT. Their minds are so dominated by left-wing conspiracy nuttery that they can't see what's obvious:

Political parties do better in elections when the leadership acts optimistic.

If Bush/Cheney/Rove walked around bowing their heads, rending their clothes, and weeping about the drubbing they're about to receive, the result would be even worse for them.

Never attribute to grand conspiracy theories what can be attributed to ordinary tactics. People who can't see even simple explanations for ordinary things are mentally impaired.

Sloanasaurus said...

Rove's strategy was to get more conservatives to vote Republican rather than getting more independents to vote Republican. the main theseis is that independents don't really vote as much (this their independence).

Conservatives have long been arguing that the Country is more conservative and that there was a "silent majority." This worked in 2002 and 2004.

There is no reason to think it won't work in 2006.

There is nothing "brilliant" about this strategy - it's mostly the proving of a long thought theory.

Rove may only know that things look as good from his end regarding turn out as they did in 2004. It doesn't mean that Republicans will win, however, it may mean it won't be a slaughter.

Shanna said...

If Bush/Cheney/Rove walked around bowing their heads, rending their clothes, and weeping about the drubbing they're about to receive, the result would be even worse for them.
Exactly. It wouldn't be wise.

Furthermore, people really shouldn't discount the fact that the RNC has had things for years that the democrats are just now trying to develop, as far as political data goes. The media doesn't report it often or judging by my local paper today, correctly, but the Republicans have invested a great deal into having good data on their voters and it helps when it comes to turn out. The democrats are behind and less centralized. Rove knows this.

Anonymous said...

I'm almost ready to believe because I'm told so often that the Democrat's eighteen wheeler is running strong, but one wheel seems to be coming off. And if Maryland ain't a sure thing... Who's on the defense again? And given the pounding he has taken, the 35% to 40% percent of the electorate that still supports Bush, are they not very, very, very likely to vote? A liability can become an asset fairly quickly during a mid-term election.

sonicfrog said...

Never attribute to grand conspiracy theories what can be attributed to ordinary tactics. People who can't see even simple explanations for ordinary things are mentally impaired.

IOW - Extraordinary claims demand extraordinary proof!

SteveR said...

Given how many fewer people vote in midterm elections vs presidential, getting some grassroots activity in a few key areas could pay off well or at least keep things close from a Republican perspective. Its a modern version of getting dead people in south Texas and inner city Chicago to cast for for JFK/LBJ.

Old Dad said...

Don't you guys get the emails? I'm on Karl's super secret probation news letter in which he tells us exactly what he knows and what will happen.

Karl is happy because, given even a modestly competent poltical opponent, he'd have been buried by now. That he's even in the game suggests that he can still pull a rabbit out of his hat and maintain control of both the Senate and the House.

The polls are for crap, but they always are. The R's are still in a lot of trouble, but the trends are positive. The internals are slightly more positive then the media polls--fancy that.

The horse races are, well, horse races but Karl has a few time honored tricks up his sleeve--more money, better organization, and killer GOTV.

He's also betting that the Dems will continue to step on their collective wankers.

It's Rove by a nose.

AllenS said...

Never underestimate Karl Rove, he knows all of the old Apache tricks.

WV: hnikpsl
Meaning: Apache trick #34

Edward said...

Ann Althouse should conduct a poll, but only among her Republican readers, and the question should be this:

Whose brain is more massive: Karl Rove’s or Antonin Scalia’s?

Now that’s a question sure to stump the Republican faithful. They might be so stumped that they forget to vote next Tuesday.

Shanna said...

Edward, it's not generally Republican's who are obsessed with Karl Rove. The guys a political strategists in a town full of them. Big Deal.

Democrats have this idea of him and his crazy big brain because they don't want to face the fact that they keep losing for a reason. They'd rather think it's all a scam or Rove is being "Rovian" or whatever, when actually they have been putting up the worst candidates in national elections they possibly can.

I was irritated enough at Bush and the Republicans in 2004 that I might have voted Democrat if they could have given me SOMETHING to vote for. But Kerry just wasn't it.

Revenant said...

Whose brain is more massive: Karl Rove’s or Antonin Scalia’s

Since I keep getting accused of being a Republican I think I'll go ahead and answer, because that's an easy one: Scalia. I disagree with a large percentage of what he says, but there's no doubting that the man's highly intelligent.

Shanna's right -- it isn't Bush supporters who think Rove's a genius. Bush supporters support Bush for their own reasons, or at least reasons they think are their own. It is Bush's *opponents*, the people who think he's a dim-witted inarticulate clod, who think that Rove must be a genius to keep winning elections. But Karl Rove only looks like a genius when you stand him next to losers like Terry McAuliffe or Howard Dean. It doesn't exactly take the second coming of Niccolo Machiavelli to think up stuff like "try to focus on patriotic and defense issues in wartime" and "cut taxes and increase spending to buy votes".

Edward said...

Shanna: 2 responses:

First, you must have neglected to read the article that Ann linked to in her original post. As that article makes clear, it was none other than White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten who referred to Karl Rove’s “massive brain.”

Bolten epitomizes a lot of Republicans who worship Karl Rove. You may not be one of those Republicans, but there is no denying that plenty of them exist.

Second, I agree with you that there are also many Democrats obsessed with Karl Rove, but their obsession does not usually take the form of calling him a genius. They think he’s sinister and ruthless, but not a genius.

By the way, I’m a Democrat, and I do not obsess over Karl Rove.

Salamandyr said...

You know, I'm pretty sure that I've never met a single Republican, on-line or in real life, who actually cared one way or the other about Karl Rove.

Pretty much every conversation I've ever had about him has been with a Democrat demanding that I in some way "repudiate" any association with Rove (as if Karl Rove is somehow singularly vile in his political machinations, as opposed to, say, James Carville). Personally, I couldn't care less. He's the political guy. I prefer to care about the ideas guy.

Fenrisulven said...

Edward: Bolten epitomizes a lot of Republicans who worship Karl Rove. You may not be one of those Republicans, but there is no denying that plenty of them exist.

Hogwash. No one worships Rove.

Second, I agree with you that there are also many Democrats obsessed with Karl Rove, but their obsession does not usually take the form of calling him a genius. They think he’s sinister and ruthless, but not a genius.

No. They believe both - he's a sinister genuius.

Don't make me post the Rove Vader pic again :)

nedludd said...

I am not willing to bet on who will control either chamber come November 8, but I will bet it won't be by the massive majorities that some in the press are forseeing for the Dems. Less than 10 seprating the two parties in the house, 3 or less in the Senate. Brave, ain't I?

I am interested in seeing how the Left end of the Dems handle some of the people who helped them win (if they do). Here in PA there has been a pretty sizable chunk spent to defeat Santoprum with a guy who is every bit as conservative on social issues as he is, to the point where Kate Michelman was looking at opposing Casey. Casey is hardcore anti abortion (anyone remember his Daddy and the 92 Dem convention) and from what I have been reading many of the pickups will be with moderates.

Winning could just kill the Kos Kids. Will they unite to keep power or will they eat their young? My bet is on the latter.

Kev said...

Why in the world would anyone believe the polls? As I noted a few weeks ago, polls are only good for entertainment value, at best--much like a horoscope, and about as accurate.

The only polls that actually mean anything are the ones that will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on November 8.

Shanna said...

As that article makes clear, it was none other than White House Chief of Staff Josh Bolten who referred to Karl Rove’s “massive brain.”
He's a smart guy but I imagine that is a bit joking too. It's the dem's who have made him out to be an evil genius. I think most Republicans find that characterization humorous. But white house chief of staff is not exactly your typical republican, either.

We talked about Rove when I worked in DC(because we liked to talk about strategy), but since I left that town like Fen, I know no Republicans who actually talk about Rove with any frequency or hero worship.

Edward said...

Shanna: What – Republicans have a sense of humor?

Is it a genuine sense of humor, or just the nasty and vicious Rush Limbaugh/Antonin Scalia kind?

Shanna said...

Shanna: What – Republicans have a sense of humor?
Apparently Democrats all have the same sense of humor, because my coworker made the same joke (comment?) just the other day.

In our local race for governor the Republican candidate, Asa, ran an ad that has a bunch of kids saying "I want to be a politician" when I grow up (then "raise taxes" and some other stuff) Just like Mike Beebe (the dem candidate). Beebe has complained that the ad is “despicable” because it “uses children in a mudslinging way.”

I didn't think it was a particularly good ad, but the idea was good and I generally get turned off when people get mad about "the children" over something ridiculous like this. Beebe said Hutchinson “has a different sense of humor than I’ve got. I don’t think the ads are humorous. I think it’s very shameful.”

So, Republicans and humor. Not allowed? Mean spirited? Discuss :)

Fenrisulven said...

Of course we have a sense of humor. Just the other day, Hans was joking about how pathetic Edward will look in the new camp uniforms.

Kev said...

Oops, make that November 7 in my earlier post.