Posted on Monday 30 October 2006

Midterm Vote May Define Rove’s Legacy
Big Losses Could Dim Aura of Bush Adviser

By many calculations, Democrats are ready to make big gains in the midterm elections, enough to take over the House and possibly the Senate. But White House Chief of Staff Joshua B. Bolten says there is one reason he is feeling upbeat amid so much Republican gloom.

"I believe Karl Rove," Bolten said in an interview in his West Wing office Friday. "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."

That was true for two elections in a row, in 2002 and 2004, and President Bush’s senior adviser has insisted to West Wing colleagues and party faithful alike that it will be again. But Rove is just eight days from having his genius designation revoked — or upgraded to platinum status.

Even within Rove’s own party, expectations are widespread that the Nov. 7 elections will mark a repudiation for the base-rallying, contrast-drawing brand of politics with which he and Bush have been so closely aligned. But it is a mark of the particular place Rove holds in the Washington psyche that even the most exuberant Democrats are wondering why he seems so confident.

There are two questions. 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?
The question  in this article is not, to my way of thinking, about Karl Rove. Is he a master manipulator? Sure. The best there ever was. Illusionist extraordinaire. The question is about the character of the American people. Will our collective will overcome this nightmare and come to its senses, or follow this sleight of hand into moral and fiscal bankruptcy? No matter how skilled the magician, that rabbit pulled from the empty top hat was just a trick?

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