Perhaps so many on the left are so obsessed with Karl Rove because of his keen insight into political trends and candidates. Well, that combined with his partisan affiliation and electoral success.
If he were on the left, they’d love him.
There seems to be a strong consensus among conservative bloggers, pundits and other politicos that were the Democrats to nominate someone other than the two remaining candidates, Senator Obama and Mrs. Clinton, the race wouldn’t even be close and as I put it in a recent post, the GOP would be toast in 2008.
Yesterday in a panel on Campaign 2008 at the Los Angeles Festival of Books, Hugh Hewitt said that if former Virginia Senator Mark Warner of Indiana Senator Evan Bayh were the Democratic nominee, either would win this election in a walk.
What distinguishes Karl Rove is his ability to understand exactly why the two leading Democrats are weak candidates. In a column last Thursday for the Wall Street Journal, he wrote:
Mrs. Clinton started as a deeply flawed candidate: the palpable and unpleasant sense of entitlement, the absence of a clear and optimistic message, the grating personality impatient to be done with the little people and overly eager for a return to power, real power, the phoniness and the exaggerations. These problems have not diminished over the long months of the contest. They have grown. She started out with the highest negatives of any major candidate in an open race for the presidency and things have only gotten worse.
And he also understands her rival’s flaws. Click on more to read the full excerpt:
Mr. Obama is befuddled and angry about the national reaction to what are clearly accepted, even commonplace truths in San Francisco and Hyde Park. How could anyone take offense at the observation that people in small-town and rural American are “bitter” and therefore “cling” to their guns and their faith, as well as their xenophobia? Why would anyone raise questions about a public figure who, for only 20 years, attended a church and developed a close personal relationship with its preacher who says AIDS was created by our government as a genocidal tool to be used against people of color, who declared America’s chickens came home to roost on 9/11, and wants God to damn America? Mr. Obama has a weakness among blue-collar working class voters for a reason.
His inspiring rhetoric is a potent tool for energizing college students and previously uninvolved African-American voters. But his appeals are based on two aspirational pledges he is increasingly less credible in making.
Mr. Obama’s call for postpartisanship looks unconvincing, when he is unable to point to a single important instance in his Senate career when he demonstrated bipartisanship. And his repeated calls to remember Dr. Martin Luther King’s “fierce urgency of now” in tackling big issues falls flat as voters discover that he has not provided leadership on any major legislative battle.
Just read the whole thing to get a sense of Rove’s genius. It’s not in his dirty tricks, but in his understanding of how ideas and personalities play out in the political realm.