Rove Continues To Tout "The Math" To Rationalize GOP Losses
"You are entitled to your math, and I'm entitled to the math," Karl Rove told a National Public Radio interviewer last month.
And he's sticking to that spin.
According to Rove's math: 10 of the 28 House seats Republicans lost were sacrificed because of various scandals. Six more were lost because members did not recognize and react quickly enough to the threat, he said. That leaves 12 other seats lost, fewer than the 15 Democrats needed to capture the House.
Furthermore, Rove says 23 races were decided by 2 percentage points or fewer, and a shift of 77,611 votes would have kept the House in Republican hands.
But can't people make that sort of rationalization whenever the numbers don't work their way? I'm a big Boston Red Sox fan. This year, the Sox finished nine games behind in the chase for an American League playoff spot. Certainly, there were at least nine games when a key error, a missed opportunity on offense, or a poor effort by a pitcher cost the Red Sox a win. If every missed opportunity had gone the Red Sox' way, the Sox would have made the playoffs, and possibly the World Series.
But those opportunities didn't go their way. And other opportunities that could have gone against them did not.
So yes, if there had been no Mark Foley scandal, no Bob Ney scandal, no Duke Cunningham scandal, no Don Sherwood scandal, no Curt Weldon scandal, no Tom DeLay scandal, no George Allen scandal, etc., and if Jack Abramoff hadn't had ties to other Republicans, such as Conrad Burns, and if there hadn't been people like FEMA Director Mike Brown or White House Advisor Claude Allen or Special Assistant David Kuo, then maybe the Republicans would have held onto the House or the Senate, or both.
But if the Bush Administration didn't frequiently make misstatements of fact on the Iraq War and a host of other issues, or if it had cooperated with those it disagreed with, learned from its mistakes, occasionally reached out across the political divide, not wasted billions on earmarks, avoided demonizing those that disagreed with policy, etc., then maybe Bush would have more than 35 percent of the country supporting him, and Americans would actually want Republicans to remain in control of Congress.
Furthermore, some Republican pundits aren't buying Rove's spin.
Richard Viguerie said that Tuesday's election was "clearly a loss for George Bush, Karl Rove." And Andrew Sullivan said the election "shows (Rove) not to be a genius, but to be a real failure as a political strategist."
Even Bush seemed to be jabbing Rove. At a news conference Wednesday, Bush was asked about his ongoing book-reading contest with Rove. "I'm losing," Bush said tartly. "I obviously was working harder in the campaign than he was."