Articles by Karl Rove
Dan Pfeiffer, senior adviser to the president for strategy and communications, appeared on five news programs Sunday to discuss the controversies buffeting the administration. The spectacle revealed the mind-set of a White House under siege.
Mr. Pfeiffer invoked the word "irrelevant" like a wizard's incantation to dismiss questions about who edited the misleading Benghazi talking points, where the president was on the night of the assaults, and even if the law prevented the IRS from targeting groups for political reasons. On Mr. Pfeiffer's last point, ABC's George Stephanopoulos responded, "You don't really mean the law is irrelevant, do you?"
The Obama administration finds itself in perilous political waters amid three unfolding scandals.
First came last week's congressional testimony by three highly credible officials, plus some excellent reporting, which showed that the Obama administration consciously misled Americans after the Benghazi attacks that took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
In the debate over what the United States should do about the increasingly violent civil war in Syria, one thing seemed clear: If the Assad regime used chemical weapons, it would cross a "red line," as President Barack Obama put it in August. Such a move, Mr. Obama added, would cause him to "change my calculus" about whether or not the U.S. should intervene. But it turns out the president never meant to say that. Sunday's New York Times reported that Mr. Obama surprised his foreign-policy advisers with these off-the-cuff remarks, which came immediately after meetings during which Obama administration officials grappled over Syria policy.
Last week Sen. Max Baucus (D. Mont.) announced that he would not seek a seventh term. His retirement makes it even more likely the GOP will make gains in the U.S. Senate next year.
Of the 35 Senate seats up for grabs next year, 21 are held by Democrats, 14 by Republicans. Six Democratic seats are in states (W. Va., Ark., S.D., Louisiana, Alaska and Mont.) that Mitt Romney won by at least 10%. Only one Republican seat is in a state (Maine) that President Obama won by more than 10%.
The dedication in Dallas on Thursday of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum has triggered a lot of talk about the legacy of America's 43rd chief executive, and of the issues that arose between 2001 and 2009. But it should also be a time to reflect on the character of the man who occupied the Oval Office during this century's first eight years.
I'm obligated to state the obvious, which is that George W. Bush is hardly flawless. But those who want to focus on his flaws best turn elsewhere, since in my experience with him—which spans 39 years—his flaws are greatly overshadowed by his virtues, starting with his moral clarity.
In congressional testimony last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius blamed Republican governors for her department's failure to create a "model exchange" where consumers could shop for health-insurance coverage in states that don't set up their own exchange.
Nice try, but GOP governors aren't the problem. Team Obama's tendency to blame someone else for its shortcomings is tiresome. The Affordable Care Act requires HHS to operate exchanges in states that won't operate their own. Since the act became law in March 2010, it has been abundantly clear that the agency would have to deploy a model exchange. It is Ms. Sebelius's fault there isn't one.
President Obama likes pretending he floats above politics. In fact, he is the most compulsively partisan president in modern times. Everything he says and does is better understood through a partisan lens.
So consider the recent Washington Post article in which Scott Wilson and Philip Rucker reported Mr. Obama wants to "cement his legacy" by working "to flip the Republican-held House back to Democratic control" so he can then "push forward with a progressive agenda on gun control, immigration, climate change and the economy during his final two years in office."
The midterm election is still 19 months away, but for some it's never too early for demagoguery. And so this week the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee launched a new "Mediscare" ad. The targets are 17 Republican congressmen who supported the House budget framework that includes Medicare reforms.
The ad has menacing music, doomsday predictions and a tagline that these GOP congressmen voted for "a radical vision for America" that guts Medicare. The spot is deceitful but still deserves a swift, powerful rebuttal. Even a deeply dishonest attack on Medicare, if unrefuted, can do damage.
Maybe Majority Leader Harry Reid didn't want a lot of attention as the United States Senate voted on a budget resolution for the first time in four years. Or maybe he's a Las Vegas night owl.
Whatever the reason, it was 5 a.m. last Saturday when the Senate approved a budget resolution for fiscal year 2014 by a razor thin 50-49 vote. Both houses of Congress have now passed resolutions setting the overall level of outlays for the fiscal year that starts Oct. 1, as well as subtotals for the budget's major areas.
In the 2012 presidential postmortems, Democrats claimed that an army of computer engineers, mathematicians and social scientists created a huge data advantage over Republicans that helped President Obama win re-election. There's truth in that.
Two aspects of this data gap stand out. The first is microtargeting. This means compiling and using hundreds of pieces of information about each voter that—combined with survey research—can help campaigns predict how likely a person is to vote, how persuadable they are, what issues matter to them, and what arguments they find persuasive.