Karl Rove and Republican Decline
Not since 1984 and the landslide victory of Ronald Reagan have the Republicans had a more winnable election than the 2012 presidential election. Yet the Republican Establishment managed to lose to the worst and most vulnerable President in modern history, with historically poor approval ratings, unemployment averaging over 8.7% during his entire first term, a stagnant economy and someone who ran the smallest and most absurd of all possible re-election campaigns.
Why and how did this happen? In his new book WTF? How Karl Rove and the Establishment Lost...Again, C. Edmund Wright, a frequent contributor to the American Thinker website and senior consultant to the Winning Our Future Super PAC in 2012, clearly and cogently lays out not only the factors that resulted in the ignominious defeat of Mitt Romney, but the historical reasons behind the rise and fall of the Republican Establishment and it's consultant class.
Mr. Wright accurately points out that the loss in 2012 had been in the works since 1992. Why? Primarily because this is when the establishment, made up of career politicians, deep pocket "country-club" Republicans, a newly emerging political consultant coterie, and an incestuous lobbyist cabal, abandoned Ronald Reagan and what he stood for. More telling was the unprecedented success in 1992 and 1994 of a third party candidate, Ross Perot, whose campaign was based on overturning the status quo in both parties, but particularly the Republican Party. Yet this lesson was lost on the Establishment hierarchy as they grew more entrenched in their make believe world.
It is not a coincidence that since the presidential election in 1988 (which was in reality a vote for a Reagan third term) in which George H.W. Bush won 426 electoral votes, the Republicans have lost 4 out of 6 presidential elections and have not been able to get beyond 286 electoral votes (2004).
Per Mr. Wright:
This current group of leaders in the [Establishment] now controls the main messaging outlets for Republican candidates and their top Super PACS. Never has a group of scared party apparatchiks been so out of touch with the base of their party, not to mention the truth about the history and greatness of America, as these people are today.
Rove certainly epitomizes this current group, and he controls more levers of power, influence, and money than any other single person. His fingerprints are all over the Party Establishment mess, as well as their estrangement from the rest of the country (and reality).
More damning, Rove is largely responsible for the fact that voters still blame Bush for the economy and still give no credit to Bush and Cheney for the eventual death of bin Laden. Rove's previous strategies can also be linked to the belief that the Hurricane Katrina response, dominated by Democrats and bureaucrats, was somehow a systemic Republican management problem. As 2012 played out and voters believed all these fictions, they naturally concluded that Obama was the man to save the economy, restore America's place in the world, and to save New Jersey and New York from Sandy's damage.
The mindset of the Republican Establishment is that elections are won in the mushy middle of the electorate and thus the message of any Republican candidate should be geared to this group -- which therefore requires an equally mushy campaign devoid of any so-called "hard-edged" policy or election tactics. That the other side can do or say anything with impunity is never challenged as that might alienate the moderate or independent voters.
Mr. Wright thoroughly explores not only this ill-conceived mindset but the impact of the media and the messaging since 1992. He goes into great detail in the post-mortem of the disastrous Mitt Romney campaign strategy and failure of the independent Super PACS to blunt the devious, dishonest and calculating campaign of the Obama cabal.
But no analysis of this nature would be complete without a roadmap to not only purge the Republican Party of this self-centered and myopic Establishment but how to win upcoming elections and recapture the heights scaled by Ronald Reagan in the 1980's. Mr. Wright accurately points out that there is no time for a third party as the damage inflicted by Barack Obama and his fellow travelers will soon metastasize into an inoperable cancer that will ultimately destroy the country. The steps laid out by Mr. Wright are spot on and should be considered and acted upon by all Republicans running for office in 2014 and 2016.
This is a must read for all to understand what happened in 2012 and why but more importantly how to avoid a repeat.