[Hat tip to The Moderate Voice]
By Joe Gandelman
The news that White House political maven Karl Rove is resigning August 31st to basically spend more time with his family (supposedly…really…no kidding) has sent shock waves through political circles, the mainstream media and the blogosphere yesterday.
The stories and opinions are still percolating. But a lingering question now becomes:
So the Republicans’ political Elvis has supposedly left the building.
But HAS he?
And has he transformed the building so it’ll never look the same again?
First, some more of the opinions. The Washington Post:
But as Karl Rove resigns from the administration, a question lingers over his legacy: What, exactly, did the architect build?
His advocates credit him with devising a winning strategy twice in a row for a presidential candidate who seemed to start out with myriad weaknesses. His detractors blame Rove for a style of politics that deepened divisions in the country, even after the unifying attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. Both sides attributed outsize qualities to him, and he enjoyed mythic status for much of the Bush presidency.
But few people — including his Republican allies — believe Rove succeeded in what he set as his ultimate goal: creating a long-lasting GOP majority in the country that could reverse the course set 70 years ago by President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
“He had visions of building a long-term coalition like the New Deal coalition for the Democrats,” said Rep. Thomas M. Davis III (Va.), who spent two years at the head of the National Republican Congressional Committee, which works to elect Republicans to the House. “The party right now is not moving forward. It’s moving backward. The branding for the party is at a generational low.” Davis said that is due largely to the war in Iraq.
Rove’s admirers and friends say he deserves credit for two undeniable accomplishments: building the Republican Party in Texas in the 1990s and securing GOP control at the national level, at least for a time, at the turn of the 21st century.