Writing in The Financial Times, former Clinton strategist James Carville analyzes Karl Rove’s career: “There is no doubt that Mr Rove won elections. He has perhaps one of the most remarkable win-percentages in modern American politics.” At the same time, however, “He has lost an entire generation for the Republican party,” Carville writes. He continues:
A late July poll for Democracy Corps, a non-profit polling company, shows that a generic Democratic presidential candidate now wins voters under 30 years old by 32 percentage points. The Republican lead among younger white non-college-educated men, who supported President George W. Bush by a margin of 19 percentage points three years ago, has shrunk to 2 percentage points. Ideological divisions between the Republican party and young voters are growing. Young voters generally favour larger government providing more services, 68 per cent to 28 percent. On every issue, from the budget to national security, young voters responded overwhelmingly that Democrats would do a better job in government.
Democracy Corps is more than “a non-profit polling company”: Carville co-founded Democracy Corps in 1999 with Stanley Greenberg and Bob Shrum.
The Christmas shopping season for Iowans is about to become a lot more hectic: Democratic pollster Peter Hart tells First Read, the blog for the political unit of NBC News, that in the words of First Read authors Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, and Domenico Montanaro “the revision of the primary calendar — moving Iowa forward to the first few days in January — is really the most important political event that has happened in the past few months.” Hart explains, as paraphrased by First Read:
From his point of view, it changes the entire rhythm of the political cycle in a way that cannot be fully appreciated, maybe not until after the nominating contests are over. Hart says it would be interesting to re-play many of the past caucuses if they were held on January 5th or 7th; his guess is that Dean would have won in 2004, and that Reagan would have defeated Bush in 1980. Perhaps most significant of all is that no one will know who’s up and who’s down right before Iowa. No self-respecting polling company, he says, does polling between the 20th and 25th of December. So we very well might have no idea how Iowa will break until after the results are in. If Hart’s right and the leader before Christmas is the leader on Caucus day, does that make the window between Thanksgiving and December 20 the three most important three weeks of the primary campaign?
Karl Rove can’t even take credit for remaking the Supreme Court: Conservatives who are dissatisfied with the presidency of George W. Bush can comfort themselves with the knowledge that the Supreme Court nominations of John Roberts and Samuel Alito secured the court for legal conservatism for a generation.
But don’t thank, or blame, Karl Rove, or even George W. Bush, for the Roberts and Alito nominations, says Jonah Goldberg in his Los Angeles Times column. Grass-roots conservatives imposed the Roberts and Alito nominations on Rove and Bush, Goldeberg suggests, against the two men’s “first instincts.” He writes:
Meanwhile, Bush’s two most important domestic accomplishments in the second term have been the appointments of John G. Roberts Jr. and Samuel Alito Jr. to the U.S. Supreme Court. But even these masterstrokes ran at least partly against the first instincts of Bush and Rove. If they’d had their druthers, Miers and Alberto Gonzales would be on the court today — a calamity from which neither the republic nor the Republican Party would soon have recovered.
Who else besides Karl Rove should consider quitting this week? After former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s surprising second-place finish in the Iowa Republican Party money-raiser known as the Ames straw poll, National Review editor Rich Lowry thinks Sen. Sam Brownback of Kansas, who like Huckabee is a Christian conservative, should consider dropping out of the race. Lowry writes at The Corner:
As for Huckabee, he’s not going to be a top tier candidate, but he’s going to be a big factor in Iowa. His nosing out of Brownback should have the Kansas senator thinking about the rationale of his candidacy. Before, it seemed that he was going to split Romney’s vote, the newly pro-life candidate with credibility problems with some conservatives. That’s fine if you think Romney is a fraud and an unreliable pro-lifer. But now what is he going to do? Split Huckabee’s vote, the solid pro-lifer? Does Brownback really just want to be a pro-life spoiler? The fact is that — for all his principle and commitment — he doesn’t have a lot of appeal as a presidential candidate, unfortunately.
“Smike Brownbuckabee,” the fearsome amalgam of the Huckabee and Brownback candidacies, beat Mitt Romney in the straw poll with 33 percent of the vote to Romney’s 31.5 percent, The New Republic’s Noam Scheiber notes at The Plank.