Karl Rove has an opinion article this week in the Wall Street Journal, History Favors Republicans in 2010, in which he laboriously explains how Republicans have an advantage in 2010. Here’s a bit:
Redistricting and reapportionment could help tilt the playing field back to the GOP in Congress and the race for the White House by moving seven House seats (and electoral votes) from mostly blue to mostly red states.
History will favor Republicans in 2010. Since World War II, the out-party has gained an average of 23 seats in the U.S. House and two in the U.S. Senate in a new president’s first midterm election. Other than FDR and George W. Bush, no president has gained seats in his first midterm election in both chambers.
Since 1966, the incumbent party has lost an average of 63 state senate and 262 state house seats, and six governorships, in a president’s first midterm election. That 2010 is likely to see Republicans begin rebounding just before redistricting is one silver lining in an otherwise dismal year for the GOP.
In politics, good years follow bad years. Republicans and Democrats have experienced both during the past 15 years. A GOP comeback, while certainly possible, won’t be self-executing and automatic. It will require Republicans to be skillful at both defense (opposing Mr. Obama on some issues) and offense (creating a compelling agenda that resonates with voters). And it will require leaders to emerge who give the right public face to the GOP. None of this will be easy. All of this will be necessary.
As Republican Joe Scarborough pointed out for Mr. Rove’s benefit, it isn’t about what’s good for the party, it’s about what’s good for the country.
After this last election, I have a little more confidence in the American voter. Collectively, we seem smarter and more able to see through the political schemes and scams. Swiftboating is no longer as effective with a big part of the voting public. And we are far more savvy shoppers with selecting our leaders.
Karl Rove represents politics as usual at the end of the 20th Century–a cynical, condescending view of an electorate that is just not smart and is easily manipulated. Barack Obama and his team represent the new century and the new way of campaigning for office. Yes, they made the best use of technology. And they methodically fought the smears as fast as those emerged. But they also had a real platform of issues that Americans care about and not just issues designed to trick people and to game the political system. And most of all, they showed profound respect for American voters.