Karl Rove had lunch with the editors and reporters of the Washington Times yesterday. He apparently exuded confidence:
White House political strategist Karl Rove yesterday confidently predicted that the Republican Party would hold the House and the Senate in next month’s elections, dismissing fallout from the sex scandal involving former Rep. Mark Foley.
“I’m confident we’re going to keep the Senate; I’m confident we’re going to keep the House.”
Rove said it s “almost impossible” for Democrats to take the Senate; he cited Jim Talent’s race in Missouri as one that is moving in the right direction.
Rove’s optimism stems in part from the Democrats’ dismal record on national security:
“I think they have given us here, especially in the last couple of weeks, a potent set of votes to talk about. You had 90 percent of House Democrats voting against the terrorist-surveillance program, nearly three-quarters of Senate Democrats and 80 percent of House Democrats voting against the terrorist-interrogation act. Something is fundamentally flawed.”
Rove also sees Republicans having the financial resources they need for the last three weeks of the campaign; he was confident enough to laugh at some mainstream media reports that exaggerate the Dems’ chances:
In the hourlong interview, Mr. Rove was upbeat, telling stories from the campaign trail and joking about skewed political coverage that disproportionately shows Democrats poised to take control of Congress.
Mr. Rove said Republican candidates still hold a huge cash edge over Democrats, which will give them clout in the final three weeks of the campaign.
“This morning, I loved it: The [Associated Press] ran a story saying these Democrat congressional candidates outraised their Republican incumbents in the third quarter. Well, what they didn’t say was that part of the reason that they did is that we raised the money earlier so that we’d be able to deploy it,” he said.
Rove points out that for most of the undecided voters who will determine the outcome of the election, the campaign has only been going on for around two weeks. He notes that over the next 21 days, Republicans will spend $100 million in targeted House and Senate races.
Rove could be wrong, of course. But I think it is noteworthy that he is not laying the groundwork to deflect blame for defeat by, for example, moaning about the unforeseen consequences of the Foley instant message flap. Instead, he is once again staking his reputation on victory. I find that comforting.