Articles by Karl Rove
Democrats assumed earlier this year that ObamaCare would be a political advantage by Election Day. North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan, for example, said in February she wanted to show the Affordable Care Act “is something whose time is come.” A month later Colorado Sen. Mark Udall said “we did the right thing” in passing the law and told voters he “would do it again,” a response echoed by incumbents Mark Pryor (Arkansas) and Mary Landrieu (Louisiana).
It isn’t working out that way. As the election nears, ObamaCare is re-emerging as a major liability for the Democratic Senate that passed it. According to an Oct. 2 Gallup survey, 54% of Americans said the Affordable Care Act had hurt them and their families compared to 27% who said it had helped them.
Democrats and Republicans have placed very different tactical bets in this year’s Senate races. Republicans are betting that President Obama’s low job-approval rating (40% in Wednesday’s Gallup poll) rubs off on Democratic candidates. In midterm elections, candidates of the president’s party have historically ended up with vote totals close to his approval rating. For example, Democratic Senate candidates ran on average 3.7 points behind Mr. Obama’s job approval in 2010. GOP Senate candidates ran on average 1.3 points ahead of President George W. Bush ’s job approval in 2006.
With 26 days until the midterms, Americans are understandably focused on the election. But it’s not too early to begin thinking about what happens after the ballots are counted. Virtually all observers agree that President Obama will face a Congress with more Republicans and fewer Democrats. The GOP will keep control of the House and either win the Senate or come very close.
Thursday morning, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus is delivering a speech at George Washington University titled "Principles for American Renewal."
The 11 Republican principles he will offer are timeless. They include "we should leave the next generation opportunity, not debt" and "our country should value the traditions of family, life, religious liberty and hard work."
As the midterm election enters its last six weeks, new factors have appeared that will help determine which party controls the Senate next year.
Surprisingly, national security has emerged as an important issue. Americans' concerns began with the conflict in Ukraine, and they've grown as Islamic State cut a swath across Iraq and beheaded two American journalists. When an Aug. 4 CBS News poll asked what was the most important problem facing the country, terrorism wasn't even on the list. In a Sept. 15 CBS News/New York Times survey, voters ranked terrorism as No. 2 at 17% (behind the economy at 38%) as the most important factor in their vote for Congress.
The president's job approval numbers are lousy, no Democrat in a competitive Senate race polls regularly above 50%, GOP enthusiasm is high, and independents are trending Republican. The midterm environment is terrible for Democrats—yet each passing day provides evidence as to why a GOP Senate majority is still in doubt.
On Monday President Obama appeared at a $100,000-a-person fundraiser in D.C. to support his party's efforts to keep the Senate. It was his 84th fundraiser this election cycle.
Two new polls this week are the latest indications that Barack Obama's presidency is in perilous shape. The Sept. 7 Washington Post/ABC survey found 52% feel it has been more of a failure while only 42% believe it has been more of a success. A record 55% say Mr. Obama is not a strong leader, only 38% believe he has done more to unite the country while 55% say he has done more to divide it.
The Sept. 7 Wall Street Journal/NBC poll reported that more people—67%—believe the country is on the wrong track than at this point in any midterm election in two decades. Mr. Obama's 40% approval is lower than Bill Clinton's in 1994 and his own in 2010, when Democrats suffered massive midterm losses.
President Obama has recently shown that his understanding of the economy and world is very different from that of most Americans.
At his afternoon news conference last Thursday, for example, Mr. Obama hailed the report of 4.2% second-quarter economic growth. "Companies are investing," the president said. "Consumers are spending. Over the past four and a half years, our businesses have now created nearly 10 million new jobs. So there are reasons to feel good about the direction we're headed."
Except Americans don't. In the Aug. 4 Wall Street Journal/NBC poll, only 22% said they thought the country is headed in the right direction while 71% said it is going in the wrong direction.
Labor Day is the unofficial start of the fall campaign season, so it's a good time to assess the GOP's chances of winning the U.S. Senate.
Republicans have two advantages. Many Senate races are in red-leaning states, and the GOP has put its A-Team on the field. In every primary the more electable Republican won the nomination, and that's likely to hold true in New Hampshire on Sept. 9 when Scott Brown is heavily favored.
The indictment on Friday of Texas Gov. Rick Perry on charges that he abused his powers is an outrageous—but not unprecedented—abuse of prosecutorial power. And it may come back to haunt those responsible.
The indictment itself caused a storm of denunciation, including by liberals. Former Obama senior adviser David Axelrod dismissed it as "pretty sketchy." Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said this is "what happens in totalitarian societies." The Washington Post, Boston Globe and New York Times were critical.