Articles by Karl Rove

The Treacherous Politics of the Fiscal Showdown

Wall Street Journal | October 3, 2013

They said they wanted to avoid it, but at the stroke of midnight Monday, four people got the government shutdown they wanted.

President Barack Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wanted a shutdown to restore the president's sagging approval ratings, cost Republicans House and Senate seats in the 2014 midterm election, and get their way in the fights over a continuing resolution and debt ceiling. In the CR battle, Mr. Obama and Senate Democrats want to increase spending by $91 billion this fiscal year above the levels set by the 2011 budget agreement. 

The President's Politics of Demonization

Wall Street Journal | September 26, 2013

This has been a bad year for President Obama. He lost the sequester PR battle, failed to pass gun control, stalled progress on immigration reform, and handled Syria ineptly. There's been tremendous problems implementing his signature health law, whose unpopularity is rising. Mr. Obama's job-approval numbers have been dropping, down in the Gallup poll to 46% now from 56% in January.

In the face of these setbacks, the president has reverted to form: dishonest and ad hominem attacks against his political opposition. To listen to his rhetoric, there are no honest differences with Republicans; his opponents are not wrong but wicked, motivated by vicious desires to hurt their fellow Americans and the country.

The GOP's Self-Defeating 'Defunding' Strategy

Wall Street Journal | September 19, 2013

In 2010, Republicans took the House of Representatives by gaining 63 seats. They also picked up six U.S. senators and 675 state legislators, giving them control of more legislative chambers than any time since 1928. The GOP also won 25 of 40 gubernatorial races in 2009 and 2010.

These epic gains happened primarily because independents voted Republican. In 2010, 56% of independents voted for GOP congressional candidates, up from 43% in 2008 and 39% in 2006.

Our Conflicted Commander in Chief

Wall Street Journal | September 12, 2013

In his Tuesday afternoon visit with Senate Republicans on Capitol Hill, President Barack Obamasaid that his evening television address would not cause a 20-point rise in support in the polls for an attack on Syria. The president told GOP senators that while he was good, he was not that good. According to people in the room, the audience chuckled—after which Mr. Obama added, "Although I am pretty good."

Actually no, Mr. President, you are not. Mr. Obama's speech will not significantly move the needle on public attitudes toward striking Syria.

How Not to Persuade Congress on Syria

Wall Street Journal | September 5, 2013

Resolute leadership, clear goals and as much unity in Washington as possible are required when America contemplates military action. Someone should let the White House know.

Two years ago President Obama said that "the time has come" for Syrian President Bashar Assad "to step aside." Apparently he was just thinking out loud. He offered no way to make that happen.

Welcome to the Unaffordable Careless Act

Wall Street Journal | August 29, 2013

Harvard (and later Columbia) sociologist Robert K. Merton wrote in 1936 about the "unanticipated consequences of purposive social action." Pity that Barack Obama, an alumnus of both universities, either never read or took to heart Merton's warnings. It would have saved Americans a lot of misery.

The president certainly did not promote the Affordable Care Act by promising it would mean more part-time and fewer full-time jobs. Yet that is one of its unanticipated consequences.

Republicans Do Have Ideas for Health Care

Wall Street Journal | August 22, 2013

In remarks at the White House last month, President Obama claimed that if Republicans "had some better ideas" on health care, he was "happy to hear them. But I haven't heard any so far."

The Democratic National Committee expanded the president's charge, claiming in a press release last week that "the GOP is simply out of ideas" on health care. Liberal opinion writers are now echoing Mr. Obama. The Washington Post's Ezra Klein writes that "Republicans have no idea what is it is they'll do" to replace the Affordable Care Act. The New York Times's Paul Krugman chimes in that the GOP goal is to "deny essential health care and financial security to millions of their fellow Americans."

Can the Democrats Retake the House in 2014?

Wall Street Journal | August 15, 2013

Earlier this year, President Barack Obama told donors at a California fundraiser that "It would be a whole lot easier to govern if I had Nancy Pelosi as speaker." A month later at a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee fundraiser in Chicago, the president went further, saying Democrats have "a great chance of taking back the House."

A Wounded Warrior Starts a New Chapter

Wall Street Journal | August 8, 2013

This is a story of heroism and endurance you need to know about.

On Friday at 11 a.m., surrounded by comrades, family and friends, Lt. Jason Redman will retire from the U.S. Navy after a distinguished career of nearly 21 years, in a ceremony at the SEAL Heritage Center on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek in Virginia Beach, Va.

Jay enlisted in the Navy in 1992 as a teenager, earned his SEAL trident emblem in 1996 and rose by 2000 to Petty Officer First Class. He was then selected as one of 50 enlisted personnel in the Navy to get a shot at an officer track by returning to college. He was commissioned an ensign in May 2004, deployed the next year to Afghanistan and then to Iraq.

Setting a Budget Trap for Republicans

Wall Street Journal | August 1, 2013

Sometimes politicians, like magicians, use distraction. Take President Obama's latest pivot to the economy, which began with last week's speech in Illinois and concluded on Tuesday at an Amazon facility in Tennessee. The pivot isn't about the economy. It's a setup for two budget battles with Congress this fall.

The first will be about funding the federal government for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. Mr. Obama proposed the sequester, signed the July 2011 budget agreement with its hard caps on discretionary spending, and threatened to veto any attempt to repeal or mitigate it. Nevertheless, last week he attacked the sequester as "a meat clever" that "cost jobs" and later told the New York Times Sunday that he's worried about "the drop-off in government spending."

The Triumph of William McKinley

This book offers a fresh look at President William McKinley, whose 1896 campaign defeated William Jennings Bryan, ended a period of bitter gridlock, and reformed and modernized his party. The 1896 election is a drama in its own right, but McKinley's transformative political strategies and campaign tactics offer important lessons for both political parties today who face a similar landscape and many of the same challenges.

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