Articles by Karl Rove
As immigration reform grinds its way through the U.S. Senate, the main focus has rightly been on the legislation's policy consequences. But there are important political implications, especially for the GOP, that are worth examining.
Some observers, including Phyllis Schlafly, Pat Buchanan and the Center for Immigration Studies, argue that if Republicans want to win back the White House, they should focus on white voters (who comprised 72% of the electorate in 2012) rather than worrying about Latinos. After all, new Census Bureau estimates are that 100,042,000 whites voted in 2008 but only 98,041,000 did in 2012. Wouldn't it be better to get those two million whites back into the polling booth?
Both political parties find their congressional leadership and rank-and-file split by the controversy over the National Security Agency's surveillance of Americans' phone records. Democratic Sen.Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, defends the program for having disrupted plots and prevented terrorist attacks. Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, on the other hand, finds it a violation of fundamental civil liberties.
A trifecta of scandals—the IRS targeting of conservative groups, the Justice Department's subpoena of reporters' phone and email records, and the government's response to the terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi—are eroding President Obama's credibility.
A June 2 NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows the damage. Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed say the Benghazi and Justice Department scandals "raise doubts about the overall honesty and integrity of the Obama Administration," while 55% say the same about the IRS targeting.
As the Senate takes up immigration reform next week, Republicans must consider the impressions they will create by what they say, the changes they propose and their votes on the final product.
There is growing public support for providing a pathway to citizenship for those now in the country illegally. A February CBS/New York Times poll found 56% supported a pathway to citizenship for illegals, up from 38% in December 2007. Just 20% now say they should leave the country. An April Associated Press poll found 63% support a pathway, up from 50% in August 2010.
Say this much for Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin: He's got chutzpah. Most congressional Democrats who wrote letters asking the IRS to investigate tea party and other 501(c)(4) conservative groups have fallen silent or are expressing feigned outrage that the IRS would do what they asked. But not Mr. Durbin.
This Sunday on Fox News, Chris Wallace asked the senator why he urged the IRS to investigate a conservative group operating as a tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code. Mr. Durbin not only acknowledged that he sent a letter asking the IRS to investigate the group in October 2010, but he defended his request, saying the group he wanted investigated was raising "millions of dollars."
Dan Pfeiffer, senior adviser to the president for strategy and communications, appeared on five news programs Sunday to discuss the controversies buffeting the administration.
Mr. Pfeiffer invoked the word "irrelevant" like a wizard's incantation to dismiss questions about who edited the misleading Benghazi talking points, where the president was on the night of the assaults, and even if the law prevented the IRS from targeting groups for political reasons.
The Obama administration finds itself in perilous political waters amid three unfolding scandals.
First came last week's congressional testimony by three highly credible officials, plus some excellent reporting, which showed that the Obama administration consciously misled Americans after the Benghazi attacks that took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
In the debate over what the United States should do about the increasingly violent civil war in Syria, one thing seemed clear: If the Assad regime used chemical weapons, it would cross a "red line," as President Barack Obama put it in August. Such a move, Mr. Obama added, would cause him to "change my calculus" about whether or not the U.S. should intervene. But it turns out the president never meant to say that. Sunday's New York Times reported that Mr. Obama surprised his foreign-policy advisers with these off-the-cuff remarks, which came immediately after meetings during which Obama administration officials grappled over Syria policy.
Last week Sen. Max Baucus (D. Mont.) announced that he would not seek a seventh term. His retirement makes it even more likely the GOP will make gains in the U.S. Senate next year.
Of the 35 Senate seats up for grabs next year, 21 are held by Democrats, 14 by Republicans. Six Democratic seats are in states (W. Va., Ark., S.D., Louisiana, Alaska and Mont.) that Mitt Romney won by at least 10%. Only one Republican seat is in a state (Maine) that President Obama won by more than 10%.
The dedication in Dallas on Thursday of the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum has triggered a lot of talk about the legacy of America's 43rd chief executive, and of the issues that arose between 2001 and 2009. But it should also be a time to reflect on the character of the man who occupied the Oval Office during this century's first eight years.
I'm obligated to state the obvious, which is that George W. Bush is hardly flawless. But those who want to focus on his flaws best turn elsewhere, since in my experience with him—which spans 39 years—his flaws are greatly overshadowed by his virtues, starting with his moral clarity.