There has been a lot made out of the results of this election and the reputation and legacy of Karl Rove. His critics are saying that this shows that Rove is anything but a boy genius.
Rove has most often used the 51% strategy in his campaigns. That means, you try to get 51% of the electorate, but no more. You do this by creating a divided electorate and playing one side off the other.
It is true that Roves 51% strategy failed in this election. That is the problem with the 51% strategy. It is not a long term strategy. You can only hold together the coalition as long as you don't alienate anyone group. That, of course, is impossible.
Roves strategy worked great for 6 years. Now, with too many people tired of partisanship and too many people alienated from the Republican party, the power has shifted hands.
Whether or not Rove is a campaign prodigy is irrelevant. If he is a genius or a buffoon, is besides the point as to what is his current effectiveness? Rove plays his cards by dividing people, not in uniting them. If Bush was eligible to seek yet another term, this might be a viable option now that there is an opposition party in power. But, Bush is not eligible for another term, and Bush legacy is hanging in the balance.
If Bush follows the traditional Rove strategy of confrontation and division, the presidents last two years in office are doomed to be of inaction and greater resentment by the American populace.
Alternatively, if Bush wants to finish out his presidential career and a positive note, and have any hope of his name being remembered fondly in the history books, he needs to reject partisanship and embrace bipartisanship.
Can this happen with Rove as a top advisor? Can Rove overcome his own tendencies to go for the jugular? Can the Democrats in power trust anything coming out of the White House that appears to be cooperation, but coming from Rove's office?
I think that the answer for all of this is no. Rove is a ilability and has become as ineffective as Rumsfeld when it comes to political play. He is the political equivalent to the hockey goon who's job is to fight, not to score goals. The president needs a goal scorer if he is to leave an even marginal legacy from 8 years of office. Rove should be replaced with a new advisor that can be seen as less divisive. Otherwise, Bush really is a lame duck... and historically speaking, a dead duck.
Rove Remains Steadfast in the Face of Criticism