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Rove-Taylor PowerPoint: GOP "conduct" caused losses, not Iraq

Today's front-page story in the Washington Post about political briefings given to top diplomats and diplomatic agencies such as the Peace Corps provided an extra bounty for those on the left and right who see Karl Rove as the political mastermind behind all things in this White House.

In documents provided to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the State Department included a more than 20-chart PowerPoint presentation given by Sara M. Taylor, then the director of the White House's political affairs office, to a group of ambassadors in early January during a meeting the diplomats had with Rove in the West Wing. The PowerPoint is the summation of Rove's thinking about the 2006 elections, in which Republicans lost 30 seats in the House and six in the Senate.

Here's the link to those documents. The ambassadors, on Jan. 4, received a slightly more detailed briefing than the one given to senior officials at the General Services Administration a few weeks later, including a list of the top 36 House Democratic incumbents being targeted for 2008. (GSA officials only got a glimpse of the top 20 targets, but they did get a listing of top House Republican incumbents the White House is trying to protect.)

Sen. Joseph Biden (D-Del.), chairman of the panel, is seeking more documents relating to questions about whether the briefings complied with Hatch Act provisions that generally make it illegal for most federal employees to engage in political activities while working on the taxpayer dime. Capitol Briefing, for now, will leave those questions up to the Foreign Relations Committee and other congressional panels exploring this issue, and instead focus on the politics.

A review of the presentation shows that Rove believes Republicans lost their majority mostly because of corruption-tinged Republicans in Congress. One page of the presentation is headlined: "Corruption" Voters' Top Issue. It then highlights, according to exit polls, 41 percent of voters who considered corruption an "extremely important" issue. Another chart indicates the number of "corrupt" lawmakers and "complacent incumbents" who were ousted from their seats.

Interestingly, the Iraq war is not prominently featured as the main reason for the losses. Another chart is headlined: Dems Won Corruption, Econ., Iraq Voters. It seems to spread the blame among those 3 issues for the losses, highlighting the percentage margin Democrats won from the overall electorate in the midterms. Of those issues, Republicans face a 21-point deficit among voters focusing on Iraq, and 20-percent deficits among voters focusing on the other issues.

And the Rove-Taylor briefing shows that this White House's congressional losses are about on par for other "wartime presidents". According to Taylor's PowerPoint, the average president overseeing a war loses 32 House seats and 5 Senate seats in midterms. There's also a chart showing that the 30-seat loss in the House falls in the median for presidents dating back to Woodrow Wilson.

Finally, Rove contends that the Democratic gains in Congress came not out of any ideological ground gained by liberals but because middle-of-the-road independents fled the Republican Party. According to exit polls in the Rove-Taylor charts, the percent of the electorate identifying itself as Democrats stayed roughly the same over the previous four elections, 39 percent in 2000 and 38 percent in 2006. The liberal percentage of the electorate was 20 percent in 2000 and 20 percent in 2006.

The presentation notes a 31-point drop in Latino voters for Republicans in 2006, a net loss of 8 points among suburban voters, and a 14-point drop among self-identified moderates.

Claiming that the 2006 elections did "not yet [show] an ideological shift," the Rove-Taylor presentation again placed most of the blame for the losses on lawmakers, in a highlighted box at the bottom of one of the charts summing up the White House belief about the 2006 losses: "More about rejecting Republican conduct than about supporting Democrat ideology."

By Paul Kane  |  July 24, 2007; 1:05 PM ET
 
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Comments

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Posted by: Anonymous | July 24, 2007 1:42 PM | Report abuse

Amazing to me that they don't see ANY of their own complicity. Yes, corruption was part of it, but the War was a major part of it, a sense of defeatism among Republicans that we had lost our way in DC with huge deficits and new spending programs, a weariness from libertarian leaning republicans because of the spending but also Terry Schiavo-type incidents - and ALL of those were led from the White House.

True, Congress didn't push back against the President like they should have, but the White House was leading the charge for all of those things and the Congress just went along. THEN there were corruption issues.

Posted by: Anonymous | July 24, 2007 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I'm curious about whether Rove locates hurricane Katrina in his powerpoint presentation, under corruption?

I think that there is a category which supercedes 'corruption, economy, Iraq' -incompetent governance, subtitled -failure to lead. All three of Rove's categories are technically acurate explanations for why people voted as they did, but they fall short of approaching the common denominator among the three. There is a thread of arrogant incompetence that runs through all three of those categories, and that, literally, frightened a lot of people away.

The so-called independent voters that fled the GOP include many Republicans who still believe in the principles of the GOP, but have lost all faith that the party leadership, and the administration, still believe in the principles of the Republican Party.

Posted by: Patrick Huss | July 24, 2007 3:07 PM | Report abuse

I served as a Schedule C political appointee during the Clinton administration. They would have put us UNDER the jail for having briefings like this.

Posted by: Henly | July 24, 2007 5:24 PM | Report abuse

"According to Taylor's PowerPoint, the average president overseeing a war loses 32 House seats and 5 Senate seats in midterms."

I sincerely hope they continue this belief. The unemployment line needs the work.

Posted by: RetCombatVet | July 24, 2007 5:42 PM | Report abuse

President Bush has spend $340 billion on Iraq this far, while the plan to end global poverty is underfunded by $19 billion dollars annually. This is just a faction of what we are capable of giving and accomplishing overseas. The United States is the world-agenda setter and if they join the fight that everyone else will join so the United States needs to be held accountable. The Borgen Project is working to mobilize Americans and exercise their right to head by encouraging government officials to increase funding for global poverty. It starts with you!

Posted by: Alexis | July 24, 2007 5:49 PM | Report abuse

I just love watching it all unravel

Posted by: Chris Fox | July 24, 2007 7:19 PM | Report abuse

The Prez and his minions are NEVER at fault, you see. It is ALWAYS someone else.

Posted by: M. Carey | July 24, 2007 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Suprise, suprise. Somebody ingaged in politics using government resources, seems like this might of happened a few times before. When is someone going to jail? Oh, I forgot, no one is allowed to testify about crimes they observe in this administration. Sure am glad this is the most ethical in history! I guess you can commit any crime as long as you are conservative. I think that Jesus should have said that the rich and conservatives would get to heaven as often as camels will pass through the eye of a needle

Posted by: Lowell | July 24, 2007 7:34 PM | Report abuse

So Rove says it was corruption, not the war, that lost the midterm elections for the GOP?

I have just one question for him.

ARE -- YOU -- MENTAL??

(with apologies to J.K. Rowling.)

Posted by: Joan Saniuk | July 24, 2007 8:15 PM | Report abuse

"More about rejecting Republican conduct..."
=============
More accurately, his own conduct...

Posted by: Anonymous | July 24, 2007 9:43 PM | Report abuse

Suprise, suprise. Somebody ingaged in politics using government resources, seems like this might of happened a few times before. When is someone going to jail? Oh, I forgot, no one is allowed to testify about crimes they observe in this administration. Sure am glad this is the most ethical in history! I guess you can commit any crime as long as you are conservative. I think that Jesus should have said that the rich and conservatives would get to heaven as often as camels will pass through the eye of a needle

Posted by: Lowell | July 24, 2007 07:34 PM


Here we go:
CLINTON DID IT

They are out of ideas, they have been out of ideas since October 2004

Posted by: R. Mills | July 25, 2007 9:49 AM | Report abuse

Sir:

George Bush has been elected twice, promising to unite the nation with "compassionate conservatism" and a strong belief in the ideals of family values, national security and economic rewards for all Americans. Well, let's see: this country is seriously devided, we are not safe and economic rewards appear to gravitate to the most wealthy.

So much for those who spout military strenght when they themselves did not answer the call to duty. So much for those who would have us believe in compassion, the Lord and democracy when in fact they themselves view other perspectives and points of view as atheistic, unpatriotic and symtomatic of a "bleeding heart" syndrome.

So this is what a permanent conservative majority would visit upon our nation?! No, thanks!!!

Posted by: Tony | July 25, 2007 10:35 AM | Report abuse

You can't trust anything this crowd of illiterate political hacks says (i.e., if you can't tell Democrat, the noun, from Democratic, the adjective, then you fall into this category).

I hope and pray these folks don't cause irreparable damage to this country in the time they have left -- that is, if they haven't caused it already.

Posted by: dirrtysw | July 25, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

You can't trust anything this crowd of illiterate political hacks says (i.e., if you can't tell Democrat, the noun, from Democratic, the adjective, then you fall into this category).

I hope and pray these folks don't cause irreparable damage to this country in the time they have left -- that is, if they haven't caused it already.

Posted by: dirrtysw | July 25, 2007 12:04 PM | Report abuse

I've been wondering...

Karl Rove is the president's "political advisor". Now, that cannot be a civil service job, right? So, Rove must be the recipient of political patronage. But, is his position official? - i.e., is he a US government employee whose salary is paid by the taxpayers? If that's the case, something is really "rotten in Denmark."

Posted by: Idoogye | July 25, 2007 12:46 PM | Report abuse

Politics aside, the irony of the article is overwhelming. "Republican "corruption" caused losses in Congress," says Rove while violating the Hatch Act.

Posted by: Henry | July 25, 2007 12:52 PM | Report abuse

Corruption was the reason huh? Not that they are completely incompetent at governing? What a twisted liar Rove is. I'm your neighbor in Rosemary Beach, Karl. Can't wait for you to retire there.

Posted by: William | July 25, 2007 2:06 PM | Report abuse

So the 2006 election losses were "More about rejecting Republican conduct than about supporting Democrat ideology." How ironic- that is actually probably correct- many people are not thrilled with the Democrats, but the Republicans brought their losses on by their own conduct. How refreshing to see a senior Republican strategist acknowledge that with all the perquisites of power in their hands, they still could not beat a group which the voters generally do not like or respect.

Posted by: skeptic | July 25, 2007 2:52 PM | Report abuse

Digby asked today - Who is paying Karl Rove's salary? If he is paid with taxpayer funds then this is a blatant violation of the Hatch Act. Time for Biden to go for it!

Posted by: Joshuasgrandma | July 25, 2007 3:34 PM | Report abuse

It shocks me that they haven't realized their own role in this. It means they haven't recieved the message that Americans want to head in a new direction. Because they are so out of touch America is missing out on many opportunities to head in a new more productive direction. We are still bogged down in Iraq when we should be doing things that will improve the overall global security situation, like fighting global poverty.

Posted by: Maggie | July 25, 2007 9:31 PM | Report abuse

I think lots of people already understand that the only institution who stands to benefit from the anti-terror hysteria and the war itself is the mighty US government! Killing hostages, making the rest of the world disturbed, destibilizing the situation in the Persian Gulf justificates US troop presence in this region, keeps the money and the war going, soldiers dying for nothing. Did you notice how well Mr Bin Laden pops up just when it is necessary to keep the nation's spirit about the war? Did you notice how many terrorist attacks suddenly become prevented at the right time? Who needs this all? As old latin saying goes: "Cui bono?" - "Who benefits"

Posted by: Jury Glad | July 26, 2007 11:43 AM | Report abuse

I think lots of people already understand that the only institution who stands to benefit from the anti-terror hysteria and the war itself is the mighty US government! Killing hostages, making the rest of the world disturbed, destibilizing the situation in the Persian Gulf justificates US troop presence in this region, keeps the money and the war going, soldiers dying for nothing. Did you notice how well Mr Bin Laden pops up just when it is necessary to keep the nation's spirit about the war? Did you notice how many terrorist attacks suddenly become prevented at the right time? Who needs this all? As old latin saying goes: "Cui bono?" - "Who benefits"

Posted by: Jury Glad | July 26, 2007 11:49 AM | Report abuse

I'll be as nice as I can be... G.W.B is the other "Quayle". Did I spell that right? Silent 'E'? Anyway, the nicest thing I can say about Mr. Bush is that everytime he goes outside he forgets to put his clown make-up on. Dick, the V.P., let's just ask him about his deferments during Vietnam. Imagine our 'Dick' ran five?? times when our military called him to service? His quote was "...I have better things to do...". I wonder how come no one ever called this coward on his deeds? These 'thugs' belong in jail. Worse yet, is the people who claim Dick and Bush are such great Americans are the first to avoid talk of accountability and investigation; It's almost like who cares about the country, I just want Republicans to be right... In your face to all others. Amazing... My brother voted for these clowns and every time I ask what he thinks of the current situation of our country he says he is glad Gore is not president because things would be much worse. He then adds that the country is now safe... For such a smart person to say such absurd things makes me wonder what the hell is going on in their minds to throw out all sense of reality and put in it's place a fantasy based on the coming of the messiah. I truely beleive that the people who voted for the clown and the coward feel duped by these thugs but are too embarassed to admit it. I also believe they thought the clown was the messiah and was going to save the world. Imagine that... Talk about dogma!

Posted by: Steven S. Pawlowski | July 26, 2007 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Rove arguments about Republican corruption are in direct alignment with the reasons why the USA's were fired, prosecuting too many Republicans, and not enough Democrats. That's how they were going to win Congress back in 2008, prosecute Democrats and let Republicans get away with damn near anything.

Posted by: Rich | July 27, 2007 1:21 AM | Report abuse

After reading about Rove's rationale for why the Republicans aren't looking so good, I meandered through all the comments. By the time I got to the last one, I thought I was reading thru DailyKoz.com (get over it, O'Reilly; We The People contribute to Koz; not Commie/Pinko/Traitors, or whoever it is that you preach should be feared). Finally, people are waking up to the reality of this administration's complete denial of most Americans' true interests, and an utter contempt for the well-being of the average American. I also took a moment to browse thru Rove's ppt. In addition to corruption, he said several Republicans lost due to "complacency." I would say that their losses were more likely due to their arrogant unwillingness to listen to their constituents about such issues as ending the war, and holding administration officials accountable for their abuse of power.

I pray daily that We The People wake up and REMEMBER the messages of our founding fathers, and a few of our FAR FAR FAR wiser past presidents - including Eisenhower, when, in his Farewell speech in 1961, he said the following:

"Throughout America's adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people. Any failure traceable to arrogance, or our lack of comprehension or readiness to sacrifice would inflict upon us a grievous hurt both at home and abroad. ...

Our military organization today bears little relation to that known by any of my predecessors in peacetime, or indeed by the fighting men of World War II or Korea. ...

This conjunction of in immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence -- economic, political, even spiritual -- is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. ...

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together."


To that end, We The People have determined that it is now the responsibility of this Congress - our only representatives in Washington (the Electoral College and the Supreme Court put Dubya in the Executive office) - must now end this war. THAT'S why the Republicans lost, Karl. WAKE UP!!!!

Posted by: Shakira | July 27, 2007 1:40 PM | Report abuse

It appears that the White House and the Attorney General find the Hatch Act to be as "quaint" as the Genevea Conventions and should also be dismissed out of hand. Welcome to another view into the fiefdom of the Boy King. Karl Rove still thinks he can "fool all the people, all of the time." It's too bad there isn't enough time to impeach. fire, deposed and send packing the entire White House.

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