No Comment — January 29, 2009, 10:01 am

The Genius of Karl Rove

Karl Rove is the master electoral strategist of the Republican Party and has been since the 2000 election that brought the G.O.P. back to power. How’s he doing? Rove promised that he would lock in a durable Republican majority, comparable to the one that FDR built in 1932 (that finally disintegrated in 1952). But Rove’s strategies brought an electoral flash in the pan, followed by a disintegration of the Reagan-era G.O.P. coalition. Gallup is releasing a series of “State of the States” polls that look into the way Americans view the two major political parties. Take a look at the map on that page. The upshot: Karl Rove, who grew up in part in Salt Lake City, knows exactly how to appeal to Mormon America. He’s locked them into the Republican corner. And that’s about it. Otherwise, the country is turning into a deep blue sea, and most areas that used to be Republican party bastions (like the Southeast, Texas and Oklahoma) suddenly have become intensely competitive for the Democrats. What does this mean for the near term? Nate Silver offers this analysis:

for things like gubernatorial elections and elections to the Congress, the Democrats’ upside is very high, particularly if the party is smart enough to tolerate and accommodate a diversity of opinions within its umbrella. If party affiliation stays close to what it was in 2008, then giving the seats that are up for election, Democrats could very easily pick up another another 5-7 Senate seats in 2010, giving them not just a filibuster-proof majority but also a nearly veto-proof one. Party affiliation probably will not remain that way — there is typically a shift back to the non-incumbent party after the Presidency changes hands — but if it does we’ll have a very blue Senate.

I’m not sure I understand the full Democratic strategy for building out the already substantial majorities in Congress. But I’m sure that Democratic strategists are praying that Karl Rove and Rush Limbaugh remain as the guiding lights of the G.O.P.

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Nobody in academia had ever witnessed or even heard of a performance like this before. In just a few years, in the early 1950s, a University of Pennsylvania graduate student — a student, in his twenties — had taken over an entire field of study, linguistics, and stood it on its head and hardened it from a spongy so-called “social science” into a real science, a hard science, and put his name on it: Noam Chomsky.

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