In fact, I can't recall Karl "Bush's Brain" Rove ever before publicly criticizing any Republican campaign or candidate, past or present. (Please let me know if you can... )
We all know that super-strategist Karl Rove never utters an idle, strategy-free thought in writing or on air... and yet over this past weekend, Rove threw Republican presidential nominee McCain under the bus for a couple ads.
I don't believe for one moment that Karl Rove's moral sensibilities were suddenly offended by a couple ludicrous TV and internet ads which were overseen by McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt, a Rove protege and a veteran of the Bush 2004 campaign.
Here's what I do believe: Rove has seen the writing on the wall that John McCain of 2008 is a weak presidential candidate, and will likely lose the presidential election. Also, it's a tough, tough year for Republican electoral chances, and with today's financial markets meltdown, Republican odds just got even longer.
For proof of McCain's remarkable weakness as a candidate, look no further than headlines TODAY:
- From the Washington Monthly: McCain Still Sees the Fundamentals of the Economy as Strong - "There's being politically tone-deaf, and then there's being this politically tone-deaf. It's almost as if McCain wants to make it easy for Obama to call him out of touch."
- From MSNBC and the Huffington Post: McCain's Crowd Numbers Plummet In Palin's Absence - "At his first rally without Palin... , McCain attracted roughly 3,000 people at an arena here with 16,000 seats."
- From ThinkProgress: McCain Loses Fox News: Megyn Kelly Rips McCain Flack For Claiming Obama Would Raise Middle Class Taxes - Speaking to McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds, Meghan Kelly sais, "Letís stay on point... Iím saying what the independent analysts say. They say that claim is false. And if thatís false, why would John McCain do that, Tucker?"
Then there was John McCain's disastrous appearance on "The View" last Friday, when he falsely claimed to Barbara Walter that running mate Sarah Palin never took earmarks as Alaska governor. ("No, not as governor, she didn't!" )
In fact, none other than the conservative, Rupert Murdoch-owned Wall Street Journal reports today, "... state records show Gov. Palin has asked U.S. taxpayers to fund $453 million in specific Alaska projects over the past two years." The Los Angeles Times reports that "the McCain campaign backed down from the claim."
National Polls Mean Little in Predicting Electoral College Voting
John McCain of 2008 is proving to be a weak presidential candidate, and Karl Rove knows it.
Reality is that national polls mean little in accurately predicting the outcome of Electoral College results. And Obama has always led, and continues to lead, in prognostications for the 2008 Electoral College voting.
I'm not saying that the 2008 presidential election is a done deal, or that Obama and Biden can starting measuring for their White House office drapes. Far from it. Things happen, and 49 days (left until November 4th) can be an eternity in political time.
But with U.S. financial markets melting down dramatically, and with middle-Americans experiencing deep economic doldrums, and with the Republican party offering absolutely no new policies to deal with the downward-spiraling economy... 2008 is probably a Democratic year, by default.
And Obama's mantra of "change" may be just the right message at the right time.
So was Karl Rove's negative comment about McCain just a careless moment... or was it the unofficial start of throwing John McCain (but pointedly not superstar Sarah Palin) under the bus?
Was it the subtle start of Republicans looking toward 2012 and future presidential nominee Sarah Palin?
I say YES. Obviously.
(Photo: William Thomas Cain/Getty Images)