Hell has frozen over — Karl Rove and I agree on something

As I’ve kept saying — Iraq, economy, and those factors will decide the election in the end.

So today there’s this (mind you, as I muttered yesterday, any time I see the word ‘brand’ now my eyes glaze over):

Why is it tough sledding for Republicans? Public revulsion at GOP scandals was a large factor in the party’s 2006 congressional defeat. Some brand damage remains, as does the downward pull of the president’s approval ratings. But the principal elements are the Iraq war and a struggling economy.

He then adds later:

Has the bottom been reached? It’s too early to know. But Americans are acknowledging progress in Iraq, economists are suggesting the economy will be in better shape this fall, and a recent ABC/Washington Post poll found GOP identification rising.

Vague sentiments all but at least prefaced with the ‘too early to know,’ which is the core part. And there’s other stuff in the piece which is of general interest — otherwise, though, he’s coming pretty close to what I said a few weeks back:

  • If some combination of Iraq and the economy, or even one of them, gets so noticeably bad that the implications are inescapable, the GOP gets the blame because of the current inhabitant of the White House. McCain loses, the Democratic candidate wins.
  • If Iraq and the economy both maintain themselves at the level they are at now — causing discontent and some concern but not otherwise going obviously and immediately to hell in a handbasket, yet — then barring some complete disaster on his part, which I don’t rule out at all, McCain wins. He wins in a close election perhaps, but he wins.

Karl Rove in general is a bit like Rush Limbaugh, referring to my post just previous to this one — if you build him up as some sort of fearful overlord, he becomes that, at least in your head. He got out while the getting was good and is probably chortling at most everybody right now still at the White House. I might have thought of him as an arch-schemer at one point, now I think he’s a biased tea-leaf reader (hey, so am I, in my own small way).

And maybe we’re both totally wrong in the end — but it is refreshing to see someone on the right saying this rather than saying something like “We didn’t make our case clearly enough!” Trust me, all y’all did that already — which explains so much.

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