The Repudiation of Karl Rove – Politico.com

We don’t know yet who will win or by what margin, but we know one thing for certain: This election represents the repudiation of Karl Rove and his play-to-the-base strategy.

There was always something dicey about stoking the fires of hyperpartisanship as a campaign and governing strategy, treating 51-49 victories as ideological mandates instead of an obligation to form broader and more durable coalitions.

Now we have the data to judge the results: a president who tried to unite his party at the expense of uniting the nation and failed to do both, repudiated by both candidates running to succeed him. Even John McCain admits to visitors at his Web site homepage, “the last eight years haven’t worked very well, have they?” Read More…

Marathon Becomes Brawl – Politico.com

The rules of sports metaphors in politics are as follows: primary campaigns are marathons, general election campaigns are horse-races, the final weeks leading up to Election Day are sprints — but debates are boxing matches.

And in last nights’ first round debate — call it the Melee at Ole Miss — neither candidate delivered a knock-out punch.

Careful scorekeepers may judge that John McCain won the first round on points. The legendary brawler, a few years past his prime, defied political gravity to battle a younger opponent—it was toughness versus talent, experience versus eloquence. Read More…

Soundtrack to Economic Anxiety – Politico.com

In a fall defined by market chaos, the long road of the campaign has ended up in uncharted economic territory — amid voters’ competing emotions of anxiety, aspiration and anger.

After the spring primaries’ reversals of fortune and the hot summer months’ marathon, we’re far enough along to begin viewing the cycle with some perspective — at least a musical perspective.

Because if you’re a political junkie, you know that each campaign season has its signature song. Read More…

The Rise of the Evangelical Center – Politico.com

On Saturday, John McCain and Barack Obama will sit on the same stage for the first time during this presidential election. But don’t call it a debate. It is a “civil forum” hosted in the heart of conservative Orange County by megachurch pastor and bestselling author Rick Warren.

It is just the latest sign of a growing influence of the evangelical center that is delinking itself from the old-guard religious right by engaging on stereotypically liberal issues such as global poverty, climate change and AIDS — and in the process, opening up healthy and historic competition for America’s 75 million evangelical voters. Read More…