Rove: I’m not the establishment!

posted at 1:36 pm on September 16, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

Karl Rove answered his critics today on Fox News, where — as Rove notes — he works as a political analyst. His outside job, Rove explains, focuses on political campaigning, organizing, and fundraising. In order to maintain credibility, Rove says he has to speak plainly in his role as an analyst, which is why he offered criticism of Christine O’Donnell and Delaware Republicans the past two days. However, Rove insists that he supports the Tea Party and is not a member of the GOP establishment at all, and he makes some good points in this exchange:

I sympathize with Rove, certainly. Bloggers on both sides of the partisan divide have the same conundrum; when does analysis end and advocacy begin? That’s a tough question, and it does go to credibility in each role.

On the other hand, Rove had plenty of time before the primary to make his case about O’Donnell, and did, as an analyst. After it became clear that O’Donnell won the contest, he could have balanced his observations with more insight into Chris Coons, for instance, and perhaps used a more objective tone than he did that evening at the prospect of an O’Donnell candidacy. Rove does take the opportunity to retract the story that Fox reported that night about the supposed NRSC rejection of O’Donnell — although the NRSC’s denial certainly could be self-serving after the avalanche of criticism they got from that leak.

In the end, I think O’Donnell takes the right approach. Karl Rove has worked tirelessly for at least two decades to elect Republicans in good times and in bad, as part of the establishment while at the White House and with the grassroots later. Part of unity after the primaries is burying the hatchet on petty squabbles. It makes no sense to demonize Rove forever after one bad night, just as it makes no sense to keep picking at the Castle v O’Donnell argument after the primary election concluded. Let’s just focus on winning seats on November 2nd with the candidates selected by voters in their own primaries.


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