Monday, November 13, 2006

Rove part of Republican denial?

Here's more evidence that Republicans are in denial about the importance of the Iraq war in their defeat last Tuesday. Speaking to Time magazine's Mike Allen, Karl Rove, the president's political guru, explained that he and the president missed the forecast because, "The profile of corruption in the exit polls was bigger than I'd expected. Abramoff, lobbying, Foley and Haggard added to the general distaste that people have for all things Washington, and it just reached critical mass."

Responding to the fact that the polls also showed discontent with the war, he took solace in the victory of Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman over avowed anti-war candidate Ned Lamont, and concluded that "Iraq does play a role, but not the critical, central role."

Rove may be right that there's not a consensus for an immediate pullout. But he's whistling in the dark if he doesn't think the war was a -- and probably the -- major factor in his party's defeat.

On the other hand, I talked to a Republican insider in Washington today who told me all the Republicans he talks to are fully aware of the importance of the war in last Tuesday's results, and statements like Rove's are strictly for the press releases. Fine, but what's wrong with press releases that reflect the truth?

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