The Blog

Six Democratic Myths

Bill Clinton, Al Gore, Tom Daschle, and their fellow Democrats try to explain why their party floundered in the 2002 elections.

11:00 PM, Dec 8, 2002 • By FRED BARNES
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Myth six: Karl Rove, Bush's senior political adviser, is running everything at the White House. Certainly, he's an extremely influential aide, more so than Chief of Staff Andy Card. My impression used to be that whenever you think he's not involved in an issue, you're wrong. But September 11 changed his status. The most important meeting at the White House is the War Cabinet, and Rove's not a member. The success of Bush's presidency will be determined by how well he does in the war on terrorism. War decisions are outside Rove's reach. But on domestic issues and politics, Rove is the man.

What does all this add up to? A lot of unhealthful thinking by Democrats that may keep them from coming to grips with what really cost them in the election. It was the failure to see a new and different America post-September 11, an America more interested in security than a prescription drug benefit or attacks on corporate governance. Pretending to be a victim of Republican excess is not the path to understanding the Democratic plight.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of The Weekly Standard.