The Rise and Fall of Rove

Boy genius couldn't build an unbeatable GOP coalition
The Rise and Fall of Rove
President Bush Returns To Washington   (Getty Images)

Karl Rove may have been the but-for cause of the Bush presidency, but his dreams of using it to build a generation-long Republican hegemony that would undo the New Deal have been unquestionably dashed. Bush's boy genius envisioned a "permanent majority," but the Washington Post considers the reasons it had already slipped his grasp by 2006.

Rove miscalculated the importance of the base and underestimated undecided voters, while the motley coalition of conservatives and moderates he cobbled together failed to achieve a coherent mission. As for Rove's personal legacy, it may be tainted by a presidency laden with more failures than successes. "The degree to which history judges George Bush harshly, so, too, will it judge Karl Rove," a former RNC chairman says. (More Karl Rove stories.)

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