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Karl Rove’s grand slam

It is far too early to predict the election returns for November. Forecasts today are subject to dramatic change based on events yet to happen, but:

{mosads}If the election were held today I now believe Mitt Romney and the Republicans would win it because more of their voters would be motivated to vote and more of their large donors are motivated to donate. Romney would win the White House with a narrow victory. Democrats would gain House seats but fall short of regaining control. Even if Senate Democrats retain nominal control they would not be able to pass significant legislation without the permission of ever-filibustering Republicans. At least one of the liberal Supreme Court justices is likely to leave before the end of the next president’s term, and if that president is Romney, the right could control the court for a generation.

I believe these outcomes would be a disaster for America. I will do what I can to oppose them in columns and in a 5,000-word e-book I am writing that will put the consequences of the election in brutally stark terms that I hope will energize supporters of the president and Democrats. But I believe today that the most likely outcome is a Romney victory, and warn the president and all Democrats of the grave consequences of the current enthusiasm gap among large donors and grassroots voters.

Which brings me to Karl Rove, who has inspired the wealthy donors of the ideological right, the Republican Party and many of the most corrupted and powerful special interests who will donate between $1 billion and $1.5 billion before the carnage of this campaign is fully done.

The inability of Democrats to play in the same league as Karl Rove financially is a humiliating debacle that might be unprecedented, measured by comparing wealthy donors of one party to wealthy donors of the other, in the history of presidential politics. This parallels an enthusiasm gap of voters that creates what I believe is the current Republican edge in the election.

The president and Democrats seem befuddled by how to react to the Citizens United decision, while Karl Rove understands with crystal clarity. Rove mobilizes his army, rallies his wealthy, organizes his venture and puts his money in the bank.

The large donors of the right and Republicans give a damn far more than the large donors of the left and Democrats.

The armies of the right and Republicans have generals with the clarity, vision and will to win of Karl Rove while the armies of the left and Democrats do not.

The will to win of the large donors of the right is powerful and seemingly unlimited while Warren Buffett, the wealthiest Democrat in the land, does comparatively modest fundraisers and sings folks songs at his annual meeting, while many other wealthy Democrats give modest donations compared to the right and gratuitously opine about why they will not do more.

The issue following the Citizens United decision was a no-brainer from the beginning. It is not hard to explain simultaneously attacking the Citizens United decision, and all it represents about the corruptions of our politics, and supporting the Occupy Wall Street movement, while also calling on the wealthiest Democrats to meet the challenge from Rove and his donors on the right by giving equally massive (and equally affordable for wealthy Democrats) donations to Priorities USA, Majority PAC, House Majority PAC and other independent and party groups.

So far the president and Democrats have done neither. Their treatment of Occupy Wall Street ranged from ambivalent to shabby. Their attacks against Citizens United were impotent and timid. Their inability to effectively compete against Rove is pathetic and inexcusable.

Democrats today are neither winning the issue nor raising the money. This is the triumph of Rove’s grand slam and the tragedy of the anemic Democratic response that is a failure of their not having the will to fight for principles they believe in, or the will to win the war that Rove and Republicans are waging.

For today the president and Democrats must urgently rally their voters, workers and donors with a new-found sense of urgency and mission. Stay tuned next week for a grand chessboard move I will propose for the president. Karl Rove has hit a grand slam in the fifth inning. It is time for Democrats to swing for the fences.

Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at


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