I find it intellectually lazy for every article to accept without challenge that Mr. Rove is a political genius. This does not mean that I question his acumen as a political operative nor his intelligence. I merely believe that a much finer point must be made regarding the precise nature of his gift and the readily apparent limitations of that gift.
Simply put Karl knows elections. He seems to have learned the true unstated genius of Ronald Wilson Reagan. The body politic in this country are not interested in the subtle details of international diplomacy - the relate to good versus evil, the black hats versus the white hats. Karl is also exceptionally well schooled in hardball politics (or dirty tricks, depending on who you ask). Karl's credo, if ya can't beat 'em, smear 'em (there is at least one worthwhile blog piece on this topic).
When it comes to the politics of administering the power he has helped to acquire I would argue that he kinda sucks. Without going into a lengthy discussion (maybe I'll add detail later, I just want to get something published), where was basic political acumen (let alone "genius") when it came to virtually every domestic policy initiative and/or challenge. Witness the social security reform proposal that thepresident continued to pitifully try to hawk for months after it was clear to anyone conscious that his proposal was DOA. So how's 'bout his stellar response to Katrina, the "Mission Accomplished" photo flop, Harriet "the most qualified attorney" Myers appointment to the Supreme Court or more recently the UAE port deal.
Give Karl credit where credit is due. He realized that terrrorism and the attendant threat issue were winners for GWB. But absent that issue, this administration has been a diasater politically. When it comes to the politics of governing and advancing a politcal agenda, it strkes me that its Karl "the genius" deserves criticism having a tin ear or arguably vilification for being inept.