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Not a magician

Karl Rove is the first to admit it: he’s become a myth, a man from whom political magic is expected,” Fred Barnes writes at www. weeklystandard.com.

“Last fall, for instance, Republicans around the country and even in the White House waited for Rove to devise a campaign strategy that would keep Republicans from losing the House and Senate and George Bush from becoming a lame duck president. But instead of a Rove miracle, Republicans and Bush suffered a terrible defeat,” Mr. Barnes said. “Rove is the greatest political mind of his generation. … He not only is a breathtakingly smart strategist but also a clever tactician. … But he is not a magician.”

McCain’s pledge

Republican presidential candidate John McCain said yesterday that Congress‘ failure to act on Social Security shows there is more concern about partisan politics than the good of the nation.

“It’s disgraceful and outrageous that Republicans and Democrats have not sat down together and worked out this Social Security problem,” the Arizona senator told about 100 people attending a forum in Port Royal, S.C., sponsored by the AARP.

The speech was delivered on the 72nd anniversary of the signing of the Social Security Act by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Associated Press reports.

“A half a century ago, there were 16 American workers who supported every retiree; today, it is three and soon it will be two,” he said. “Around 2020 you will have more money going out than you have coming in. That’s going to be a crucial time. Should we wait until 2020?”

Mr. McCain said as president he would deal with the matter. “I want to do the hard things,” he said. “If Congress doesn’t want to do it, let me do it. Let me do it. I’ll fix it for them.”

Goodbye, Tommy

“You wouldn’t know it from his ill-fated presidential bid, but former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson — the latest casualty of the White House sweepstakes — was once a formidable political figure and one of the most successful reform-minded Republicans of the 1990s,” W.James Antle III writes at National Review Online (www.nationalreview.com).

“Before he became that fellow whose hearing aid malfunctioned during debates, Thompson was best known for cutting taxes, promoting school choice and, above all, proving that welfare reform works,” Mr. Antle said.

“In fact, conservatives once hoped Thompson would run for president, if only to save the party from listless, reform-averse pols like Bob Dole. But by the time he finally took the plunge, his moment had long passed. The issues he championed as governor of Wisconsin seemed less pressing to post-9/11 Republicans, and he never particularly distinguished himself as secretary of Health and Human Services.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@washingtontimes .com.