It wasn't the Iraq war and the public's rejection of a failed neo-con ideology. No, it was simply a case of a few bad apples.
In the White House worldview, it appears it was the individual corrupt/criminal actions of Duke, Jack, Mark and Tom who are primarily to blame for the Democratic midterm ascendancy. Rove is making the case the election was really about the culture of corruption in DC, according to Robert Novak in a brief piece over at TownHall.
Rove's clear advice to the candidates is to distance themselves from the culture of Washington. Specifically, Republican candidates are urged to make clear they have no connection with disgraced congressmen such as Duke Cunningham and Mark Foley.Corruption undeniably played a role in tipping a handful of seats that would have never been in play if not for the actions of the GOP incumbent (TX-22 and FL-16) but to make the argument the majorities were lost because of Foley and Abramoff is a huge stretch. This analysis ignores the federal response to Katrina, unprecedented budget deficits and the erosion of civil liberties as factors in the GOP's demise. Given the mountain of evidence regarding the party's pervasive failure, it's easy to see this "corruption caused it" viewpoint's attractiveness - it allows each official to relinquish individual responsibility and removes the need to take strong action on a failed war. Therein lies the real danger of this revisionist theory taking hold.
In effect, Rove was rebutting the complaint inside the party that George W. Bush is responsible for Republican miseries by invading Iraq.
Novak doesn't tell us whether or not the Republican CongressCritters are receptive to this WH revisionism. I would argue the Republican Party's steadfast opposition to establishing any withdrawal timetable means this "corruption caused the 2006 loss" frame may have already seeped into the GOP worldview.