Republicans are the minority party in California these days. But the man who engineered the election of George W. Bush has some advice and encouragement for the state GOP. KPCC's Special Correspondent Kitty Felde spoke with Karl Rove ahead of his Tuesday night address at Loyola Marymount University.
Kitty Felde: Last week, the Republican party chose a new leader: the former lieutenant governor of Maryland, Michael Steele. The man described as the "architect" of the Bush presidency, Karl Rove, says Steele's main job is simple.
Karl Rove: His challenge will be he has to raise a lot of money.
Felde: Is it easier or more difficult to raise money when you're the opposition party?
Felde: Over the past two years, the GOP raised $400 million. But Rove says there is an advantage to be had when you're the minority party.
Rove: With the Democrats completely in charge, the American people will hold them accountable for things. There are no excuses. They can't say, "Well, somebody else failed to keep me from doing the right thing."
Felde: California's Republican Party is shrinking. But Rove says politics is cyclical and the trend can be reversed. He points to Texas, where the state switched from blue to red in two decades.
Rove: Look, this is a big, diverse state and a lot of opportunity for Republicans who can articulate a message of limited government, personal freedom, fiscal responsibility, and empowering the individual. If there's one thing about Californians, they're individuals. They like – they don't like being catalogued as groups. They like to have, you know, it's part of the California lifestyle. "I want to make choices." And the Republican Party is increasingly the party that stands for the right of the individual to control their own destiny.
Felde: Rove still splits his time between Texas and Washington DC. He's writing articles and a book... and, he said, a few things he wouldn't tell me about. He says he hasn't heard any criticism of his role in the reversal of fortune of the GOP.