In Thursday's Wall Street Journal, Karl Rove took on the highest-profile elections to be held on Tuesday. Calling the gubernatorial race in Virginia "more significant" than others, he points out that if the GOP wins big in Virginia (perhaps taking the races for lieutenant governor and attorney general as well) "it will strengthen the case of those predicting a GOP 'wave' in 2010." More generally, he argues that "Tuesday's election will provide the most tangible evidence so far of how strong a backlash is building--and just how frightened centrist Democrats should be of 2010. For Republicans, it looks as if hope and change are on the way."

Is Rove right? A few were quick to dismiss his partisan glory-prophesying, but some support for his predictions may be found in other quarters. Here's the lay of the land:

  • Right On, Rove  Jennifer Rubin of conservative Commentary magazine backs Rove and what will likely be conventional Republican wisdom in the case of big wins. "Democrats are bound and determined to foist an agenda through Congress," she writes, "that lacks public support, and indeed flies in the face of their concerns about the growth of government, looming debt, and the prospect of unemployment at unprecedented levels." In the Virginia election, among others, "voters will give some hints next week as to how they feel about all that."
  • More 'Spin'  "The voting hasn't even begun," snarls Taegan Goddard at CQ Politics, "yet that didn't stop Karl Rove from declaring victory in next week's elections."
  • Virginia Already Won For GOP  Data whiz Nate Silver, though, declares the Virginian gubernatorial race already over, with the Republican Bob McDonnell the winner. "Deeds has virtually no chance," he writes. His explanation supports Rove's idea of a connection between the Virginia race and the broader balance of political power ahead of the midterms: "Since people are going to want to assign blame here, I'd attribute it about 3:1 to the national environment as opposed to anything in particular that Deeds has done."
  • But It Won't Predict Midterm Results  "[A]s George W. Bush’s chief political adviser," writes the Mark Murray and First Read team at MSNBC, "Rove should also know that the VA and NJ races don’t always predict what’s going to happen in the midterms." How so?
In 2005--right after Hurricane Katrina--Democrats won both contests, an early sign of their success in 2006 (when they back control of Congress) and in 2008 (when they won the White House). Yet in 2001--right after the 9/11 terrorist attacks--Democrats also won both races. But the next year, Republicans picked up seats in the House and Senate, and Bush won re-election in 2004.