Karl Rove was a main strategist behind the Republicans' push for a "permanent majority" in the early 2000s, and he's back to work on that cause, The New York Times reports. Rove has gathered a group of like-minded Bush-era figures — former Republican National Committee head Ed Gillespie, Mary Cheney, fundraiser Fred Malek — to build "what amounts to a shadow Republican Party," raising tens of millions to propel the GOP back into power. Can Rove reprise his role as the GOP's lead "Architect"? (Watch Rove discuss Republican strategy)

Rove is more important than ever: With the Democratic Party out-fundraising the GOP, outside groups like Rove's are crucial at filling the gap, and then some, says Suzy Khimm at Mother Jones. But the GOP needs Rove and his billionaire donor network for more than just running attack ads. With Michael Steele's hapless RNC in disarray, Rove's "shadow GOP infrastructure" will have to do heavy lifting with get-out-the-vote efforts.
"Karl Rove's shadow GOP"

The Tea Party's made Rove irrelevant: "Rove's effort is a joke," says Richard Bishirjian in The Yorktown Patriot, and a "cruel joke" at that. This "liberal Republican pollster" and his reassembled "brain trust of political professionals" did more than anyone to destroy the "limited government Republican brand" in the first place. Well, the Tea Party is calling the shots now, and Rove's cash will just backfire on the dirty hands that take it.
"John Connolly and Karl Rove"

Rove is just surfing a GOP wave: Rove's success was only ever due to his "leverage of power" — control of campaign purse strings and an "army of ruthless operatives," says Glenn W. Smith in FireDogLake. Otherwise, his so-called "genius" was just doing what any political consultant does: Stay out of unwinnable elections, and take charge of "races that are already won." Backing the GOP this year is one such test he "can't fail to pass."
"Thoughts on the 'return' of Karl Rove"