(CH, L, CW) (what
do these signs mean?)
Rove is sometimes described as "Bush's Brain"
meaning that he supplies the strategies and tactics
by which George
W. Bush has risen from unsuccessful businessman
to President. Because Rove prefers to stay in the background,
publicly, and confine himself to behind-the-scenes maneuvering,
we do not have as many delicious and corrupt quotes
as we do for more in-your-face types. But Rove is a
major player, and his strategies play on what is worst
in the American psyche for their success.
DiIulio, former Director of the White House Office of
Faith-based and Community Initiatives, wrote "Karl
is enormously powerful, maybe the single most powerful
person in the modern post-Hoover era ever to occupy
a political advisor post near the Oval Office."
After Republicans won the midterm elections, another
senior White House official told Ron Suskind of Esquire,
"Karl just went from prime minister to king. Amazing
. . . and a little scary. Now no one will speak candidly
about him or take him on or contradict him. Pure power,
no real accountability."
is also a textbook case of Lord Acton's adage that power
corrupts. His influence is a large part of the reason
why under its anti-government rhetoric, federal spending
is rising, the power of government is growing, deficits
are out of control, and "conservative" leaders
are either becoming disenchanted or proving themselves
utterly without integrity.
Rove talks excitedly of Alexander Tocqueville and James
Madison. Politically he undercuts them at every step.
Madison and Tocqueville saw the size and diversity of
the US as a source of both creativity and a safeguard
against tyranny. It would be difficult, Madison argued,
for a majority to unite on any platform that wasn't
good for the country as a whole. Tocqueville praised
the local initiatives that transformed American society
with vitality and creativity. According to Nicholas
Lemann, Rove apparently thinks he is inspired by the
work of these men.
Rove works hard undermining the principles of both.
This becomes clear when we consider his third hero,
one he no longer acknowledges: Mark Hanna. Hanna was
key in putting together the Republican coalition that
made William McKinley president, and crushed the Democrats
for many years to come. Hanna did so by many means,
none of which had much to do with limited government,
and most of which had top do with the effectiveness
of power and money. Suskind writes that he has talked
to people long associated with Rove, "one of whom
said, 'Some kids want to grow up to be president. Karl
wanted to grow up to be Mark Hanna. We'd talk about
it all the time.'"
the extent there is a clear purpose in the Bush administration's
attempt to build America's first national political
machine, (link to the conservative article) the strategy
is probably Rove's. It requires stitching together a
coalition based on access to governmental favors and
payments to avoid being punished by those in power,
combined with unprecedented control over hiring. Ethics,
the public good, constitutional principles, and loyalty
are valuable only so long as they contribute to holding
power. It is the exact opposite of Madison and Tocqueville's
visions of a free society, and it is apparently Rove's
vision of America.
requires ruthlessness, and Rove has it. Suskind writes
of waiting outside Rove's office for an interview. "Inside,
Rove was talking to an aide about some political stratagem
in some state that had gone awry and a political operative
who had displeased him. . . . 'We will fuck him. Do
you hear me? We will fuck him. We will ruin him. Like
no one has ever fucked him!' As a reporter, you get
around-curse words, anger, passionate intensity are
not notable events-but the ferocity, the bellicosity,
the violent imputations were, well, shocking. This went
on without a break for a minute or two. Then the aide
slipped out looking a bit ashen, and Rove, his face
ruddy from the exertions of the past few moments, looked
at me and smiled a gentle, Clarence-the-Angel smile.
'Come on in.'"
Stories of Rove's ruthlessness are legion. Consider
the South Carolina 2000 Presidential primary. The South
Carolina Presidential primary in 2000 is a case in point.
John McCain threatened to defeat George Bush, as he
had in New Hampshire. Suddenly, as Ron Suskind describes
it, "Bush loyalists began distributing parking-lot
handouts and making telephone 'push polls' and fomenting
whisper campaigns that McCain had fathered a black baby
by a prostitute, his wife was a drug addict, and that
he had become unstable due to his years in a Vietnamese
McCains had adopted a baby from a Mother Teresa orphanage
in Bangladesh. "Bridget, now eleven years old,
waved along with the rest of the McCain brood from stages
across the state, a dark-skinned child inadvertently
providing a photo op for slander." McCain lost.
nature of his job is that we will never know whether
Rove was responsible or not. Similar uncertainty exists
for other claims about his dirty and dishonest politics.
What we can know for sure is that Rove is a master political
strategist, and that his candidates win while very dirty
politics is played in their favor.
George Bush says he knows Karl Rove is innocent. Since
Bush has made a point of not trying himself to find
out the identity of the leakers of the identity of an
undercover CIA agent working on weapons of mass destruction
issues, we can only wonder how he knows. One thing which
seems beyond doubt is that after the initial leak, Rove
did his best to further attacks on Plame as part of
his operation against former ambassador Joseph Wilson,
who displeased the Bush administration by doing something
they did not: tell the truth.
reportedly told journalist Chris Matthews, and maybe
others, that Wilson's wife and her undercover status
were "fair game." Newsweek's account has not
been denied by Rove or the White House. Such is the
stuff of Karl Rove's "patriotism" when it
stands between him and vengeance against those who have
displeased him, and even against their families.
Evan Thomas and Michael Isikoff, Newsweek, Oct.
13, 2003, http://www.indybay.org/news/2003/10/1651996.php
is apparently illegal for Rove to have acted in this
manner, and we can only hope that someone other than
former Rove employer John Ashcroft will investigate
failure of many (not all) "conservative" leaders
to condemn this kind of behavior says volumes about
the utter moral bankruptcy of the Radical Right, and
their betrayal of all who they seeks to manipulate by
their claims to having traditional values, or indeed,
any values at all besides power and greed. But if they
were not morally bankrupt and in power, this website
would have no reason to exist. Here is a true divide,
one separating genuine conservatives from the radical
right. Historians will deal harshly with those who sell
their souls for a little power and wealth, Karl Rove
of Homeland Security and 9-11
After 9-11 it became increasingly clear the attacks
could have been prevented had the administration been
on top of things. One potentially very embarrassing
piece of information was Colleen Rowley's testimony
to the Senate on the FBI's failure to take any action
on her memo about a potential 9-11 style attack. On
the very same day Rowley was to testify, the administration
announced their plan for a Homeland Security Department,
capturing the headlines.
cynicism and ruthlessness was breathtaking. Till then
the administration had opposed such a department when
Joe Lieberman had proposed it, eight months ealier.
Afterwards, when the Senate tried to turn the administration's
hastily improvised bill into something more coherent,
they were attacked by a draft dodging George Bush as
not sufficiently committed to the security of the United
States. This despite the rather impressive record (link
to page on military service) of military service by
many leading democrats and the utter lack of any service
at all by almost all leading members of the Bush administration.
The hypocrisy was breathtaking - and effective.
debasing of democracy
But unfortunately there is more. Rove reportedly learned
from Michael Deaver, Ronald Reagan's campaign advisor,
how to manipulate the media. Television is poor at giving
facts and great at presenting simple images. This need
not be misleading, but it certainly can be. James Moore,
author of Bush's Brain, a book on Rove, observed that
Rove "once told a consultant that we interviewed
. . . that you should run every political campaign as
though people were watching television with the sound
turned down. And toward that end, you rely heavily on
imagery and not very much on substance."
Bush administration has been masterful at presenting
Bush with in memorable ways, knowing that images stay
in our minds far longer than words. This distracts us
not only from the dirty campaign tricks Rove and his
underlings pull on political opponents, it distracts
us from Bush's own lies. It is truly amazing to anyone
who actually reads the news with any care that Bush
still carries an image of integrity and morality.
words speak far more quietly than images to the trusting
human mind. There is the famous image of Bush with Mt.
Rushmore in the background and with his face being in
virtually the same the same perspective as Teddy Roosevelt,
suggesting some symbolic similarity between the two.
March 10, 2003 issue of Newsweek has a large
photo of Bush and Jesus, their bodies at the same angle,
with the suggestion that Jesus' hand is resting on Bush's
shoulder. It is difficult to think this was accidental.
flight onto the deck of the Kittyhawk, while arriving
as freight, led to memorable photographs of a supposedly
militarily competent President. Already Tom
DeLay is saying Bush landed the aircraft himself,
and many will believe him since they do remember Bush
in his flight suit on an aircraft carrier.
is an ominous dimension to these tactics, one as dirty
as the politics Rove is suspected of playing during
campaigns. Bush will get photo credit for some new initiative,
such as leaving "no child behind" and then,
when the cameras are absent, fail to fund the legislation.
our accounts of his failure to follow through
on any of his big promises to the American people, especially
is an old term for this: demagoguery. The cynical manipulation
of the public to support policies far different from
what the politician promises or claims. Demagogues have
destroyed democratic government because a democracy
needs, at a minimum, some clarity over the issues, some
minimal level of truth, some means by which citizens
can know for whom to support. The manipulations of images,
outright lies, and dumbing down of elections can work
Rove has proven this. But it is unlikely to lead
to a democratic outcome.
claims to believe in the principles of Madison and Tocqueville,
admirable men. But by subjecting every principle to
winning, his tactics are undermining the very principles
they held to be essential for a free people to survive.
up his conclusions about Rove's character, Suskind wrote:
"In any event, it's clear, when I think of my encounter
with Rove, why this particular old friend of his, and
scores of others-many of whom spoke of the essential
good nature of this man who was a teammate on some campaign
or other-don't want their names mentioned, ever."
John DiIulio's article: http://www.gregwythe.com/~gregsopi/archives/002687.php