Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Short and Not So Long of Rovian Politics

Karl Rove was back in the news last week. He was testifying before a congressional committee investigating the firing of eight Assistant Attorney Generals in 2007. There has been much speculation about Rove’s role in the firings while a key White House political operative. The firings reeked of political maneuvering and compromised the integrity of our legal system. Prosecutions and decisions not to prosecute surrounded the politicization of the Justice Department during the Bush years, especially during the tenure of Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez. It remains to be seen whether Rove will at some point have to answer for his involvement in this travesty as well his likely role in the compromising of a CIA undercover operative in the Valerie Plame case. Other cynical machinations abound that were intended to provide cover for the Bush administration’s questionable to illegal activities and to assure the domination of the Republican Party for years to come.

Rove has been widely credited for his role in bringing George W. Bush to the White House. It was a strategy that brought together the moneyed class of America and the working class of the Christian religious-right under the umbrella of the Republican Party. Rove came to be known as Bush’s Brain. The early successes of this political merger led to predictions that the GOP would dominate national politics for perhaps decades. How has the Rovian Strategy played out? One assessment would be that the legacy of Bush’s Brain is an inoperable tumor.

The election of African American Barack Obama to the presidency of the USA would not likely have occurred if not for the backlash against Bush, Rove and their minions. This backlash has also been seen in the Congress where the Republican Party now finds itself in the minority in both the Senate and the House. The number of registered Republicans has substantially declined. A significant number of long-standing Republican congress people are not seeking re-election, as they see the writing on the wall. The Republican Party’s strength is now limited to a few southern states and a couple of western states characterized as the “Mormon Corridor”. The heart of the GOP is now a narrow political base bottom feeding on fringe ideas. Their mantras are anti-abortion, anti-gays, questioning Obama’s birth certificate and bemoaning the fate of the White man. Their heroes are the likes of pundits Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck, Lou Dobbs, Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin and politicos Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich. The common theme of these “conservative” voices is fear, divisiveness, negativity and more fear. At a time when this country desperately needs ideas to overcome much of the damage that this group has wrought, they have little to offer. Their strategy is to oppose everything but their narrow failed vision. This is the state of the Party that rumbled into town on the Rove Express. What happened to the projected political dominance so giddily anticipated just a few years ago?

Certainly the divide and conquer Rove strategy proved short-term successful in the sense that they gained entrance to the White House. Bush did not win the popular vote in 2000 and it took a questionable decision by the Supreme Court to get seated in the Oval Office, but they got there. They then proceeded to politicize virtually every aspect and department of government, break rules of accepted procedure and ignore the warnings of an imminent terrorist attack that resulted in 9/11. Bush and VP Dick Cheney subsequently used this attack to misleadingly justify the Iraq War where the safety of troops and treatment of wounded took a back seat to the imperialist focus of the Neocons. They broke national and international laws with respect to human rights and torture. They broke national laws with illegal wiretaps, allowed the special interests of corporations to take precedence over worker and product safety and they ignored and secreted scientific reports on the damaging effects of global warming.

As busy as the Bushites were they found time to inject the catechism of the religious-right throughout the federal government while ignoring the constitutional requirement of the separation of church and state. By the end of the Bush administration the average American was significantly worse off in 2008 than in 2000. The focus of the Republican Party under Bush was to be the advocate of special interests and by the presidential election of 2008 the majority of Americans were seeing that the Republican Party was as naked as the king in the children’s parable.

In a democracy, lies, manipulation and misdirection can lead to short-term political success. But unless such an effort actually destroys that democracy, incumbency will be short-lived. We may never know all of the details about how our country was derailed by Rovian tactics but for the time being we have survived. In a free society, a political philosophy that does not ultimately serve the interests of the majority of the populous cannot gain long-term traction. The ultimate failure of Karl Rove to achieve Republican Party dominance bodes well for the future of our country, if we can first survive the mess left behind.

Farewell, At Least for a While

In June 2007 I began offering my unsolicited view of the news, otherwise known as a blog. It was my way of expressing displeasure with the abominations perpetrated by the Bush administration and the terrible leadership exhibited by our national legislators. What I originally believed would be a few short notes to friends blossomed into 125 blog posts. Although Stephen Views the News has been a very small voice in the world of blogging it is gratifying that my comments have been visited by people from 46 countries, almost 1100 cities and you. This adventure has been a labor of love, an interesting challenge, a vehicle to learn more about my country and how it functions and a venue to participate in the dialogue. New friends met along the way have been a special bonus. The positive feedback I received has been an encouragement and the criticisms an impetus to further evaluate my positions and better understand opposing points of view. What could be healthier in a free society?

I share these thoughts because recently I have felt it is time for a break. This current post encompasses much of what I have written about these last two years and therefore serves as an apropos dénouement.

5 comments:

Sue Katz said...

Oh dear, my whole week is going to feel incomplete without your View of the News, Stephen. You've been such a reliable witness and analyst that I have become accustomed to a weekly dose of your good sense and unique insight. I hope you'll transfer your observations to another medium (like Facebook) so that your readers are not left bereft. Thanks for all you have done in this magic blog. Good luck in your next project, whatever it may be.

Anonymous said...

Stephen, I will miss your opinions even though there were many I didn't agree with. I will make it a point to continue to hear what you have to say, I find them stimulating and gives me food for thought.
Cowboy Al

Little Steve said...

I hope you make it a short respite, Stephen. As the Republicans bounce back into power after the gigantic, communistic failures of foreign-born Barak Hussein Obama, just like the Democrats did after the relatively minor miscues of George W. Bush, we'll need a few voices from the opposition (if that statement doesn't keep Stephen posting, I don't know what will) ;-)

Anonymous said...

You certainly went out with a bang, stephen. great recap of one of the darkest ages in american history. use your time off well. your faithful audience will be here in the happy event of your return. - ruth z

Anonymous said...

Sad post, wait for the return


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