The Blossom falls off the RovePosted: September 15, 2010
The once great “architect”of Republican victory–Karl Rove– finds himself on the outs as the party falls all over itself to understand and lay claim to the tea party movement Astroturf. Has the blossom fallen off the turd or has he actually awakened to the smell of his own chickenshit coming back to roost?
With the battle won by the ultra-right in Delaware, the national conservative pundits who backed Christine O’Donnell in last night’s GOP Senate primary have turned on a man who is presumably one of their own: Karl “The Architect” Rove. After Rove bemoaned O’Donnell’s nomination as the end of the GOP’s chances to take back the Senate in a heated interview with Sean Hannity last night, pundits and tea partiers have slammed him as a traitor and even called for Fox News to suspend him as an on-air analyst.
In one five-minute interview, it seems, Rove went from keeper of the conservative cause to the next Jane Hamsher in the eyes of those who are ostensibly his allies.
Has Karl gone rogue? For a man whose campaign tactics have wavered some where between Donald Segretti, Lee Atwater, and Rudolph Hess, he’s looking a lot more like a sheep dog than an attack dog today.
Let’s explore some of the right wing blogs to see how they’re playing the party schism apparent in yesterday’s primary results. From Hot Air:
Rove came across as an effete sore loser instead of the supposedly brilliant and grounded GOP strategists that he’s supposed to be. Expect more Washington Republicans to start sounding like Tea Party-bashing libs as their entrenched incumbent friends go down.
But I wanted to add a brief note about the views of Karl Rove, who blasted away at Christine O’Donnell before the votes were even all counted. It’s an instructive moment about how the old guard is failing to adapt to this new environment.
It’s been a rough cycle for Rove. He’s provided behind-the-scenes consulting, and in some cases public backing, for a number of losing candidates — Tiarht in Kansas, Castle in Delaware, Kay Bailey Hutchison in Texas — and he’s seemed out of his depth on radio and television appearances. Rove’s disappointingly bland memoir, released earlier this year, depicts a builder who was successful more because of his ability to identify the priority of grassroots targeting than any grand political strategy. Perhaps Rove was always better at understanding how to target and motivate people from the top down, rather than understanding why they would choose to motivate themselves from the ground up.
Obviously, Castle’s liberal voting record did not upset Rove as much as O’Donnell’s character flaws.
Please Karl, before you do any more damage… Just take your ball and go home already.
So much for that big tent they’ve always tried to sell as part of the party’s tolerant profile. These people turn ugly really fast, Karl. I suggest you delist your number.
Usually, I’d break open a bottle of champagne when Republican infighting turns very public and very ugly. However, before I join the liberal blog boyz who think this is going to be good news for the Democrats, I’d like to point out a few things to consider.
We’re not talking about a great populist grass roots movement here that will benefit all of us. These people want creationism taught in school. These women suggest the victims of rape turn lemons into lemonade by embracing unplanned pregnancies. These people are intolerant of Muslims, Mexicans, and the GLBT community. I’ve seen them take over the Republican party in the middle of the country and they’re a mean, nasty bunch who believe that god’s on their side and that means anything can be justified.
Watching them taking over the last few states in the country that were still sending Rockefeller Republicans to congress is not good news for any of us. The palpable anger in these people is not something to be celebrated and because they are your neighbors and look so damned normal, you’d be surprised what they can get away with.
I understand that a number of frustrated independents and people whose lives now suck because of the last ten years ushered in by the likes of Rove and Axelrod are grabbing straws. These are not the straws to grab, folks. Historically, fascism has always worn a populist face. I’m still reminded of the great Elia Kazan movie starring wonderful Patricia Neal and the iconic Andy Griffith, A Face in the Crowd. (Oddly enough, it was even on TV late last night.) Hitler and Franco rode in on a wave of populism and patriotism and we know how all of that ended. Angry, desperate people do angry desperate things and there’s always a pretty face and a strong voice willing to lead them. The difference is that the masters of spin didn’t choose these puppets and therefore, are afraid they can’t control them.
The challenge is to focus the frustration into discourse and appeal for policy that really makes a difference in peoples’ lives. FDR came in at a time when both fascist and Marxist/Leninist groups were gaining a foothold in the country. Both can threaten a democratic republic like ours. Through his leadership, our democracy and our economy survived. What’s going on now to the folks in Washington? This is what happens when you listen to the donor class more than you listen to your voters. Have we now lost the ability to return the discourse to reason? Does this represent a fundamental change in character from the American gift of optimism to an age of relentless anger?
So, is the left really leading the return from rhetoric today? (Okay, I know you’re laughing.) Let’s examine the tone of discourse at Esquire Magazine that is obviously catering to Oborg. Read this interesting display given the events of 2 years ago. Let me bold some oddly familiar things.
O’Donnell is a creature of an age in which politics have no meaning beyond performance art. She is the Creature From The Green Room, with no apparent public career beyond being available whenever some teenage booker from the cable shows needed someone to say something reliably stupid. She is one of those people who’d show up at CNN with a waterbowl in her teeth if someone there blew a dog whistle.
Her resume is so thin as to be opaque, and a lot of it seems to be a lie. She seems to be something of a deadbeat, and “U.S. Senator” seems to be her idea of an entry-level position. This morning, she stands one step away from the job.
She is what politics produces when you divorce politics from government. She is what you get when you sell to the country that nothing government can do will help, and that the government is an alien thing, and that politics is nothing more than the active public display of impotent grievance.
She is what politics produces when you turn them into a game show and the coverage of them over to a generation of high-technology racetrack touts. She is what you get when political journalism reduces politics to numbers on a scoreboard, divorcing them from the real world consequences of what are increasingly seen as cute little eccentric decisions
No dear, this is what you get when you try to put a populist face on politicians with pretty faces and continue the K Street business of the District; freaking blowback. This is what happens when people tire of being played.
GOP Sen. Jim DeMint said his party is on track to become stronger ideologically with O’Donnell’s win over Castle.
Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who endorsed Tea Party favorite Christine O’Donnell in Delaware’s Republican Senate primary, said he’s content with the GOP staying in the minority if the party doesn’t stand for any principles.
DeMint’s party argued before O’Donnell’s victory that she could not win a general election in Delwarare, and polls suggest Democrat candidate Chris Coons will defeat O’Donnell in November.
But DeMint, the leader of the Senate Conservatives Fund, said the GOP was on track to being a stronger party ideologically with her victory.
“I don’t want the majority back if we don’t believe anything,” DeMint said on Fox News. “So I think if we want the numbers, if we want the majority, then we’re going to have to stand on some principles that the American people believe in.”
Mitt Romney–who is already taking measurements to replace that new oval office rug–is already smelling the glove and embracing the “Republican” nominees.
Well, if all else fails, blame it on PUMAs. Afterall, O’Donnell has a vagina.
So, maybe I believe that Karl Rove could’ve had an epiphany last night that this is what you get when you make Faustian bargains with devils to get your candidate in office. You can’t put the demons back into the Pandora’s box once you give them access to your party’s platform, a few offices, and the media as the electoral whips of your party.
We see this all the time with both political parties. Their establishment speaks what they want us to hear. To Democratic women: you’re uterus is safe with us. To the GLBT community who votes Democrat: We will back your civil rights issues and repeal DADT and DOMA! To the community of Immigrants and minorities: We will protect your civil liberties! To workers and unions: We’ll make sure that no one takes advantage of you! Then, they undercut those things under the stated purpose of compromise with themselves and each other and move forward to the next thing that pleases their donors.
I think this is the same thing. Establishment Republicans didn’t understand the bargain when they promised to make abortion illegal, homosexuality illegal, immigration legal and rare, remove affirmative action laws, support prayers in school and pass laws that support theocratic myth as science. They thought as long as it was an issue in Kansas, they could keep every one penned up in a manageable area. They never expected this to happen in Delaware and New Hampshire. But it has. This is what happens when you mislabel liberalism and conservatism. This is where saying and doing anything to get votes eventually leads. Every one gets angry and no one believes you any more. Now we get Progressives and Tea Partiers and who knows with what they actually identify.
This is what happens when you ignore your voters after you’ve made grandiose promises to them year after year after year. I don’t think it behooves Democrats to find any joy in this at all. It’s probably going to be their turn in November.
Or, as the great English poet, John Donne wrote: “Do not ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”