Karl Rove has been a destroyer of American institutions, a blasphemer of the public trust. There’ll be plenty of blame to go around when the Bush Junta finally leaves office, but Karl Rove will need to be singled out for special culpability. More than anyone, he was the architect for the destruction of American unity after 9/11–he saw an opportunity to demonize liberals as the appeasers of terrorists, and he went for the kill.
No, he didn’t invent negative sloganeering and political mudslinging. But he perfected the art of ad hominem whisper campaigning with a jujitsu technique that turned an opponent’s virtues into vices: Ann Richards as a lesbian, John McCain as mentally ill, John Kerry as a traitor. Yet Rove’s true perniciousness goes beyond even these Swift boat strategies.
Once Bush came into office, Rove envisioned the possibility of a permanent Republican majority, the greedy prospect of one-party rule throughout the nation. Continuing to serve as a political strategist now operating officially out of the White House, Rove demanded Party Loyalty Über Alles and supported only those candidates who shared that consolidated vision–and for a while he had Tom “The Hammer” DeLay enforce those stern directives among sitting members. But in his quest to turn all governance into a permanent campaign and to subject all fact-based reality to media spin, Rove forever debased whatever higher aims and aspirations for democratic and legal self-rule a people may hold for themselves. Rovean partisanship has completely preempted any official Republican exercise of national statespersonship that might run at times contrary to the party line. Unlike their courageous Watergate-era counterparts, Congressional Republicans today can’t be counted on to break ranks in order to condemn even the most egregious instances of the Bush administration’s violations of law. When party loyalty becomes more important than the rule of law, all is lost. The thugs have won. We, then, become a nation ruled by thuggery. Rove actually believes that, properly spun, might makes right. Woe to us if too many accede to his view.
Coordinating the outing of Valerie Plame in order to punish dissenters; turning over the coffers of government to K-Street lobbyists; hijacking the Department of Justice in order to manipulate elections; hijacking much of the rest of the federal bureaucracy in order to manipulate elections; eviscerating the notion of civil rights in order to manipulate elections; overseeing state gerrymandering in order to manipulate federal elections; replacing careerists with cronies wherever possible–these are Rove’s signature contributions to the American polity. They should be regarded–by all parties, that’s the point–as disgraceful. That some should think otherwise, namely that winning is the only thing in politics, is precisely why we need to call out Rove and Roveanism.
Far from Aristotle’s conception of politics as an ennobling endeavor, far from the Roman notion of serving the res publica, and far from the early American dedication to our commonweal and self-evident truths, Rove has sought to divide our country, citizen against citizen, group against group, party against party, all according to his dark and fearful vision of politics as war-by-other-means. Perhaps we cannot repair all of the damage he has inflicted on our public lives, but we can at least seek agreement on principle that no genuine end can justify such despicable means. Maybe we can still strike some compromise on politics as the art thereof, rather than descending into all-out Rovean domestic strife.
Daily Archives: July 6, 2007
I must apologize for not keeping up on the Rapture Index for a couple of weeks. First thing you know, the end of the world will be at hand and there you are, totally unprepared, no chance to cancel the newspaper, get somebody to take care of the cat, etc.
Well, it seems that God the Father Almighty who art in Heaven and judges the quick and the dead (with the help of his righthand halfman Jesus O. Nazareth) is a somewhat pleased with his mortal handiwork at this moment, as the Rapture Index is at a low point (less likely for all the good people to get disappeared), thanks to the “volcano” and “interest rate” categories. …who knew God was into interest rates? I mean, he must have paid off the mortgage on Heaven a long time ago, even if he had a 30-year loan, yes?
Well, it is definitely reassuring for us sinners (especially those that run Christian bookstores and those weekly choir and sermon shows) that the Rapture Index has fallen into safer territory. At 154, we can definitely breathe easier and not worry about our bottom line:
Rapture Index of 130 to 160: Heavy prophetic activity
Rapture Index above 160: Fasten your seat belts
I was wondering about Jerry Falwell. You know, he died recently. Is it possible that was the Rapture, and he was the only one good enough to be taken up? I will go into my secret closet, squint my eyes together very tightly, assume the diving posture, and whisper questions about this. If I hear any voices, and they have an answer, I’ll let you know next week.
Oh, a big PS: thanks to the Rapture Index Guy for finally aligning his categories with the numbers. I was perhaps a little harsh on him a couple weeks back for having a site with such a trashy appearance, while at the same time purporting to know the mind of God. My faith is restored.
PPS: Since the Rapture Index Guy is reading Over the Line, Smokey!, I’d like to send one question, about that “interest rate” category:
6. Interest Rates
The fluctuation of rates are what steers the economy. When people
make decisions in the market place, they’re unknowingly guided by
interest rates. The economy will generally move in the same direction
the interest rates move.
Could you maybe tie this in a little more tightly to the big picture? Preciate it…I’m otta here.
Glen Greenwald has an important post today, following up on a previous one. Really, it’s better than the original. He excerpts several opinions from others, including this, from Avedon Carol:
I’ve had the kind of conversations he’s talking about with people from both sides of the spectrum who don’t get this, but we were truly loved and admired, even by people who knew we were not always flawless, and now it’s a very different story — and it’s under the Bush regime that the story had changed.
And I know that some people on the left, including some of my readers, think it’s all to the good that our standing has been so reduced, but I honestly believe that we were an inspiration to other countries that really did try to follow the lead of our ideals and our attempts to live up to them. I’ve seen the way we were held up as an example — and I’ve seen the way the decline of our good example has been held up as “proof” that living up to those ideals is unnecessary. “After all, the Americans are doing it.” But it’s now gone beyond that; America has become another bad example, an object lesson on the infections of power and corruption.
We no longer have standing to criticize other governments that abuse their people; they laugh at the idea that a nation led by barbarians who launch unprovoked attacks on other countries and kidnap (and torture, and kill) people has any authority to lecture others on morality. No one even knows anymore what we mean by “democracy”, or what we are criticizing when we call other governments “corrupt” or “despotic”. We once had the power to influence other governments positively to expand freedoms; those days are gone. And I don’t think that’s a particularly good thing.