Friday, August 17, 2007

Rove's legacy

In his August 14 op-ed piece in The New York Times, David Frum seems to me to have captured accurately what Karl Rove has mainly been about:
[Rove courted] carefully selected constituencies with poll-tested promises: tax cuts for traditional conservatives, the No Child Left Behind law for suburban moderates, prescription drugs for anxious seniors, open immigration for Hispanics, faith-based programs for evangelicals and Catholics.
      These programs often contradicted each other. How do you cut taxes and also create a big new prescription drug benefit? If the schools are failing to educate the nation's poor, how does it make sense to expand that population by opening the door to even more low-wage immigration?
      Instead of seeking solutions to national problems, "compassionate conservatism" started with slogans and went searching for problems to justify them. To what problem, exactly, was the faith-based initiative a solution?
      This was a politics of party-building and coalition-assembly. It was a politics that aimed at winning elections....
"Was"? According to Jim Rutenberg's New York Times report on August 13 of Rove's "interview with The Wall Street Journal, whose editorial page is a favored outlet for...*Bush and his aides," Rove said of his leaving Bush's employ "that he had no intention of getting involved in the 2008 presidential race"—except, of course, for an occasional oracular pronouncement:
In his exit interview today, which was with the editorial page editor of The Wall Street Journal, Paul Gigot...Rove had a parting shot for his political nemesis, telling Mr. Gigot that he believed Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton would be the Democratic nominee but called her a "tough, tenacious, fatally flawed candidate," and predicted a Repuplican victory in the 2008 presidential race. It is the sort of political boasting that had become...Rove's hallmark.
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* The ellipsis indicates the omission of "Mr.," a term of respect I cannot bring myself to use for these moral midgets, these loathsome liars.

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