Carol Platt Liebau: The Rove Interviews

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Rove Interviews

Here, the NY Times' Alessandra Stanley covers Karl Rove's appearance on the Sunday shows yesterday.

I didn't see Bob Schieffer's interview (although Stanley does amusingly characterize him as one "who conducts interviews on 'Face the Nation' on CBS as if they were chats over predinner drinks at the Metropolitan Club"). But the Chris Wallace and David Gregory discussions were notable in that they seemed to attribute to Rove the blame for the partisan divisions in this country.

Please. President Bush actually ran on a platform of being a "uniter, not a divider" in 2000. Remeber how he tried to pal around with Teddy Kennedy during his early days in The White House, and even gave Teddy his way on the No Child Left Behind legislation?

The "division" in this country surrounding the Bush presidency actually stems from the disputed election of 2000, and the Democrat/MSM willingness to try to convince Americans -- African Americans in particular -- that there was a systematic effort to disenfranchise certain segments of American voters.

Nor does the myth of bipartisan unity in the wake of 9/11 -- cruelly shattered by the evil Svengali in the Bush White House -- hold water. In the days before the United States launched strikes on Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, Democrat Senate minority leader Tom Daschle was complaining that not enough was being done to retaliate for the 9/11 attacks. Is that bipartisanship?

What's more, in the year after the 9/11 attacks, Democrats supported legislation that would have unionized the Department of Homeland Security -- putting partisan political advantage above national security. Yet for some reason, it wasn't that behavior that was faulted -- just Rove and Republican willingness to point it out in the 2002 elections.

And surely everyone remembers what happened by 2004, as soon as there were difficulties locating WMD in Iraq. The Democrats conveniently shed their "hawkish" wolf's clothing, and simply disclaimed any responsibility for authorizing, and indeed supporting, the war in Iraq. Now, to hear some of the war's erstwhile strong Democratic supporters, one would think that they had denounced the removal of Saddam Hussein all along, even as they have accused the Bush Administration of "tricking" the country into war. But again, apparently that kind of destructive political posturing somehow passes without comment in the MSM.

How strange that no one in the press characterizes all the behavior above as "divisive." Ultimately, Rove surely realized that the country was already divided, and crafted an electoral strategy that would take this sad but obvious fact into account.


Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

I disagree strongly with just about everything about this essay, and remind readers that it represents a minority point of view; the majority of commentators (not just the MSM, but most of the commentariat as well) are in agreement regarding Rove's role in increasing divisiveness.

For example, while it's true that Mr. Bush ran as a "uniter, not a divider", that phrase is now widely and sarcastically used to remind people just how dishonest Mr. Bush's campaign promises were.

Mr. Rove exemplifies a hardball style of politics. During the Republican primaries, it was Mr. Rove's vicious attacks on Mr. McCain that first attracted attention. The ugliness of those attacks raised eyebrows all across the political spectrum.

And the suggestion that Democrats are the source of the partisanship is manifestly absurd -- remember, the Democrats were the minority party. The Republicans could have anything they wanted. The Democrats even surrendered their filibuster power in the face of Republican threats. Mr. Bush should have been able to orchestrate huge changes in policy. But the Administration's political strategy -- presumably set by Mr. Rove -- emphasized total victory on all fronts, and countenanced zero compromise. The end result was that Mr. Bush's policy initiatives were stymied not by Democrats but by Republicans who refused to go as far as Mr. Bush insisted on going.

The irony of all this is twofold:

First, had Mr. Bush scaled back his expectations, and compromised more readily, he would have accomplished a great deal more. As it is, the record of the Bush Administration is quite thin on solid accomplishments.

Second, had Mr. Bush been more compromising, he would now be able to share the blame for the disastrous policies he embarked upon. But his "go it alone" attitude now leaves him and him alone with the legacy of the Administration's errors. The disaster in Iraq will always be laid at his feet.

10:28 AM  
Blogger Earth to Carol said...

As if Bush isn't a right-wing neocon nut, that only a small bunch of wackos (25%) could follow.

I recall the 2004 election get out the vote agenda being about saving marriages from gays & lesbians, and shooter Cheney keeping our children safe from bin Laden types who were planning to come to America to kill them. And of course like McCain, Rove characterized Kerry, who volunteered for Vietnam and recieved medals, as a coward and AWOL Bush as, the tough commander guy, the war president.

But behold the nation has become united, 75 percent disapprove of Bush's presidency.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

"...remember, the Democrats were the minority party. The Republicans could have anything they wanted. ..."

I guess that's why the Democrats are getting everything they want right now!

6:31 AM  
Blogger Chepe Noyon said...

Greg, the Democrats have the slimmest of majorities in the Senate; only Mr. Liebermann's support makes them the majority. So they can't invoke cloture and they can't close down Republican filibusters -- a fact that the Republicans are quite aware of and make use of.

And of course, there's always the Presidential veto, which has stymied much legislation, even that enjoying bipartisan support.

1:20 PM  
Blogger Greg said...

Yep, the oft-used Presidential veto. That's what has kept those otherwise heroic Democrats at bay.

Yea, that's the ticket.

5:42 AM  

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