Sunday, August 10, 2003

The evil genius of Karl Rove
Buzzflash and Horse both have pieces up that explain how Rove is behind the California recall and Arnold’s candidacy. They offer some interesting circumstantial evidence, but nothing really iron clad.

I don’t doubt that Rove was involved on some level. California is a big important state and he wouldn’t be doing his job if he ignored something like this. The recall also fits nicely with the pattern of Republican behavior over the last decade. As the party has moved right, they have shown more and more contempt for the norms of electoral democracy. The search for something—anything to impeach Clinton on was first, then the judicial coup to get the electoral count they wanted in 2000, the various out of season redistrictings this spring, and now this. None of these are technically illegal, but they all stink of bad-sportsmanship. However, I have two problems with the idea that Rove planned this business in all its particulars sometime last fall.

My first problem is why Arnold? Last year Rove and the rest of the Bush crowd might have had an attraction toward Arnold as a Republican who could beat Davis. But Arnold certainly isn’t their kind of Republican. Many movement Republicans consider Arnold a Democrat in Republican’s clothing, suspiciously close to the Kennedys, Hollywood, and all that is wrong with the world. So now, with the bar to getting a Republican elected significantly lowered, why wouldn’t Rove want someone who is going to be a stronger supporter of the Bush revolution? I can’t see that Arnold will be that much of an asset to their side.

My second problem is that I don’t think Rove is as clever as we are being sold. I’m frankly pretty tired of hearing Democrats sing Rove’s praises. He’s good at his job, but he isn’t infallible. This constant chorus from our side about what a formidable strategist Rove is, is starting to sound like we are getting our excuses in line to lose next year (yeah, we lost, but we were running against The Rove). If we expect to lose, we will lose. Rove is human; he has flaws (hubris leaps to mind along with short sightedness). He does make mistakes. If we look for them and pounce on every one; if we hound his every move and show no mercy, he can be beat.

Personally, I'm looking forward to seeing him have his ass handed to him.

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