Sunday, March 2, 2008

Karl Rove and That Old Black Magic

I was surfing channels during commercials on my favorite, CBS' Sunday Morning, (about the only thing the CBS News division hasn’t ruined since the Katie Couric era) news program when I heard Fox's excuse for a reporter and GOP shill, Chris Wallace, say Karl Rove will be on when they return from commercial, so I decided to stay. I find it amusing and entertaining to hear what Fox's version of Punch and Judy have to say, even if it is obviously scripted, biased and has no relation to the journalistic requirements of good news reporting.

As much as I despise Mr. Rove and what he has done to this country, you have to appreciate his cunning and guile, despite its evil intentions, but most importantly, the results. You might as well call him UPS because Rove delivers. Not packages, but elections. Karl Rove knows right-wing Republican politics down to the precinct level and knows what buttons to push on these people so that when he plays on the fears, greed and prejudice of Red State America it is like watching a concert violinist play a Stradivarius.

Roves' results are often so miraculous that it can be said that Rove is to Republican politics what Merlin was to sorcery, except with Rove he only practices the dark art of Black Magic. Rove demonstrated this dark art very effectively in the 2000 South Carolina Republican Primary (I know, a local S.C. official's fingerprints are on that piece of character assaination) much to John McCain's chagrin (i.e. false rumor McCain had a mulatto child out of wedlock) but you gotta think, who was doing the encouraging?

Wallace and Rove lived up to my expectations with a call and response "interview" that would make any Southern Baptist minister proud. Although a paid analyst for Fox, Rove wasted no time laying the foundation for the eventual Republican attempt to "Swift Boat" Obama come the general election.

Rove's blueprint: Treat Obama's words with seriousness. This is political spin doctor speak for take a statement out of context, emphasize a point that strikes an emotional chord with the public, create simplistic false choice and exploit the half-truth with righteous indignation.

But wait, Rove "needs a witness" and Wallace responds with all the timing of an enthusiastic, overweight, female parishioner shouting "Amen!". Fox shows a tightly edited excerpt from an Obama campaign speech which Rove goes on to take completely out of context and conflate. The now famous excerpt includes Obama taking McCain to task about there being no Al Qaeda in Iraq prior to the invasion, something Rove wouldn't publicly admit until after leaving the Bush Administration. The clip also shows Obama expounding on the effect the war and its $12 Billion a month price tag has had on the country. Thanks to the art of tight editing, Rove goes on to conflate Obama's remarks and create a false choice dichotomy that worked so well for GBW the last two elections.

Rove preaches to the choir that it doesn't matter who was right about the Iraq War initially, (like this has no bearing on a candidate's decision making ability on life and death issues of national importance), but rather we are there now and "Who you gonna call?" Ghostbusters! No, you're gonna choose McCain because according to Rove, Obama is going to immediately and unconditionally pull our troops out of Iraq, regardless of the conditions on the ground and revert back to the isolationist foreign policy pre-911. I can just picture in my mind millions of Red State Americans nodding their fat, red necks and murmuring through their overbites and buck teeth: "Yep, by God he's right!"

Two of the biggest problems with that little bit of linguistic and logical magic are that Obama never said that (timing of withdrawal depends on conditions but it is a policy decision for political leaders not Generals) and Rove's "analysis" implies that it was the Clinton Administration that was isolationist when in fact it was the foreign policy platform that GBW ran on (no Nation Building) and authored by none other than Rove. Hypocrisy, distortion and half-truths? Truth doesn't matter in the Rove art of Black Magic and besides, the American People don't pay attention, so he gets away with it.

Now, does the so-called journalist in the room point out any of the numerous lies and distortions of Mr. Rove? Of course not, Wallace, like a puppy on a choke collar just wags his little tail and encourages him on with big, loving, puppy dog eyes of admiration.

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