Archive for the ‘Rove’ Category

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I Hate To Say This, But I Agree With Karl Rove

September 11, 2008

As an Obama supporter, I know it might seem a little unexpected for me to toss some praise in turd blossom’s direction, but what can I say?  Via memeorandum, I spotted this Rove op-ed in the WSJ: Obama Can’t Win
Against Palin

Money quote/bottom line:

It’s a matchup he’ll lose. If Mr. Obama wants to win, he needs to remember he’s running against John McCain for president, not Mrs. Palin for vice president.

To make his point, Rove proceeded to outline examples of failed presidential bids that featured this sort of disconnect.  He didn’t outline any bids that were successful with this kind of thing playing out (assuming there have been some), but I think he’s reading the current dynamic pretty accurately. 

My take?

Obama risks taking a step backwards with every comment that he makes about her, and this risk, for the most part, outweighs any reward.  As we’ve seen from the ridiculous “lipstick on a pig” faux controversy (that wasn’t even directed at Palin, but it’s one heck of a hint), there are going to be those who will be eager to mislead, spin and misconstrue any comment (no matter how poignant) and turn it into sexism or some sort of gaffe (as I predicted), and scream it loudly.  If that narrative gains traction, it’d be a hole that’d be tough to get out of, and a huge distraction from the message of the campaign.  Rove convincingly paints a trip down this path as a no-win scenario, but to expand on his point, Obama really shouldn’t have to go there anyway.  Presidential candidate vs. running mate doesn’t sound like the intuitive way it should work, and engaging in it in a manner that is in any way aggressive creates the impression that one is intimidated.   That isn’t exactly a way to dictate the tempo.

At first, I was going to suggest that Obama limit specific criticisms of Palin to those that can be confidently and clearly framed into the debate on what the selection itself says about McCain, but now I’m not so sure.  At this point, I’m beginning to think that the best way to counter whatever swell of support McCain has gained with Palin is probably to ignore her.   More specifically, Obama should craft the remainder of the campaign as if the rule of thumb was to pretend that she hasn’t been selected yet (as strange as it sounds on the surface).  Focus on McCain, and marginalize her my not giving her the dignity of a response to whatever she might throw.   Obama should ignore the bait, take the high road for the home stretch and count on Palin doing herself in as the interviews and debates move forward.

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

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First Rove, Then Gonzales

August 27, 2007

Is it just a coincidence that two of the most loyal Bushies in Bushville -both of whom are involved in the supposed non-scandal scandal of the firing of US attorneys- resigned within weeks of each other?

Hhhhhmmmmm…

via Raw Story: Fired attorney: Rove, Gonzales resignations ‘absolutely linked’

During an appearance on CNN, former US Attorney David Iglesias said Gonzales‘s resignation is “absolutely linked with Karl Rove leaving two weeks ago,” and speculated the two resigned “for the same reason”: Congressional investigators closing in on their suspected roles in the attorney-firing scandal.

I’ll admit that I haven’t been following the US attorney scandal very closely. Even for a seasoned Bush-basher, it’s hard to keep up with all shows in this circus.  On the surface, however, it’s pretty hard to overlook the timing of the two.

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Photos: Karl Rove and George W. Bush

August 15, 2007

A look back at the President and his closest aide

read more | digg story

Click for photos

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Karl Rove, Iraq War Marketer, To Resign

August 13, 2007

Well, everyone is talking about it, so I might as well post something too.  Rove is resigning.  My gut tells me that this is a sign that this is more about Bush’s hopeless lame duck status than anything else.  I’m sure Rove won’t be too far out of the game though.  He’s only a phone call away, after all.  There’s plenty he can do without having to physically be in the White House.

While perusing through the reaction on memeorandum, I came across an interesting Newsweek piece that reminds us just how influential Rove’s role has been in the topic of the decade:  The Architect and the War

In fact, Rove had already begun to shape the political environment to help make the war possible. That January, he had given an important speech to the Republican National Committee where he signaled that the White House planned to politicize the terrorism issue in the upcoming fall election campaign. “We can go to the country on this issue,” Rove said, because the American people “trust the Republican Party to do a better job of … protecting Americans.’’ In June, Rove prepared a PowerPoint slide for GOP donors on his strategy for the 2002 races. “Focus on war,” it read in part.

Rove, the political strategist first and foremost, saw all this as a political opportunity.  Exploiting 9/11 and the hard push to get the public behind an Iraq invasion wasn’t about what was good for America, this was about what was good for the Republican Party.  History will judge Rove and his band of salesmen on this, and I don’t think they’ll be too kind (I’m sure historians would kill to get their hands on that PowerPoint file, ’cause I know I’d be interested to see what it had on there).

OK, so how did he get the country behind this?

But it was still necessary to link Iraq to the public’s legitimate security fears–and there again Rove played a key part, just as the president wanted. That summer, the former White House chief of staff Andrew Card created the White House Iraq Group – a collection of senior advisers, including Rove, who met regularly in the Situation Room to craft a public relations strategy that would play up pieces of intelligence about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction and supposed connections to international terrorism.

It was this group that seized on reports that Iraq was rebuilding its nuclear program – reports that were highly disputed and the subject of significant internal debate–and then approved the memorable phrase crafted by chief speechwriter Michael Gerson: “Facing clear evidence of peril, we cannot wait for the final proof—the smoking gun— that could come in the form of a mushroom cloud.”

The imagery of the nuclear mushroom cloud become a centerpiece of the White House’s sales campaign, first leaked anonymously to The New York Times, repeated on Sunday talk shows and finally enshrined in a major speech by Bush that October.

This is modern marketing.  Lay out a plan in a PowerPoint presentation, come up with slogans, use the media   Now all one needs is to get the weak-kneed Democrats to start thinking about political expediency.

The rush to vote on a critical issue of war and peace troubled then-Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle. Why the rush? He pressed Bush at a Sept. 4, 2002, meeting. Daschle saw the hand of Rove—an attempt to box in Democrats and dare them to vote against a highly popular president on a big national-security issue. Vote against the resolution and Democrats would be hammered mercilessly by the White House during the election campaign for being “soft on terrorism,” just as Rove had suggested in his January speech.

“Daschle was right,” one former top White House official later told Corn and me in an interview for “Hubris.” The campaign calendar indeed drove the timing of the Iraq War vote. “The election was the anvil and the president was the hammer,” said the official, who declined to be identified publicly talking about internal matters.

The war resolution passed in mid-October 2002, right before the Congressional elections.  The rest is history.

Enjoy your retirement, Mr. Rove.

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Chickenhawks Exist…Theoretically

August 5, 2007

One of the most widely used and abused epithets in political discourse is the term “Chickenhawk“.  It’s most often used by those who are against the Iraq war as an ad hominem argument directed at those who are for it.  Here’s the wiki definition:

Chickenhawk (also chicken hawk and chicken-hawk) is a political epithet used in the United States to criticize a politician, bureaucrat, or commentator who strongly supports a war or other military action, but has never personally been in a war, especially if that person actively avoided military service when of draft age.

The term is meant to indicate that the person in question is cowardly or hypocritical for personally avoiding combat in the past while advocating that others go to war in the present. Generally, the implication is that “chickenhawks” lack the experience, judgment, or moral standing to make decisions about going to war. Often, there is a further connotation that “chickenhawks” falsely believe that their support for military action is a mark of personal courage analogous to actual combat, thereby demeaning those actually serving while elevating themselves.[1]

Or, an alternative definition:

Chickenhawk is “A person enthusiastic about war, provided someone else fights it; particularly when that enthusiasm is undimmed by personal experience with war; most emphatically when that lack of experience came in spite of ample opportunity in that person’s youth.”

The problem with the term is that it is fraught with logical fallacies, at least in the manner that it is commonly used.  In its ad hominem form, it is all too often wielded as a substitute for an actual argument, and is typically done in a knee-jerk fashion as slur more than anything else.  Usually, it points to bit of intellectual laziness on the part of the user.

However, I’m going to make take pieces of the above definition(s) and make the argument that chickenhawks are indeed among us, at least in theory.  After giving it some thought, here’s my definition:

Chickenhawk
A vocal or influential supporter of a war or conflict whose support is contingent upon the fact that they won’t have to sacrifice anything of significance personally (themselves, children, a close friend, etc.); someone whose public statements contradict their private sentiments based on that condition (for example, an exercise in partisanship); especially significant if one has also vocally expressed disdain for those who have voiced concerns about, or have spoken out against said war.

Unfortunately for the vast majority of the people out there who widely use the term, it is very hard to prove that someone fits this definition.  Pointing out that someone is for the war but has never served in the military or doesn’t enlist won’t cut it.  To prove that someone is a chickenhawk in this case would require some knowledge of a person’s private thoughts or conversations and knowing that they are contradictory to what they have said publicly.  For the definition, I put emphasis on “vocal or influential” to intentionally exclude those who simply express an opinion if asked.  “Vocal” in this case means a supporter who is making an effort to influence others (politicians, radio hosts, columnists, etc.), or, to a somewhat lesser extent,  someone whose arguments are being made public enough to possibly influence others (like bloggers).

Here are a couple hypothetical examples:

  • Karl “prepared for war” Rove actively discourages his son from joining the military.
  • Vocal war supporters suddenly change their tune or simply run for Canada if the draft were reinstated.
  • A politician’s support for war based primarily on political expediency.

You see, we don’t know what Rove tells his son privately, and we may never see a draft that would force the chickens to drop their tough guy masks.  It’s also safe to assume that a politician’s position may be different if they knew that someone close to them would be sent into harms way, but you’ll have a hard time proving that as well.

I think that everyone can agree, however, that there are probably plenty of people out there who would fit my definition.  The problem is, one can’t really use the term because we can’t positively ID most of them (especially complete strangers on the internet).  Also, what is unique about my definition, I suppose, is that prior military service doesn’t automatically disqualify someone.

So, if you know of a real chickenhawk in your personal life, don’t be afraid to call him on it if they question your patriotism for any anti-war rhetoric you might utter.  I think that’s fine.  After all, they’re phonies.  But the term is very hard to apply to someone that you do not know personally, so most of its usage on the internet should be avoided.

Previously in the Chamber: Is Andrew Rove “Prepared For War”?

And a blog of note:  Operation Yellow Elephant

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WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

May 25, 2007

I had an idea (strange, huh?). Originally I thought it would be neat to add political WordPress.com blogs in a special section of my blogroll, and create my own little community of amateur pundits that use the service. In a way, ALL WP.com bloggers are part of a community already, but I thought I’d start a club just for those who like to talk politics.

Most political bloggers will have blogs from other services in their blogroll.  Not everyone uses WP, after all.  There are advantages to staying within the community, however. One advantage would be ease of commenting. Once you’re logged in, you can hop from blog to blog without having to enter in tedious email info and quickly drop a comment (nice to have avatars too), and all discussions can easily be kept track of through the “my comments” section of our dashboards.  Another advantage: you don’t have to do a lot of work to ping these blogs.  All you have to do is link to a post, and it pings them immediately (leaving a pingback in the comments section).  With other blogs (or blog services), you may have to copy/paste trackback urls, and that can be a bit of a crap shoot.  It can work real slick for some blogs and not work at all for others (or at least I’ve discovered). Yet another advantage is how easy it is to search for tags within the community, but that is less special because services like technorati seem to be dialed into it as well. Anyway, you get the idea….

So, every so often, I’ll click on the WP ‘politics’ tag and check out what people are posting.  If I stumble upon a blog that I haven’t seen before, I’d just add it to the blogroll.  I’ve been adding a couple a week since I started it.  I’m sure there are more, so as time goes on this list will grow in my sidebar (under “wordpress political blogs”)

Then I started thinking. What if we formed some semi-formal alliance? A ‘club’ made up exclusively of WP.com political bloggers (right, left, and center) who could regularly exchange ideas and comment on others’ posts. So far I haven’t seen anything like that. Maybe it’s worth a shot?

I whipped up a ‘club’ button that we can put in the sidebar. You’ll have to forgive my photoshopping skills, but here goes:

wppoliblog1.jpg

If you want to add the button to your blog (it links back to this post), here is the code (with border):

<a href="https://chenzhen.wordpress.com/2007/05/25/wordpress-political-blogger-alliance"><img src="https://chenzhen.files.wordpress.com/2007/05/wppoliblog1.jpg&quot; alt="WordPress Political Blogger" /></a>

WordPress Political Blogger

…and without a border:

<a href="https://chenzhen.wordpress.com/2007/05/25/wordpress-political-blogger-alliance"><img border="0" src="https://chenzhen.files.wordpress.com/2007/05/wppoliblog1.jpg&quot; alt="WordPress Political Blogger" /></a>

WordPress Political Blogger

Update 11/2:  The alliance has become interactive!  The lowdown:

What I’m attemping to create here is a tool that we can use to make our blogs more lively and entertaining.  I’m not really forcing any obligations on anyone, so I don’t want you to get the impression that going along with this means that there’s going to be a whole list of expectations (beyond etiquette).  You don’t have to respond to every ping.   Just so you know.  

If you want to participate, there are just a few details…

  1. In order for this to work smoothly, everyone needs to create a page that can be pinged.  It took me about 2 min. to make mine: https://chenzhen.wordpress.com/wp-political-blogger-alliance/ .  And I need to know the link so that I can consolidate them, so just post it in that thread or respond in email once you’ve whipped it up.  That’s really the only requirement.  A handful of you already have done this, and the pings work beautifully.  The idea here is to compose a code that is easy to paste in your post that allows you to ping everyone in the alliance at the same time.*
  2. I don’t really like the idea of any one blogger “abusing” the tool by using it to try to dominate the discussion.  In other words, if you’re calling out and pinging the alliance 3 times a day it might get a little annoying.  Sure, it’s easy enough to just ignore such a thing, but nevertheless I think it would be akin to blog whoring just for the sake of blog whoring.  It’s kind of a fine line, and we’ll probably tweak the guidelines as we go forward, but for now I’ll stick with a rule of 1 per day max.  No minimums, since some of you might prefer to comment only.  And, it probably goes without saying, but we don’t want to double up on a topic either, so try to make sure that a story or headline hasn’t already had pings sent by someone else first.  If it has, and you’ve got your own unique analysis that you just spent like 2 hrs on, just link to that thread in your post instead.  We’ll see it.  Make sense?
  3. Be somewhat civilized.  This might be the hard part, ’cause a) there’s a very diverse crowd being pinged and b) it’s the internet.  In debate, you win by attacking the argument or idea, and you lose once you resort to attacking the person (there is a difference).  Keep that mindset, and we’ll be fine.  That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy a good blog war.  This will be a bit of a free-for-all, so I hope people are relatively thick-skinned when it comes to having  logic, facts, position, etc. challenged.  We’ll just have to see how this goes, cause I’m not sure if anyone has really tried anyting like this before. 
  4. This is about “politics”, so use the “politics” tag/category when you post, and only send the pings when you post about “politics”.  You might have a cool car, for example, but please don’t ping the whole group to show off the latest pics you just posted.  Also, consistent use of the “politics” tag in general means more views from the wider wordpress.com audience.

Luckily, it’s pretty easy as individuals to block urls and IP’s if #2 or 3 becomes a problem for someone.

* The up-to-date code can always be found in my sidebar (——>): 

Founder of the

WordPress Political Blog Alliance

WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance

Simply copy the “WordPress.com Political Blogger Alliance” and paste it at the bottom of your post. Once your post is published, it will send a ping back to everyone in the alliance.  Easy!

Update 11/4: A tag (category) specifically for the alliance:

WordPress Political Blogs

Create the “WordPress Political Blogs” category and add it to your alliance-oriented posts.  In2thefray and I have already added the RSS feed for this tag in our sidebars, so we can see the latest offerings right on our blogs:

RSS WP.com political blog alliance

Even better, if everyone uses the tag consistently, the above link will provide a great chronological record of the posts within the alliance. In addition, you will have a record of your own contributions to the alliance in your sidebar (assuming you have added the “categories” widget).  Remember to use “WordPress Political Blogs” exactly (alternate spellings and abbreviations will be a different tag, technically)

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Karl’s In Charge

April 24, 2007

Please forgive my semi-lame play on the title of an old ’80’s sitcom, but I’ll try my best to have it make sense.  I wanted today’s entry to be all about everyone’s favorite Bush administration figure, Karl Rove, as he seems to have a hard time staying out of the news lately:  Rove warns of threat of terrorism

In a question-and-answer period after his speech, Rove was asked whose idea it was to start a pre-emptive war.”

“I think it was Osama bin Laden’s,” Rove replied.

Someone on the Think Progress thread pretty much stated the response to this as I would have:

Actually Rove is right. Getting the US bogged down in a nasty guerrilla war in the heart of the Middle East is exactly what Bin Laden was after when he launched the 9/11 attack.

So the question becomes, why were Rove and the rest of the Bushies so eager to give Bin Laden what he wanted?

Comment by A Hermit — April 19, 2007 @ 3:15 pm

Now, it’s pretty easy to pick on Rove for silly comments like that, as it is just another example of the ridiculous spin that has come from this administration over the last 6 years.  If you’re really interested on why I agree with A. Hermit’s post, check out this thread in the fearbush forums. My real reason for this post has to do with Rove’s involvement with this A.G. Gonzales fiasco (called by some as a non-scandal scandal). First, a few pertinent links:

All this presents quite a few question marks, and an immediate impression that the administration may be covering something up here.  Although that might be true, I’m not convinced that it means that they are covering up anything improper or illegal, per se.  It has been noted by many that Bush is well within his right to fire attorneys at any time.  So…. why?

As you might expect, I have a theory…

What Rove’s conveniently missing emails and Gonzales’s abysmal memory are hiding has less to do with the firing of U.S. attorneys, and more to do with Rove’s power in general.   They’re covering up the uncomfortable revelation that Rove has been wielding more power and asserting more influence over our branches of government than his title of Deputy White House Chief of Staff would seem to imply.  In other words, it could very well be that when it comes to who’s really running things in the White House, Karl’s in charge. Unfortunately, considering the Bush administration’s terrible luck with finding documents (along with their secretive nature in general), we may never know for sure.

Update:  The L.A. Times is reporting that there will be investigations into Rove’s scheming: Low-key office launches high-profile inquiry (for the digg link, click here). 

The new investigation, which will examine the firing of at least one U.S. attorney, missing White House e-mails, and White House efforts to keep presidential appointees attuned to Republican political priorities, could create a substantial new problem for the Bush White House.

First, the inquiry comes from inside the administration, not from Democrats in Congress. Second, unlike the splintered inquiries being pressed on Capitol Hill, it is expected to be a unified investigation covering many facets of the political operation in which Rove played a leading part.

Hopefully they won’t run into too many missing documents or administration officials with preemptive alzheimer’s, but this is definitely something worth following up on. 

Others blogging the L.A. Times story:

The Blotter, Shakesville, TPMmuckraker, The Carpetbagger Report, Discourse.net, CANNONFIRE, NION, PoliBlog (TM), DownWithTyranny!, On Politics, CorrenteWire, Think Progress, Balloon Juice, AMERICAblog, TIME: Swampland, Tennessee Guerilla Women, The Heretik, The Agonist, Macsmind, Little Thom’s Blog, Prairie Weather, On Deadline and Liberal Values