Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Return of Rove

Wayne Slater has known Karl Rove for 20 years. As the author of Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential, he's not easily shocked by the Republican strategist's Gila-monstroid tactics. But even he's been blown away by Rove's latest political comeback.
At the GOP convention in St. Paul, Minnesota, Slater watched Rove address a delegation from South Carolina on John McCain's behalf. That would be the same South Carolina where Rove helped torpedo McCain's campaign in 2000 by reportedly spreading rumors that the candidate's adopted Bangladeshi daughter was actually his illegitimate black love child. Addressing the convention delegates, though, Rove acted like McCain's long-lost friend.
"Karl started talking in this emotional tone about how wonderful Cindy McCain was to adopt Bridget — eight years after he just took a machine gun to the guy," Slater says in an awed voice. "He's incredible."
He sure is. Ever since the nomination of Sarah Palin, Washington has been abuzz with rumors that Rove has been invited to help plot campaign strategy for McCain. His rise from the ashes is the scariest story of an already scary campaign season. Presidents come and go; they sit in a place where the law can still touch them, and they're subject to the vote once every four years. But Karl Rove is a revolutionary, a man who can't be stopped by anything except death and maybe — maybe — prison. Rove is trying to finish the work of Nixon and Bush: to achieve the supremacy of a peculiarly American form of Leninism, one that involves the drowning of the electoral process in idiot witch hunts and dirty tricks, the handing over of all policy to anyone with a dollar more than the next guy, and the total aggrandizement of incumbent power at the expense of an entire system of checks and balances. With Rove back in the mix, there's now a hell of a lot more at stake this November than there was when a batty, battle-scarred old poll-chaser like John McCain was the darkest figure on the ticket. Not to sound too alarmist, but Election Day now becomes a referendum on democracy itself.
More at Rolling Stone

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