Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Karl Rove and Us

If politics is the process by which groups of people make decisions, Karl Rove is the end of politics.

If decision implies deliberative process, a weighing of facts and assertions, and politics a more or less orderly rendering of the verdict of the group in a way that can more or less be verified, Karl Rove is the antithesis of politics.

Rove’s method involves none of these. It subordinates the will of the group to the desires of the cabal; it replaces deliberative decision making--clean elections--with illusion.

Thus, Rove’s achievement amounts to demonstrating that a populace can be manipulated and a president installed by means of deceit, fraud, and intimidation. Wow.

This is genius? This, in the words of Faux News’ Fred Barnes, is the "greatest political mind of the century”? Well, I guess it would be, to Faux News.

Rove isn’t even original. He’s ripped-off con. Karl Rove is to great political minds what Velveeta is to cheese.

It is obvious that Rove has appropriated Machiavelli’s political pragmatics--“the end justifies the means.” Not so obvious is that, in so doing, he and his little prince have very nearly displaced our cherished representative democracy with Machiavelli’s autocracy (now known as “the unitary executive”) and have replaced the one end that, to Machiavelli, justifies any means--the health and stability of the State--with permanent GOP hegemony and plutocracy.

And what are Rove’s equally obvious means, his methods? They are straight out of Goebbels' playbook: the use of propaganda (lies, big lies, and insinuations) and the willingness to play to our worst tendencies--racism, xenophobia, paranoia, and craven terror--in order to achieve a very nasty hidden agenda.

While we slept, Karl Rove, even more flagrantly than GOP operatives Haldeman, Mitchell, Segretti, Dolan, and Atwater before him, has transformed the keystone of substantive democracy--clean electioneering--into the gauzy dream of fools and losers. Haldeman and Mitchell, and their prince, paid the appropriate price. Today's Americans fail to note this at our peril.