I’m sure anybody who reads this blog has already heard the news that President Bush’s top advisor for the last 14 years, Karl Rove, has resigned from his position as Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to the President. I can think of no man, save the President & Vice President, who has so much of an impact on politics in America than Karl Rove.
When I was in college, I understood why my department (and my degree) was simply termed “Politics”. In the 80’s, the College decided that the term “political science” was a misnomer – there is actually no science in politics, as you cannot use the same principles of science and the scientific method to predict and replicate repeatedly the circumstances leading to results in an election.
And somehow, if there was an exception to that, it would have been Karl Rove. He is a brilliant tactician – a man who really did see numbers and data and be able to extract themes and trends in that data. I’ve met a very limited number of people in my life who can do that.
And even fewer who can extrapolate that data, then turn it into action. And that was Karl Rove. And that’s why he was brilliant.
But sometimes things go too far. The 2004 election, the crowning achievement of the Bush election cycle – was an election of division. Rove knew, better than anybody else, that fear motivates better than hope. That hate would triumph over good-will. In 2002, 2004, and 2006, the Republican Party, with a platform and election strategy personally written by Karl Rove, used campaigns that tapped into the worst fears in people versus the hopes – who reduced the debate to the lowest common denominator rather than having an intelligent dialogue.
And it worked. And thus we had the Federal Marriage Amendment. We had a fight over embryonic stem-cell research in the Senate. More spending for war. More executive privilege and a reduction in our personal liberties & freedoms in the name of protecting the State.
2006 was a glimpse that, in the end, politics of fear and division cannot forever cover up corruption, mismanagement and the movement from the message of true conservatism – protection of life, liberty, and property (and happiness too).
So Karl Rove, I salute you for your impact on America. I respect you for your brilliant political mind and your shrewd capabilities. I just wish that you had used your talents to help bring America together without having to exclude others. You leave a broken and fractured Republican Party that now has to support 8 years of Bush campaign and governmental policy…and a Party that doesn’t know necessarily how to run campaigns that aren’t based around division.
Maybe this could be a sign of good things to come. I’m not holding my breath however.