Wanker Of The Day

August 17th, 2007at 11:52am Posted by Eli

The inimitable and apparently unshameable Michael Gerson:

…[Rove’s] background in direct mail, along with the experience he gained while converting Lyndon Johnson’s Texas into a Republican stronghold, has given him a comprehensive understanding of the technologies and trends of politics.

But in several years as a colleague, I found Rove to be the most unusual political operative I have ever known; so exceptional he doesn’t belong in the category. His most passionate, obsessive love — after his wife — is American history…. And from American history Rove knows: Events are not moved primarily by techniques; they are moved by ideas.

Rove’s main influence on the Republican Party has not been a series of tactical innovations but a series of strategic arguments. In this way, Rove is the opposite of a cynical political operator. He is not only a partisan for George W. Bush but the most serious, tireless advocate of Bushism.

Yep, you read that right: Karl is not a dirty trickster and manipulator, but a bold, big-picture visionary.

First, Rove argues that Republicans win as activist reformers, in the tradition of Lincoln, McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. “We were founded as a reformist party,” he said in our conversation this week, “not to be against something, but to help the little guy get ahead.”

My head just exploded.

The models he cites are 401(k)s and the mortgage interest deduction — government policies that encouraged individual wealth and ownership. Then Rove spent several minutes describing, with wonkish delight, the momentum and virtues of health savings accounts, a Bush-era innovation allowing individuals to save tax-free for routine medical expenses.

Hey, I think you left out bankruptcy reform, dude.

The activist use of government to help individuals get ahead may not sound controversial. Among Republicans, it is.

No it isn’t. They’re all opposed to it. The only disagreement is on how far to go in pretending otherwise.

Rove’s other two Brilliant Strategerical Ideas are that you can appeal to the base and reach out to the middle with stuff like the prescription drug benefit and immigration reform (yeah, those both worked out really well…); and that the GOP needs to reach out to minorities (or at least to socially conservative minority churchgoers who can be swayed by homophobia and faith-based initiative cash).

But the conclusion is the best part:

t is sometimes alleged that Rove’s arguments have not fully prevailed in the GOP — which is true. It is further alleged that these arguments have been discredited by events — which is not true. The complications of Iraq have obscured Rove’s victories, not undone them. And his key historical insight is unavoidable: Republicans win as conservative reformers.

Yes, that’s right: Karl Rove did not fail the Republican Party; the Republican Party failed Karl Rove.

Entry Filed under: Politics,Republicans,Rove,Wankers

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