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Karl Rove, Herr Goebbels Would Be Proud of You
By David Podvin
The media has breathlessly informed America that the Clinton administration' s parting act was to vandalize the White House. Brandishing the story as their metaphor for what they see as eight years of smarmy, lowlife executive branch activity, they have triumphantly produced their coup de gras: The president who they view as having figuratively trashed the White House leaves by literally treating it like a backwoods Ozark outhouse. In case the point has been drawn too subtly, the conclusion that we as reasonable observers are expected to reach is, "Thank God those inbred hillbilly lowlifes are finally gone and that true royalty is resuming it's rightful place on the throne."
Somewhere, doubtlessly somewhere balmy, Joseph Goebbels is smiling. Karl Rove was born five years after Herr Goebbels' suicide, but he has carried on the tradition of acquiring and maintaining power through deceit and intimidation like a son devotedly maintaining the family tradition. Most people recoil when public figures are compared to Nazis, believing that such parallels are invariably exaggerated and slanderous. But this phony Clinton vandalism story is just the latest pogrom of the truth that Herr Rove has engineered.
Let's begin by presenting Rove's point of view. He was given the responsibility of somehow dragging into the presidency a man who is such an inarticulate, clueless mediocrity that the man's own nephew recently said it had never occurred to anyone in the family that he might become president. Stop and consider the magnitude of this statement; George W. Bush is the son of the former President of the United States, and no one in his own family ever considered the possibility that he might become president. W's former neighbor in Midland said that he was the last one on the block whom she thought might wind up staying in the White House. And he had stayed in the White House! Beginning to get the picture? So Rove was assigned the task of selling to America a product that tastes bad, but isn't good for you.
The first step was to defeat the truth at every turn. In the primaries, Bush was running against a war hero who was qualified to be president. Rove crafted what was ultimately the winning strategy - LIE. They lied about McCain's record. They lied about his wife being a junkie. In New York, they falsely accused him of being in favor of breast cancer. In South Carolina, they falsely accused him of hating white Southerners. In Wisconsin, they falsely accused him of hating Jesus Christ. They were so shameless in their deceit that they even falsely accused John McCain, who was a longtime guest at the Hanoi Hilton, of being pro-Viet Cong. They had the full faith and credit of Corporate America backing them, and they used those unlimited funds to defecate on McCain's reputation from sea to shining sea. You might have noticed that Senator McCain has emerged as Bush's biggest headache in Congress. He has good reason.
Next, it was on to Al Gore. Rove knew what the mainstream media didn't know - that, despite what the polls were showing at the time, in a honorable contest on the issues, his candidate would wind up playing John Wayne Bobbitt to Gore's Lorena. So Rove devised a plan to turn Al Gore into Pinocchio. The approach was simple - falsely accuse Gore of having a long history of lying (inventing the internet), falsely accuse Gore of lying anytime he made a misstatement (accompanying FEMA to view Texas fires), falsely accuse Gore of lying if he made a joke or facetious comment (his mother's singing of union lullabies), make up false statements and attribute them to Gore (confiscating all handguns), and have the entire right wing chorus of Republican elected officials, publications, and pundits play Johnny-One-Note on this theme ad nauseum. Now, for those of you who believe that the comparison to Goebbels is harsh, who is credited with inventing the Big Lie Technique?
When the election entered the Florida contest phase, Rove continued the homage to Hitler's Minister of Propaganda by escalating the intensity of the lying. And, not wanting to play Third Reich favorites and thereby slight Heinrich Himmler, Rove added the brownshirt-style riot that closed down the Miami-Dade recount. This effectively took the election out of the hands of the American people and placed it into the loving arms of the loyal Party members of the High Court, who then redefined democracy by ruling that American voters are not legally entitled to have their ballots counted. By this time, Rove had used surrogates to inform the country that the Vice President of the United States was not only a liar, but also a thief and a felon who hated the military.
That last one illustrates the beauty of Rove's brazen approach. Lie and then call your opponent a liar. Demand hand recounts where they favor you and then call your opponent a criminal for demanding hand recounts where they favor him. Go AWOL and then accuse your opponent of hating the military.
And if the past truly is prologue, vandalize and then scream that you have been vandalized. After all, it's straight from the same playbook that they' ve been using all along. In 1933, Hitler covertly set fire to the Reichstag and then, lacking any incriminating evidence, blamed his opponents and used the situation to gain political advantage. In 2001, the White House is "vandalized". There has been no incriminating evidence produced. Clinton has been blamed. And Rove has Bush trying to use the situation to gain legitimacy with the American people. W has made a big show of instructing his henchmen not to prosecute this crime-sans-evidence, thereby delivering on his pledge to give independent voters what they most crave: the end of the politics of personal destruction.
A promise made is a promise kept - even if it must be kept by refusing to use nonexistent evidence and declining to prosecute nonexistent crimes.
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