Saturday, July 20, 2013
Move Over Karl Rove
During the years of the George W Bush Administration and even in the years since his resignation in 2007, one of those considered to be a political mastermind in this country was Senior Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove. Having gained the title courtesy of a 2004 Bush victory speech, Mr Rove still retains the nickname of "The Architect" for his work inside 'The Beltway', for his eight year protection of his boss, and in getting his candidate re-elected to a second term.
Of course during those years, Rove's behind the scene machinations were well served by some rather able representatives to the press. While Scott McClellan may not have been the best or most loyal of those press secretaries, he deserves at least a little credit for lasting as long as he did. Ari Fleischer, Tony Snow, and Dana Perino however; served the Administration (and the Rove strategies) exceptionally well. George Bush was, after all, far from the best of public speakers. Though not limited by a teleprompter and normally very sincere, he often need help in carrying the water of his message to those in the pressroom (or at least someone who could explain it coherently). With all due respect to Mr. Rove and those efforts of the past carried out by able representatives, there's someone far different behind the throne these days.
I'm speaking of course, of Valerie Jarrett, with her partner in crime David Axelrod. Never have two senior advisers been so mis-served by those in the inner circle and still been so successful. Oh I'm not talking about press secretaries Robert Gibbs and Jay Carney, who often seem to serve as little more than misplaced bobble head dolls too often used as punching bags by the press by comparison with their Republican predecessors. I'm talking about what have become either by accident or intent (and I believe the latter) a behind-the-scenes brain trust that's come up with some of the greatest political strategy misdirections of the 21st Century.
The unemployment rate remains unacceptably high, for unacceptably long and few notice. The pace of economic growth is being exceeded by that of stalactites in Mammoth Caverns and few seem to care. The Administration's signature legislation has had the opposite effect intended on the price of health care insurance and it goes largely unreported. The national debt reaches unprecedented heights and our foreign policy (and along with it, our national reputation) new depths, and both remain largely invisible to the electorate. In a remarkable bit or strategic thinking however, instead of attempting to feed the public a string of small but meaningless gains as were done in the previous Administration; the current President's minions have not only survived, but thrived on behalf of their leader by feeding the public a diet of disasters, scandals, and misdirection.
There's little doubt that the murder of the Libyan Ambassador and members of his staff are due to a serious failure in intelligence, a worse one in internal communication between the Defense and State Departments within the White House, and a pretty blatant attempt to sweep these egregious sins under the rug of a largely failing foreign policy. Those behind the scenes however are able to take these flawed raw materials and manufacture an inept 'Keystone Kops' investigation out of it all that fails to talk to eyewitnesses, interminably drags out Congressional investigations, and fails to lead to a single arrest. So successful are they in dragging the process of falsehood and failure that it moves from an attempted cover up to old news without ever being resolved. Brilliantly done!
The IRS moves from tax collector to liberal political activism just in time for a mid-term and national election. The powers that be deny the story until caught red-handed, then attempt to introduce it as a throw-away at an obscure press conference. When finally (and many would say belatedly) called to task by Congress that seems more intent on posturing than investigating, they blame it on low level workers until supervisor intervention is discovered. Ignoring this fact, their leader then calls it 'bad customer service' until this poor service begins to point to White House appointees in Washington. Meanwhile in that same White House, no one seems to know anything about it; but still they're able to issue statements that it can't be serious. In spite of apparently using the most powerful bureaucracy in the nation for political ends, they call for an end to the witch hunt unless or until the President's blood fingerprints can be found on a weapon. Those supposed to be in charge demand that the IRS investigate (audit) itself, but apparently don't instruct them that they should actually talk to anyone in the office involved. The Justice Department and FBI step in and repeats the process; but likewise seems to miss questioning anyone in the know. After months of the worst bit of misdirection since Abbott and Costello did "Who's on first?" (and probably the most successful), this too largely becomes old news to the general public. Oh well played!
Let's face it. Karl Rove may have been "The Architect", but his once magnificent efforts have been outclassed. Those in power behind the throne today are more like "The Demolitionist", and not only succeed in their tasks, but their scorched earth policies appear to leave little evidence in their wake. They've proved far more successful and effective in their destruction than Karl ever was in building behind the scenes, tossing out scandals and disasters on an almost weekly basis to obliterate their bosses tracks. (Or should I say, missteps?) And when they can't manufacture enough of either to maintain the proper level of diversion for the national attention, they successfully wade into existing ones having little to do with governance so as to make a bad situation worse for that purpose.
No offense Karl, you were good enough in your day, but even you have to recognize that there's some new sheriffs in town, and they've done so much more with so much less that we've all but forgotten you while we watch them 'MacGyver' each setback that comes their way. Make not mistake. You were good Karl, but they're just better. Sorry my friend, but it's time to move over, tip the cap, and pass the mantle Karl, you've been out-played by the new guys ...