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"It is better to be drunk with loss and to beat the ground, than to let the deeper things gradually escape."

- I. Compton-Burnett, letter to Francis King (1969)

"Cynical realism – it is the intelligent man’s best excuse for doing nothing in an intolerable situation."

- Aldous Huxley, "Time Must Have a Stop"

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Monday, 27 June 2005

Topic: Dissent

What’s Up: Who Will Say What?

Last week Karl Rove - the president's chief political advisor, life-long friend, and right-hand man - said this in a speech in New York - "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." What else he said and the fallout from it all was discussed on June 26th in Just Above Sunset in Spin City, with a note that this seems to be part of a larger public relations offensive in Effective Response to Disappointing Numbers.

Something is up.

Rove's comments created a firestorm of anger from a whole lot of New Yorkers, and from the slightly less than half of the country who voted for the other guy in the last round. It seems they didn't like being called cowards and wimps - and traitors on the side of the nation's enemies.

Was this a mistake, or carefully planned as a way to suggest disagreement and questions are tantamount to treason? Or what?

Tuesday night the president will address the nation on how things are going with our war, and we will see if he piggybacks on Rove's comments, or tries for moderation or unity, or announces something no one expects.

Our columnist Bob Patterson, who writes for us as the World's Laziest Journalist and The Book Wrangler, has some thoughts -
Karl Rove is to politics as a Grand Master is to chess. This cannot be an error or lapse of judgment. He has done this stunt for a reason.


Booby traps work best when you rush into them.

The Democrats are rushing into reminding the world about how they stood shoulder to shoulder with Bush after 9/11.

What would happen if on Tuesday night Bush calls for a renewal of the draft and asks the Democrats to support his call for a renewal of the draft?

Rove isn't dumb. This is a deliberate provocation. He's up to something.

I say it will be a call for renewal of the draft Tuesday night.

I could be wrong, but that's my call.

Rove "has done the stunt for a reason." Is it a booby trap?
It seems to me that if you want to imagine a set-up, imagine this:

Given: The war is going badly and things are generally spinning out of control, and Rove, no fool, sees the political problem with that. As we nearly two thousand of our guys (and gals) dead and more ten thousand maimed or brain-damaged vegetables, or both, this just looks bad. How to make sure that all the dead and crippled don't much impact unquestioning support for Bush and his successors? Given the net and everything else, you cannot really shut down the news. It got too diffused - no one has enough fingers for that dike. So?

Step One: Keep hammering on the idea your side is manly and warlike and really, really, really wants this thing to work - and the other side just doesn't. They're just women. Yes, the facts don't support the idea, but keep saying it again and again until folks are numbed to the idea and, hearing it for the ten-thousandth time, shrug and say "whatever."

Step Two: Pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan late this year or by the middle of 2006, completely, and let those sad places disintegrate, and let the ensuing mess - oil disruptions and regional wars, and the economy destroyed - play itself out.

Step Three: Sadly say you didn't want to do that and, yes, things are a bigger mess than ever before, but what can you do when the women on the other side seduced the nation with all this talk of diplomacy and cooperation and understanding?

Step Four: Suggest the only solution, now that things are so much worse, is eschewing this "female view" - diplomacy and cooperation and understanding - and let the realists, the real men, do things right.

Result? Win all future election in landslides.

A return to a "drafted" Army isn't on the table. That would just piss off people. My scenario works better.

But I bet on nothing. What do I know? As Dennis Miller would say, "I could be wrong."

Rick, the News Guy in Atlanta, points out some problems -
Yes, but why do they need to win in a landslide when they can still claim having "capital" to spend from winning in a squeaker, which is really a much easier way to win?

I mean, appealing to the broad spectrum of the American electorate can only be achieved in a way that would turn off the religious base, and also runs the risk of losing to someone else who does a better job of it, whereas appealing to the evangelicals - something the other side couldn't do anyway - means having a highly motivated bunch of volunteers working for you, and who are also just enough in number to put you over the top!

And even if they're not? You can always try Plan B: Cheat! After all, it's a lot easier to win a squeaker by cheating than a landslide.

But there's one more possible motive to keep in mind, and that is that, even as Bush cannot run again, Rove's career is not necessarily over after this presidential term ends. Is he working on 2006? Is he setting himself up for another candidate in 2008?

I don't know, but I assume time will answer those questions.
Yes, I failed to consider how important martyrdom is to the conservative side - and landslides are not what you want. It's hard to be "the oppressed but righteous and feisty minority" when everyone and their gay brother votes for you. Heck, I even wrote about it once - July 18, 2004 - The Importance of Martyrdom to the Conservative Movement - so what was I thinking? Heck, that item was even cited over at "Conservative Think."

As for cheating? They would do that? Really?

Most likely Tuesday night's Bush speech will be more of the "your government doesn't make mistakes" line, with the usual who-do-you-trust and stay-the-course embellishments. No more. I wonder if Social Security reform will come up in the talk. Maybe. Oil just hit sixty dollars a barrel and is rising steadily. Mention of that? Probably not.

Preparing for ennui seems appropriate. Scotch seems appropriate.

The gay conservative essayist Andrew Sullivan hopes for a big announcement - a resignation -
One way to help rebuild confidence would be to dismiss the architect of the war: Rumsfeld himself. He's proven himself useless in gauging the necessary troop levels, he has presided over the worst PR debacle for the military since My Lai, his recruitment targets aren't being met and he blames the military for decisions that were and are his to make. I love the man personally. But he's got to go. It's very hard to have confidence on our strategy with him still in charge of it.
That seems unlikely.

Of course, Bush could come out of the closet and reveal his affair with Rove - there's a reason he calls Rove "turd blossom" of course. Maybe Bush will reveal he's really an alien from the planet Clorox II. Maybe….

We shall see.

Posted by Alan at 18:56 PDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: Monday, 27 June 2005 19:08 PDT home

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