Monday, August 13, 2007
I don't think this is an event with any real significance and I think that he has been unfairly vilified by opponents. I don't doubt that he used the tactics he did and that he was every bit as ruthless as the blogosphere claims he was, but the impression one gets when reading about him is that he somehow created divisions in American society that were not previously there and is uniquely responsible for the rather chaotic nature of public opinion these days.
Andrew Sullivan, who's hatred of Rove is well documented and I think largely motivated by what he sees as Rove's exploitation of Christianists fear of gays, gives him a bit much credit in creating the current debacle.
Religion was already a poinson pill in American politics. It was not Rove who created this division. A segent of the population, the evangelicals, which is so fanatical and at odds with reality is not going to vote for Democrats. If Rove maybe marketed The Decider to them then it is a small sin and took no great Machiavellian genius to do. Hateful appeals to religious bigotry were made under Reagan, and hateful appeals to racism and resentment were made to Nixon's "silent majority." It is nothing new. Sullivan further blames him for a resurgent Al Qaeda and the catastrofucks in Iraq and Afghanistan. I don't have any clue how the White House political advisor is responsible for this. He didn't plan the wars and had nothing to do with their conduct. He may have marketed them to voters as the right strategy in the War on Terror but by this standard he is no more guilty for their failure than Tony Snow. Rove is the advisor who got the most unpopular president since Carter elected twice. But he is nothing more than a campaign manager. He had no and in policy formation. He was just a sales guy, a political pitch man. We don't blame Dick Morris for the fact that Clinton bombed a drug making plant that provided needed medication in Sudan, so why blame Rove for what Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, and Wolfowitz planned? Getting mad at Rove is akin to getting mad at defense lawyers for doing their job.