"Our Karl Rove is the blog you should be glad that Democratic strategists don't seem to listen to"
-- what they're saying on Republican blogs

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Republican Debate Showcases Republican Abate


By now, you've read all the conventional analysis surrounding the debates leading up to Super Duper Tuesday. But as you also know, this primary season has been anything but conventional.

To make sense of an unconventional political season, best to be armed with unconventional wisdom:

The Republican debate was a great exercise in opposition research. We learned a few important things about the presumptive front-runner John McCain that can be taken to the bank in the general election...

  1. John McCain is tragically out of step with the fundamental priorities of most Americans. He sees the struggle against radical Islamic extremism as the "transcendent issue of our time: a fundamental struggle between good and evil." McCain asserts that "everything we stand for and believe in is at stake here."

    Wow - how quickly old timers can get out of step with reality. It feels like 1991 all over again, replacing George H.W. Bush with John McCain. Seriously, John, is the U.S. vs. Al Qa'ida really the equivalent of good vs. evil in biblical proportions? Or could it possibly be that America is seen as a neo-empire that is trying to control the flow of oil by keeping bases on Arab soil, and manipulating the power equation in the region as we see fit to protect our interests, and not the interests of the Arab people? I'm not saying there's anything wrong with protecting American interests, but what I am saying is that protecting our interests doesn't make them evil (or us good), and it doesn't make the problem transcendent. Rather, the issue is fairly geo-political, and only relevant for as long as we don't have alternative energy sources to rely upon.

    In the end, John McCain drank the Neo-Con Kool-Aid and is now apparently drunk on the power and force of Islamic extremism (or, the power of the military industrial complex). It's a shame to hear an American leader of such prominence giving so much credibility to such a marginal faction. Yes, Al Qa'ida has been quite destructive, but more damage from 9/11 has come as a result of America's fear of Al Qa'ida than Al Qa'ida's actual attacks.

    If we are determined to throw all of our money, military resources, and energy at trying to find a couple thousand extremists around the world, then we risk looking and sounding like the crazy uncle who tears up his own house looking for his dentures.

    By putting this stake in the ground, John is implicitly handing over the economy, global warming, and healthcare over to the Democrats to be their transcendent issues. That's a lot of political stickiness to give your opponent! The only way John wins at this game is if America is attacked again this year. Quite a bet to wage.

  2. John McCain displayed a few instances of old-guy-reaching-for-words-he-couldn't-easily-find syndrome. Look, it's not nice to use ageism as a political tool, but if you don't want political straight talk, then don't come visit Our Karl Rove.

  3. McCain dismayingly tried to use Bush-like debating strategies as he tried to corner Romney in his supposed support for timetables. He failed miserably. After McCain's campaign tanked over the summer of 07 due to his adoption of a "Bush III" campaign strategy, I thought John learned that he simply can't pull off the assoholic Bush campaign style. Apparently, John hasn't fully shed his Bush advisers. He should. The shoe just doesn't fit.
I'll briefly entertain Romney's problems just in case he becomes the nom:
  1. Romney is Their John Kerry. Need I say more?
    OK, a couple more...
  2. Romney is a center-less super-pleaser who may be smart and a great guy, but is simply not a good national politician. He's not politically savvy, he doesn't communicate well in the symbolic realm, and he is politically uncomfortable in his own suit.
  3. Romney plays a true conservative on TV, but is too much of a smarty-pants to be a virulent southern-fried conservative that tends to win Republican elections. He's like George H.W. Bush meets Steve Forbes with some hair on top. Blech.
In the end, when contrasting the Democratic and Republican debates, the Democrats -- refreshingly -- appear to be the party of the politically savvy, smart, and in-touch candidates. John McCain and Mitt Romney certainly have their positive attributes, but their debate looked like amateur hour compared to the primmed and proper Dems the following night. Obama and Hillary really put on quite a show, and are demonstrating to America that Democrats once again are relevant at the executive level. Kudos.


Anonymous said...

Brilliant stuff, Karl. You should come on my podcast sometime.

Anonymous said...

I agree, but your view on the real reason AL Qeada attacked and our response (bases in Middle east, oil) is right out of ROn Paul's talking points. He is not well accepted, even if he is correct on this issue. I expect more from you on the symbolism of our forces fighting there for no good reason. How does one respond to the McCain line "whatever mistakes were made getting into Iraq, we are there now and we can't leave or it will turn into Afghanistan circa 2000."

Jon a.k.a. "Our Karl Rove" said...


Please contact me at jon@ourkarlrove.com to discuss podcasting opportunities.


Well, great point. I was not actually "messaging" the Iraq War rationale for Dems in that area -- I was actually just reciting the truth for the readers as a sort of rhetorical sigh.

There are other columns here that might better fulfill your expectations (i.e., http://ourkarlrove.blogspot.com/search?q=operation+iraqi)

But thanks for keeping me on my toes and expecting more out of me at every turn. Keep the heat on!


Anonymous said...

Did everyone see this headline?

"Senate passes spy bill and phone immunity"

Now is where I expect and demand a show of real leadership in the Democratic Party. We need to hear a clear position on this issue from our two presidential candidates! Any idea how to get this issue front and center on the campaign trail?