Monday, June 27, 2005

Rove Rove Rove Your Boat Gently Down The Stream

Always like to read what Andrew Sullivan has to say about Karl Rove:
Rove is a brutal operator. But to my mind, the hysterical attacks on Durbin and now this outburst (and the White House's subsequent endorsement of it) are an indication of some level of panic. We face at least three more grueling years of warfare in Iraq with our current troop level, and it's not at all clear that the public is prepared to go along with it, given the incremental progress we are making. Rove knows this. He also knows that the haphazard way in which the White House prepared for the war, its chronic under-manning of the occupation, its failure, as Abizaid conceded yesterday, to make any progress against the insurgency over the past six months despite the enormous psychological boost of the January election: all these have made the administration unable to really shift the blame. Rove's strategic decision to make social security reform the center-piece of the second term has also, shall we say, not gone according to plan. So what to do? You do what you always do. You create a scenario in which you cannot be out-demagogued. You deflect from the awful fall-out from the decision to exempt terror suspects from bans on cruel and inhumane treatment to a senator's analogy to the Gulag. And instead of leveling with the country about the real difficulty of the war we're in, acknowledging error and sketching a unifying vision for winning, you divide the country into good folk and "liberals" and hope it works as well as it always has. If you want to know how well the administration really believes the war is going, listen to their rhetoric. And start worrying.