/* Am I A Pundit Now?: Karl Rove, Machiavellian Master

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Karl Rove, Machiavellian Master

I can't help but think that Karl Rove's assault on pacifist liberals was some kind of watershed moment in American politics.

This is how it was supposed to play out, I think: Dick Durbin makes an appalling analogy of Gitmo guards to the Khmer Rouge, which raises a negative firestorm against him, and greatly embarasses the Democrats. The Democrats, eager to even the score and not fall too far behind in the 'who sucks now' race, jump on Karl Rove's statements.

The American public was supposed to have risen up en masse to insist upon an apology from Rove, and failing that, his resignation. It was supposed to be the 'gotcha' that erased the stain that Durbin put on the Democrats.

The script did not play out that way however. Far from feeling cowed into insisting upon a Rove apology, the Republicans are feeling their strength. It has given the Republicans an opportunity to highlight the egregious national security weaknesses of the Democrats. It has given the Republicans an excuse they have not really had before to catalog the myriad reasons why Americans do not entrust their security to the Leftists. Not only have the Democrats not erased their Durbin problem, it has grown. And Democrats now look wimpier than ever, still calling for an apology and getting derisive laughter in return. 'Apologize for what?' comes the retort, 'Rove was right!'

And now I think this is some kind of watershed moment because the Democrats, smugly expecting their apology in due course, now have half of the nation pointing at them saying 'these things about you are true.' And notice how few Democrats are defending their pacifism. I thought they were proud of their anti-war and anti-violence stance. They can't have it both ways: they want to be perceived as both tough and soft, and it just cannot be so. From now on, the Democrats will have to meekly accept that they are soft, because their protestations to the contrary fly in the face of far too much contrary evidence.

Can Karl Rove really be this smart? I have said that if Karl Rove is responsible for half of the things he has been credited for, he is a Machiavellian Master of the first order. It took guts to get up there and rail against liberal weaknesses in such a direct way while the Democrats were still smarting after Durbin's smackdown. It could have easily blown up in Rove's face. And yet, there it is. If Rove sought to compound outrage at Durbin into outrage at the entire Democratic party, his gamble succeeded beyond his dreams.

3:33 PM | | |