The “Divisive” Karl Rove

I think that this is supposed to be a news story about Karl Rove’s resignation. But this belongs on the editorial page (and it’s unlikely that one would find it on the editorial page of the newspaper in which it appears):

Mr. Rove established himself as the political genius behind the rise of George W. Bush and the brief period of united Republican rule. But he did it largely through highly divisive policies and campaign tactics, such as the attacks on Democratic rival John Kerry [in] the 2004 campaign. That strategy appears finally to have backfired, as seen in the Republican loss of Congress in 2006, and Mr. Bush’s low poll numbers.

This is not facts. It’s extremely biased opinion. And in fact not just biased, but politically clueless. It is not just a viewing of recent history through a fun-house mirror–it is a rewriting of it.

Karl Rove “attacked” John Kerry? This is written as though Kerry ran a high-minded campaign, above the fray, ignoring the supposed mud slinging coming from the Bush campaign, putting forth reasoned, coherent policy positions that were drowned out in the public debate by the Bush noise and slander machine. As always, it was only George Bush and Karl Rove who were “divisive,” not the gentle, noble Democrats.

This is, of course, a description of the 2004 campaign that could come only from someone living on Bizarro World. It ignores all of the incessant Bush bashing from the Democrats, and Kerry, whose only message, and claim to the presidency (other than that he was a Vietnam war hero), was that he wouldn’t be George Bush. Every campaign speech, every policy paper emitting from the campaign was “Bush policies have been disastrous. If it’s a Bush policy, I’ll do the opposite.” There was rarely an actual specific policy proposal, and when there was, it was never without reference to Bush.

I also suspect that the reporter is conflating the actions of the Swift Boat Vets with Karl Rove’s campaign, though there was never any evidence of coordination, and the former had plenty of their own reasons to not want to see a President Kerry, which they stated many times. They may have “attacked” him, but they were up front about why they did so.

But no, in the minds of the MSM, it is George Bush who is the “divider,” not the Democrats and the left who have been vilifying him for over six years now as an election stealer, a warmonger, a chimpanzee, a torturer, a war criminal–despite his acquiescing to (in partnership with Ted Kennedy) much of the liberal political agenda, with an expansion of Medicare, federal control over education, a new amnesty for illegal immigrants, and a general expansion of government on almost all fronts. All of which was pushed by the evil mastermind, Karl Rove.

And the notion that it was Rove’s “divisive” campaign tactics that were the cause of the Republican loss of the Congress last year is an analysis so simplistic (and wrong) that it would be embarrassing to see it in a college newspaper, let alone the new crown jewel of Rupert Murdoch’s media empire.

To the degree that Karl Rove was responsible for the loss of Congress, it was because of the degree to which Bush had lost his base due to the (Rove-initiated) big-government and big-spending initiatives described above, and the frustration of the country with the poorly managed war in Iraq (which is not to say, of course, that the country wanted us to surrender, despite the Democrats’ fantasies).

If George Bush was the right-wing maniac of popular myth, he would never have hired Karl Rove, because Rove’s philosophy was to gain political power for Republicans by co-opting what he perceived to be the Democrats’ superficially appealing issues (taking some lessons from Bill Clinton and Dick Morris in “triangulation”). He thought that by making conservatism “compassionate,” he could repackage it to sell to the independents. But he underestimated the degree to which it would alienate the core base, particularly when he and Bush called them “bigots” and xenophobes because they simply wanted to see the law enforced fairly.

But no. In the mind of a liberal Democrat reporter (and no other type could have possibly written the quoted paragraph), only Republicans are “divisive.” And that “divisiveness” is the source of all evil in the country. If only the Republicans had been more bi-partisan (perhaps by embracing Maxine Waters and Dennis Kucinich in addition to Ted Kennedy?), they wouldn’t have lost the election last year.

Of course, the truly sad thing is that the Journal apparently has no editors who can catch such things, either. You’d think they’d have at least caught the missing preposition in the second sentence. Another demonstration of superiority of the vaunted layers of editors and fact checkers of the MSM over us lowly bloggers, I guess.

[Update in the afternoon]

Rove has a higher approval rating than Congress. But then, who doesn’t?