Thursday, March 23, 2006

Karl Rove and the magicians of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

This photo of Karl Rove, with Senators Santorum and Allen in the foreground, accompanies a ridiculously superficial piece on possible White House personnel moves at The New York Times. The point, such as there is one: Things aren't going well in Bush's lamest of lame-duck presidencies. Bush has hinted there may soon be a high-level addition to his White House staff (names like Racicot, Evans, and Gillespie are out there). But will there be? And what would such an addition mean for Rove and Card?

Yadda. Yadda. Yadda.
Yadda. Yadda.
Yadda.

I tend to agree with our co-blogger Creature -- see his post on this at State of the Day.

But you know what's going on, don't you? This is how magicians work (and Rove is widely seen as the political magician par excellence). Their "magic" consists of being able to pull off a trick by diverting your attention to something that has nothing to do with the trick itself. Hence all this Beltway speculation of personnel moves. Do Americans really care? No. Only political junkies do. Only the most determined of White House watchers. And the White House, which faces nothing but bad news on a daily basis, must be quite happy that some of that media attention (and hence some of the public's attention) is being diverted away from all that bad news, much of it coming out of Iraq, not to mention the complete absence of a domestic agenda, Bush's ever-sinking approval ratings, and the sheer lame-duckness of this utter failure of a presidency.

Do you doubt that this is a strategy? Do you doubt that Bush wants us to talk about his staff instead of his incompetence, instead of the mess he's made? Then why would he even drop the bomb that he's thinking of adding someone? Whatever this White House's incompetence in terms of policy, it knows what it's doing in terms of communication. It knows how important the message is. It knows how easily our attention -- or, rather, the attention of our news media, the attention of Washington's chattering class -- can be manipulated.

Well, don't let them do it. If Bush adds a Racicot or a Gillespie, so what? It'll still be the presidency of George W. Bush. And that, my friends, has been nothing short of a disaster.

**********

On another note, here's a question for you: What do you think's going through Rove's mind here? (Go ahead, write your own bubble.) I'm actually hoping he's pondering how great an Allen-Santorum ticket would be in '08, jotting down all the pros and cons and already beginning to outline a campaign strategy. How great would that be? A presidential campaign of nothing but football metaphors and homophobia. I'm sure it's right up Rove's alley. And the base would love it.

Good times for the GOP.


(Also, look at their ties. Is green the new red? If so, could someone forward me the memo?)

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