Does anybody have a scorecard?

No, really, 1 AM is *precisely* the right time to contemplate these sorts of gambits.

By Moe Lane Posted in Comments (8) / Email this page » / Leave a comment »

Even if you blame him for the 2006 debacle (personally, I think that there's plenty of blame to go around, and I'm not excluding myself), you have to admit: Karl Rove is still good at one thing. To wit, causing journalists to tie themselves up in analytical knots. Prime example here:

Clinton may be a target of Rove's reverse psychology

Now, I'm not going to be clinical and call this paranoia, but like Dan Collins I see quite a bit that's The Princess Bride about the whole thing, and I suspect that after you read it, so will you.

But read on.

It's so hard to know where to excerpt. Here's some pared-down bits, but read the whole article:

WASHINGTON — Day after day last week, outgoing White House political strategist Karl Rove delivered slashing attacks on Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton...


Why did Rove, who often stays in the background, step forward to deliver such public attacks -- especially when the Democrats haven't begun to choose their presidential candidate for 2008 and when the general election is more than a year away?

The answer might seem obvious: Rove saw Clinton as a formidable opponent and wanted to get his licks in early.

For high-level campaign professionals like Rove, however, that kind of thinking may be too simple.


In this case, Rove's weeklong broadside against Clinton -- which he is expected to repeat in multiple appearances on television talk shows today -- looks suspiciously like an exercise in reverse psychology that his team employed three years ago when it was preparing for President Bush's reelection bid.

I'll summarize the next bit: the claim is that Karl Rove has sufficient telepathic control over Democratic Party primary voters that he can command their votes WITH THE POWER OF HIS MIND! through a judicious set of negative campaigning. Apparently, we - "we" being the GOP - decided that Senator John Edwards was the real threat in 2004, so we went after Senator John Kerry instead, thus stampeding Democratic voters into voting for the latter.

No, really. This was apparently all happening in the universe where John Edwards won primaries in more places than South Carolina and North Carolina, the nomination hadn't been sewn up by March of 2004, and Howard Dean never got a drop of good/bad ink the whole way through. Heck, aside from everything else I'm frankly amazed at the level of casual contempt that this theory shows towards the Democratic party's rank-and-file. I'm not entirely certain that I could get away with it here, and I'm on the Other Side.

Now, if you want to believe Matthew Dowd - the guy that claimed that the above was the strategy - over me, feel free; shoot, I'm this guy on the Internet, and he's somebody who was talking to Karl Rove all the time. I still think that it's all very Byzantine, and we don't actually do Byzantine all that well in this country, but opinions differ. What is still hysterical about all of this is that even with the man gone Karl Rove can engender these kinds of articles. The author's chasing his own tail on this one: maybe this is a plot to push Clinton as the nominee. Maybe this is a plot against Obama. Or Edwards. Maybe Rove is wrong to push Clinton onto an unsuspecting Democratic primary electorate. But the consensus is that Rove is still out there, plotting his next move against the forces of Good! Oh, yes, tricky and sly, that one. Going after the best-organized front runner in the polls. Just the obvious ploy that he knew that they knew that he knew that all y'all knew that they knew that I knew that you knew that they knew that he'd do!

And to cap it all off, in perfect lack of perceived irony:

Conservative activist Grover Norquist said that he doubted conservatives were trying to meddle in the Democratic primaries and that nobody on his side thinks that party's base would pay attention to Rove.

But he then adopted another device favored by political professionals, taking a position that could be read as straightforward or as carefully calculated.

"I want to run against Hillary Clinton because I think she's the easiest person to beat," Norquist said. "But she's by no means a pushover."

[Italics mine]

The only "device" here that I can see is that Mr. Norquist probably made that statement secure in the happy knowledge that everything would be done to it except accept it at face value.

Moe Lane

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Does anybody have a scorecard? 8 Comments (0 topical, 8 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

Donchajusluvit?! (shhhh...that's top secret political code!)

The rule is perfect: in all matters of opinion our adversaries are insane.

Mark Twain

ps 5!

I wish people wouldn't link to sites that require registration...

Over estimate the powers of their opponents.

Any party that allows itself to think that someone like Rove actually could have manipulated them into nominating Kerry in 2004 - - that's a party of losers.


Why are we buying into the media's little propaganda ploy? By referring to Hillary as "Clinton," as was no doubt requested by her spin doctors, we are allowing images of the beloved bubba to be conjured up instead of images of the less than beloved Ms Rodham.

Quite amusing really since she didn't add Clinton to her name until well into her first presidency.

to Clinton on the premise that Hillary has more positive name recognition than does Clinton. Since I read that (sorry, I don't remember exactly where, I think it was the Weekly Standard), I have made a note of the Blue pub vs Red and it seems to be true that most pro-HRC blurbs will typically refer to HRC as Hillary, while anyone who is not so warm to the idea of another Clinton stay in the White House (it took so doggoned long to scrub it up after they left the last time!) refers to her as either Clinton, or even worse, Mrs. Clinton.

And of course as we all know, a vote for Hillary is a vote for Bill. A veritable Clinton-anza for the good ol' US of A!

See what happens when you let the Lemonade Stand Party (LSP) have a seat at the grown-ups table? The conversation cannot help but degrade to the least common multiple. The great thing about this is that 'bastard' Rove is on the loose again. Who knows what zany hi-jinks he will cook up next?

" ... The Republicans say he's a genius, and we know we can't trust them, so logically we must conclude that he's an idiot.

Of course even an idiot knows that we'll slot anyone who doesn't think like us as a complete idiot. But knowing this, he would also know that since he knows that we know that he thinks the least like us, we would consider him the greatest of all idiots, thereby completely discounting his political strategies and putting us at the utmost disadvantage, which is pure genius.

But only an idiot would conclude that we can think that clearly for more than three consecutive sentences, so while he clearly wants us to think that he's a genius, this strategy is totally transparent and conclusively proves his total incompetence ... "

This reminds me of the old story about the college English majors hyper-analyzing poetry to determine the hidden meaning - sex, war, and gender conflict - only to be declared completely wrong by the poet. The poem really was about red birds and yellow leaves in the warm sun, dummies.

Rove's strategy is straightforward and is the same as Edwards, Obama, and any other non-front runner: bring down the front runner. Duh. Keep the churn going. Keep the primary from being a fait accompli. That way, Obama and Edwards continue to siphon off dollars and attention from one unified candidate.

Of course the best thing for us would be if Edwards wins the nomination but there's no chance of that...if you've read about some of the personality issues he has...turns out he's a careless jerk.

Consensus doesn't prove anything, in science or anywhere else, except in democracy, maybe. - Reid Bryson, speaking on Global Warming

Could Rove be auditioning (not that he needs to) for a lucrative election-year commentator gig?

Seems to me that he's stirred up quite a bit of talk, which is what any network thinking of hiring him would want.


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