How’s The Kool-Aid?

Let it be said that most people realize that one of the greater flaws of the Bushites is that they drink their own Kool-Aid way too much.  But in the case of former Bush speechwriter turned WaPo op-ed columnist, he seems to have drowned himself in it.

While many Goppers, particularly those on the Hill, have remained curiously silent regarding Rove’s imminent departure from the White House, pundits such as Rush Limbaugh, and Bushite insiders have clamored over each other to fawn over the political operative who had made dirty tricks his signature move.

Today Gerson seeks not to be outdone:

But in several years as a colleague, I found Rove to be the most unusual political operative I have ever known; so exceptional he doesn’t belong in the category. His most passionate, obsessive love — after his wife — is American history. He visits its shrines and collects its scraps — carefully archived pictures of President William McKinley’s funeral, original ballots from the 1860 election. And from American history Rove knows: Events are not moved primarily by techniques; they are moved by ideas.

Rove’s main influence on the Republican Party has not been a series of tactical innovations but a series of strategic arguments. In this way, Rove is the opposite of a cynical political operator. He is not only a partisan for George W. Bush but the most serious, tireless advocate of Bushism.

First, Rove argues that Republicans win as activist reformers, in the tradition of Lincoln, McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. “We were founded as a reformist party,” he said in our conversation this week, “not to be against something, but to help the little guy get ahead.” The models he cites are 401(k)s and the mortgage interest deduction — government policies that encouraged individual wealth and ownership. Then Rove spent several minutes describing, with wonkish delight, the momentum and virtues of health savings accounts, a Bush-era innovation allowing individuals to save tax-free for routine medical expenses.

My fucking hero.

Kevin Drum aptly paints the claims of Rove as champion in the correct light:

Really? Rove is the opposite of a cynical political operator? His great passion is helping the little guy get ahead? And his evidence for this is….wait for it….the mortgage interest deduction and 401(k)s? In case you’re wondering, the first is an outgrowth of the generic interest deduction that was included in the very first income tax legislation nearly a century ago (and was originally aimed at businesses, not home mortgages) and the second is a program that was accidentally created in 1978 under a Democratic administration and then put into its current form by a benefits consultant with a nose for loopholes. The IRS under Reagan didn’t shoot down the idea, but that was about all they had to do with it.

This is Rove’s model for the Republican Party’s great activist tradition of helping the little guy? Two programs that that were (a) accidental, and (b) not proposed by Republicans in the first place? What’s the problem? Couldn’t he come up with any actual examples of Republicans helping the little guy?

Ah… right.  There’s the Rove I know.  All this really does is highlight what Rove REALLY was all about; dishonesty, misdirection, misinformation, and sometimes outright lying.  Until someone can explain to me how such tactics actually help the little guy as opposed to screw him over, can we please dispense with the deification?


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