Archive for ‘Karl Rove’

March 6, 2009

Karl Rove: ‘It Won’t Work’

A few days before CPAC, I learned that Karl Rove was following my Twitter feed, and the scary thing about that — even more than the possibility of Karl researching all the nasty crap I’ve said about him before we became BFFs — was that I might become “influential.” So imagine my horror when Jennifer Rubin blogged the latest Rove column:

Eloquent words and “spin” work better in a campaign than they do while governing. And as Mr. Obama is discovering, the laws of economics won’t change, even for him.

OK, here’s me, Feb. 15, at AmSpecBlog:

The fiscal fantasies of Hope are about to slam head-on into the economic realities of the bond market. Economic reality is an unmovable object, and liberals are about to discover that Hope is not an irresistible force.
Or, in fewer words: It Won’t Work.

No specialized knowledge or advanced education is needed to understand why Obamanomics won’t work. All you need is two eyes, a brain, and the common sense of common people. Ignore the polls. Ordinary Americans who are watching their hard-earned retirement savings evaporate in the stock-market meltdown caused by Obamanomics are beginning to realize that Hope is a poor substitute for basic economics.

As bad as the stock-market slide has been, try to imagine the crisis that could ensue if the bond market gets the jitters. Associated Press on Wednesday reported:

Analysts are anticipating that the Treasury Department on Thursday will announce plans [to] auction $60 billion in notes next week. The government has been issuing debt this year at a record pace to finance its bailouts.
So far, auctions have been met with solid demand. But investors have gotten warier about buying Treasurys, particularly long-term ones.

No sign yet of a doomsday scenario, but these massive deficit-spending schemes piled one atop each other are placing unprecedented pressure on capital markets already ratcheted drum-tight by the bursting of the housing bubble and related financial fallout. Obama’s budget is a fantasy, and while bonds tend to go up when stocks go down (people shifting capital from risk to security), we’re now on such shaky ground — fiscal, financial and monetary policy all going where no policies have gone before — that the future is beyond prediction, certainly for a mere amateur like me.

People are scared. People are angry. They’re “going Galt.” They’re planning a National Tea Party April 15.

Good-bye, Hope and Change. Hello, Fear and Loathing. When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.

(Cross-posted at AmSpecBlog.)

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December 12, 2008

Karl Rove & the road to GOP recovery

Karl Rove offered his plans for the Republican Party, and I made this criticism at AmSpecBlog:

My problem with Rove is that he was at the wheel when the GOP drove into the ditch, and to my mind that ought to disqualify him from telling everybody how to get out of the ditch.

So I’m not a Rove fan, OK? But then I see this response to Rove from Ron Chusid:

Republicans will have great difficulty winning a national election since their views are no longer in line with the majority of the country. . . .
Extremist views on social issues, along with a hostility towards science and reason, has led to educated, affluent voters switching to the Democrats. Similarly large percentages of young voters do not take the Republicans seriously. A party in which many members live in a fantasy world and promote views such as creationism is an anachronism in the 21st century.

That’s just atheistic bigotry, and as political analysis, it’s useless. Republicans did not lose the election because of creationism, and if Democrats want to presume that they now have a permanent majority on such a basis, I predict their majority will be remarkably short-lived.

And, for the love of God — excuse my invocation of the “fantasy world” — will people stop repeating this myth that Obama won because of “educated, affluent voters”? Look at the numbers: He got 73% of voters with annual incomes under $15,000, 60% of those earning $50,000 or less. His strongest educational cohort was high-school dropouts (63%).

Republicans need to get a grip, stop panicking, and apply some basic political common sense to their problem. In a series of American Spectator columns before and after the election, I’ve laid out several key points about the road to Republican recovery:

  • 1. Don’t blame yourself — Candidates win or lose elections. Good candidates win, bad candidates lose, and John McCain was a bad candidate.
  • 2. Don’t overthink it — Intellectuals like to depict politics as something so complex that only they can understand it, with “big picture” themes and demographic trends that don’t really translate into useful strategies. Ignore that crap.
  • 3. Libertarian populism — Widespread opposition to the Wall Street bailout demonstrates that free-market ideas can be presented in a populist context that draws broad support.
  • 4. The morality of markets — Don’t buy into the myth that libertarians and religious conservatives are natural enemies. There needs to be a concerted effort to persuade religious conservatives to understand why limited government and free markets are consonant with Christian belief.
  • 5. Future ex-Democrats — Many who voted for Obama will be disappointed at his failure to fulfill the Hope and bring about the Change he’s promised. Turning that disillusionment into opposition is the basic project the Republican Party must focus on.
  • 6. The Obama agenda won’t work — Republicans need to re-learn the skills of opposition that have been weakened by disuse during the Bush era. Being a conservative means, among other things, believing that liberalism is wrong. Obama is a liberal, Nancy Pelosi is a liberal, Harry Reid is a liberal. Therefore, every measure that Obama, Pelosi and Reid propose is wrong, and conservatives need to say so.

This isn’t brain surgery or rocket science, people. So why do we have 32 House Republicans voting for that stupid Detroit bailout? This gives Pelosi & Co. the patina of “bipartisanship” that undermines the conservative message. If the failure of the “Maverick” campaign taught any lesson, it should have taught Republicans that there is no safety in a “me too” strategy of bipartisan cooperation. The GOP is now the opposition, and its only hope for recovery is to maximize opposition to the Obama-Pelosi-Reid agenda.

Another vital step to recovery? Hit the tip jar!

UPDATE: Linked at Conservative Grapevine — and I’ve just learned that Amazon.com has eliminated its Honor System Payments, aka, the “tip jar.”

November 16, 2008

To hell with Karl Rove

If you’ve met Karl Rove — as I did earlier this year at George Washington University — you know what an impressive person he is. The guy has an authoritative manner, and can talk politics very fluently, citing all sorts of historical and demographic facts to bolster his case.

Yet that does not, and certainly ought not, empower Rove to dictate policy to conservatives. In fact, this blurring of politics and policy in the Bush administration (for which Rove was significantly responsible) is one of the major causes of Republican “brand damage.” Here is Rove in Newsweek:

Republicans must find a way to support secure borders, a guest-worker program and comprehensive immigration reform that strengthens citizenship, grows our economy and keeps America a welcoming nation. An anti-Hispanic attitude is suicidal. As the party of Lincoln, Republicans have a moral obligation to make our case to Hispanics, blacks and Asian-Americans who share our values. Whether we see gains in 2010 depends on it.

Why do we need liberals, when we have Karl Rove to push liberal propaganda?

  • Opposition to amnesty is not an “anti-Hispanic attitude,” and to hell with any Republican who repeats that liberal lie. Illegal aliens are not citizens, and non-citizens cannot vote, and if anyone — whatever their ethnic background — wants to vote for a party that supports lawbreaking and opposes sovereignty, the Democrats already own that vote.
  • Amnesty does not “strengthen citizenship,” and it is oxymoronic to suggest any such thing.
  • Amnesty is not necessary to “keep America a welcoming nation.” The United States now admits legally about 800,000 immigrants every year. Whether that is a good policy or not is an argument entirely separate from the question of what to do about the approximately 15 million illegal aliens in the country. What part of “illegal” don’t you understand, Karl?
  • As to the need to “grow our economy” . . . well, heckuva job, Karl. When unemployment was below 5 percent, the argument for turning a blind eye to illegals might have had some traction, but as the nation’s plummets into its worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, I’m thinking that’s not going to be such an easy sell.

Going back to February 2006, I remember the immigration panel at CPAC (a panel that included Mark Krikorian and Phyllis Schlafly) trying to explain that the administration’s support for amnesty was political poison. Yet the administration not only pushed amnesty in 2006, but even after being repudiated in the mid-term elections, came back and pushed again in 2007, then the GOP let the chief Senate sponsor of amnesty get the presidential nomination. And where were those Hispanic hordes stampeding to the polls to vote for Sen. Juan McAmnesty? Nowhere.

Transparent pandering on the wrong side of an issue is not a politically viable strategy for Republicans, since liberal Democrats can always outpander the GOP. If a majority of Hispanic voters are not supporting the Republican Party, the reasons have more to do with socioeconomic factors than with a monomaniacal support for amnesty among Hispanics. If the only way to get more Hispanic votes is to endorse subversive policies, then the GOP ought to be happy with the support of whatever minority of Hispanic voters oppose subversion.

Has it occurred to anyone — as it has apparently never occurred to Rove, Bush or McCain — that many law-abiding Hispanic citizens are insulted by politicians who pander to illegals? Certainly Puerto Ricans (born with U.S. citizenship) and Cubans (legal refugees and their descendants) have no personal stake in amnesty, and are undoubtedly troubled to hear Republicans like Rove insinuate that “Hispanic” and “illegal alien” are synonyms, so that to be anti-amnesty is to be anti-Hispanic.

Finally, Rove throws his appeal for amnesty into the same paragraph with the idea of appealing to black voters when — as anyone who bothers to talk to actual black people can easily discover — most black people are as outraged as anyone else over illegal immigration. People like Karl Rove apparently think black people are too stupid to catch the racist implications when Republicans go out of their way to praise the “family values” and “work ethic” of “law-abiding” illegals.

Message to Karl Rove: Just because you’re smart doesn’t mean other people are stupid.

UPDATE: Rusty says Karl Rove’s already been to hell. No, Rusty, you’re thinking of Scooter Libby.

UPDATE II: Both Donald Douglas and Steve in TN side with Rove, without addressing the central problem: On what basis does the GOP make an appeal to currently Democrat-leaning Hispanic voters that is consistent with conservative values? Where is the conservative issue that is going to make those Hispanics who are now voting 2-to-1 for Democrats reverse their preference?

Douglas accuses me of “stereotypical ignorance of Latinos” — heh!– and then references his own article arguing that “at least 20 percent of Latino voters are traditional conservatives with deep religious affiliations.” And the point is . . .?

The problem is not that Republicans are “blowing off” that 20% constituency, as Douglas says, rather it is the fact that the majority of Hispanics vote Democratic and always have. With all of his “strategery,” Rove never changed that. In his best year, 2004, Bush got 44% of the Hispanic vote. I haven’t done the math, but I’m betting that if you look at this year’s exit polls, calculate the effect if McCain had gotten that same 44% of Hispanic votes, Obama would still win by an Electoral College landslide.

Which is to say, Rove doesn’t have an answer to this problem, and the Hispanic vote does not actually explain why McCain lost the election. The real explanation, put simply, is that the Bush administration has made the Republican Party unpopular. Why is it that Karl Rove, who did so much to drive the GOP into this ditch, is trusted to tell the GOP how to get out of the ditch? It’s as if in the mid-’70s, Republicans were turning to H.R. Haldeman and John Erlichman for advice on how to recover from the Watergate scandal. Utter madness.

UPDATE III: Oh, you got to love this:

Luis Cortes, one of Time magazine’s 25 most influential American evangelicals and a strong Bush supporter, says immigration is the reason.
Today Cortes is coy when asked how he voted. He said the immigration issue shaped his vote. “Of course it did. But I’m not going to say anything else,” he said, then added, “I always vote in brown’s interest, meaning Latino people’s interest.”

Losing a pandering competition is worse than not pandering at all. Nobody respects a panderer.

November 12, 2008

Quote of the Day

“The electorate is malleable because there’s a lot of ignorance there.”
Mary, commenting at AmSpecBlog

Exactly, which is why I argue against overthinking the election. Good example of overthinking: John McCain lost Colorado, New Mexico and Nevada, three southwestern states with burgeoning Hispanic populations. The overthinkers will tell you that this was because of conservative opposition to amnesty for illegal immigrants, and that therefore Republicans must endorse amnesty to “reach out” to Hispanic voters. Facts and logic, however, are on the other side of the argument:

  • John McCain was the leading Republican advocate of amnesty, and there is no evidence that this produced any net electoral advantage for him.
  • Ronald Reagan signed the 1986 amnesty, but once the amnestied illegals became citizens and began voting, they went 2-to-1 for Democrats.
  • If you look at the exit polls (for example, in Nevada) you find that not only did Hispanics vote 3-to-1 against amnesty-supporter McCain, but that he got only an 8-point majority (53%-45%) among whites.
  • McCain almost certainly lost more white votes because he supported amnesty than he gained among Hispanics.
  • Because white voters are still a majority of the electorate (e.g., 69% in Nevada), it would make more sense for Republicans to seek increased support among white voters than to try to gain Hispanic votes by pandering on amnesty.

Illegals are not citizens and can’t vote. Hispanics who are legal citizens may or may not support amnesty for illegals, but it is likely that Hispanics disproportionately support Democrats for reasons that have nothing to do with immigration enforcement.

Karl Rove will always tell you that Bush, in his elections as governor of Texas, succeeded because of his support among Hispanics. What Rove never explains (and may not even realize) is that:

  • Hispanic Republicans in Texas are mostly old-settlement Tex-Mex — people whose ancestors have lived in the U.S. for generations, in some cases even before Texas statehood. You’re talking about “Bubba Rodriguez” and “Heather Lopez” types, OK? They are thoroughly assimilated, middle class, fluent in English and, notwithstanding their Hispanic surnames, are as American as apple pie. To use the Republican votes of these Tex-Mex as an argument for amnesty is absurd.
  • Bush won election and re-election in Texas at a time (1994-98) when the tone-deaf liberalism of the Clinton administration was driving millions of white middle- and working-class voters away from the Democratic Party. The real secret of Bush’s success in Texas was that he increased the Republican share of the white vote. In his 2004 presidential re-election, for example, Bush got 74% of the white vote in Texas. If McCain had got 74% of the white vote in Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico, he would would carried those states.
  • Whatever the success of Bush in Texas, at a national level, he never got a majority of the Hispanic vote — getting just 44% in 2004. Keep in mind that many of those Hispanic Republican voters are Puerto Ricans (born with U.S. citizenship) and Cuban-Americans (welcomed as refugees from communism since 1959) who either aren’t interested in the amnesty issue or else actually oppose amnesty for the same reasons other Americans oppose amnesty.

The trends in Hispanic voting patterns since the 1986 amnesty show no net political benefit for the Republican Party as a result of that amnesty. Instead, by amnestying about 2 million illegals in 1986, policy-makers signaled a lack of seriousness about border enforcement, which encouraged more illegals to come.

It is clear that our current immigration policy is a failure, which shouldn’t be a surprise, because it was authored by Ted Kennedy in 1965. But rather than advocate sound policy, the Republican overthinkers echo liberal demands for amnesty and accuse their conservative opponents of bigotry. To argue that John McCain lost the election because Republicans didn’t pander enough to Hispanics — well, as George Orwell said, “One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool.”

October 9, 2008

Karl Rove and a certain river in Egypt

Pumping sunshine up Republican skirts:

What about swing voters? There are probably more undecided and persuadable voters open to switching their choice than in any election since 1968. . . .
To win, Mr. McCain must demonstrate he stands for responsible conservative change, while portraying Mr. Obama as an out-of-the-mainstream liberal not ready to be president.

Let’s inject some cold reality into this scenario:

You can cherry-pick more favorable national poll results for Maverick, but none of them show him winning, and let’s try some recent battleground state polls, shall we?

Again, you can cherry-pick and find other polls where Maverick is doing better in some of these states, but it takes a pathological level of optimism to draw a map that gives him the 270 Electoral College votes necessary to win. It’s a sort of delusion that psychologists call “magical thinking” — if you want it bad enough, you can will it into existence — and it’s symptomatic of severe psychoses like paranoid schizophrenia.

Karl Rove doesn’t believe this crap he’s shoveling. He knows as well as anyone that this election is over. When Maverick called off his campaign to push the bailout Sept. 24, he blew it. When his campaign pulled out of Michigan, it was an admission that the harebrained stunt had failed. We’ve already had three out of four debates. In the last Gallup daily tracking poll before the first debate Sept. 26, Obama led by 3 points. Now he leads by 11: The more voters see of John McCain, the more they favor Barack Obama.

Rove is just a cynic, exploiting the magical-thinking delusions of Republicans who desperately want to believe that victory is still possible. False hope is bad for your mental health.

September 16, 2008

Grow the hell up!

What’s with this puerile protest crap?

Karl Rove, the former Deputy Chief of Staff and senior advisor to President George W. Bush, discussed presidential candidates John McCain and Barack Obama and gave his take on the legacy of the current president [in Claremont, Calif.].
But hundreds of protesters greeted Rove before, during and after his speech.
When Rove tried to leave the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum, at least two people and possibly a third claimed they were pepper sprayed while campus officials said they were not.
A bomb threat was also determined to be unfounded, campus officials added.
Rove’s speech took place from 6:45 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday inside the Claremont McKenna College Athenaeum at 385 8th St.

This was approximately the same situation Rove faced at George Washington University in March. Bill Clinton’s chief strategist, James Carville, can go give a speech anywhere in America without requiring additional security. Republicans hate Carville, but they’ve got better things to do than to engage in childish protest stunts.

The Left has it in their heads that the ’60s never ended, and that their Complete Moral Authority justifies any idiotic protest they care to organize. I saw this idiocy at the DNC in Denver and was just amazed. The logic — if it can be called “logic” — seems to be: “There’s a Republican in the White House and a war on . . . Kent State! Kent State!”

It’s childish and self-defeating. It doesn’t change minds. Your third-rate imitations of hippie rituals from 40 years ago don’t impress anyone, and don’t win you new allies. It attracts to your cause dimwits and the deranged — who else would want to participate in such embarrassing theatrics?

Ditto for trying to shout down David Freddoso and anyone else who dares to disagree with your pet narratives. Ditto for “Kill Michelle Malkin.” Rational people don’t want to associate themselves with paranoid anarchist lunatics. If your goal is to elect more Republicans, just keep it up, freaks.

UPDATE: Linked by the Claremont Conservative, which has a report on the protests. The student who wrote the report is named Charles Johnson. Dude, what an awesome name for a blogger!