The situation with Rove is particularly delicious. This is someone who foisted upon the world the eight-year presidency of George W. Bush, a man who couldn’t speak English, didn’t read books or newspapers, and won his second term via the political version of an Inspector Clouseau routine, rallying middle America behind an enraged invasion of the wrong country in retaliation for 9/11.
For a political adviser, getting a blockhead like Bush elected president not once but twice was a major accomplishment. It’s the sort of thing that impresses industry insiders, the same way PR professionals genuinely admire the job Burson-Marsteller did hushing up the Bhopal disaster for Union Carbide, or whitewashing Indonesia’s image after the East Timor massacre.
As such the “Turd Blossom” was continually hailed as a kind of genius throughout the Bush presidency (even liberal pundits got in the act, although they usually called him an “evil genius”), despite the fact that nothing Karl Rove ever did was all that smart.
Rove’s sole insight as a political thinker was that if you completely dispense with the patriotic aspects of governing — you know, that whole doing-what’s-right-for-the-country thing — then winning elections is no different than selling cheeseburgers or scoring high sitcom ratings. You give people what they want, and it doesn’t matter if it’s bad for them.
So with George W. Bush, Rove basically gave us the political version of Married With Children, an ongoing self-parody routine where couch-potato America tuned in week after week to cheer on the nitwit hero as he and his brood took on a world of self-serious snobs and their silly “civilized” conventions (like, say, international law). It was political junk food and American voters ate it up, although the people on the business end of our endless bombings and waterboarding sessions and other atrocities were less stoked about the show.
But this sudden decision by the party’s Washington establishment to reverse course and blame their failures on “fools” out there in the heartland is a joke. If you spend a decade treating your constituents like morons, you can’t point the finger at them when your party gets a reputation for being stupid.
You’re going to make George “Is our children learning?” Bush the face of your party for eight years and then turn around and call your voters stupid? Jesus. No wonder they decided to make the move during Christmas.