In the Arena

Rove Raving

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Fairly hilarious “interview” of Karl Rove by Rush Limbaugh yesterday. In it, Rove described his essential strategy in presidential campaigns:

The fallback position in politics is if you don’t know what you want to be about, and if you don’t know what your vision is, go at somebody else.

Oh, wait. He wasn’t talking about the Bush campaigns of 2000 and 2004. He was talking about Hillary Clinton and responding to her first Iowa ad, in which she made the shocking–shocking!–claim that vast numbers of Americans are “invisible” to this administration. And then there’s this:

I thought it was also egregious that she, in the same ad, talked about the president of the United States treating our troops in Afghanistan as invisible. I mean, how did she vote on the surge?

Non sequiturs, anyone? She was talking about the treatment of returning veterans of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. And this:

You know, this is a woman who has been less than supportive of the policies that those men and women who are in the frontlines of the global war on terror fighting. This is like a woman who has opposed the Patriot Act that gave us the tools to defend the homeland.

According to

Debate on the reauthorization of the Patriot Act continued when Congress came back from its winter recess. After some changes, Clinton voted for the bill when it came up for final passage on March 2, 2006.

And this:

She opposed the FISA reforms that would allow us to listen into communications and see the communications of international terrorists who are communicating with other international terrorists, even outside the country whose messages simply happened to flow through US telecom networks.

For most people who opposed the recent FISA “reforms” proposed by the administration, the issue wasn’t the messages passing through U.S. switches, but that Alberto Gonzales would have the unilateral power–outside the FISA court–to order a wire-tapping regime. (I’m in favor of the data-mining program so long as it runs through the FISA court.) And finally this:

You know, again, I’m a little bit surprised that somebody with a record so weak on these things would somehow deign to lecture this president, who is very popular among the military and military families because they see him as a strong commander-in-chief who supports them, loves them, and gives them everything they need and want.

He’s especially popular among those families in the National Guard and Reserves who are sending soldiers and marines back to the sandbox for 2nd and 3rd tours, and among those in the regular military whose current tours were extended to 15 months, and are worried sick that they’ll be extended again.

In short, this is a perfect crystallization of the Rove-Bush style of campaign politics: big lies, small lies, medium-sized lies. Smearing Clinton’s strength and patriotism. Very little of “positive” substance and only then to blunt Democratic issues that poll well. So, a contest for Swampland readers: Vote now for which GOP candidate Rove will support in 2008. I’ll tabulate and report at the end of the day.