Sunday, August 26, 2007

Conservative Reformers

It is sometimes alleged that Rove's arguments have not fully prevailed in the GOP -- which is true. It is further alleged that these arguments have been discredited by events -- which is not true. The complications of Iraq have obscured Rove's victories, not undone them. And his key historical insight is unavoidable: Republicans win as conservative reformers.[1]- Michael Gerson

Truer words have not been spoken. The end of the Rove era in the White House is not the end of the Rove era in America. Karl Rove has poisoned politics and our judicial system for years to come. The genius of Mr. Rove is that he remembered that all politics are local, it took him years but gradually at the local levels of government he built up the Conservative machine that took two national elections. Karl Rove took what he learned in Texas and expanded it nationally.

What did he learn in Texas? He learned that the way you build a movement is at the lowest level of the political spectrum. He started with the local elected offices and began getting elected those that shared his conservative agenda from the County Attorneys to the Municipal Judges. He realized that the way you build a movement is not with large televised rallies, but by developing support among the locals.

As those local politicians got elected to higher and higher offices the Conservative agenda grew through their loyalty to Rove. Texas went from purple to red and not just light red, but scarlet. With the help of Tom Delay and a group of conservative judges he consolidated a small Republican majority into a Conservative stronghold. Hopefully the courts will overturn the redistricting plan of Rove and Delay, but in the meantime the damage has been done. Texas is red.

With the same formula of divisiveness and “conservative reform” candidates, Rove was able to propagate his small majority (2000) into a larger Republican majority (2004). Once again, he used the loyalty of these conservative reform candidates and stacked conservative judges to politicize the Executive Branch and the Courts. Because of this politicalization, even if the Democrats win back the White House and expand their majority in the Congress, the effects of Karl Rove will reverberate for a generation. Loyalty was no longer to the Country or even to the President, but to the Republican Conservative agenda. Rove became the ultimate party boss, dispensing jobs and retribution to anyone who would have the nerve to stand up to him. With most Federal Appeals Courts and the Supreme Court under the Conservative influence, we are only beginning to feel the effects of Rove’s politics. I believe that whoever is elected will have a difficult time trying to undo the conservative tilt or initiate any progressive policy changes.

On the political front we are already seeing the effects, with more and more of the major candidates both Republican and Democrat emulating the Rove model. As the general election nears we will see his influence from both sides, especially if Hillary Clinton is the nominee. The onslaught they have waiting for Hillary will be like nothing we have ever seen in American politics and Hillary being who she is will use some of what she has learned from all of her previous experience to reciprocate. This should prove a most interesting election.

Was Karl Rove a failure being run out of town? Hardly, because of what he has done the conservative agenda is alive and well and will be played out in the courts of this country for years. Because he was able to turn back so many progressive policies, it will take atleast two election cycles just to get back to square one. In the meantime no new progressive policies will be enacted and the courts will be continuing with the precision of a laser to abolish the rights of the people.

This thing was never about the Congress and a majority; it was always about the courts. The courts are where the laws are interpreted and filled in. The Congress passes the legislation, but it is the courts that define the laws. Rove always knew that. The whole Republican majority for a generation thing was a smoke screen for what he was really after, the courts. Whoever controls the courts controls the agenda. Because we are a country of laws, whoever can define those laws controls the country. Think about what the Conservative agenda is and has been. What do the conservatives want? And then think who can give it to them, only the courts. The courts can do what the Congress and the President can’t do without Constitutional amendments or majorities. Don’t like Roe v. Wade, overturned. Don’t like Miranda, overturned. Want prayer in School, now legal. Want the Ten Commandments, now legal. Don’t like gay marriage, illegal. Don’t like affirmative action, illegal.

The ripples of this thing are only beginning to be felt. You watch how the things we once took for granted begin to disappear, as Karl Rove goes riding off into the sunset with the Bill of Rights firmly tucked underarm.


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