Monday, May 01, 2006

Karl Rove's Election Game Plan

Not to be a pessimist, but here's what the Republicans are setting up for the November election:
(1) They have created two red herrings to divert attention from the country's real problems and to arouse, as before, nativist fears and prejudices. On the international level, it's the supposed Iran nuclear threat. On the domestic scene, the play is for nativist resentment against immigrants. The Hispanic version of "The Star Spangled Banner" becomes the conservative rallying point, just as gay marriage and racism did in previous elections. This is the perverse Zen of Karl Rove; he knows how to create reactions in liberal quarters that show them to be everything that red state consciousness had feared. No expensive ad space is required, since the news stations willingly seize on such imagined controversies as the "real," and liberals do most of the work of their self-destruction.
(2) A Bin Laden tape appears one week before election day. This happened in the last election. Now ask yourself, why would Bin Laden be so unsophisticated as to release a tape at such a crucial time, knowing that it can only benefit the Republican election campaign?
(3) Bush makes the appearance of being reasonable on Iraq by withdrawing some troops a month before the election.
(4) Oil prices go down in July and August to $2.50 a gallon and remain there until after the election. By the following April they are be back at $3.50 or higher. Republican poll numbers start quickly climbing.
(5) The coup de grace: Diebold goes into action wherever the congressional race is close.
"Winter (From a Dream)": Yosa Buson, 1716-1783
Two villages,
with one pawnshop between them--
in a winter grove.
Translated by Steven D. Carter, Traditional Japanese Poetry: An Anthology (Stanford UP, 1991)
Note of interest from Anne Carson's Economy of the Unlost (Princeton UP, 1999) on the fifth century B.C. poet Simonides of Keos (the first poet to professionalize his art), Paul Celan, and gift economies:
"Phidias the sculptor worked on the chryselephantine sculpture of Athena in Athens for 5,000 drachmas per year, out of which he had to pay himself, his workmen and his production costs. And Herodotos tells us of a successful doctor whose annual salary was 6,000 drachmas when he lived in Aegina, 12,000 drachmas when he lived on Samos, and 10,000 drachmas when he lived in Athens. This same amount, 10,000 drachmas, was the fee commanded by Pindar for a single dithyramb compose in honor of the Athenians. Meanwhile, Gorgias the sophist required his students to pay him 10,000 drachmas apiece for a single course in rhetoric and made enough money this way to erect a solid gold statue of himself in the precinct of Apollo at Delphi." Later Carson notes, "It has been estimated that 10,000 drachmas would have been equivalent to about twenty-eight years of work for a laborer at one drachma per diem."


At 4:18 AM, Blogger Larry Sawyer said...

Similar to when Rove bugged his own office, which brought the news media knocking, so he could then blame the Democrats days before the Texas governor election. Rove is pulling the strings on all this and routinely manipulates the masses by playing into our collective prejudices and fears. Hyping whatever scapegoat issue to rouse the populace to fury and then placating them with lowered gas prices--Rove's m.o. Rove cares not a whit about law; he's a criminal and definitely not a conservative. History will paint him in his true colors. Bush, Cheney, Rove and their ilk are nothing but war profiteers.

At 8:47 AM, Blogger Kirby Olson said...

The Wall Street Journal comes out with editorials in favor of legalizing the immigrants -- good for business, and yet they also back Bush.

Looking back to the "nativist" issue in the Draft Riots in NYC in 1863 from which I think your nativist image is drawn, it was the lower classes of NYC that most resented the influx of the Irish since they would stand to lose their jobs. The Presbyterian upper classes were above the fray altogether and tried to help out both sides.

The Kevin Baker opus Paradise Alley goes into great detail about the various strands and threads breaking them down a lot further than the scary film Gangs of New York with the strange made-up Uncle Sam leader -- based on a gang leader who had died some twenty years before the draft riots of 1863.

That said, I have been unable to understand why the huge sudden fuss regarding illegal immigration. Your suggestion is worth pondering. But then why is the business community seemingly so much on the side of the illegals, and yet also on the side of Bush?

I think they want the cheap labor for at least another generation, and don't mind squeezing out the poor Americans who have at least some rights and some quality of life, in favor of lowering the salaries and lowering benefits?

And then in the next generation all these now legal immigrants will have children checking Hispanic in the affirmative action box so they jump ahead of locals in terms of college entrance. I think this is what bothers the lower middle classes.

But maybe no one is thinking that far ahead, or that far back.

Somehow Catholicism plays into this. It was the Irish Catholics in 1863 fleeing from their imploded country and the potato famine. Now it's Mexican Catholics.

I think it's part of the equation but I can't get it to fit any theory.

At 9:26 AM, Blogger Paul Hoover said...

It doesn't matter for strategists like Rove what the turmoil is, as long as it serves to distract the voters from their real problems. The Republicans aren't torn on the immigration issue at all; it's not even an issue for them. They plan to keep cheap Mexican labor available for their business and farming friends--a "visitation" program, as it was supposed to have been all along. But they're hyping immigration as a threat in order to make the Heartland and working class fearful. It's important to remember that Rove is sincere on nothing but victory at the polls.

At 12:41 PM, Blogger Kirby Olson said...

The problem is that if Rove n Bush want to use the immigration thing as away to gather votes they had better do something about the immigration problem. So far they really haven't. While O'Reilly and Hannity railed for years about it on Fox, Bush did nothing but mealymouth the question.

The Democrats aren't any better on the question, to be sure, but I doubt if it would swing the election to the Republicans.

There are also millions and millions of Mexican voters in the country at this point. To go against the immigrants would also alienate many of these voters, many of whom are religious Catholics and would otherwise align with the Republicans on the abortion issue.

So if that's Rove's plan, it's a messy one at best.

It would cost about two billion to get a good wall set up between America and Mexico. Then a few predator drones, and we'd have a seal.

But I doubt if either party has the will to really do that, so I don't think the immigration issue will play into either party's hands.

It's a big messy issue. Many Mexicans are screaming that they would like to take back the southwest of the United States for Mehico. However, if they do this, that's more territory that would be completely nonfunctional, and there would be less of elswhere for them to scoot.

Mexico is corruption on a grand scale just like every other country that was once an aspect of the Spanish empire. The whole of the Spanish world from the Philippines to Cuba etc. is rotten through and through with corruption. In fact that is mostly what people wish to escape from: even in Eastern Europe or the former Soviet countries, or Vietnam, etc. It's corruption that stagnates their economies and makes it impossible for business to operate effectively.

Check out every crummy economy: corruption is at the basis of it. corruption is partially a mental climate.

In this country we at least have two parties and a free press to keep it down somewhat. I'm gateful we have the two party system and they are equally at one another's throats. The worst thing is to have a one-party system like Mehico had for a century, or like the communist countries had for most of the 20th century. Corruption then becomes endemic, and the only thing to do is get out the luggage.


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