Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Karl Loves Hillary

Well, “loves” may be a strong word, but Karl Rove certainly seems obsessed with her. He talks about her constantly, writes about her, tells anyone who’ll listen what he thinks of her. Hell, maybe he even drives by her house at night, for all we know. What is all this about? Is his series of attacks on her a genuine antipathy that he can’t resist revealing? Or is there more here than meets the eye?
The LA Times got into it this week, referring back to the 2004 campaign, when Rove focused his early attacks on Kerry, to the complete exclusion of all others. This had the advantage of establishing early themes, but more important, from his perspective, was anointing Kerry as “the one”, the opponent-to-be. According to Matthew Dowd, who was part of the campaign, Kerry was the one he wanted to run against, since he felt he was most beatable, rather than the Southerner without a record to attack, John Edwards. So he never commented on Edwards, always commenting on Kerry. Did this lead the Democrats in the direction he wanted? Frankly, I think we were headed there with or without him. Still, it was his theory and plan. Now it’s Hillary he talks about on every interview show and Hillary he attacks. The Times, and Dowd, assumes this to be because she is the one he wants the Republicans to run against, thinking she will be their most beatable candidate.
While I think that is part of it, I think there is a lot more to it than that. Rove probably realizes that the Republicans may have serious trouble holding on to the White House. His hope is probably to keep everything he has built from being destroyed. Clinton is the Democrat with the best chance of keeping the GOP a force. First, Hillary will have no coattails at all. Many Congressional candidates are very unhappy about the possibility of her being the nominee, since she is incredibly unpopular in their districts and will be impossible to run with. This is a big problem for candidates, as running away from your party’s Presidential candidate is never a good thing, especially since they agree with her on most issues. Her unpopularity is mostly personal, not issue-oriented, especially in the moderate districts and conservative states where, ironically, she could do the most damage. This may have the effect of limiting the carnage in the Congressional races.
Equally important is Hillary’s polarizing nature. Nothing will hold the Republican Party together better than a Clinton Presidency. They will have no trouble uniting against her; the grass roots, spurred on by the talk show loons, loathe her and will be energized as never before. They will have no trouble raising money to fight her, which is also a key part of keeping the party from being demoralized. Rove is not a fool – he wants Hillary to be the Democratic nominee and I fear he may get her, much to the detriment of the Democratic Party and America.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Sam said...

Don't you think the Rovians would rather had run against Dean in 2004 than Kerry?

1:18 PM  
Blogger Barry Rubinowitz said...

This is not me guessing, this is one of their people explaining their strategy in 2004. Perhaps they assumed Dean would implode and considered him irrelevant. Perhaps they felt he was more dangerous because he was a Governor who didn't have a long voting history to be assaulted.

11:39 AM  

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