Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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October 21, 2010

WHAT ELSE ROVE SAID.... Much of the attention surrounding Karl Rove's remarks to Germany's Der Spiegel has focused on his description of Tea Partiers as "not sophisticated" -- a remark that isn't going over well in some far-right circles.

But there were some other interesting exchanges, too.

Spiegel: It is, however, difficult to understand the smear campaigns against Obama, claiming that he falsified his birth certificate and is not the legitimate president.

Rove: Please, with all due respect. That's what happened for eight years with Bush. Just before George W. Bush was sworn into office, on "Meet the Press," Dick Gephardt, the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives, was asked by Tim Russert twice if he believed George W. Bush was the legitimately elected president of the United States. And twice, the leader of the Democrats refused to answer the question. I was shocked, and that was what we had to deal with for eight years.

But that's absurd. Birthers are pushing imaginary, racially-tinged garbage that has no foundation in reality. Those who questioned the 2000 recount in Florida actually have a strong case -- had all the ballots been counted, of even if the "butterfly" ballot hadn't existed, Bush would have lost the electoral college, just as we know he lost the popular vote. There's just no comparison here.

But more importantly, questions about Bush's dubious legitimacy quickly vanished, especially after 9/11. I don't recall Gephardt's interview from before Bush's inauguration, but whatever he said, the White House certainly didn't have to endure such questions "for eight years."

There was also this exchange:

Spiegel: Are you convinced, then, that the Republican Party will be able to integrate the Tea Party without drifting too far to the right?

Rove: Sure. There have been movements like this before -- the Civil Rights movement, the anti-war movement, the pro-life movement, the Second Amendment rights movement.

Rove's larger point was about the transition groups face as they realize the "system produces mostly incremental progress and takes time and compromise." That said, comparing Tea Partiers to these other, actual political movements is silly.

We knew exactly what the civil rights movement wanted -- they highlighted a system social injustice and presented a moral/legal remedy. Similarly, there were no ambiguities about the agendas and beliefs of anti-war protestors, opponents of abortion rights, or NRA members.

The difference is Tea Partiers are an amorphous group of zealots who don't necessarily agree with one another. Their demands, such as they are, are ambiguous and contradictory. By no reasonable definition are we talking about a real "movement" -- this is a group of confused, easily manipulated activists with no real leadership, expertise, policy agenda, clarity of thought, or internal structure, made up almost entirely of the most hysterical wing of the Republican Party base.

For Rove to even mention these guys in the same sentence as the civil rights movement is ridiculous.

Steve Benen 12:35 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (22)

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dr frankenstein still thinks he can control his monster.

Posted by: daveminnj on October 21, 2010 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

So Rove is arse, nothing new.

Posted by: KK on October 21, 2010 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

The right really likes to play the victim. Bush did "steal" the election. They did not want a fair count, see: Brooks Brother's Riot and US. Supreme Court decision. Bush lost the popular vote in the US. He was within hundreds of votes of losing the electoral college vote as well. But he stubbornly claimed victory when a better man would have acknowledged the nationwide popular vote.

Posted by: Objective Dem on October 21, 2010 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

"For Rove to even mention these guys in the same sentence as the civil rights movement is Rovian."


Posted by: slappy magoo on October 21, 2010 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

The Tea Party wants:
Medicare scooters for me, but not for thee.
Tax cuts, defense spending increases and a balanced budget without touching entitlements.
Real Americans making the decisions.
Respect without reciprocation.
A return to the Golden Age, defined as a time in which the Tea Party had all the gold.

Posted by: danimal on October 21, 2010 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

I actually found a list of what Tea Partier's would do if they came to power. It is absurd, contradictory and displays an appalling ignorance of government and policy. The idea that that can be compared to the Civil Rights Movement or can be integrated to reality is ludicrous.

Posted by: Personal Failure on October 21, 2010 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

It's interesting that Rove is sensitive about the legitimacy of Bush's Presidency. I wouldn't have thought so, but some old political pals of mine always felt that was part of what drove Bush into war with Iraq. Something to ponder, I guess.

Posted by: MattF on October 21, 2010 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

Notice how Rove didn't actually answer the birther question.

Posted by: chrenson on October 21, 2010 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

"...questions about Bush's dubious legitimacy quickly vanished, especially after 9/11."

Speak for yourself Benen. There are many of us who have and will always consider Bush the Lite to have NEVER been legitimately elected president of our country. That also includes 2004, where he was 're-elected' by the margin of Ohio and for which many questions of the legitimacy of the vote count in Ohio remain. Even disregarding the voter supression in Ohio in 2004, Bush did NOT win the vote there.

While 2000 & 2004 are not the first examples of probable stolen presidential elections, they are the most blatant! The infliction of Bush and Cheney upon our country was never legitimate!

Posted by: SadOldVet on October 21, 2010 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

The Tea Party wants brown and black people to go away (after they finish mowing the lawn and cleaning the toilets.) Everything else is just noise.

Posted by: dcsusie on October 21, 2010 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

Steve, while I agree with the substance of your characterization of Tea Partiers (confused, contradictory, etc), I don't see how it's helpful, or even accurate, to dismiss them as a movement. The fact is there are millions of people who FEEL they have found a common voice for their (misplaced) frustration. It's not a productive movement, it's not a focused movement, it's probably not a sustainable movement, but it IS real, it has already had major political impact. Just read today's story on climate change denial in NY Times. Tea Party pressure has solidified Republican resistance to ANY policy action on climate change.

Posted by: bruce k on October 21, 2010 at 1:23 PM | PERMALINK

"...some old political pals of mine always felt that was part of what drove Bush into war with Iraq."

That and all his other pent up -BUT APPROPRIATE - insecurities and feelings of inadequacy.

Posted by: robert on October 21, 2010 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

"... Second Amendment rights movement."

Huh? What Second Amendment rights movement? Is that RWNJ speak for the NRA's push to make assault rifles legal?

Posted by: Lifelong Dem on October 21, 2010 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

bruce k wrote: "Just read today's story on climate change denial in NY Times. Tea Party pressure has solidified Republican resistance to ANY policy action on climate change."

Which is no coincidence, since the fake, phony, Madison Avenue-scripted, astroturf Tea Party "movement" was created, funded, programmed and directed by the fossil fuel billionaires the Koch brothers.

The Tea Party, formerly known as Ditto-Heads, is a corporate-created cult-for-hire that will believe, think, do and say whatever their ruthless, rapacious, reactionary corporate masters pay Fox News and Rush Limbaugh to tell them to believe, think, do and say.

Posted by: SecularAnimist on October 21, 2010 at 1:39 PM | PERMALINK

I think "not at all intelligent, but certainly not as douchey and evil as me" would have been more factual Karl?

Posted by: Trollop on October 21, 2010 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK

Please, please, please stop using the words "Tea Party" because, in reality, they do no exist. If you wish to put a truthful label on them, then call them "Brownshirt Republicans." They are more to the right than the radical extremist republicans.

Posted by: ghostcommamder on October 21, 2010 at 1:45 PM | PERMALINK

Also, we won't need to worry about climate change much longer because peak oil is here. When the oil is gone, which is quite close, carbon emissions will be from wood and barrels, for a little while...

Posted by: Trollop on October 21, 2010 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

I'm glad bruce k brought up the NY Times story on climate change denial. The funniest/saddest quote from that article:

“Some people say I’m extreme, but they said the John Birch Society was extreme, too.”

Posted by: Jim H on October 21, 2010 at 1:51 PM | PERMALINK

Conflation and false equivalency to breakfast staples of Karl Rove! Look how fat he is! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on October 21, 2010 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

"Why I do believe I am experiencing the vapors from your incisive and hard-hitting questions, suh. I may have to lie down for a bit because my delicate personal constitution can only handle so much stress. And, you suh, are hardly a gentleman for asking such questions."

Karl faints and then farts.

Posted by: Darsan54 on October 21, 2010 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Why isn't Karl Rove in jail yet? Or why hasn't he been hung for treason yet? Didn't he participate in the treasonous outing of a covert CIA agent?

Like in any security breach, major or minor, the CIA would have conducted an after-incident investigation and issued a damage-assessment report, which would have been delivered to the highest levels of the U.S. government, with copies (like a PDF) going to President George W. Bush and Veep Dick Cheney, as well as everyone on the National Security Council.

Unless: 1) top Bush/Cheney administration Republican officials ordered Tenet at the CIA not to conduct an after-incident damage assessment, or 2) a CIA investigation was conducted, a report issued, and then read by top Bush/Cheney administration Republican officials, who then quashed it, buried it, because extreme damage to our national security occurred, with CIA contacts overseas being rounded up, jailed, or executed, putting a major dent in the CIA's counter-proliferation efforts.

I heard an after-incident CIA damage-assessment was done, primarily because it is required by law, which means that top Bush/Cheney officials quashed it, which can only mean damage to our national security did occur, which means that all these top Bush/Cheney administration Republican officials, who conspired to out covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson's beyond-top-secret classified identity, committed high treason, as in "high crimes and misdemeanors."

And if no damage to our national security had occurred, don't you think that Bush and Cheney would have shouted this from the rooftops, especially before the Scooter Libby trial? No harm, no foul. Since they didn't ever reveal what was in the CIA's after-incident report, then they did harm our national security, which is why they stonewalled and dragged out Libby's trial as long as possible, obstructing justice at every turn, trying to stop their treason from being revealed, and Karl Rove would have been sitting in on (if not chairing) every meeting devoted to stopping the truth from getting out.

Bush's office. Cheney's office. Everyone at the NSC. Tenet at the CIA. Traitors trying to hide their treason, with Tenet even getting the Medal of Freedom.

I served in the U.S. military almost 40 years ago, with a top-secret clearance. The Republicans I knew back then, that I served with, actually took our national security seriously, Republicans who would have had no hesitancy at all in holding accountable anyone, including another Republican, who was discovered committing treason.

My oh my, how times change. Republicans now reward treason. Republicans now reward thievery. Republicans now reward murderers. But only if it is a fellow Republican committing treason, thievery or murder. Everyone else is "fair game."

Posted by: The Oracle on October 21, 2010 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

If you want anymore proof that the Tea Baggers are part and parcel of the oligarchy, and that they are in the trenches defending Wall St. and the rest of the plutocrats, notice that when Beck called on them to donate to the Chamber of Commerce to support ads that the uberrich were making, they opened their bank accounts and swamped the CoC web page. So there is no doubt whatsoever that these people want to be subjected to the tyranny of the wealthy and that they are fit only to serve in whatever manner they are ordered to serve. If we want to be free, we will have to do it ourselves without any help from them.

Posted by: Texas Aggie on October 22, 2010 at 10:53 AM | PERMALINK



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