Mike Allen’s piece in The Politicon on his exclusive interview with Karl Rove is disturbing on so many levels that it boggles the mind on where to start. So, let’s begin with the title, and we will work from there.
Mike Allen entitles his piece “Rove’s Fiery Exit.” Undoubtedly, the title refers to the unabashed rhetoric that Mr. Rove spouts throughout his interview, apparently unchallenged by his interviewer. Give the man a soap box and a compliant audience, and Mr. Rove’s slithering from office under a cloud of suspicion is transformed into a triumphant return to the private sector.
The piece begins with the framing of Democratic opposition to the disastrous Iraq occupation as a repeat of “mistakes” made following Vietnam that supposedly granted the Republican party infallibility in foreign policy. Mr. Rove says, “Too many Democratic leaders are opposing policies that will lead to America’s success in the Middle East.” A natural follow up would have been to point out that the Bush Administration, despite mounting opposition from Democrats rhetorically, has basically had unfettered control of the war in Iraq. Failures belong to Bush and his party, not to those who have questioned the war’s mismanagement. It could have been further pointed out that a majority of the American public also thinks the current strategy is ineffective. But such points would only clutter an homage to this failed policy “guru.”
Mr. Rove’s statements are followed with a slight aside by Mr. Allen, where he says, “Rove’s critics agree that the country could be witnessing a repeat of Vietnam: a government that waged an unpopular war that ends without a clear American victory.” This duplicity of this misleading statement is incredible. It’s placement in the article makes it sound as if even Mr. Rove’s critics agree with what he has just said, whereas instead the “repeat of Vietnam” agreed upon by the critics is that the war policy is failing and the public does not support letting the Administration further bumble its way towards disaster in the Middle East.
The article then continues with a brief mis-characterization of Democratic domestic policy (“They think they’ve got some mandate to raise taxes and blow up the budget.”) before heading into how Mr. Bush and his cronies will be vindicated by history (it is eerie that Mr. Bush seems oblivious to current problems while believing that he will be appreciated when he’s dead).
The article goes on and on in such a manner, with Mr. Rove spouting optimistic assessments of the current state of the country and negative assessments of the Democratic presidential candidates (no comment on the Republican candidates – one would figure a reporter would try and get the “Architect” to pontificate on his administration’s potential successors). The ending of the article is perhaps the most shameful jab from Mr. Allen though, where he mentions that Mr. Rove’s recent haircut cost only $20 “before a generous tip,” an obvious allusion to the Politico manufactured “scandal” over Mr. Edward’s haircut. In a way, it is a fitting ending to such a shoddy piece of propaganda masquerading as journalism.
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