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My buddy Garvin had a post concerning his viewpoint on newspapers going non-profit.  He raises interesting points, especially by changing the point of view between the ‘commoner’ (I’m assuming he’s referring to the landed gentry in the middle ages) and a journalism major.  He brings up each side and their points very well, pointing out that from the ‘commoner’s’ standpoint, they get unbiased news (something I disagree with, but that’s for later); however, the journalism major inside him (frosted mini-wheats commercial) disagrees, because it basically forces them to prevent any and all kinds of bias, due to their non-profit tax status.

But, what he doesn’t bring up is the fact that not every ‘commoner’ reads the newspaper.  I don’t.  The last time I bought a newspaper was 3 copies last weekend to use as packing material.  I just have no interest in paying for an item that’s cumbersome, leaves my finger tips black, and has only 3-4 sections I’m actually interested in.  I don’t care about 90% of  what happens in Cleveland; I don’t live there, none of my work is affected by it, and the sports team ‘insights’ are no better than what’s found online/on the radio.  The editorials are a joke, and the political coverage is incredibly lacking.  The front page stories can easily be found at Cleveland.com, and I don’t have to wait for tomorrow morning to read about something that happened 10 minutes ago.

So, I really don’t have any use for the newspaper, and thusly, don’t read it.  No big deal, honestly.  What they provide is a service I don’t need from them, or can get elsewhere for easier/cheaper.  If enough people agree with me, and their business starts to suffer, then they’re forced to either adapt to the growing needs of their consumer base, or fall by the wayside.

For example, anyone go to a silent movie recently?  How about riding a horse to work?  What about ordering donuts online?  Exactly.  These were all services that were offered that, for a time, there was enough of a consumer base to justify their existence.  But, the people that make up that consumer base didn’t need or want their service anymore, and they fell by the wayside.

So, I ask, why should newspapers be different?  Why do they get to be especially coddled?  Why should a circle be arbitrarily drawn around them and then others say, ‘well, they’re different.’  Why should they be different from pets.com, drive-in theaters, and pet rocks?  If they provide a service that no one wants, why should they be set apart from the rest?

And if they do decide to go non-profit (I have my own issues with government rules and non-profits), and you strip away all bias in their reporting, how effective can they really be?  What are facts without context, and how can you provide that context without any kind of bias whatsoever?  And who decides what is and isn’t biased?  How will we know that a particular person’s gauge of what is ‘biased’ is the same as everyone else’s?  How do you make something as wishy-washy and personal as a point-of-view rational and concrete?

Isn’t it just easier to leave them as for-profit enterprises, and strip away any strange notion they have of remaining non-biased observers of the world?  Why not have The Plain Dealer read; “Your source for all things conservative” and let someone else provide a paper that’s a counter-point to that to the need of those who want their news from newspapers, but don’t like the point-of-view of the PD?  Why not let the competition between the two, and the need to retain an audience allow them to figure out a way to remain relevant?

What alot of people don’t know is that when the internet was young – and I mean, 14.4 baud modems young, there was essentially only one real service available; and that was newspapers.  The AP and Reuters were providing raw news wires that could be picked up by anyone, and since text was low-weight for the young modems available at the time (pictures were rare, and videos were impossible), it made newspapers incredibly valuable – some of the first websites were online editions of newspapers.  Porn may have made the internet what it is today, but newspapers made it what it was when porn took over.

If they were such pioneers in the realm of this new and soon to be powerful medium; what happened?  I really don’t know.  And I have the feeling that many people in the newspaper industry don’t know either.

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My Republican Party

As early as last month, the Republican Party was two things to me; a party of God and “smaller goverment”.

 

God’s the easy one to see.  This is the party that dogmatically opposed one of the most promising areas of research for biology, limits the personal freedom for all women, and tries to redefine how people exist together due to an old book that more than half of the world thinks is nothing more than a bad novel.

 

“Smaller Government”, should mean (as reason.com likes to use as motto) free minds and markets.  Only that’s not the case.  “Smaller Government” to the Republican party is a tax rate of 36% as opposed to the ‘tax and spend’ eeeeeeevil Liberal’s rate of 39%.  They use subsidies as much as anyone else; pet pork projects are virulent in their party as well.  Defense spending skyrockets under Republican watch, meanwhile they cut taxes on the investment class to ‘spur the economy’.  And when they realize that they spend more than they have, they run up huge deficits.  …Small, eh?

 

The annual Republican Governor’s meeting was recently held in Miami, Florida, and the pundits and other political junkies (like myself) were all abuzz at what’s going to be different coming out of that meeting.  They postulate that the Republican party may change, grow in some sectors and shrink in others.  They may ‘modernize’ (without stating what that even means), change their platform and try to move forward with a different vision for America.

 

Only they won’t.  They can’t abandon the social issues; as backwater as they are, because of two things – If they finally decide it’s ridiculous to limit social freedoms, they’ll lose their base of Christian Conservatives who won’t come out to on election day, and the party will be spanked even more.  Plus, if they finally wizen up and realize what ‘smaller government’ really means, they’ll basically just turn into the Conservative Democrat Party.

 

And any further doubts that the Republican party may change can be dashed by looking at the recent gay-bashing ballot initiatives that were passed.  There’s the evidence that the Republican base is alive and well, and will stay home if the Republican party won’t pander to them.  That’s a whole bloc of ‘values voters’ looking to throw their morality around, and the Republican party will be experts at exploiting that.

 

But do you know what would be great?  If there was a party that said, ‘Hey, you live your life like you want, and I’ll do the same.  If we don’t kill one another, we won’t involve the Gub’ment’.  If there was a party that saw how amazing the American people are at solving their own problems, and how bad the Government was at it.  If there was a party that limited the role of Government in everyday lives, and took out the market influences – from both sides – that have caused the recent volatility.  If this Republican Party took the word ‘freedom’ to heart. 

 

My Republican party?  It would stop saying things like, “That’s what the founding fathers wanted”.  Do you want to know what the founding fathers wanted?  Jefferson, Madison, Washington, etc?  Do you want to know what they wanted for us?  To make up our damn minds.  To decide for ourselves what Government means, and to use the inspiration of limitless freedom as a framework.  Those men lived in a much different time than we do, and to harken back to a group of people over 200 years ago to use as the guidepost for what to do now is just lunacy.

 

What do we need now?  We need freedom.  My Republican Party would be the Freedom Party.  Freedom to do, live, speak, and be as American as I want, however I want.  My Republican Party would finally realize what ‘Limited Government’ means in the most amazing way.  And knowing what I know about politics; which I’ll grant you isn’t much, I know for a fact that My Republican Party is a fantasy.

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Libertarian Democrat

With the prospect of both a Democrat-controlled Congress and Whitehouse, an economy slowing down, a ballooning stimulus package, and cries of the death of capitalism, I’ve had some time to re-examine my political and sociological feelings and thoughts regarding the present.

 

I have some very Liberal friends and relatives who had a revelation last Tuesday night.  The skies parted and the promised land lay before them.  After enduring 8 years of Republican rule, they finally have a chance to seize control and set their own agenda.  I’ve had conversations about ‘universal healthcare’, ‘education reform’, ‘middle-class tax cuts’, etc.  They digest the sound bites read to them on television and echo them back, like children learning their first words.

 

And yet, when I bring up the counter-point of limited government, they immediately point to the disastrous government ideology that has lead this country for the previous 8 years -the most recent 2 have almost no differentiating characteristics from the first 6; almost as if the country is going into an uncontrolled slide and hasn’t lost the momentum.  They point to Bush’s administration, the Republican’s rallying cry of ‘smaller government’ and the magnificent cluster-fuck that has ensued.

 

Looking back at 8 years of Republican rule, it was the first time that the edicts of Reagan, the demi-god of the Republican Party, had a chance to play themselves out with no filter from their counterparts.  Trickle-down economics took effect with the “Bush Tax Cuts”, strong national defense came to the fore with not one, but two foreign wars, and the markets were set free to do as they will.

 

Only not so much.

 

When people hear the idea of limited-government, they immediately think I want their kids to no longer be educated, cigar-chomping corporate monsters to take over this country, and for everyone who doesn’t have a job to be left at the wayside to wallow in the dust of the ‘monied class’ as they watch their big screen televisions, pipe raw carbon dioxide into the air, and adorn their SUV’s with spotted owls.

 

Ironically, whenever you ask someone about their political leanings outside of an election year, a majority of people I’ve found have said (and bear in mind this is as unscientific of a study as it gets) that they are ‘socially liberal, fiscally conservative’.  Essentially, it’s do whatever you want as long as it doesn’t bother me, and hope the government has an accountant who can subtract as well as add.

 

The fact is, ‘limited government’ works both ways.  Not only do we remove the guys with guns from educating your children and feeding your grand/parents, but we take away the cronyism and favors of the upper class.  Tearing down regulations and government contracts will obviously remove the currency of favors from the halls of our supposed fair and transparent government.

 

Which brings us to the point of this post.  Last tuesday I looked down at my ballot at the name of a Democrat for president that I had selected to lead this country.  A man who stood up in front of a camera and admitted to ‘sharing the wealth’, someone who appointed advisors who embrace supply-side economics, and picked a veep who goes on and on about the middle class and riding the bus….while sitting next to his appointed security guards in his thousand-dollar suit.  And yet I voted for him.  I voted for a party who have gone on television and completely misrepresented what the concept of ‘free market capitalism’ represents.  And I was fine with that.

 

The Republican party has let me down.  Even when they harken back to Reagan, I still see fault with what he started.  Limit the government intervention into the markets – excellent, but that works both ways.  Not only in regulation, but in contracts.  If you have to subcontract to do something through the guys with guns, privatize it and be done with it.  Let me choose who should teach my kids and pave my roads.  Aggressive foreign policy; I’m sorry, did those countries elect you?  Did they all band together and with a unanimous voice cry out to you that you should destroy their infrastructure, turn their backyards into minefields, and politically and economically destabilize their entire society?

 

The fact is, over the past 8 years, we have seen what will happen with a party who spouts ‘limited government’ yet doesn’t follow through.  Guantanamo Bay is just a disgusting state of affairs.  Faith-based initiative – we’re subsidizing churches now?  I’m an atheist, and you just took my money and gave it to an organization who I have no support for whatsoever.  Money that I earned.  And what about the transparency in the government and having an enlightened citizenry?  Showing us everything and letting us decide?  Executive privilege (nevermind my issues with that in the first place) being passed onto advisors who Congress never approved the appointment of?  Politicizing the justice system?  Federally intervening on a poor woman’s health?  And they call this limited government. 

 

The fact is, the government has ballooned and festered under W and the Republican Congress’s watch.  It went from a party of fiscal responsibility and limited power (I’m not even sure of that anymore) to the party of God and Guns.  You can’t cry out smaller government and then develop and entirely new and unnecessary cabinet position.

 

I voted Democrat this past election because the Republican party is a disaster.  They need to take a deep breath and realize that disagreement is not cause for cries of heresy, but of consideration.  John McCain was the only man, I thought, who could actually do something meaningful with that party.  Someone with a record of moving past ideology and looking at the big picture.  Someone who wants to intelligently remove the web of government from the market.  Someone who shuns the religious fanaticism that gets so many of his peers elected.  Someone with the integrity to stand up and defend what he is saying.  Of course, that was 2002, it would have been nice to see him run for president.

 

I watched the party of limited government and federal responsibility do the opposite for the past 8 years.  So maybe the party of subsidies and supply-side will do the same for the next 8.  I’ll obviously never get what I want; a government as outlined in the Constitution with limited and minor adjustments, but at least I can have some fun in the meantime.

 

Besides, a 39% tax rate to a 36% tax rate is relatively minor when you throw it against the party that advocates torture and foreign aggression.

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Presidential Nominees

Above all else, I think you should have the right to make the absolute worst decisions for yourself imaginable.  I will stand before an audience of my peers and demand with the loudest voice I can muster that you be allowed to do the unthinkable – drive a car without a seat belt, eat what and where you want, even do something so egregious as to choose the manner of your demise – and the reason I would do this is because of one simple axiom;  You can only measure the freedom in a society not by what it allows, but by what it doesn’t.

 

This year is an election year, and once again, we have to choose someone to have a job in this swanky pad in D.C.  I believe in personal freedom above all else, and in the past, that has led me to mostly vote Libertarian.  Some, myself included (usually out of jest), believe that this is akin to throwing away your vote.  Which isn’t entirely true – it’s good for a candidate and his cause to see if he’s rallying people behind him.  Even if I don’t get what I want this year, by continually showing my support and rallying others behind it, I may get it next year.  Or the year after.  Such is Democracy.

 

The nominee for the Libertarian ticket is Bob Barr congressman and one of the leaders of Bill Clinton’s impeachment fiasco.  When I look for a candidate for President, I look for just two things; how he/she handles hits they’ve taken, and how have they acted in a previous government position.  The second has more weight than the former.

 

Given this, I’m not going to vote for the guy.  He calls himself a Libertarian, fair enough.  But we can’t let someone define who they are in name alone; in other words, actions speak louder than words.

 

Defense of Marriage Act

I can only think of a few things (subsidies, education) that put a burr in my ass more than the government telling me who I can and cannot live with.  The idea that the government has to take a stance at all makes so much little sense it’s bordering on the absurd.  The government’s stance on marriage should be simple: A binding, contractual agreement between one or more parties in which the signers can now jointly interact with the government and the law.  That’s it.  No mention of man, no mention of woman.

 

Bob Barr was one of the legislators who took the lead on that ridiculous piece of garbage that said that marriages involving a man and woman are federally recognized and must be recognized in all 50 states, but same-sex marriages are up to the states.  He then apologized for it at the 2008 Libertarian convention.  Fine, but why did you start it in the first place?  Why did you make a law that dealt with it at all?

 

Banning the practice of Wicca in the military

On May 13, 1999, Bob Barr issued a press release:

BARR: CAUSES OF YOUTH VIOLENCE FOUND IN ADULT CULTURE.” 3

He lists as one of the causes of youth violence the practice by the U.S. military to permit Wiccan personnel to observe their religious faith. Wicca is a benign, earth-centered religion, which is somewhat similar to Native American Spirituality. A second source of youth violence that he cites is the increasing acceptance by university students of humanism, a secular, non-theistic philosophy with a strong ethical component. (ReligiousTolerance.org)

 

Forget that this is completely against the 1st Amendment.  Forget that Wicca is a recognized religion with hundreds of thousands of followers.  Forget that he’s accusing Wiccans and Atheists for the downfall of youths today.  I’m bothered by that, but not to the extent that I’m bothered by this: He’s letting his personal opinion supersede another’s simply because he can.  He thinks that Wicca is silly, and to be honest, I agree with him – of course, I don’t pick and choose between religions, but hey, he can’t be perfect – but I wouldn’t dare tell another person that they can’t freely believe in that because I think it’s silly.  The idea that he would use his position to give preferential treatment to someone else because they believe in his particular flavor of invisible friend just pisses me off.

 

That’s not a mistaken vote on an Executive order.  That’s a personal view of superiority regarding the private actions of another person.  He had the ability to wrongly persecute someone based on how they feel regarding life, and he took it.  He exercised the historic arrogance of those in his position and did what they always do – suppress those who don’t agree with him.  That’s not a one-time thing, something that can be flittered away with an apology on CNN.  That’s a major problem that he has, and one reason why he not only doesn’t get my vote, but something far, far, deeper.  He loses respect from me as a human being.

 

To everyone who wishes to deny another the right to do something personal and private; be it marry, practice a religion, raise a child – to everyone standing at pulpit and screaming at the top of their lungs how this should be stopped, I want to ask you something.  Something that I want you to think long and hard about.  Has a single one of those people, those people you are railing against, people who you look down upon, people who you want to be treated differently than you – has a single member of that group done the same to you?  Have they showed up at your doorstep telling you, ‘you can’t marry that woman’, ‘it’s an abomination that you want to raise children’, ‘you can’t worship that god’?

 

I find it very interesting that those who are persecuted don’t persecute others.

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According to CNN, this guy is killing Obama at the polls.  But if there’s one thing I know when it comes to politics, it’s that you can’t win the big race without pandering to the nut-job evangelical god-crowd.  So with this huge flap over Wright and Obama, I knew that both Clinton and McCain had to have some ridiculous religious pandering going on.  And they do.  And it’s some scary shit.

 

First, Clinton.  Clinton was rather silent during the whole Rev. Wright fiasco, preferring to dodge the question or answer it with a benign comment and leave it at that.  You have to think about it, why would you pull a punch when your opponent is dealing with something that could be very devastating?  She’s a Clinton – they didn’t get to where they are by not seizing opportunity.  Sean Hannity called Obama’s church a cult, how could she not try and use that?

 

Unless she was a member of something called ‘The Fellowship’ (aka, The Family); a super-secret religious organization organized into what they call ‘cells’ that operates sex-segregated group homes in northern Virginia.  Jeff Sharlet, who’s written an article on this I can’t find, joined this organization – using his own name – and “forswearing sex, drugs and alcohol, and participating in endless discussions of Jesus and power”.  He admitted to being a writer and “wasn’t completely out of danger either. When he went outdoors one night to make a cell phone call, he was followed. He still gets calls from Family associates asking him to meet them in diners–alone”.  Fun stuff.

 

But that’s one thing the Nation article continually points at – an almost cult-like hard-on for power.  In the 40’s, they “reached out to former and not-so-former Nazis, and its fascination with that exemplary leader, Adolf Hitler, has continued…”  But since then they have befriended or formed ties with the following:

 

  • General Suharto – on of the century’s most murderous dictators with several hundred thousand “communists” killed
  •  Carlos Eugenios Vides Casanova – convicted by a Florida jury of the torture of thousands
  • Gustavo Alvarez Martinez – linked to both the CIA and death squads before his death
  • General Costa e Silva – took control of Brazil in a military coup, dismissed congress, imposed news censorship, and accused of widespread torture of dissidents
The second most frightening thing about this whole organization is how it’s structured.  Clinton was promoted to the ‘most elite cell’ after she was elected to Senate.  Indeed, many of the other members of the organization tend to have their placement inside it depend entirely on how powerful they are politically.\
The first most frightening thing?
They believe that, in mass societies, it’s only the elites who matter, the political leaders who can build God’s “dominion” on earth. Insofar as The Family has a consistent philosophy, it’s all about power–cultivating it, building it and networking it together into ever-stronger units, or “cells.” “We work with power where we can,” Doug Coe has said, and “build new power where we can’t.”
—–
John McCain has gleefully accepted endorsements from both Pastor John Hagee and Pastor Rod Parsley.  If Jeremiah Wright represents all that is wrong with this country, then Hagee and Parsley are everything that’s wrong with humanity.  These two dregs spend nearly all of their time using their position and power to spread the most vile sort of religious doctrine that one can create.  Nearly every Christian I know says that their faith is based in a desire to do good and help people (strange I’m capable of it without this trait, but that’s beside the point), a truly admirable thing.  But what these two examples humanity’s slime do in the name of their all-loving, and all-forgiving god is inexcusable.
  • “Do you know the difference between a woman with PMS and a snarling Doberman pinscher? The answer is lipstick. Do you know the difference between a terrorist and a woman with PMS? You can negotiate with a terrorist.” – Pastor John Hagee in his book What Every Man Wants in a Woman (Charisma House, 2005)
  • “The Quran teaches that [all Muslims have a mandate to kill Christians and Jews]. Yes, it teaches that very clearly.”  -Pastor John Hagee
  • “I believe that the Hurricane Katrina was, in fact, the judgment of God against the city of New Orleans…I believe that New Orleans had a level of sin that was offensive to God, and they are — were recipients of the judgment of God for that…There was to be a homosexual parade there on the Monday that the Katrina came. And the promise of that parade was that it was going to reach a level of sexuality never demonstrated before in any of the other Gay Pride parades…. The Bible teaches that when you violate the law of God, that God brings punishment sometimes before the day of judgment.” -Pastor John Hagee
  • “The military will have difficultly recruiting healthy and strong heterosexuals for combat purposes. Why? Fighting in combat with a man in your fox hole that has AIDS or is HIV positive is double jeopardy.” – Pastor John Hagee on Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
  • “[Gay marriage] will open the door to incest, to polygamy, and every conceivable marriage arrangement demented minds can possibly conceive. If God does not then punish America, He will have to apologize to Sodom and Gomorrah.” – Pastor John Hagee
  •  “It is impossible to call yourself a Christian and defend homosexuality. There is no justification or acceptance of homosexuality…. Homosexuality means the death of society because homosexuals can recruit, but they cannot reproduce.” – Pastor John Hagee
  • “Only a Spirit-filled woman can submit to her husband’s lead. It is the natural desire of a woman to lead through feminine manipulation of the man…Fallen women will try to dominate the marriage. The man has the God-given role to be the loving leader of the home.” – Pastor John Hagee in his book What Every Man Wants in a Woman (Charisma House, 2005)
  • “I cannot tell you how important it is that we understand the true nature of Islam, that we see it for what it really is. In fact, I will tell you this: I do not believe our country can truly fulfill its divine purpose until we understand our historical conflict with Islam. I know that this statement sounds extreme, but I do not shrink from its implications. The fact is that America was founded, in part, with the intention of seeing this false religion destroyed, and I believe September 11, 2001, was a generational call to arms that we can no longer ignore.” – Rod Parsley in Silent No More (Charisma House, 2005)
  • “Gay sexuality inevitably involves brutal physical abusiveness and the unnatural imposition of alien substances into internal organs, orally and anally, that inevitably suppress the immune system and heighten susceptibility to disease.” – Rod Parsley
  • “Only 1 percent of the homosexual population in America will die of old age. The average life expectancy for a homosexual in the United States of America is 43 years of age. A lesbian can only expect to live to be 45 years of age. Homosexuals represent 2 percent of the population, yet today they’re carrying 60 percent of the known cases of syphilis.” – Rod Parsley
From Open Left.  (I know…Liberals….ewwww)
This is just a tip of the iceberg of the insanity that Religion can infect.  You want to see unfair and injustice?  Clinton, Obama, and McCain can’t get into the White House without mentioning Jesus and the Bible every other week.  These are the same Jesus and the same Bible that those two morons Hagee and Parsley use to scream their sermons of hate.  Yet someone like me, who realizes the lunacy and rejects the exact same Jesus and the exact same Bible, is shunned by society.   37% of Americans say that they would vote for an atheist – even if every other feature about him made him a good candidate.  Plus, there’s this fun fact: when asked “What religious or nonreligious group doesn’t share your vision of American society” 54% – and the number one answer – of people said Atheists.  
Black, Muslim or Gay?  No problem.  Reject the idiocy that comes inherent with a mental dogma that discriminates heavily against those three?  Not going to happen.

Then again, there’s always this:

National Academy of Sciences – 93% are atheists.
United States Prison Population – .2% are atheists.
I guess it’s okay, because we got it where it counts.

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The general consensus around has always been that Karl Rove was the ‘mastermind’ behind getting Bush elected president.  They tout him as a political genius on one hand, and to many liberals the epitome of evil.  Your opinion of his motives aside, you can’t argue the results – two-term president, and the 1988 Texas Supreme Court races.  Many other victories and defeats are attributed to him, but those are the big two in his career.

 

So, lets look at his two greatest victories one after the other.  First, the 1988 Texas Supreme Court races.  In 1988 in Texas, there were 6 slots open on the State Supreme Court.  Normally, there are only 3, but due to resignations, 6 slots were open; in addition to the Chief Justice position.  Now, Texas had never seen a Republican Chief Justice in it’s history, 

 

The thing in 1988 Texas was ‘Tort Reform’.  Any half-wit lawyer could set up shop, throw together a decent jury and make a mint with these cases.  Many of them moved on to become judges, who tried these cases.  They would meet and discuss with the lawyers, and on and on it went.  Well, in Texas, Lawyers were a primary source of political power for the Democrats; either in men or money.  When 6 spots opened up on the Supreme Court, it doesn’t take an idiot to figure out how to beat a bunch of lawyers going for the Justice seats – you hit them where they’re strongest.

 

Rove started a campaign called “Clean Slate ’88” where he urged many voters to look hard at how those lawyers got their experience.  For the big spot, he lucked out by being handed Thomas R. Phillips – an extremely well-respected and straight-talking judge.  With him up against trial lawyers, in a state maggoty with them, he knew how he had to get this guy on the bench.  By taking away their strengths, he left them flapping in the wind, and put 5 out of the 6 spots into the hands of Republicans.  Now, you’d think this was a genius move, right?

 

Only no one cared.

 

“Clean Slate ’88” had zero momentum in the beginning.  It wasn’t until 60 Minutes came out with a story showing top judges on a retreat with lawyers getting a little too friendly (money, not sex), that all of a sudden the situation clicked.  Rove just happened to be standing there when lightning struck.

 

I wouldn’t really call him a genius, or say he even anticipated the situation.  Many other judges from all over the country tried running on Tort Reform, and many succeeded and failed.  Rove just happened to get lucky with the news report.

 

Now for the biggie:  George W. Bush’s presidential race.  I’m going to ignore the initial 2000 race, and focus  instead on the 2004 election.  My reason are; neither candidate was an incumbent, Bush was a governor – Gore was a former VP, both had about the same amount of political experience, and both had difficult ‘personas’ to overcome (Bush being kinda slow, Gore being a robot).  It was an even-keel, and there wasn’t any major political moves on either side (aside from the fight with McCain – and even that was only one incident).

 

In 2004, President Bush was up for re-election.  Once again, he called on Karl Rove to help him keep his job.  And once again Rove did the same thing he always did – attack an opponent’s strengths.  He went after Kerry’s war record (Swift Boats) and Edwards’ law career (Tort Reform…again)  But here is where I lose the concept of Rove being a ‘mastermind’:

 

Karl Rove nearly lost the re-election of an incumbent president at a time of war, to a Massachusetts liberal who had only served as Senator.  That’s huge.

 

We were in the middle of a war, and the only time – I can find – where we changed presidents in the middle of it was during Vietnam and WWII.  Nixon was ousted because of massive public pressure (he was Nixon) and WWII because of a term limit.  By and large, wars are scary, and we like to keep the people managing them together.  Plus, Kerry came off as a smug liberal – someone who would say anything to get elected.  There was this general feeling in the 2004 election that when Kerry took a stance on something, it was ‘just to get in office, it’s no how he really feels.’  Not to mention the fiasco of the changing of his opinions as public opinion swayed.  How do you nearly lose the vote there?  That should have been a landslide.

 

Two other nails in his coffin as a Mastermind are; Valerie Plame and the 2006 Congressional Elections.

 

I have no idea the reasons why, but he decided to leak the name of a CIA operative.  I know it was reported that he did it out of spite of a negative article, but I highly doubt he’s that much of an idiot to commit treason as response.  The whole thing is so confusing for me.  On one hand, you have governmental officials giving out the name of an undercover agent to the press.  On the other hand, you have a media and public that by-and-large didn’t really care.  There was a rather large firestorm, but as ‘Scooter’ Libby was sent out as the sacrificial lamb, it just seemed to kinda fizzle away.

 

Two weeks before the 2006 Congressional Elections, Rove was on an NPR radio show where he had this to say:

 

I’m looking at all of these Robert and adding them up. I add up to a Republican Senate and Republican House. You may end up with a different math but you are entitled to your math and I’m entitled to the math.

 

The major issue facing voters was the Iraq War – which had abysmal approval ratings.  The main spokesperson and figurehead of the Republican Party was President Bush – also with less-than-stellar ratings.  Then there are 3 names: Abramoff, Foley, Haggard.  With the Congress facing an overall approval rating slid all the way down to 16%, how on earth can you possibly think the Republicans are going to hold congress?

 

Especially when the two greatest strengths you should have – a war and a president – that you helped engineer, only proves to be your biggest problem?

 

Is Karl Rove good at his job?  Oh yeah.  But he’s not a ‘Mastermind’.  He doesn’t create opportunity, he uses it.  A true ‘Mastermind’ not only sees the events around him, but is able to manipulate them to reach his desired outcome.  Karl Rove is an opportunist – a good one – but that’s about it.

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