Thursday, May 23, 2019
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Nov 26

Written by: Diana West
Monday, November 26, 2012 8:12 AM 

Just read Cliff Kincaid's excellent Nov. 8 analysis of the election in which he highlights Karl Rove's leading role in shaping the Romney campaign strategy not to define Barack Obama as the radical that he is: the Communist-mentored, Frantz Fanon inspired, faculty-lounge-Marxist who began his political career as a "fusion" candidate, running on both the socialist New Party and Democrat ticket.

As Rove saw it, the GOP couldn't say anything bad about Obama or it would turn voters off. Romney, alas, apparently agreed. (My rundown of what happened and why, here and here.)

Kincaid cites exclusive Bloomberg Businessweek coverage of a closed event at the tail-end of the GOP convention in Tampa where Rove addressed 70 top GOP donors. There, he laid out his strategy to win over crucial swing voters to defeat Barack Obama: as the reporter put it, "to criticize Barack Obama without really criticizing him."

Here is what Rove said, via Bloomberg:

What had emerged from that data is an “acute understanding of the nature of those undecided, persuadable” voters. “If you say he’s a socialist, they’ll go to defend him. If you call him a ‘far out left-winger,’ they’ll say, ‘no, no, he’s not.’” The proper strategy, Rove declared, was criticizing Obama without really criticizing him—by reminding voters of what the president said that he was going to do and comparing it to what he’s actually done. “If you keep it focused on the facts and adopt a respectful tone, then they’re gonna agree with you.”

To deem this pusillanimous approach the Failure of the Century is not simply because insufficient numbers of Obama voters found the GOP approach reasonable and voted for Romney. There is the disastrous, middling-to-low GOP turnout number to contend with. I believe inadequate GOP and conservative turnout is the direct consequence of this same tepid Rove approach. Failing to point out the deeply radical nature of Obama, manifested in his repeat assaults on and stated animus toward the Constitution, and in his hostility to free markets and individual liberty, similarly failed to impress upon conservative, traditional, Constitution-loving Americans the urgent nature of the 2012 election. The crisis. The real fiscal and also small-r republican "cliff."  Similarly, failing to highlight Obama's disastrous policies as commander in chief -- Benghazigate made this ridiculously simple -- failed to underscore the extent to which the Uncle Sam has gone off the rails over 12 years of the Bush-Obama Islamic Democracy Project. And failing to question the blatant evidence of fraud in Obama's two publicly presented identity documents, the online birth certificate and the Selective Service draft card, failed to acknowledge the appalling fact that the president of the United States is also a fraud. (Imagine if at a debate Romney had offered to exchange a decade's worth of his signed IRS tax returns for any of the following: 1) Obama's college and law school records; 2) his passport records; or 3) the microfilm of his birth document pdf or 4) his original Selective Service card.)

None of these and many other subjects crucial to national destiny could be expressed in Rove's all-important "respectful tone." That meant they were eliminated from campaign discourse. But the reason they defy a "repectful tone" in the first place is that they constitute outrages beyond respect. This makes them central to a challenger's campaign, both morally and politically, a lesson lost on Karl Rove. Outrage -- also fear that liberty is being stripped away by the central government -- drives voters to the polls, as we saw in 2010. The "respectful tone" from GOP challenger Romney, however, probably convinced some possibly crucial number of Romney voters that all was basically well and it was okay to stay home.  

Which makes Karl Rove the architect, all right -- of GOP voter suppression.

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