Friday, October 06, 2006


House-Page Veterans For Truth?

My colleague John Podhoretz has a somewhat tongue-in-cheek (I think) column today applauding the "sleazy, skuzzy, unprincipled and entirely Machiavellian Democratic political operative" who managed to get the Foley scandal into the public, "fingerprint-free."

And, no sooner does Drudge
take the bait from other conservative sites about one page saying that the whole thing was a "prank", oops! up pop three more pages.

It's almost like we've seen this before.

Hmmm...mysterious political attack coming out of nowhere to injure a political operation -- at its strongest point? Where have we seen that before?

Oh, yeah, right! This is exactly what might have been expected -- had Karl Rove been working for the Democratic Party!

Seriously, consider that, on more than one occasion, a Rove opponent (John Kerry, for example) has found himself completely thrown off balance by an unexpected attack from a third-party source ("Swift Boat Veterans For Truth," to take a random example; a similar group popped up in 2000 to question John McCain's bona fides, to a lesser effect).

The opponent is left sputtering that Rove's campaign client was behind it all, but with no exact proof. Energy and focus that would have otherwise been directed at Rove's client instead have to be split in two -- taking on the charges from the outside, while still trying to work whatever had been the original campaign strategy.

To see Dennis Hastert
stammering that this was about George Soros, ABC News, Dick Morris (DICK MORRIS?!!?!?!) was tragic. It was reminiscent, again, of John Kerry and the Democrats in 2004 agonizing that the Swift Boaters were in the employ of the Bush-Cheney campaign -- yet couldn't prove it.

What is so particularly damaging -- and effective -- in this tactic is that it eviscerates the target's perceived strength. In the case of Kerry it was his Vietnam service; in the case of the GOP, it is the "pro-family"/moral values imprint that has been an intrinsic part of the Repubulican "brand" for decades.

Which, of course, raises the interesting question: The Democrats have been saying for sometime that they need "our own Karl Rove." So, who then is the invisible behind-the-curtain Machiavellian "Democratic Karl Rove"?

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