Mud-flinging Meister Karl Rove is stooping to new lows, demonstrating once again the insecurities that shiver through the Republican Party as the 2016 presidential election draws closer.
Rove, long-time Republican political strategist and fundraiser, was a senior advisor to President George W. Bush. He is now a contributor to Fox News, the Wall Street Journal and Newsweek magazine.
Rove’s despicable dirty tricks are in direct proportion to his party’s insecurities, especially after losing in the last two presidential elections, despite Rove’s often sly, nasty campaign trickery. If the divided Republican Party lacks coherent, unified policies, one good way to distract from that dilemma is to pump out distortions, outright lies and then drop innuendoes to discredit the opposition: Was former Texas Gov. Ann Richards a lesbian? Is Obama a Muslim and a communist? Where was he really born, by the way? Does Hillary Clinton suffer from brain damage? Not? Well, then why has she been wearing those “brain-damage” glasses? And brain-deficient or not, wasn’t she the one involved in financial corruption years ago in Arkansas? And didn’t she and husband Bill have something to do with the death of Vince Foster shortly after Clinton was elected president? Oh, sure, they claim it was a suicide, but some still think it was a murder.
Fling the mud and hope it sticks. That’s the modus operandi of Rove and his minions. Despicable innuendoes, but sadly they “work” all too well because there are too many gullible voters willing to be swayed by that kind of crap.
Political campaigning has always been a dirty business, on both sides, with an anything-goes attitude. Like his partner in sleaze, the late Republican strategist Lee Atwater, Rove has perfected all the smear strategies, turning dirt even dirtier – to vile filth.
It works like this: Choose a little bit of reality (Hillary falling down, hitting her head and requiring a three-day hospitalization), then use that as a basis for innuendoes (Is she suffering from brain damage?) It doesn’t matter how far-fetched, cruel or ridiculous the innuendo is; it doesn’t matter if people slam Rove for playing dirty; he doesn’t care. What he cares about, above all, is that enough voters, the ones who now view Hillary favorably, will start thinking, “Well, Hillary is getting older. Who knows, could her brain be fading or damaged? After, all Reagan was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease toward the end of his last term. Should we really take a chance on voting for Hillary? Someone with brain damage?”
In Rove’s playbook, the end (winning) justifies the means (lies and filthy tricks).
Gov. Chris Christie, once considered the shoo-in for the next presidential candidate, has been tarnished by Bridgegate and/or by his blithe unawareness of what happens under his own nose in his office. The rational, reasonable, likable Jeb Bush is wavering about entering the race. Potential nominees like Rand Paul, Paul Ryan, Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz consistently trail Hillary in polls. And beyond all those considerations, it’s almost certain the Republican Party will continue to be divided by a tug of war between the forces of traditional moderate conservatism that could appeal to mainstream voters and the radical ultra-right-wing extremists typified by Tea Party fantacists like Michele Bachmann and Ted Cruz. When mainstream Republicans started courting those radicals some years ago, it was bound to bring problems of electability. Yes, it is quite probable Republicans will take back the Senate this November, thus controlling both houses of Congress.
But their chances in 2016 are anything but certain, especially if Hillary joins the race. A massive election turn-out for her is likely to propel many other Democrats to victory, too.
With that gloomy prospect looming, enter Karl Rove and the other filthy tricksters. Attack Hillary like a pack of wild dogs; nip at her heels; hamstring her until she is so exhausted and disgusted, she’ll have to decide not to enter the race. Even if she does run, keep up the attack with lies and innuendoes so she has to spend most of her time denying the relentless accusations.
In reply to Rove’s brain-damage innuendo, former President Clinton said there will be more lunatic accusations aimed at his wife in the coming months. No doubt. But it sounds like the Clintons are ready for it. The pack of roving wild dogs will keep attacking, but they will not succeed in bringing Hillary down.