Thursday, August 23, 2007

Dirty Mind

Old fool David Broder adopts an almost defiant tone in a column today on his BFF Karl Rove's resignation. He seems to fancy the world class dirty trickster as, in the immortal words of Prince, "such a hunk, so full of spunk..." (you'll have to Google the rest of the verse.)

There is little in the column of the High Broderism we've come to expect from the man himself. Broder does acknowledge Rove's "contributions to the divisiveness of American politics." But then we get a thought like this:

It is hard to generate much sympathy for someone as unrepentant as Rove, someone who at most acknowledges that his party is "a little bit behind the curve" when it comes to the voters.
Rove is slightly unsympathetic to Broder not because of his many misdeeds, not for his nearly complete lack of ethics or his enormous catalog of unfairnesses, but because he's unrepentant! Unrepentent for hurting the G.O.P.!

It gets worse, much worse. Broder seems to be on the right track in defining "Rovism" as just the latest chapter in "the domination of America by a certain type of Republicanism":
Even before his partnership with Bush began back in Austin, Rove had drunk deeply of the magic potion dispensed by Lee Atwater, the South Carolina whiz who had absorbed the anger and frustration of the white Southern blue-collar families with whom he was raised. Atwater was Rove's first boss at the Republican National Committee, and my first conversations with Rove were dominated by his encyclopedic knowledge of the shifting political allegiance of Dixie precincts as their residents reacted to the civil rights revolution and the changed positions of the national parties by migrating from Democrats to Dixiecrats and Wallace-ites to Republicans.
But as you can see in his sanitized version of this history, Rove Broder isn't interested in reality. (Nor is he interested in exploring the valuable point Matthew Yglesias recently made about how the political realignment Broder writes of here is the very dynamic behind the partisan politics he normally decries.)

No, Broder's only point in the passage above is to show Rove as a mere passive observer of the ripening of Nixon's Southern Strategy. Rove just happened to be in the right place at the right time to observe Southern voters who favored an apartheid society "migrating [in] political allegiance" from Democratic to Republican. Broder's Rove is a kind of a bookkeeper, almost, a clerk, a simple "direct-mail specialist" building "an institutional advantage for the entire GOP."

But Atwater and Rove didn't build an institution so much as borrow one -- and that'd be the institution of slavery. And Broderella will never tell you that.