Thursday, August 16, 2007

Pounding on Democrats, with Pinky Extended

Rush Limbaugh interviewed Karl Rove yesterday. Mostly it's what you'd expect (Karl and Rush agree that Bush is wonderful and Republicans are right about everything all the time), but this seems rather forced:

RUSH: Something I've always wanted to ask you and I just never have. Could you tell us what it was like in the first months of the administration, following the aftermath in Florida? You had made the strategic decision to adopt a new tone. You wanted to try to build bridges back to Democrats after the divisive nineties. The president had done it in Texas with Democrats, and you consulted them on legislation. Do you have any regrets about that approach?

Show of hands: Who here thinks this is something Rush has "always wanted to ask" Rove?

Of course it's nothing more than a setup, so Rove can talk about how nice Bush was -- and is:

KARL ROVE: No. Look, when we were able to find willing allies who are willing to work across party lines, it was the right thing to do.... [President Bush is] not going to engage in the kind of personal name-calling that makes Washington... Look, there ought to be politics in politics. But after the elections are over, people ought to be able to put things aside and look at things with the best interests of the country at heart, and if they don't agree, they don't agree, but if they ought to agree and should agree, they ought to try and move something forward....

...and on and on in that vein. And that's a setup for the real point of the interview, which follows immediately: an extended (and I'm sure highly enjoyable) round of Hillary-bashing.

KARL ROVE: ...You know, this is a woman who has been less than supportive of the policies that those men and women who are in the frontlines of the global war on terror fighting. This is like a woman who has opposed the Patriot Act that gave us the tools to defend the homeland. This is a woman who opposes the terrorist surveillance program that allowed us to listen in on the conversations of bad people who are calling into the United States. She opposed the FISA reforms that would allow us to listen into communications and see the communications of international terrorists who are communicating with other international terrorists, even outside the country whose messages simply happened to flow through US telecom networks. You know, again, I'm a little bit surprised that somebody with a record so weak on these things would somehow deign to lecture this president, who is very popular among the military and military families because they see him as a strong commander-in-chief who supports them, loves them, and gives them everything they need and want.

They just won't be honest and get straight to the point: "We hate these people. Here comes the bashing!" They have to pretend that they're the nice guys and we're the ogres. They can't bash without piously denouncing bashing first. They're like preachers at a whorehouse who tell the hookers that they're depraved demon-driven harlots before screwing them.

The base falls for this. Present-day Republicans will all go to their graves thinking not that Bush was stupid and vicious and hell-bent on vanquishing his enemies, but that he was the soul of kindness and it just so happened that everyone who supported him bashed Democrats at every opportunity, coarsening our political dialogue and making compromise impossible -- Bush had nothing to do with it.


By the way, in the course of the interview with Rush, Rove talks about his big book-reading contest with Bush -- which, for the moment, I'm going to discuss as if everything I've read about it is actually true:

KARL ROVE: I beat him last year, 110 to 94, and I'm ahead this year.

Well, bully for you, Karl -- and that was quite a comeback, because U.S. News reported at this time last year that Bush was ahead, 60 to 50.

And Bush, we were told, was reading big books up through August: Kai Bird and Martin Sherman's Robert Oppenheimer biography, for instance (784 pages), and Jung Chang and Jon Halliday's biography of Mao (801 pages). But Rove now tells Rush:

When we got too competitive last year, we both started reading John D. MacDonald mysteries, which are really delicious. He's a wonderful writer, a Floridian, who writes a wonderful set of mysteries, Travis McGee mysteries, and we both decided that we loved them. We were reading them quickly, enjoying them a lot, and then we realized this was being far too competitive. So we limited the number of John D. MacDonald mysteries we were both reading, so we could get back to the serious stuff.

Yet Bush, who early in the year was devouring 800-page tomes at the rate of seven a month, couldn't increase his monthly total even though Rove was beating him and they were reading 300-page mysteries. Curious, that.

I know, I know -- I'm taking this way too seriously. I can't wait to see how the numbers change as the tale of the great book-reading contest gets told and re-told by Bush and Rove.


(Cross posted at No More Mister Nice Blog.)