By: C. Edmund Wright
Leave it to Karl Rove to orchestrate a cover-up that actually hides information exculpatory to his President and his party. He did just that on the issue of WMDs in Iraq with the kind of thinking that sewed the seeds of destruction that gave us Barack Obama in 2008, and again in 2012. This kind of strategy goes back to late 2000 in fact. More on that later.
The New York Times and The Daily Beast ran sourced pieces this week entitled Insiders Blame Rove for Covering Up Iraq’s Real WMDs that chronicles a Rove inspired cover up of evidence of (WMDs) in Iraq. You might remember “Bush lied, people died” and all of that? It helped run George W. Bush’s administration right into the ground, and he took the Republican brand with him. Yes, Hurricane Katrina was a major factor too, but again, that was related to ‘Rove too. More later.
The WMD issue was the major public relations snafu of the Bush Administration, and the whole effort in the War on Terror.. The costs of this include the 2006 mid terms, the 2008 Presidential election, the 2012 Presidential election – and oh, the development of a little outfit known as ISIS.
Also the electorate, over the course of the years of Bush being hammered about lying on the issue of WMDs, hardened toward Bush – and by extension – all Republicans and even all conservatives. We still have this hangover today!
What is Rove’s part? He was the mastermind of the “new tone” White House strategy – a strategy of never engaging the other side in a debate.
According to The Beast article, Rick Santorum said he and his staff began receiving photos of discarded shells in 2004. Two years later in his Senate campaign, Santorum even public. In Santorum’s mind, exonerating Bush on the issue would be a good thing in a campaign season. But what did “the architect” say about this:
“White House wasn’t interested. “We don’t want to look back,” Santorum recalled Rove as saying …”the gist of the comments was ‘We don’t want to look back, we want to look forward.’”
An advisor to Dick Cheney, Dave Wurmser confirmed, saying “in 2005-6, Rove and his team blocked public disclosure and said ‘Let these sleeping dogs lie; we have lost that fight so better not to remind anyone of it.’”
Let sleeping dogs lie. Wow. The man who many Republicans count on to win elections didn’t think telling the truth about WMDs was a worthy political or moral endeavor. In Rove’s mind, the issue was settled, and he just wanted to move on.
Rove is not the strategist he’s given credit for being. He’s a tactician. That’s differnent. Turning the page on WMDs is the babbling of a small picture bureaucrat, not a big picture strategist. Set the politics aside for a moment: any public official who knew the truth owed it to the country to say. Rove managed to miss an opportunity do the right thing and help his President in the process. This is not the stuff of genius.
In my 2013 book I chronicle many other instances where Rove applied similar thinking – and all with devastating results. This started with the 2000 recount in Florida, where there was no push back at all on the popular vote meme, even though there were hundreds of thousands of Republicans who left polling places after NBC fraudulently called the race for Gore at 7 EST. That’s EASTERN. There was also widespread corruption in many places. There were chances to at least mitigate this theme, if tried early, but none were taken. Let’s move on. Now the electorate thinks Gore won by millions.
This was also the strategy around Hurricane Katrina, where no one from the Rove team ever whispered a syllable about the culpability of Democrats in the Mayors and Governor’s offices – which is where the bulk of the bad decisions were made. Not a whiff of a mention that Katrina was a failure of bureaucrats and Democrats. It all fell on Bush, which by association, fell on everyone who voted for him. Thus, when Chris Christie hugged Barack Obama on the tarmac a couple of days after Hurricane Sandy in 2012 – Team Romney was forced once again to run against Bush and Katrina. This stuff matters. For years!
And let’s not forget the economic meltdown, which was the direct result of three or four decades of liberal government perversion of the free market in areas of energy, lending, housing, esoteric derivatives, etc. Nope, can’t discuss that. Let’s move on. But you can’t move on. When a political narrative goes unchallenged, it HARDENS– it does not go away. Remember, in 2012, 53% of the country still blamed Bush for the economy – and 53% voted Obama.
And on and on it goes. This is who he is. This is what he actually believes. He apparently hasn’t noticed the direct connection between conservatism and truth.
C. Edmund Wright is a contributor to American Thinker, Breitbart, and author of several books including “WTF? How Karl Rove and the Establishment Lost…Again.”