It became quite clear to me early on that Bush was not the leader of the goose-stepping GOPs. Bush’s babysitter, puppet-meister, and ‘architect’ since the 70s, Karl Rove is calling the shots, still.

Who would have thought that using Social Security as a wedge issue, diversionary tactic would be a secret political weapon?

(Cross posted from Rosee’s Rest Stop)

Think Karl Rove is losing on Social Security and Schiavo? Those are mere tactical skirmishes–he’s got a grander prize in mind.

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“Yet as ugly as the Social Security debate has been for Bush and the GOP, it has served–perhaps intentionally–one salutary purpose: distracting Democrats while Republicans legislate, with ungodly brio, the rest of their agenda.

Class-action reform, the bankruptcy bill, drilling for oil in the Alaskan wilderness: Republicans are teeing up pet legislation and knocking it down the fairway like Tiger Woods with a brisk wind at his back. “Without Social Security,” Grover Norquist, a Rove confidant and head of Americans for Tax Reform, told me, “this other stuff would’ve been the front line of battle. Instead, Democrats are holding us up on Social Security, while we get everything else we want done.”

Like Moore, Norquist concedes that Social Security reform (at least any version featuring private accounts) is unlikely to be passed this year. But this, he contends, would hardly be catastrophic for Republicans–and he has a point. “On Social Security, we’re playing on our field,” Norquist says. “What would a Democratic win be? The status quo! Not exactly exciting for the party of progressivism.”

In keeping the various breeds of elephant inside the Republican tent, Rove has his hands full. But while he may not qualify as a political Einstein–his tactics often crude (and even thuggish), his strategies susceptible to overreach–there’s no gainsaying his achievements or overstating his ambitions. Today Rove (whom Bush has dubbed “The Architect”) wields more power than any party operative since his hero Mark Hanna a century ago. If the GOP gains further ground in 2006, Rove’s influence will only grow. And if a Rove-guided Republican takes the White House in 2008 . . . well, maybe we better not go there. The Rove primary is unsettling enough; a Grand Rove Party would border on terrifying.”


We may be kissing King Karl’s boots in 2008, and here I’ve been worrying about those who kiss Bush’s ass…

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