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Ducking Karl Rove at the DNC

By Robert V. Sesay - (June 08th 2005)  

"...In the end, Al Gore graciously accepted defeat as dictators around the globe chuckle gleefully to a political system that has stood a test of time through most of its checkered history...."


In the months preceding the 2000 presidential elections, political watchers around the world kept asking: why yearn for a change when everything is sailing so well? Or to use American parlance, why fix it when it’s not broken? The economy was in its best shape since the end of World War II – a balanced budget with a surplus. Unemployment was at the lowest rate known in modern history. More than half of all American were not only trading the stock market, but the market saw it highest growth in recent years. And above all, more American graduated from the working class into the middle class. There was not only world peace, but the threat of nuclear proliferation and its nemesis - global terrorism were in decline, at least in troubled spots like North Korea and Iran. To compliment that, the world was witnessing a political hot trick at the end of the millennium with a peaceful transition in three of the world’s hottest political crisis: in South Africa, the apartheid regime came to an end; in the Middle East and Northern Ireland, the two conflicts came closer to a political end more than ever in recent history.

To sum it, America was on the roll.

Well, as you and I now know the result, feeling on from a lousy campaign and poor candidacy of Al Gore, Karl Rove, the Deputy White House chief of staff and a man responsible for the making of George W. Bush presidential was able to decimate all of the Clinton’s achievements into liabilities against Gore under his so called Compassionate Conservatism agenda. This agenda relatively enlisted an obscured political figure, (other than the name he shared with his father) who lacked all the ingredients for the White House. Nevertheless, Karl created a race where there was none between his candidate and Gore who had twenty three years experience in public services eight of which he served as Vice President.

True, the brouhaha after the election plus the Supreme Court ruling might have been more partisans than rule of law. But the Justices were left with nothing even if they were all Democratic appointees. Overturning the Florida Supreme court ruling was the least option anyone expected. In essence, the Democrats have themselves to blame for poor voters’ education that disqualified thousands of voters (presumably) Democrats voters for tabulation.

In the end, Al Gore graciously accepted defeat as dictators around the globe chuckle gleefully to a political system that has stood a test of time through most of its checkered history.

 Then four years later, it was like a flip of a coin. Or if you are a Democrat, it seem like a god of politics has personally shopped for your party. Everything that was right went wrong. Beginning with the 9/11 which the GOP cleverly manage to snuggle on Clinton’s endless flaws to the economy - the torpedoing of the biggest economy surplus into one of the largest deficit, the joblessness, the slum of the middle class back into poverty, especially minorities, and on and on. Oh least I forget the war in Iraq that has not only vaporized Islamic fanatics to maim anything that looks Western, but it inflame the race for nuclear proliferation.  However, point after point Karl Rove and his GOP lieutenants flushed their way out. The biggest of all for me was how the GOP reduced a war hero into a whim. You gotta love that if politics intrigue you as it does to so many of us.


Yes, if politics intrigue you as it does to me, you will also respect Karl Rove, especially for last year splendor performance that did not only win his candidate the job he supposed to lose, but he enhanced his reputation further not only as a quintessential political thinkers of our time, but also as a Daila Lama of American politics. With him behind the curtains, the GOP dwindle the Democrats’ seats in both houses of Congress as an addendum to the presidency that wasn’t theirs to win.


As Democrats lick their wounds for the second times in four years, many political pundits and watchers continued to ask the same question: why and how does this fifty-something political operative who evade the spotlights has become so successful at what he does for his party? In my quest to unravel that intrigues, the anti-Bush political documentary “Bush’s Brain” released last year by two Texan, Wayne Slater and James Moore actually answered some of these questions.


As James Moore declared: “I have truly come to believe that the politics and policies and power of Karl Rove… it’s a threat to our Republic. But when you meet him, he’s one of the most intelligent, gracious humble types of people you can have one-one conversation with. He’s so much bright and knows so much about American history. But there is a dark part of Karl... one part is power… one part is manipulation and control and there is another part of him that absolutely demands he destroy his opponents.” Destroy his opponents is what he does best with his trademark – leaves no trace.


Even Karl’s opponents speak well of his political savoir-fair. “Karl was a classics nerd. As a kid he wore big glasses. Certainly a guy the jockey makes fun of, but the interesting thing about Karl… he was very sharp that he has the ability to shut down any of his opponents with a quip, or an observation. He became the best debater in high school,” said Wayne Slatter. As he attempts to take us into Karl’s world, Wayne added: “As a teenager, while other kids had posters of rock and rolls stars and their favorite sport personalities in their room, Karl has a poster with a caricature of a  sleeping lady dripped with the U.S. flag with a message: “Wake up America!” hung on his bed room wall.”


While there are some evidences that the media is trying to lionize Karl and overplay his grip on the Republic Party, there is little doubt that Karl is becoming to the Democrats what Clinton was to the Republican in the nineties. Like him or hate him, he’s good at what he does. The only difference is that unlike President Clinton, Karl has no personal political agenda other than crouching Democrats from one election circle to the other. And that makes his winning prowess very serious to Democrats, since in fact he can do it for generations to come. There are already rumors about competing presidential materials within the GOP vying for his support for the 2008 showdown.


On the other side of the hill, Democrats have become what HBO’s Bill Maher called whiners and spineless. They complain about Republican been abusive and intoxicant with their majority rule. Was that really not expected? What does Democrat expect the GOP to do? Invite them for a power sharing confab in the Rose Garden? Last year was an opportunity missed that might not come in 2008 for the Democrats, especially since polls after polls indicate that Senator Hillary Clinton (a name that units conservative) continues to come forward as frontrunner.


 Since Howard Dean took over the party in mid February of this year, his promised of re-coloring some of the red states into blue remain anything, but a hope. His disappointing fund raising record nationwide is not only making fellow Democrats nervous, but there are also report of dissension within the party hierarchy for some of his recent outlandish GOP trashing.   


With less than 17 months to the mid-term elections, Democrats are still jostling to field winnable candidates in swing states such as Ohio and Pennsylvania. If the DNC wants to remain in contention for the control of the Senate in next year election, it’s about time for Chairman Dean to stop trashing opponents like the mad man he was that butted him out of the race last year. He should strive for serious glass root organizations in contested states that will truly produce results, and not rely on inflicted projections that preceded last year election. Until then the only thing the DNC can do is duck Karl Rove. For no one knows what he brings to the table next.


About the Author

Robert V. Sesay is a Liberian journalist and Writer who now lives in Levittown, Pennsylvania.  His debut novel “Stolen Justice” is due out this fall.

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