Karl Rove's Diary:
Escaping the Lame-Duck Trap
By Bernard Weiner
Co-Editor, The Crisis Papers
June 7, 2005
Things certainly aren't going the way the Boy Genius
I thought the second term would be pretty much like the first, only
more-so: setting the agenda, getting pretty much our own way in Congress,
the world acquiescing to our policies and demands, confused Democrats not
offering much in the way of an opposition, the mass-media automatically
taking their cues from us, the poll-ratings remaining fairly high, etc.
Yeah, of course, I realized that there's always a lame-duck effect in a
second term, but we anticipated it wouldn't really show up until late-2006
or early-2007. But we were at 49% favorable right after the election --
how very odd (hee, hee!) that was about the same percentage Bush received
in the exit polls -- and now we're in the mid- and low-40s. Damn! If we
don't regain the momentum, we're going into free-fall.
I think the problem is that we didn't think big enough in terms of
numbers; we barely squeaked by in 2004. We should have, how shall I put
this, ensured much larger popular and electoral vote totals. If we'd won
by 60%, or even 55%, we'd have had much more political momentum behind us,
and therefore fewer challenges -- certainly fewer Republican pols willing
to stand up to us.
But when the perception is that half of the population voted for the other
guy, that means we're hauling a huge anchor around our neck. Even after
the beating we and our Swiftie friends laid on Kerry, and with our doing
everything to keep the Dem vote down, and with throwing lots of red meat
to our hungry fundamentalist friends -- even after all that, we were
barely able to push our guy over the finish line.
So, after a brief second-term honeymoon period, when we got the
bankruptcy, estate-tax and class-action bills passed -- payment in kind to
our generous supporters -- it's been a hard slog.
We sure took our lumps with Bolton. We thought he'd be a sure-thing; now
we may have to recess-appoint him if any more of those goddamn "moderate"
Republicans bolt. They're pretending to be upset that John-the-Enforcer
tried to get recalcitrant CIA analysts fired and now the new revelation,
that Bolton illegally orchestrated the firing of a U.S. undersecretary of
state from a global arms-control agency.
Holy cow! He's only doing what we asked him to do; the liberals can't
attack us directly, so they go after our designated hitman.
We can't come right out and say it, of course, but damn it, Bolton needs
to be at the U.N., laying wood when votes are needed in favor of military
action against Iran and/or Syria. We can't trust a real diplomat; we need
a hard-nosed Bush loyalist, a take-no-prisoners PNAC graduate like ol' Mad
Dog, as he's known affectionately here.
TURNING FILIBUSTER DEFEAT INTO VICTORY
Dumping the filibuster was an absolutely necessary move for our upcoming
Supreme Court appointments. But did win a kind-of victory with the
This way we get our three most objectionable judges (Owen, Brown, Pryor)
confirmed to the appellate courts, and we'll then accuse the Dems of
breaking the agreement the minute they start anything that smells like
obstructionism, thus permitting us to return to the nuke option in
eliminating the filibuster just prior to the Supreme Court vote. In short,
the Dems won't know what hit 'em.
(Note to self: apparently, McCain -- who engineered the filibuster
"compromise" -- has forgotten the lessons we delivered to him in South
Carolina in 2000; one of these days, he may wake up with a horse's head in
HOW SOCIAL SECURITY "REFORM" WILL COME
Speaking of the obtuseness of our Dem opponents, they're still oblivious
about why we keep the Prez plugging away on the hustings for our Social
Security "reforms" when three-quarters of the American people think we're
wrong and should drop the topic. (But why on earth did our Dim Son come
right out and say that he was touring the country mouthing the same thing
over and over in order to "catapult the propaganda"? That man needs some
Super-Glue lip gloss. I should get combat pay for my babysitting duties.
You'd think the Dems would have figured out by now why we're still
flogging Social Security all over the country. Think about it. We got
everything we wanted after 9/11; all we had to do was say some bill was
essential for "national security" or to "stop terrorists." So...we'll keep
slogging away at Social Security reform, and when the next major "event"
happens, either inside the U.S. or if we are "forced" once again to attack
another country, we slide that Social Security baby right through a
frightened Congress. It'll be easy: those politicians are terrified of
being termed "soft on terrorism" or "unpatriotic" if they don't support
the Commander-in-Chief during "wartime."
As we've proved during the past four years, being in a state of permanent
war means we can do most anything as long as we somehow tie it to the
magic word "terrorism." Although, I must say that it's not quite as easy
as it used to be. 9/11 was a long time ago, and people tend to forget how
frightened they once were. Maybe the public needs periodic booster-shots.
(Note to myself: Make sure Ridge is punished for spilling the beans about
our hyped-up "terror alerts" prior to the election; all he had to do was
keep his mouth shut after he resigned, but no, he's out there revealing
the way we manipulated the populace with those phony alerts to keep them
scared and eager for us to protect them.)
IRAQ WAR IMPLOSIONS ARE DANGEROUS
Now we get to a possible real vulnerable point. The goddamn war in Iraq.
Not the war per se, as the fact that the traitorous media is revealing all
sorts of things that were not meant for public exposure. Like how the Army
has found that the Koran was indeed abused badly at Gitmo, urinated on,
stepped on, defaced and so on; now we look ridiculous for making Newsweek
stand in the corner and apologize for saying pretty much the same thing
we're admitting. (Lucky for us Newsweek did a Rather and got a sourcing
Sure, we want our interrogators at Gitmo and elsewhere to "break" those
prisoners, by whatever means are required, but why can't the goddamn
military keep their troops disciplined, by which I mean silent? Now the
word's out and we're catching hell all over the globe. Thank God, there
aren't any photos or videos of such behavior!
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch and the Red Cross and so on
are all making a big stink about how we've turned into the Soviets and
Nazis by mistreating, abusing, torturing and humiliating prisoners -- even
hiding some of them, "ghosting" them, from the designated international
I wish we could come right out and just say it: "Yes, we have done all
that, in our own little gulags; what are you going to do about it?
"These are killers and we need to keep them off the streets by whatever
means necessary, including killing the worst ones if we have to, and
disrespecting their holy book in order to make them know who's boss."
Instead, we have to deny all and feign outrage, denouncing the messenger,
as usual, without confronting the message head-on. Oh well, such is
politics in a politically-correct age.
But Rumsfeld and Cheney are almost worse than Dim Bulb; in recent days,
each has made a terrible Freudian slip in calling the Gitmo detainees
"prisoners of war," a big mistake since our whole policy for their not
falling under Geneva Convention protections is that they are not POWs but
"enemy combatants." Get back in line, fellas.
DOWNING STREET "SMOKING GUN" MEMO
The bad news is that the torture/Koran issue is melding with the
revelations in the Downing Street Memo -- that both Blair and Bush were
engaged in a conspiracy to fool our respective citizens into believing
that we in the Administration were truly interested in a diplomatic
solution when the decision to attack Iraq actually had been made nearly a
year before the invasion.
And when you add to that "smoking gun" the growth and sophistication of
the insurgent forces in Iraq, and the increasing threat of ethnic civil
strife erupting in that country, the Iraq War and our handling of it could
build to critical mass in the public mind. They might even be willing to
consider that maybe the U.S. should bug out of there stat. Can't have that
now, can we?
RETURN OF THE "I" WORD
Given that liberal journalists are constantly bringing up the
Administration's so-called sins of commission and omission, it's not
surprising that the "I" word is starting to be bandied about again, as it
was when Abu Ghraib broke. I don't think we need worry ourselves about
impeachment during this second term -- our GOP friends will hang tight in
the Congress, even if they despise us; they know on which side their
political bread is buttered, and will do nothing to harm their own holds
on power and influence.
But there is a growing rumble out there, and not just from disgruntled and
angry Democrats, that we in the Administration have grown too big for our
britches and are taking the country way too far to the right -- and
"incompetently" at that -- and need to be reined in. We sure did get our
asses whupped by bowing to the fundamentalists in the Schiavo fiasco; and
the House and Senate both passed funding bills for highway projects and
stem-cell research despite the threat of a presidential veto -- not good
Most importantly, the Dems are chomping at the bit to initiate impeachment
hearings, especially over Iraq and how we got there, but, unless the
public suddenly gets stirred up to take action against us in a big way --
not bloody likely, as they're willing to let us do anything as long as we
keep them safe -- I think we can weather the storm.
Hell, our role-model here should be Tom DeLay; the liberals have nearly
got the noose around his neck and can't wait for the lynching to start,
but The Hammer keeps pounding, and confounding, his critics. Hang in
there, Tom! (Whoops, bad choice of words.)
But what about after 2008? Unless Jeb or another leader we can count on is
elected, we still might have to worry about facing criminal, civil and
international war-crimes charges associated with our eight years of rule.
Can't let that happen. Gotta talk to Poppy and Jeb -- and Wally over at
Copyright 2005, by Bernard Weiner