Saturday, January 21, 2006

Going to the Same Well

Yesterday, Karl Rove, Chief Imperial Advisor, spoke at a meeting of the Republican National Committee, as did Ken Mehlman. Both men made it clear that the main theme for the 2006 elections will be a reprise from the 2004 elections: national security. Given that the GOP is reeling from a major corruption scandal that may very well reach deep into the White House, it is fairly obvious that "cleaning up the government" wasn't going to wash. Mr. Rove himself is the target of an investigation (Plame Affair) and may be indicted shortly. The Washington Post provided some of the details.

White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove offered a biting preview of the 2006 midterm elections yesterday, drawing sharp distinctions with the Democrats over the campaign against terrorism, tax cuts and judicial philosophy, and describing the opposition party as backward-looking and bereft of ideas.

"At the core, we are dealing with two parties that have fundamentally different views on national security," Rove said. "Republicans have a post-9/11 worldview and many Democrats have a pre-9/11 worldview. That doesn't make them unpatriotic -- not at all. But it does make them wrong -- deeply and profoundly and consistently wrong."

...At a time when Democrats have staked their hopes in large part on the issue of corruption, Rove and Mehlman showed that Republicans plan to contest the elections on themes that have helped expand their majorities under President Bush. They see national security and the vigorous prosecution of the campaign against terrorism at the heart of the GOP appeal to voters.

...Taking no questions from the audience or the news media, Rove used his platform to excoriate Democrats for "wild and reckless and false charges" against Bush on the issue of domestic spying and what he called an attempted smear against Judge Samuel A. Alito Jr. at his Supreme Court confirmation hearings last week.
[Emphasis added]

Rove's speech came just a day after Al Jazeera's release of an audio tape by Osama bin Laden, who might as well be called Osama bin Missing, in which the Al Qaeda leader threatened more attacks on the US. The timing of that tape may have been coincidental, but it sure came in handy for Mr. Rove. The fact that the Department of Vaterland Security did not raise the terror alert doesn't matter. The GOP got their shiny keys just as Americans began to take a closer look at the NSA illegal spying story and to express some unease at the fact that the Emperor in Chief thinks he has every right to spy on folks here in the US. Just to make sure everyone got the message, both Mehlman and Rove reminded them of the always imminent danger.

Mehlman and Rove accused the Democrats of trying to weaken the USA Patriot Act and of embracing calls for a premature exit from Iraq. They defended Bush's use of warrantless eavesdropping to gather intelligence about possible terrorist plots. "Do Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean really think that when the NSA is listening in on terrorists planning attacks on America, they need to hang up when those terrorists dial their sleeper cells in the United States?" Mehlman asked. [Emphasis added]

While the strategy might have worked in 2004, the GOP might find that well has gone dry if enough Congress critters get indicted for bribery and corruption and if the public suddenly decides that being secure is not as important as having the basic civil liberties guaranteed by the Constitution.

Of course, we are still more than ten months from the election. Osama bin Laden might be persuaded to release another tape.


Blogger phinky said...

And repugs say they are the party of new ideas.

6:02 AM  

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