Do take time to read what Jonathan Chait sez.Rove: Obama Tricked Us Into Shutting Down Government
Karl Rove may have presided over one of the more disastrous presidencies in American history, and then directed a shadow campaign for Mitt Romney that, at minimum, failed to deliver its objectives, but he turns out to be a surprisingly entertaining newspaper columnist. Granted, the entertainment is unintentional, but you have to take your Rove successes where you can find them.
Today’s effort is mostly devoted to repeating the familiar and correct point that Republicans blundered by shutting down the government. That argument, which consumes the bulk of the verbiage, is not the interesting part. The interesting piece is Rove’s preface that of course President Obama deserves most of the fault for this debacle.More at the links.
I had to share this on Facebook. Here is my reflection.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Extra points to Carl Rove for pointing to Barack Obama's worst quality, his lack of leadership, that "leading from behind" trope that follows him wherever he goes.
Actually, he tricked everybody. Because he was half Negro he knew that any time he opened his mouth anything he said would be questioned more closely, held up to scrutiny much more than had he been white. Long before he was elected he understood the power of the kiss of death better than anyone who ever darkened the door of the White House. (After all, it's not called the WHITE House for nothing.)
Knowing this he used most of his first term validating the truth of this power. The kiss of death is one of the most important tools in the political toolbox, so politicians of all stripes and colors know how to use it as effectively as a doctor using a scalpel. In the hands of a novice, it's a potentially dangerous weapon. You don't need to be a member of the NRA to know how easily one can misuse a gun. Without proper training it can kill the owner as fast as it can kill the perpetrator of a crime.
You win this round, Obama, but next
time we won't fall for your "trick
us into shutting down the government
by asking us not to" plan.
He had to be certain before he pulled out this weapon, this kiss of death, on his political opponents. He started almost from Day One, by appointing Hillary Clinton Secretary of State and John Huntsman and several other Republicans to positions of prominence in his administration. And it worked. As if by magic he was able to convert adversaries into allies almost overnight.
But that was child's play. It's easy to do that one-on-one. He knew that from playing basketball. But opposing an assembly of opponents, like both houses of the US Congress or the Supreme Court -- now that is a different matter. He knew this weapon was not as effective outside the US. He could go to Europe, where peace prizes are passed out like Halloween candy, or Africa, where people of color are a dime a dozen, and his kiss of death was no more effective than a peck on grandmother's cheek. But here at home, where even white people have been using it for years to brand educated, articulate people of color as "uppity" to other white men, or "Oreos" and "Uncle Toms" to people in their own communities -- here he had to be doubly careful how he used this powerful weapon.
By the end of his first term he was certain. He knew from having even the most harmless of political appointments locked up indefinitely in the Senate, by watching how quickly his Republican opponents in the House reacted negatively to anything he said or did, by an overnight announcement on talk radio that all his opponents really wanted was his administration to fail, that he had his opponents exactly where he wanted them. After that, the rest of easy. He was certain that all he had to do was pretend to be disinterested that his opponents would have a knee-jerk reaction and immediately get interested in whatever the issue happened to be.
He wanted to end the war in Iraq right away, but no, he first had to furnish a "surge" (or I should say yet another surge) to show presidential resolve. He wanted to grant amnesty to all those undocumented immigrants, but first he had to tighten up border security, buttress the ICE people, deport more of them than any previous president and demonstrate his "leadership" in ways that no previous president has ever been expected to do. And still, slicker than Slick Willie himself, he had to be quick on his feet and stay close to the teleprompter to keep the Republican opposition on the defensive. But he knew the game as well as he did basketball. He knew how to use his skin color as effectively in politics as he took advantage of his height and athletic prowess on the basketball court. This man is better than good. He's tricky. Trickier than Tricky Dick Nixon.
So thanks, Mr. Rove, for pointing out what others seem to have missed. This president is tricky. Hillary said it well -- if he walks on water his opponents will say it is because he can't swim. Or as one Web commenter said, if he says air is good for you, the whole Congress stops breathing. So when it came to these most recent crises, all he had to do was announce well ahead of time that the debt ceiling was not to be negotiable. Period. But his opponents didn't believe him. By the time it was nearly over, most of them understood, but he tricked even them. All he had to do was exactly what he announced well in advance he was gonna do -- and in the end, he tricked them into running blindly into a box canyon where they could be brought under control, like a herd of wild horses or lost cattle. Just like in the movies. This guy is good.
Thanks, Mr. Rove. Thanks for your insight.