Friday, June 24, 2005

Karl Rove vs. National Security

Juan Cole does a nice riff on Karl Rove's recent remarks.

The problem our country faces is that Rove and company are so good at manipulating public opinion that there is little incentive for Bush to actually care about America's national security. This is not to say that public opinion hasn't done anything to push Bush in the right direction. For example:

"To the extent that we define our task broadly," Cheney said, "including those who support terrorism, then we get at the states. And it's easier to find them than to find bin Laden."

"Start with bin Laden," Bush said, "which Americans expect."

[Bush at War, by Bob Woodward, pg. 43]

Unfortunately, Bush didn't keep the pressure on bin Laden once a bit of time had passed:

I don't know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don't care. It's not that important. It's not our priority.

Bush received some criticism for this, but Rove has still managed to convince the public that Bush is strong on national security. In theory, when the public is basicly agreed on an issue (we all want national security), politicians in a democracy will give the country what it wants in order to get elected. With Bush and Karl Rove, our democracy no longer functions that way. And the problem won't disappear when Karl Rove leaves the political scene, because now that Rove has shown the way, there are plenty of people with the ability to copy his approach.


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