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The Progressive

Exit, Karl Rove, Stage Right

Matthew Rothschild

Karl Rove went out the way he came in.

Arrogant, conniving, thieving-a Mayberry Machiavelli, as one former Bush appointee put it so aptly.

Rove was a dirty trickster from the very beginning, and we should have listened to Molly Ivins and Lou Dubose. They warned us about him a long time ago.

Early in his career, he even reportedly bugged the office of his own candidate, and then told the press that his opponent had done it.

He sicked the FBI on Jim Hightower to torpedo that populist from gaining higher office.

And, of course, he finagled the election in Florida in 2000, and he designed the plan to disenfranchise millions of people in 2004 by raising the phantom of widespread voter fraud.

He then encouraged Republican state legislators to place hurdles on the path to the voting booth, with onerous voter ID laws, and he encouraged the U.S. attorneys file fraudulent charges against Democrats so as to throw the election to Republicans.

And he made sure that U.S. attorneys who didn't play ball got the heave ho.

All the while, he did more than any single individual-with the possible exception of Roger Ailes-to poison the political climate in this country.

By relying on the rightwing base, and by feeding its reactionary appetites, Rove made the Republican Party barely recognizable to old, main line, main street, or libertarian party members. That is why, even today, the candidates for the Republican nomination take turns genuflecting before such idols as creationism and spewing bile at immigrants, gays and lesbians, and women who need abortions.

Rove also was there, in the White House, when Bush and Cheney wheeled out their propaganda apparatus, almost five years ago to the day, to bamboozle the Congress and the American people into the Iraq War.

So spare me the buddy-buddy farewell of boy George and pudgy Karl.

They can reminisce in Texas only too soon.

But behind bars would be a more fitting place.

©2007 The Progressive Magazine

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