You know, Rove’s not the first to push his particular toxic brand of campaigning, nor can he really take credit for the most recent establishment of it as a chronic condition–I credit Lee Atwater–but he’s definitely put his imprimatur on the contemporary edition of the dirty campaign.
And certain segments of the public–along with the media–can’t seem to get enough of it, which I guess goes to show you that one person’s thinnest of gruels is another’s ultimate speedball.
The formula itself is a pretty standard: a riot of patriotic imagery–better still if one can also claim victimhood (i.e., “I guess it ain’t fashionable to wave the flag, but…”), a willing suspension of disbelief, and loathing, hatred, and scorn for the opposition (they’re weak…or effiminate, even WHEN they’re threatening the flower of caucasian womanhood). Stir in a press corpse that actively refuses to address the veracity of negative ads and/or sneering allegations on the stump, and suddenly you’ve got what should be a walk-over turned into a nail-biter.
I’m continually amazed at what John McCain is allowed to say–utterly unchallenged–on the stump and in his advertisements. I can only believe that his followers and the media are happier hearing what they want to hear, i.e., Karl Rove’s crack, as opposed to a reality that’s not nearly as pleasant to contemplate. On the major issues–Iraq, the economy, energy–John McCain leaves reality behind in a wispy cloud, while adhering to the standard Rovian wingnut script (which, incidently, ought to put to rest ANY “maverick” horseshit. McCain’s easily taken to the Rove strategy of slime and defend, which, after havingread reports as to his temperment, shouldn’t surprise anyone. In fact, you could substitute the name “George W. Bush” for “John McCain” in said reports and I wouldn’t be surprised.)
So, I guess the question becomes whether or not those of us who either never took to Rove’s pushing–or managed to overcome the addiction–can overcome both the Rethuglican party apparatus AND a media that either through laziness (or its own addiction) chooses to hit the pipe. Let’s hope we can, at least this time around…and, while alas, Rove and his ilk are fated to personify the dark side of America, maybe one day we can banish them to someplace suitable, like professional wrestling, where they can play their sinister trade without the sort of tragic consequences we witnessed here in the real world over the last eight years…