Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Karl Rove's Playbook

Karl Rove had one remarkable political insight that earned him the sobriquet "Bush's Brain".  He realized that the best way to attack an opponent was not his weaknesses, but his strengths.  Hence, Gore - a wooden, boring policy wonk - became a serial liar.  John Kerry - decorated war hero - became an emasculated fop.

It remains to be seen whether this approach will work on Obama.  But the above story does give at least one predictable tactic: massive poo flinging.

This is a tactic done left and right; this really is a "both sides do it" issue.  And there is a certain manic need to attack everyone and everything that comes out of every surrogate's mouth.  You fling the poo and hope it sticks.

But there is a difference, I think, between gaffes like Rosen's - which are at best insensitive - and the Etch-A-Sketch gaffe of a week or two ago.

Rosen said something that is un-PC (in the right wing PC universe): that women who stay at home don't have real jobs.  As tbogg unpack above, Ann Romney has had a ridiculously privileged life, even including the fact that she has faced two potentially devastating illnesses.  This doesn't make Ann Romney a bad person, but it does call into question her ability to speak for the millions of middle class and working class women who work outside of the home - not by choice - but by necessity.

Our family could survive if my wife didn't work, but we'd have to sell the house and a lot of the things that lead to our quality of life would hit the chopping block.  When Ann Romney purports to speak for my wife, there is a certain disconnect.  And since she has been elevated to the principle spokesperson for Romney's outreach to close his massive gender gap, it's worth pointing out that Ann Romney has no first hand experience with the sort of hard economic choices that women - in particular - have to face in this country.

But Rosen said it in the worst way possible and so there will be a media poo flinging episode.  But that episode won't last more than a news cycle or two.  There already was a gender gap out there, and Romney's essential weakness as a candidate is that he's the 1% .  And eventually, Ann Romney's dressage horses and multiple houses will work their way into the conversation.

The Etch-A-Sketch gaffe will linger, precisely because it reinforces existing attitudes about Romney.  That fact is that most working class and middle class women who are not politically conservative are going to support Obama.  And Rosen's gaffe isn't going to linger, especially because it is cross-cut by the fact that the Romneys are richer than shit.

Or should I say, flung poo.

No comments: