I think that one of the big strains on the Bush Administration has always been the Rove v. Cheney duke-out, which is really a micro-version of the classic Republican v. Conservative match-up. Because these two guys have had mucho influence on the administration, but have totally different styles for doing things. Specifically, that Rove is a sneaky guy who would prefer to hire surrogates to sneak behind you and stab you in the back, while Cheney would rather walk across the room and punch you directly in the face after having loudly announced his intention to do so.
And with Cheney, that’s a matter of principle. He thinks he has the right to punch you in the face, and so he’s not going to be sly about it at all. Because if you’re sneaking around, it means that you shouldn’t be doing it. And he thinks he has the right to do whatever he wants. And he thinks he has that right because he’s willing to take it without asking permission. And if you’re sneaking around, it means you don’t have the right.
And of course, I’m not just speaking of personal attacks. He thinks that the presidency is allowed to do any damn thing it wants. All it has to do is demand it. So he thinks that the presidency deserves warrantless wiretaps, because to ask for a warrant is to suggest that he doesn’t already have the right. But if you don’t ask, then you just get it. And he doesn’t want to ask Congress for permission or even tell the American people about it. But that isn’t specifically because he thinks they’ll stop him, but rather because he doesn’t think it’s any of their damn business. He’s not sneaking around or lying. He just doesn’t want them involved at all. And if he did involve them in his real plans, they would stop him; so in that respect, he was right.
And conservatives are just like that. They think they have the majority, and that most people think just like them. For them, their only problem is the lack of ballsiness. And that the only thing stopping them from imposing their vision of America is because too many people just aren’t willing to take it. To them, life is about being the biggest bully and knowing that all the other weaklings will respect their authority, if only they were more ballsy about it. And of course, that’s how they think foreign policy works too. And this is the Cheney Way. You take what you want and people will respect you for it. And of course, that’s totally batshit crazy and they’re really suffering from that now.
The Rove Way
But Rove is entirely different. First off, he’s not a fool, so he knows that conservatives aren’t the majority. In fact, he knows that most Republicans wouldn’t even be Republican or conservative, were they to know what the party was really up to. It’s all just a con-game, and about slicing and dicing things just enough to get the majority they need, while retaining a scary enough enemy needed to keep your allies in line. Because it never really was about supporting Bush or any other politician, except in terms of having someone to protect them from the scary, scary enemy; whoever that enemy might happen to be. And so it’s all about deception and illusion.
But that’s not just a logical strategy. Rove likes it that way. All the real Republicans do. They like trickery. They like cheating. And they like hiring someone else to do the dirty work. Sure, it’s necessary if they want to win, but it’s the only way they’d want to play it. They don’t have a real agenda. They just want to win.
And that’s why they became Republican, and Rove is the chief of them all, with Nixon as their grandfather. That’s why Nixon wasn’t particularly conservative. He just wanted to win and he liked winning dirty. It made him feel better because he was convinced that his enemy was just as dirty and he liked the idea of out-dirtying them at their own game; even if they weren’t really playing. And to this day, there are many Republicans still convinced that Nixon had nothing to do with the dirty tricks of his surrogates, just as Mark Halperin, Political Director of ABC News, is convinced that Rove is innocent of all the “allegations of Karl Rove that have been propagated in Texas and in Washington by the media, the liberal media, and by Democrats”.
And for Rove, the fact that nothing can be directly pinned on him is the icing on the cake, as is the fact that dopes like Halperin are blaming Rove’s enemies for Rove’s dirty dealings. You see, Halperin has met Rove and Rove convinced him that he’s a good guy being unjustly maligned. And that’s exactly how Rove wants it.
And so Cheney’s balls-out, punch him in the face strategy is totally against Rove’s way. Sure, even Rove can use such a strategy at times, but it’s not his style. Because again, he knows that it won’t win in the long run and it goes against his instincts. As it is, the Cheney-types have only been as successful as they’ve been due to Rove’s tricky maneuvering, which has afforded them the leeway to be balls-out without being called on it by the media. The Roves have allowed the Cheneys to come-off as strong, but not as the complete extremist bastards they really are, and that’s the only way that Cheney’s methods could possibly work. People like strong and direct leaders, but everyone hates a bastard.
And even still, Cheney has screwed up a lot for them. A whole lot. In fact, I think that the biggest mistake that the Bushies made was ever letting Cheney anywhere near the Whitehouse. Because his style is just so totally against what they need. I know, people like to mush the Cheney and Rove ways together, and insist that it makes for one mighty Republican kung-pao, but it’s just not true. Cheney is a fuck-up and has fucked-up just about everything for both America and the Republicans.
And as is so typical of the Cheney Way, he’s made enough enemies and botched things so badly that the Republican Party is forced to desperately appeal to the very conservatives who have been screwing them over. Avenues of deceit have been closing fast, and now they’re stuck to directly attacking the journalists that the Roves had been wooing, as well as any other moderate, independent, and wavering Republican who isn’t fully behind Bush. Plus, they’ve now forced the supposed “uniter”, Bush, to explicitly say that Dems will cause us to lose in Iraq and give personal interviews to extremist blowhards like Rush Limbaugh.
And while libs have imagined that this stuff was always happening, this is only news now because it’s never happened before. Rove uses surrogates like Limbaugh to make his case. He’s not supposed to sully his and Bush’s image with direct appeals, or to even make direct contacts with the dirty surrogates. He was supposed to take the high road. But thanks to Cheney and the other delusional conservatives, you’d have to be high to think that road is still available. But that’s just one of the eternal problems that will always plague the Republicans: They’re such a small minority that they’re forced to team-up with the conservative freaks who will continue to sabotage all their best efforts in the long run. Republicans just want to win, while conservatives just want to impose their will. And those two ideas are entirely incompatible.