Monday, August 13, 2007

Rove's Legacy

I don't know that I would say anything different than I did on BlueOregon, so here's that post...

Last week, the feds announced that they planned to precipitously increase logging on Bureau of Land Management lands across Oregon, including on lands inhabited by the Northern Spotted Owl and including old-growth stands. The proposal will be held open for public comment through next year, allowing Oregon's old wounds to open up and fester again just in time for the November election. Rove I don't have any evidence that the the motivation behind the proposal is to boost Republican chances in the US Senate and Presidential race, but it's exactly what we've come to expect from the Bush administration--a corrupt, politicized style that favors elective wins above good governance. From the way it has run the justice department to the Plame leak the current furor over the Klamath river salmon kill, everything this administration does is designed to increase its political advantage.

We have Karl Rove to thank. He announced today that he's going to leave the White House, but it's a good six years too late.

Rove was a genius of sorts. He managed to get George W. Bush, a man of no accomplishment or vision, elected not only to the Texas governorship, but to the White House--twice. Rove had an instinctive sense about how to divide voters so that just a bare majority supported his woeful candidate, and a knowledge of election tactics that has been unequaled in the last couple decades. Unfortunately, that same "genius" led him to infect the policies of government. There was no policy he couldn't tinker with to punish Democrats or rally Republicans, whether the subject was tax cuts or terrorism.

The short-term result was a series of catastrophic failures of governance and the most incompetent administration in a century. Long term, the results may even worse. Trust has been absolutely undermined between the parties and among citizens. Punitive politics is the currency of the day; genuine bipartisanship and serious consideration of solution-based policies a thing of a quaint, distant past. It will take years or decades to clean up this mess.

I would love to celebrate the departure of this most malign, nasty figure in American politics. Unfortunately, his legacy is such that I don't have any confidence that his successors will be any different.

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