Inside Karl Rove's Diary:
"Things Aren't Going So Well"
by Bernard Weiner
September 4, 2003
Things aren't going so well. We were on a good two-year roll there after 9/11. Our in-your-face hardball politics had so frightened and flummoxed the opposition that it looked like we were going to get everything we wanted, not the least another term in the White House.
Now there's: Iraq imploding on us; the economy still in the tank, with 2,500,000 who've lost their jobs since we took over; investigations proceeding on the 9/11 cover-up, and maybe also on our outing of Wilson's wife as a CIA agent and our lying about the air-quality in Lower Manhattan for nine months after the WTC collapsed; and a pack of mean Democrat dogs out there yapping away at our domestic and war policies.
The total control we've exercised over the mass media -- conglomerate ownership sure has paid off for our side -- is beginning to crack. We hear that even some conservative GOP stalwarts are beginning to see vulnerabilities in our approach and are wondering whether to hedge their bets and start looking for others to lead the fight.
Granted, President Dim Bulb isn't what we would have wished for -- someone with some brights who can articulate our vision and not mess up all that often -- but he's a nice enough guy who still thinks Cheney and I are geniuses, so he does what Dick and I tell him.
The problem is that Rummy's nice, tidy Iraq scenario that the neo-cons had worked out (in their heads!) isn't playing out that way on the ground. They told us what the Iraqi exiles told them: that the U.S. forces would be greeted as liberators and that the Iraqis would cooperate with us in getting Iraq back on its feet in joint projects with our American corporate friends.
But Rummy and the boys made a few miscalculations: They thought we could win the war and the peace with the small army we sent in -- but, since they anticipated an easy post-war period, they didn't plan for an alternative transition. For chrissakes, we've got 150,000 combat troops over there trying to nation-build while riding around in heavily armored vehicles. And the natives are restless, with nightly guerrilla attacks and sabotage and mass-bombings. The press-sharks are starting to smell the blood of Vietnam in the Persian Gulf waters.
I'd never admit this out loud, but, diary, I guess we should have listened more to Powell and the diplomat boys, who said we shouldn't do this all on our own. Instead, we took all our cues from the PNAC playbook, which said that in order to maintain our superpower dominance and total control, we had to keep everyone else out of our way. The result was that we so humiliated and insulted our would-be allies before the war that now, when we need them, they don't want to come in and help us run the place. Or, more importantly, help pay the cleanup bill.
Neo-con strategy works in theory -- "we big superpower, you no stop us, get out of way" -- but apparently not always in practice. Now the U.N. won't go in without a new Security Council resolution and without the U.S. agreeing to share some of the authority. The allies won't cough up the bucks needed to reconstruct Iraq, and are delighting in reminding us that we shouldn't have deconstructed it in the first place.
If we don't get the troops and money we need, it means we have to do it all alone, everything. Well, the Brits will help a bit, but that assumes Tony Blair keeps his job and moral authority in England -- ha! good joke, that -- and that's no sure thing. He ate all the bullshit pie we served him on his WMD plate -- just like our gullible Americans -- and it's no wonder he's suffering from political indigestion.
Now, granted, we want to bankrupt the social programs the Democrats have established for decades, and we have a good excuse that permits us to do that: "The Treasury has no extra money because we're fighting a war on terrorism and reconstructing Iraq; protecting the homeland is expensive." But jeezus, we're going into a half-trillion-dollar deficit next year and, while it'll be great fun slashing-and-burning Head Start and privatizing Social Security and Medicare, we won't be able to pay for any of the programs WE want, and the economy will keep going further into the toilet.
There's even serious re-thinking among some conservatives about the huge tax cuts we gave ourselves and our friends. I couldn't believe our luck when the Democrats didn't stop us; thank God the populace is scared silly and doesn't care what we do as long as there are no al-Qaida attacks inside our borders. But that acceptance can't cancel the criticism about us being incompetent bunglers, with the economy, the war, the veterans, whatever.
The scary thing is that it's not just the Democrats making those charges; a lot of Republicans are starting to voice doubts about how we're handling the war and the economy -- and even some traditional, small-government conservatives are looking at Ashcroft's Patriot Act with amazement and anger.
A lot of GOP politicos look at Bush's re-elect numbers, around 40% now, and the likelihood that Wesley Clark will jump into the race, and they're scared they'll lose their own re-election bids in 2004. Hell, even the new Clinton, Dean, might be able to beat Bush. (Oh, diary, this is good! I'm salivating at the idea of secretly helping Kucinich get the nomination!)
I keep trying to tell our GOP scaredy-cats that we've covered all the bases. We'll take care of the Democrats in California and Texas and Florida and Colorado and elsewhere. There still isn't a lot of mainstream agitation about our friends in the computer-voting industry -- but why in hell did that Ohio computer-voting executive get caught promising to deliver the vote to the GOP in that state? And we can arrange for a good ol' patriotic surprise that will reinforce the support-the-president-during-wartime mood before the 2004 election.
The problem is that even though the Cheney-Rummy-Wolfy agenda calls for another big move in the Middle East -- using our leverage in Iraq to get the other Arab leaders to do what we want or there may have to be another "regime change" scenario -- we may be so bogged down in Iraq that we won't be able to initiate it with the required force behind our threats. And then there's that crazy midget in North Korea that could upset all our apple carts with his nuclear chess game.
The result of all these things going wrong is that I'm having to use up a lot of my political ammunition and threats way too early. But The Genius will just have to do what I know works: When on the defensive, get on the offensive as quickly as possible, by hook or by crook. Take the heat and attention off the scandals. Get Schwarzenegger into the race. Report some more terror alerts. Trot out some heart-tugging 9/11 stories. Have Bush visit a few more national parks to counter his environmental record. Denounce gay marriage and cry over the Ten Commandments case to lock up the South. Whatever it takes.
And I mean that "whatever." We've got to get the Man-Child re-elected, and I don't much care what we have to do to accomplish that end. If we don't get the next four years, we can't fulfill our domestic or foreign goals -- and set it up for Jeb -- and we'd open the door for the liberals and pinkos to re-enter and ruin things. If we truly want to destroy the Democrats and prepare the way for the one-party rule that will make our program fully possible, we can't afford to lose any of the big electoral-vote states in 2004.
Given Bush's, how shall we say, intellectual limitations when dealing with the fibs that he's told, and the scandals that cling to our administration -- and to such vote-magnets as Schwarzenegger -- it might not be as easy as it seemed some months back.
But, as I say, we'll do what we have to do to win (for sure keeping those voting-machine software codes secure in the corporate vaults). And if the voters don't like our victory results, then they'd better get used to the New World Order -- or hasta la vista, baby.
Bernard Weiner, Ph.D., is co-editor of The Crisis Papers, where this article first appeared (www.crisispapers.org). He has taught at various universities, and was a writer/editor with the San Francisco Chronicle for nearly 20 years. He is author of Boy Into Man: A Fathersí Guide to Initiation of Teenage Sons (Transformation Press, 1992). Please consider supporting the good work of Crisis Papers.