If you haven’t heard, Karl Rove, whom the NY Times had the courage to describe as President Bush’s “strategist” (rather than his “chief thug” or “head goon”) resigned today. While bounding through the InterWeb following the story this morning, I happened upon this unexpected gem hypothesizing about Rove’s decision to leave his White House post at this particular moment. Among other more defensible reasons (like staying ahead of likely implications in no less than three high-profile Republican scandals), I was bemused to see an IN-tolerance for racism listed as one of his reasons for vacating a top job on Pennsylvania Avenue:
I said there was one exception to the rule that Rove simply “creates his own reality” and makes policy promises without delivering on those promises. The exception was supposed to be Latino voters. That is, Rove really did want to court the Latino vote, rather than just claiming Republicans had Latino support. The reason is obvious: if Republicans don’t get Latino voters, they’re sunk.
Of course, this conflicts (and has, in noticeable ways) with the nativist instincts of the base of the Republican party. About the only thing, at this point, that could mobilize the Republican base (and save some Congressional seats, if not the White House) is to give in to these nativist instincts, and start attacking brown people with gusto. But I doubt Rove would stick around for that–he knows the numbers too well. So it’s possible that Rove is out so the Republicans can turn into the full-fledged racist party they’ve always been.
This is well intended, but wrong. In fact, I don’t see any conflict for Rove or anyone else in the Bush administration around recruiting Latino votes AND moving racist policies, that is, policies that do disproportionate harm to communities of color. This is how the Bush camp works: create one reality that disenfranchises people in general and along the color line, then spin a tale of plausible deniability that the mainstream media won’t challenge and the American public will consume. Rove has been the “strategist” (head thug) for some of the most notoriously racist U.S. policymaking in recent history: immigration reform, the war in Iraq, and don’t even get me started on the response to Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. It seems he’s been pretty keen on appeasing the “nativist instincts” of the far-right of his party for some time now. There has always been a struggle within the Republican party about how to manage the less savvy racists within the party. I would argue that since 2000 (maybe I need to go all the way back to Nixon) that strategy has morphed into something like, “put them in the White House and surround them with them with great press people and just enough colored folks (who won’t rock the boat).” With that, I’ll leave you with this little show via Wonkette, that says so much more about Rove than I ever could: