Karl Rove gives me the heebie-jeebies.
I met the White House Deputy Chief of Staff, whom Dubya apparently calls "the architect", a few years back—it was out here in California at some gathering I attended for GOP worker bees, of whom I was then one.
Let me be clear. Rove did nothing that I found particularly offensive. He was distinctly gregarious, if you want to know. But he just had that slimy, political operative feel about him. It told you that he wasn't above rifling through your garbage hoping to find a phone bill with numbers to a sex hotline.
And that if there was no evidence of porn, he would make it up anyway. So the rifling was really just a formality.
In the end, the Republican National Committee officially endorsed the President's Guest Worker Plan—should Republican politicians choose to oppose Guest Worker Programs, they are now defying the official policy of their party.
For example, Congressman Tom Tancredo is adamantly opposed to guest worker programs. So he's against the official position of the GOP. The White House could point to his behavior and call him a rogue or a maverick who is threatening the Republican agenda.
With former HIAS operative Mrs. Mehlman's boy at the helm of the RNC (see my recent column), patriots like Tancredo may find themselves suddenly ineligible for such membership privileges as campaign finance.
Karl Rove was a keynote speaker for this year's RNC meeting. He revealed the GOP platform/strategy for the 2006 elections:
1) The War,
2) the Patriot Act
Hmmm. After the RNC meeting, the headlines focused on the split within the GOP over immigration reform. The fact that Pullen's was introduced at all could be evidence of an impending revolution.
But here we had the President's most trusted advisor addressing the RNC and instead of seizing an opportunity to smooth the fray he…talks about the war.
Yeah…this would be the same War on Terror for which we have spent billions of dollars to promote democracy in the Middle East.
You know, because if the people could only vote for their leaders, well, that would prevent terrorists from running the government.
Just look at the Palestinian elections last week! See what happens when these poor people are allowed to elect their leaders?
They elect strong, determined…terrorists!
I may not be quite as a brilliant political consultant as K. Rove…but I would probably not include this little number on the list of Administration success stories during tonight's State of the Union, m'kay?
Wouldn't it have been a better plan to unite the party—to give immigration reformers something—anything?
This turn of events left me in a state of disarray…and frankly, without a party.
And I received a ton of reader email expressing the same sentiment.
That got me thinking…
My readers, many of them Republicans, are talking about looking for a new party. Get some new blood in there.
Speaking of blood and third party candidates…
There is a vampire running for Governor in the state of Minnesota.
Uh-huh…a vampire. [Read story here]
The Impaler (a nickname…I hope) is representing the political party known as the Vampires, Witches and Pagans…of course.
In any event, Nosferatu here is precisely the reason for imposing ballot restrictions and qualifications. Candidates must be able to show a legitimate possibility of winning before the taxpayer is forced to pay the cost of putting them on the ballot. For example, the candidate may have to gather a certain percentage of signatures from registered voters in their district. For national elections the candidate would have to meet that same requirement in all 50 states.
In the case of Minnesota, there could be a requirement that the candidate is in fact, a human.
My antennae say the climate is ripe for it…or will be very, very soon.
First of all, look at the mood of the electorate; the pull towards a third party is clearly evidenced by the trends in voter registration:
Crikey! Over the last 44 years, the Democrats have steadily declined in registration.
The Republicans, despite clawing their way to control of the legislative and executive branches, have stayed more or less the same…which is just as poor a showing.
Hmm…but lookey here: the percentage of people choosing not to join the biggies (or those who have fled) has increased by slightly more than 20 percentage points.
At this rate of growth, the number of people registered as independents will exceed the number of registered Republicans within three election cycles.
Then again, we are talking about a spread of less than 7 points.
This brings me back to the Grand Old Pansies and their new platform on immigration…
In his 1995 book on immigration, Alien Nation, Peter Brimelow issued a caution for those who would ignore the growing immigration problems in America.
"…[N]o political issue, once it reaches the surface, has more elemental power than immigration. It could quite easily destroy the present political-party system, as it helped to do in the years before the Civil War." Alien Nation
A Civil War as we saw back in the days of Grant and Lee may not be on the horizon…yet...but I think a civil war within the GOP is imminent.
This is why:
Following the floor vote on party resolutions, a party delegate was asked why the RNC endorsed a guest worker program in spite of the fact that so many Republicans oppose the legislation.
Ferrel Blount, Chairman of the North Carolina State GOP, said
"It was a good compromise [Bryanna note: compromise????!!!]…I did not want to see a sense of the RNC resolution tie the hands of the White House on this important issue."
RNC Chairman Mehlman echoed the sentiment…of course. He said the resolution "reflected where the President was."
These quotes come from an article by John Gizzi for HumanEvents Online January 22, 2006 and the title that says it all: Is It "Stepford Committee" for White House? RNC Bows to Bush, Kills Immigration Resolution
Lilly Nunez, committee member from the Colorado (and member of the GOP Hispanic Advisory Committee) made this statement in an article for the Los Angeles Times [Amid Rifts, GOP Backs Guest-Worker Plan by Peter Wallsten January 21, 2006]
"We as a party ought to stand united behind our president."
Who are these people?
The Republican Party was founded on an anti-slavery platform back in the 1850's and since then has always been a reform party—a party of ideas.
The Republican Party of today has a platform as well—it's the Bush II platform.
Good grief, the party of Lincoln was never just the party of Lincoln's agenda. And his Presidency was actually a success.
The War on Terror, whatever you think of it, definitely is not a cause around which people can organize and rally.
Americans are only energized by issues that affect them. Whether or not women can vote in Iraq might be significant in a worldly sense, but how worldly are we?
We have our own problems here that need to be fixed—when Americans hear about drug tunnels from Mexico I think that whole democracy thing in the Middle East seems well, not as important.
By making the war the top campaign issue for 2006, Rove has essentially transformed the GOP from a reform party into a war party.
"The architect" has built, perhaps his first, house of cards.
On the other hand, immigration reform is a real cause and half the nation is already behind the charge.
The White House should therefore not be surprised when and if all those people they shunned last week organize a new party for reform.
You know, they same way they did—when was it?—back in 1854.
Bryanna Bevens [email her] is a political consultant and former chief of staff for a member of the California State Assembly.