Friday, June 6, 2008

Who is Karl Rove?

I was playing the name game with a group of friends, when the name Karl Rove was slapped on someone's forehead and I realized I was not sure who he was, "Someone in the Bush administration or a basketball player", I thought.

Many of you know I made a New Year's Resolution to be more up-to-date with current events, and to be fair, I have been keeping up with international news, for instance, did you know that a cyclone hit Burma and an earthquake hit China last month? Of course you did, I'm joking. But US politics? I suffer to learn who the candidates were for president.

So, who is this strappling young fellow, and should you know his name?

First off, he is no longer in the Bush Administration. He resigned in 8/07, to spend time with his family apparently. He is know as the architect behind Bush's re-election campaign, the puppet master of the Bush administration, and a loyal friend of George W. Bush. There is a very interesting Frontline online about Karl Rove, titled, The Architect, which details how Karl Rove brought about the dominance of the republican party in America. Bush then named Rove the Deputy Chief of Staff.

And you've got to hand it to Rove: he masterminded Bush's win against Ann Richards as the governor of Texas in 1994, he got Bush elected as president in 2000, and he got that unpopular president reelected in 2004.

Rove was very clever and sneaky and was quite willing to do many ethically questionable things to keep Bush in power and get Republicans appointed to positions of judicial authority. If you google him, you can find articles on his involvement of the retaliatory ratting out of former CIA agent Valerie Plume. Those cases are all rather complicated however, and I am tackling US politics in baby-steps.

Watching the Frontline special made me wish the democrats had such a mule pushing for a democratic majority. On the other hand, though clever and admirable for getting what he wants, Karl Rove seems sullied, and it is unclear to me that he is following his convictions. Rather, he seems to exemplify Kant's saying, the ends justify the means. He decided to help bring about a Republican majority in US politics, and that's what he did. For example, in 2004 he pushed the issue of gay marriage to the forefront of political issues, as a hot button to bring out right-wing voters. A completely ridiculous issue to focus on in a time of war! Does Rove really have passionate feelings about gay marriage? I am sure not. But it did encourage lots of conservatives to vote who might have stayed home.

In the democratic primaries, I was not sure who to vote for, Obama, or Clinton. Now that decision is made, and I hope that Obama can win the hearts and votes of Americans by reaching out conscientiously to voters using both strategy and conviction, while keeping important issues on the table and having genuine principles.

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