Cry, the Beloved Country!

09/28/2010 11:55 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Nigel Hamilton Author, 'The Mantle of Command: FDR at War, 1941-1942' and 'American Caesars: Lives of the Presidents, Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush'

The news, in the New York Times Sunday, that Karl Rove is up to his old tricks again is profoundly depressing. How can this monster of deceit and master of the politics of personal destruction be operating again in full public view? Has he not done enough damage in a lifetime of plotting?

Was this odious power-monger not exposed as one of the most egregious and unprincipled individuals in our nation's history, when he was dropped by the Bush administration in 2007 as a growing liability in the White House, where he had appointed himself Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, responsible for dirty tricks and Republican -- rather than American national -- interests. "Though no allegations have been proven or sustained, Rove's name has come up in political scandals, including the Valerie Plame Affair, the Bush White House e-mail controversy and the related dismissal of U.S. attorneys controversy," Wikipedia notes. Ugh! Together with Vice President Dick Cheney, the two men ran the White House -- and the country -- into ruin. Cheney's chief of staff was caught and metaphorically hanged, but Rove and Cheney escaped the sheriff. Yet now, only several years later, we read in the NYT that Rove has raised "$32 million and counting" for mid-term election campaign interference via a new political extremist organization Rove is "advising' and pushing. "Already, plans at American Crossroads include an anti-Democratic barrage of attack ads that will be run tens of thousands of times, a final get-out-the-vote push with some 40 million negative mail pieces, and 20 million automated phone calls, officials there say."

One of Rove's main allies in his resurrection? According to the NYT it is none other than Cheney's daughter, Mary Cheney!

Lord, preserve us! Is this what our fathers, in the Greatest Generation, fought to see happen? Can we really hand back the keys, in President Obama's analogy, to the most reckless, power-hungry maniacs in recent memory?

In American Caesars: Lives of the Presidents, from Franklin D. Roosevelt to George W. Bush, published earlier this month, I wrote the following (page 481):


"Karl Rove was short, ugly, prematurely balding, and ambitious. He had been instantly drawn to the ruggedly good-looking political wannabee with the big family pedigree and money, George W. Bush. 'He was the kind of guy political hacks like me wait a lifetime to be associated with,' explained Rove - who considered himself hitherto a 'diehard Nixonite.' Rove, a non-believer, told his new idol that the support of evangelists would trump all other political advantages and issues, if properly marshaled. "This is just great!" Bush responded. "I can become governor of Texas just with the evangelical vote."...

"George W. Bush's Texas gubernatorial campaign in 1994 represented the culmination of disciplined modern partisan political campaigning in America: cynical, relentlessly focused, manipulative, largely dishonest, negative - and hugely-funded. Claiming he had never once been unfaithful to his porcelain-pretty wife (who had asked him not to run), but was a born-again Christian and successful Texas businessman now that he owned the Texas Rangers baseball team, George W. Bush was able not only to separate himself from his East Coast father, but to contrast himself against his baby-boomer contemporary in the White House: the scandal-dogged, incompetent-looking President Bill Clinton, who in the summer of 1994 was the proverbial elephant in the room. Thus, to Governor Richards' chagrin, in a triumphant year for Republicans as they captured control of both the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives for the first time in forty years, Bush won the Texas gubernatorial battle that fall by an astonishing 352,000 votes. The 'black sheep of the family,' as his mother had ribbed him in conversation with the Queen of England, had redeemed himself as the Prodigal Son. He would now be Governor of the second largest, and second most populous, state of the union...."

When Rove then helped George Bush destroy Senator John McCain's challenge for the 2000 Republican presidential nomination in the most vicious dirty-tricks tactics ever employed in an American primary election, Rove won his right to an official post in the White House. He thereupon set up no less than four new Republican Party Political Offices on the second floor of the U.S. Commander-in-Chief's residence. Declaring a "war on terror" and pressing for an invasion of Iraq, Rove and Cheney managed in a few short years to transform America from the world's most prosperous and productive nation into a virtually failed state - reeling from quagmires in Afghanistan and Iraq, domestic disaster in New Orleans, willfully unregulated sub-prime mortgage excesses in pursuit of a housing-boom approach to national economics, leading to a Wall Street apocalypse not seen since 1929....

That Karl Rove, a man with such "credentials," should be once again raising vast sums of money from right-wing millionaires and billionaires, and be plotting to put a Republican back on the throne in two years' time - "We want this to be durable," Rove confided; "We're going to be involved in 2012," his associate, Robert Duncan, added, according to the NYT - is sickening: for Rove and his acolytes will shamelessly harness Tea Party energies, just as they used the Christian right in the 1990s, to advance their own ends, not the nation's. It's Machiavelli Redux. Whether there are enough citizens of goodwill and with sufficient courage to defeat such mad hatters will determine the fate of America. Cry, the Beloved Country!