Rove and Cheney
It took investigations and subpoenas and basically being hit over the head with a brick but it would seem that at long last the MSM is catching on to the way the Bush White House actually works: through Karl Rove and Dick Cheney. Between them, they’ve gamed the entire system, Rove domestically and Cheney and his Neocon Wonder Boys in foreign policy. The Libby trial pretty much outed Cheney as Bush’s Organ Grinder, and the Gonzo 8 Scandal is doing likewise, finally, for Rove. This editorial from yesterday’s NYT is typical.
Turn over a scandal in Washington these days and the chances are you’ll find Karl Rove. His tracks are everywhere: whether it’s helping to purge United States attorneys, coaching bureaucrats on how to spend taxpayers’ money to promote Republican candidates, hijacking the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives for partisan politics, or helping to organize a hit on the character of one of the first people to publicly reveal the twisting of intelligence reports on Iraq.
Whatever the immediate objective, Mr. Rove seems focused on one overarching goal: creating a permanent Republican majority, even if that means politicizing every aspect of the White House and subverting the governmental functions of the executive branch. This is not the Clinton administration’s permanent campaign. The Clinton people had difficulty distinguishing between the spin cycle of a campaign and the tone of governing. That seems quaint compared with the Bush administration’s far more menacing failure to distinguish the Republican Party from the government, or the state itself.
This was, perhaps, the inevitable result of taking the chief operative of a presidential campaign, one famous for his scorched-earth style, and ensconcing him in the White House — not in a political role, but as a key player in the formation of policy. Mr. Rove never had to submit to Senate confirmation hearings. Yet, from the very start, photographs of cabinet meetings showed him in the background, keeping an enforcer’s eye on the proceedings. After his re-election in 2004, President Bush formally put Mr. Rove in charge of all domestic policy.
Which meant not just politicizing every area of govt but selling it off to the highest bidders and making sure members in good standing of the corporatocracy were running the agencies that were supposed to prevent them from ripping us off or killing us. The results have been predictably disastrous for the country but an undeniable boon for the US oligarchy.
From the very beginning, Rove’s overarching aim was to create a one-party government strikingly similar to Soviet-era Russia in which the Republicans controlled everything forever and all the goodies flowed to them and their constituency. He damn near pulled it off thanks to a frightened Democratic party beholden to pretty much the same interests and a lazy press that liked its job handed to it on a silver platter and fawned over power-brokers like Rove for the sake of its career.
Much of the deep-seated dysfunction of our national press is the result of the fact that many of our national journalistic elite simply do not believe in the real purpose of political journalism. But it is also true that even the more earnest and well-intentioned ones are enmeshed in a culture that produces dysfunctional, deeply biased and corrupt journalism, and it will just naturally be very difficult, perhaps close to impossible, for those who are such a vital part of that culture — and whose careers depend upon thriving within it — to view its operating principles as anything other than normal, proper and even honorable, even when they are anything but.
OK, we know all that. It’s been beat to death the last few months after years of being ignored. So now we know Cheney and Rove have been running an invisible govt behind a figurehead Prez whose main job until now has been to look good in photo ops, and that Cheney’s function was to implement the neocon PNAC’s plan to turn America into an empire and Rove’s function was creating a Soviet-style one-party state. Can we quit now?
No, not quite yet. You see, there’s one dot left to connect. This is a Triad, it has to be. Who’s the link between Cheney, Rove, and the all-powerful oligarchs? Rove doesn’t deal with them directly and Cheney’s only contacts are in the energy industry (see the membership of his secret task force), so who’s funneling the lobbyists and corporate flacks into the WH? Who’s the gatekeeper who decides who gets in and who gets locked out? Who has the necessary widespread network of money-grubbers on his Rolodex and believes in one-party govt like the rest of us believe in toast and jam?
That’s right. It’s our old friend The Toad – Grover Norquist to you.
The Power of The Toad
The piece that’s missing is The Toad’s operation on K Street and his close ties to lobbyist Jack Abramoff as spelled out in a Senate Finance Committee report (pdf. file) released last fall. Of the five “conservative non-profit organizations” involved in influence-peddling, money-laundering, and other unsavory activities undertaken on behalf of Springheel Jack, two were run by The Toad, and they were, of course, the two most intimately and most often at the center of Abramoff’s bribery scheme. They arranged his access to the White House, put his friends and associates in positions of power in the administraton, and helped him cover his tracks. Without The Toad, Abramoff would have been just another lobbyist scrambling to get to the head of the line.
But it wasn’t just Abramoff The Toad was enabling. Grover set himself up as the main – at times the only – conduit between the corporatocracy and the WH. He had the Rolodex From Hell and he wasn’t afraid to use it.
Norquist has eclipsed such older stalwarts as Ed Feulner of the Heritage Foundation, David Keene of the American Conservative Union and Paul Weyrich of the Free Congress Foundation to emerge as the managing director of the hard-core right in Washington. But while firmly planted on the extreme end of the political spectrum, Norquist has also built a solid working alliance with the Fortune 500 corporate elite and its K Street lobbyists. “What he’s managed to do is to chain the ideological conservatives together with the business guys, who have money, and to put that money to work in the service of the conservative movement,” says Roger Hickey of the Campaign for America’s Future, who’s repeatedly clashed with Norquist. “And he picks big issues.” Besides taxes, Norquist is also the go-to guy on virtually all of the right’s favorite agenda items, from privatization of Social Security and Medicare to school vouchers and deregulation.
Sitting in his K Street office, The Toad made his power and beliefs felt in no uncertain terms, refusing WH access to any corporate flunky whose company had contributed to any Democrat even if it had given a lot more to Republicans. He told supplicants flat out that he could and would shut down the WH to them if they gave one penny to the Dems, and he had the backing to make good on his threat.
Rove couldn’t have built a one-party govt only with GOP loyalists, not if he stripped every one of Pat Robertson’s legal students from Regent and the whole of the Ripon Society, with all the Young Republican clubs thrown in for good measure. He needed money and he needed savvy hacks who knew what the corporatocracy needed, had the connections with Big Business that were essential, and were willing to support his political agenda. The Toad provided both and made himself indispensable to Rove’s WH.
The Toad is the Missing Link. When do you suppose the MSM is going to get around to outing him?