What was Newsweek thinking of when it added Karl Rove to its stable of columnists? This is the political consultant who gave President Bush a domestic policy every bit as catastrophic as his Cheney-driven foreign policy disasters-- no easy task. Angry voters had their say in the 2006 mid-term elections – restoring control of Congress to the Democrats-- and the outlook is even grimmer for the GOP in 2008.
So maybe it was subtle satire that simply escaped me when I read Karl’s current Newsweek column advising Republicans, “How to Beat Hillary Next November.” It is a real hoot!
First, Rove tells them to “tackle issues families care about” --jobs, health care, taxes. Voters know the GOP has not only “tackled” these issues, but pursuing the Rove doctrine threw them for huge losses: outsourcing jobs, rejecting health care for children, cutting taxes for the rich.
Rove somehow failed to mention his golden-oldie, “privatizing Social Security.” Now there was a real winner for the GOP. Voters reacted so strongly to the notion of turning their retirement over to Wall Street that overnight red states turned blue.
Karl’s cincher in beating Hillary: “Be strong on Iraq.” The mind boggles. This neo-con myth still wins the hearts of the top tier of Republican presidential candidates. How can they be so out of touch? The American people hate this war. They want it over. It was the most horrible mistake in our history and an absolute loser at the polls.
If GOP candidates weren’t already retching at this stage of the Rove column, his next bit of advice should have them reaching for the Advil: “Campaign for the votes of American’s minorities. Go to their communities, listen and learn, demonstrate your engagement and emphasize how your message can provide hope and access to the American Dream for all.”
Now if that isn’t satire it must be right out of a skit for Saturday Night Live. Rove domestic policies that guided this administration have not only derailed our middle-class but destroyed the “American Dream,” with minorities bearing the brunt. One-third of Americans today are “downwardly mobile” making less than their parents and African Americans are particularly vulnerable to tumbling down the economic ladder. A new report from the Pew Charitable Trust noted that a shocking 45 percent of African Americans from solidly middle-class families have fallen into the bottom 20 percent of income distribution.
As for GOP Presidential candidates demonstrating their “engagement” with minorities, that ship has sailed already. At every viable minority audience, they have been no-shows. They couldn’t be found at presidential debates staged by historically black Morgan State University, of the NAACP, the National Urban League and the National Council of La Raza. Even J.C. Watts, a former GOP leader in the House, called their decision ignoring minority audiences “stupid” and Newt Gingrich termed their so-called ‘scheduling conflicts’ as “baloney.” Former GOP Vice Presidential candidate Jack Kemp asked: “What are we going to do—meet in a country club in the suburbs one day?”
Never mind. Karl Rove assures GOP candidates that Hillary is “eminently beatable.”
Sure. Anyone is beatable. But not if the Republican candidate follows Rove’s advice.
For more than a quarter of a century, Victor Kamber has made headlines as a political consultant while writing several books and providing sound bites that resonate for network and cable talk shows. His substantial career achievements were recently recognized when he become the recipient of the prestigious PR News’ 2006 Hall of Fame Award for his outstanding career in labor communications and politics. Those responsibilities have included a multitude of activities including working as a consultant in more than 100 political races; establishing the award-winning communications firm, The Kamber Group; and now serving as president of Coalition Services for Carmen Group Inc. His blog can be read at www.victorkamber.com.