Explains McCain's Loss,
This is quite a chilling movie, and it makes even more sense to me now that I have finished reading Lee Harris' “Civilization and Its Enemies: The Next Stage of History.” Never mind John Kerry, a world-class loser with a wife to match–what this movie explains is how and why John McCain lost the South Carolina primary to Karl Rove's dirty tricks.
What really chilled me is not that Rove plays dirty against Democrats, but that he plays dirty against Republicans.
The movie begins with an early look at Karl Rove's start with Lee Atwater teaching young Republicans, including “dirty tricks” that the movie takes pains to point out are questionable but not illegal.
Included in the middle year's are stories with on the record interviews and replays of old media stories that make it quite clear that Rove is not above planting a “bug” in his own office (one with a six hour battery life, only 15 minutes of which have expired by the time it is “found”), nor of co-opting a single rogue FBI special agent to “coincidentally” have opponents under supeona just when it matters most.
Over the course of the movie, one learns that Rove is a master of playing the politcal “game” (only his version actually kills people) at three levels:
1) Disciplined overt politics–staying on message
2) Underlying messages that are legal but misdirecting
3) Underlying dirty tricks that are out and out unethical
This is where I was able to see the connection between Rove's playbook from Texas, and how John McCain was done in after a roaring victory in New Hampshire, when the South Carolina primary suddenly produced carefully orchestrated whisper campaigns about McCain's mental abilities, his black “love child” (actually an adopted orphan), and his family member's drug addition (an open issue being dealt with but made to sound terrible). In all this John Weaver, McCain's political director, shines as a voice of reason and honor when discussing the details.
Over-all the movie suggests that Rove has brought politics to a new low in ethics, and a new high in efficiency. Rove is a killing machine. He turned 9-11, and the war on Iraq, into political devices, and suggests that Rove, who has never served in uniform or in combat (nor have Cheney, Rice, or Wolfowitz), is essentially sacrificing American lives to keep his candidate in power.
The movie comes to closure with more than one commentator from Texas, where they all know Karl Rove *real well,* saying, “There's no rule he won't break.”
Well, as a moderate Republican, I find this troubling. What was done to John McCain in the South Carolina Republican presidential primary, and to Max Cleland of South Carolina in his Senate race, strike me as so reprehensible as to call into question the future of the Republican Party.
I recommend this movie to every American, but especially to Republicans, in whose name some things are being done that should shame us all.
See also, with reviews:
Vice: Dick Cheney and the Hijacking of the American Presidency
Breach of Trust: How Washington Turns Outsiders Into Insiders
Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush's War on Iraq
Blood Money: Wasted Billions, Lost Lives, and Corporate Greed in Iraq