By Dave Faries

Can The Ham


Karl Rove is no friend of democracy.

To suggest so would be much like calling the History Channel an educational outlet. How many episodes of “Pawn Stars” or “American Pickers” do you have to watch to hear one reference to George Washington or ancient Athens?

You could, of course, switch to the station formerly known as History International—now H2—and catch up on such scintillating shows as “Ancient Aliens” or “Modern Marvels.”

No wonder American understanding of the past is somewhat fuzzy.

Rove’s nascent days in politics involved pecking out false press releases on stolen Democratic Party stationery. The political doughboy apparently lifted the blank papers under false pretenses in order to further his candidate’s election chances.

Demosthenes would have approved…well, maybe not the icon of ancient Athenian freedom, but at least Alcibiades might give him a knowing wink.

If you remember, Alcibiades convinced the Athenians to invade distant Syracuse. When that campaign went badly, he jumped to Sparta—until one of the Spartan kings away on foreign duty learned of his wife’s pregnancy, sending our hero scrambling over to Persia, the enemy of all Greek city-states.

Alcibiades survived all his inappropriate advice and misguided political ploys to live out his days in a seaside villa.

Rove somehow survived his Nixon era shenanigans, emerging as a political consultant. He was involved in the 1980s “tort reform” effort that largely stripped the rights of ordinary citizens while buffering corporate entities from legal challenges. He uncovered the talents of George W. Bush and Rick “Oops” Perry in Texas, then became a pale, meaty talking head on Fox News—while still directing party messaging from behind the scenes through his Super PAC.

Super PACs came into being following a surprising Supreme Court decision that equated money with freedom of speech.

After the most recent election, the man derided as “Ham Rove” and his American Crossroads fund could claim a success rate less than two percent, spending some $300 million in support of their candidates to achieve those results. And his very public meltdown on Fox News during election night further frayed his pasty image.

Now Rove is trying to resurrect his fortunes by challenging the Tea Party wing of his own party—perhaps in hopes that the finger of blame for the party’s performance in November turn toward them instead of his advice or the workings of American Crossroads.

He recently launched a new Super PAC, Conservative Victory Project, in order to weed out the unelectable wacko types—the unfortunate Todd Akins and Richard Mourdocks this nation produces—and identify Republicans at the house or senate level more likely to win over more moderate voters.

That’s his prerogative, of course. But the measure intends to silence some Republican voters, to nudge them to the fringes of the electoral process.

So local conservatives see a spark of their own beliefs in a particular candidate, urges the person to run for Congress and generate excitement over the campaign. Rove then butts in and pumps money toward a candidate more acceptable to those outside the district.

Democracy in action.

Yes, the Republican Party selected a few out of touch, unelectable candidates. Democracy is a messy prospect, but the people should have their say in a voice that outweighs big donor money.

And how can a man responsible for Rick Perry (and, incidentally, willing to fund Todd Akin), be considered more a more responsible scout of potentially successful conservative prospects than the average voter?

Wait—I have a new reality show idea. Is the name “American Pickers” taken?


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