“If you want to get something done, stop scaring people.”
That’s an important message albeit it came from the absolute worst source imaginable.
Republican strategist Karl Rove (pictured) — whose political strategy can best be summed with the words “BOOGY BOOGY BOO!” — showed some damn nerve earlier this week when he told Democrats that they need to stop invoking fear in voters to get their point across. Rove made the hysterically hypercritical comment on ABC’s “This Week.”
When speaking on the largely Democratic-led push for meaningful gun control in the wake of the Sandy Hook Elementary school shooting, Rove said:
“Let’s be clear about this. This is prompted by the Sandy Hook murders. Those guns were legally purchased with a background check. Let’s be very careful before trampling on the rights of people. Look, if you want to get something done — then stop scaring people.”
Watch the exchange here:
For argument’s sake, yes, those guns were purchased legally by the murderer’s mother. Yet, the reality remains that maybe, just maybe your average citizen and closet psychopath doesn’t need military arsenal to protect their 64-inch television. And while background checks wouldn’t have necessarily thwarted that particular mass killing, the same cannot be said of other shootings. Oh wait, am I being too scary right now to tell the truth?
Speaking of, though, Rove recently said that he could see the Republican presidential nominee supporting marriage equality in 2016.
Unfortunately, the same cannot be said in 2004.
Since the Supreme Court couldn’t once again vote President George W. Bush in to office, Rove needed to design some brilliant scheme to secure his re-election. And so he turned to Evangelical Christians.
Salon reported the following on the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign in 2004:
The campaign recently asked religious volunteers across the country to hand over their churches’ directories for the Bush-Cheney database and to distribute pro-Bush “voter guides,” prompting an outcry from religious leaders.
“Coincidentally,” ballot initiatives seeking to block gay marriage appeared on the ballot on several states that just so happened to be highly contested between Bush and his Democratic challenger, then Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts. Rove, who to this day is unsure as to whether or not his late-father was gay, denies he is responsible for pushing this initiatives. Nonetheless, Rove has a history of using sexuality to shut down political adversaries.
The New Republic reports:
One constant throughout his career is the prevalence of whisper campaigns against opponents…. [O]ften a Rove campaign questions an opponent’s sexual orientation. Bush’s 1994 race against Ann Richards featured a rumor that she was a lesbian, along with a rare instance of such a tactic’s making it in to the public record — when a regional chairman of the Bush campaign allowed himself, perhaps inadvertently, to be quoted criticizing Richards for “appointing avowed homosexual activists” to state jobs.
Rove has used race, too, of course (via the Daily Kos):
As president of the College Republicans back in the 1970s, Rove was investigated by the Republican National Committee for teaching political campaign “dirty tricks” to college students. As a strategist for George H. W. Bush, Rove was one of the masterminds behind the unforgettable Willie Horton scare campaign that helped sink Michael Dukakis in 1988.
While working on George W. Bush’s Texas gubernatorial campaign in 1994, Rove developed a television ad designed to frighten voters i nto the Bush camp. The ad employed the graphic image of a woman being grabbed at gunpoint in parking garage and police draping a sheet over a young boy’s body, while Bush declared in a voiceover that Texas was considered “the third most-dangerous state in the nation” due to a rising crime rate and the early release of criminals from prison.
In reality the crime rate had actually declined during incumbent Ann Richards’ term as governor, but the truth has never been an obstacle to Karl Rove. The chilling ad helped put Bush in the Texas governor’s mansion.
On Sunday, Rove declared: “If there’s one thing that scares a lot of people who believe in the Second Amendment, it’s the federal government keeping a national registry of gun sales and gun purchases and gun owners.”
Clearly, there are other things that have been just if not more frightful to Americans. Rove has long known this and he has never squandered the opportunity to do exactly what he’s accusing the Democrats of doing now. The difference is the Democrats are trying to save lives, not the bottom lines of gun dealers.
Michael Arceneaux is a Houston-bred, Howard-educated writer and blogger. You can read more of his work on his site, The Cynical Ones. Follow him on Twitter: @youngsinick
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