Friday, June 06, 2008

Bush's Brain Without a Conscience

This is a must-read story from Salon.com about Karl Rove's manipulation of Ray Nagin and the media to deflect culpability from the Bush administration for the response to Hurricane Katrina.


That fact was proven precisely by what Vitter had done and said at the press conference. "As soon as Vitter said he had just gotten off the phone with Rove and other Republican officials," Landrieu says, "he started in on the first talking point to come out of the ordeal. I said to myself, 'Oh my God, I can't believe the White House has already given David Vitter talking points to talk about this.' We weren't going to blame anyone. We weren't going to blame the president. I mean, is there a Republican talking point for how to get people water? But that was Karl Rove."

Instead of supplying relief to the city, Rove had devised a scheme whereby he could blame the failure of government to take action on someone besides Bush. "They looked around," Landrieu says, "and they found a Democratic governor and an African American Democratic mayor who had never held office before in his life before he was mayor of New Orleans -- someone they knew they could manipulate. Ray Nagin had never held public office and here he was the mayor of New Orleans and it was going underwater."

In short, Rove was going to blame Blanco for the failure of the response in Louisiana, and to do that he was going to use Nagin. He had already set the plan in motion on Tuesday with Nagin, who, even though he was a Democrat, was so close to the Republican Party that some members of the African American community in New Orleans called him "Ray Reagan." In 2000, Nagin had actually contributed $2,000 to Bush's campaign when he ran for president.

Rove knew of Nagin's ties to the Republican Party, so more than likely Nagin could be convinced to level his criticism at Blanco and to support Bush when he could. Here was Rove's strategy: Praise Haley Barbour, the Republican governor of Mississippi; praise Michael Brown and FEMA; blame Blanco, the Democrat. It was not a stretch for Nagin. He and Blanco so disliked each other that in Blanco's last race Nagin had endorsed her opponent.

Rove and Nagin were communicating through e-mail. "I heard Nagin was bragging about being in touch with The Man," Blanco says. "Nagin took the position that they were the people who could help the most to do what he wanted. People get highly complimented when they have contact with the White House." In this case the trade-off for Nagin was his willingness to cooperate with Rove. "I knew Ray Nagin could be easily manipulated," Landrieu says. "I could feel it. We were all working together in a relatively small building. We were in close proximity. But I could see where Rove was going. Blame Blanco. Blame the levee board. Blame the corruption in New Orleans. 'The reason the city is going underwater is because the city is corrupt,' Rove was saying. 'But don't blame the Republicans or George W. Bush or David Vitter. We are the white guys in shining armor, and we are going to come in and save the city from years of corruption.' That was their story and they sold it very well."

Rove sold the story, as he had in the past, through the media. On Wednesday, while Blanco was trying to get help from the White House, her staff began receiving calls from reporters questioning her handling of the disaster, almost all of them citing as their sources unnamed senior White House officials.

"One story," Blanco aide Mann recalls, "would say the governor was so incompetent she had not even gotten around to declaring a state of emergency when she had actually done so three days before the storm. It was obvious to us who was behind this attack based on inaccurate information that was being shoveled to Washington reporters who were identifying their sources as senior Bush administration officials." Blanco adds, "People at Newsweek told me the White House called them to say I had delayed signing the disaster declaration. The assumption was that their source was the political director -- Karl Rove." Not only was the attack on Blanco in print, it was also on television. "All of a sudden," Blanco says, "a whole lot of talking heads showed up on television repeating the misinformation over and over, making it the truth."


I promise that there's much, much more. Please read the article and send it to your friends. That Karl Rove still avoids testifying in front of Congress is a joke because he should already be in jail. My hatred of this man is unprecedented. I've never felt such disdain for the character of a fellow human being. The utter disregard for human life - this man is pure evil.

4 comments:

jeffrey said...

My hatred of this man is unprecedented. I've never felt such disdain for the character of a fellow human being. The utter disregard for human life - this man is pure evil.

Heh... often when I read a story about Rove, I start to think something similar but then a voice in my head goes, "Oh yeah? But what about Bono?" And then I realize it can always be worse.

alli said...

When are we all going to be "mad as hell" and not take it anymore?

Is there a tipping point to all this bullshit?

In my darkest times I wonder if it's going to take some V for Vendetta style waking-people-the-fuck-up to change the inertia of oligarchy. Because I highly doubt that the US, as a nation, has the moral fortitude to put these fuckers on trial at Den Haag and hang them by the neck.

Leigh C. said...

Mazel tov on your mention in the Gambit Blog of N.O., man!

And, as long as there is gonna be some kind of political football to be tossed around, there will be tossers - and some of 'em will be doing their best to toss for good, and others for evil.

Rove just happened to be one of the evil ones - and the thing that we all knew deep down in our very guts is finally out in print. Ugh.

Anonymous said...

And why did this go poof from NOLA.com and the Times Pic? Inquiring minds want to know.