Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Architect of (another) disaster

Karl Rove is double-dealing as a Fox News contributor and a John McCain campaign advisor, Salon charges:

It has now been more than three months since Karl Rove first appeared on television as a Fox News political analyst on Feb 5. In no fewer than 57 appearances, he has increasingly been welcomed into the Fox News fraternity. . . .
Fox News hosts routinely introduce Rove as a "former senior advisor to President Bush," "the architect," a "political wizard" and a "famed political consultant." But never has he been introduced as he should be -- as an informal advisor and maxed-out donor to John McCain's presidential campaign. . . . .
On Feb. 7, two days after Rove first appeared on Fox News as a contributor, he donated $2,300, the maximum legal amount, to McCain's campaign. According to the New York Times, Rove's donation was part of a symbolic effort by Bush's allies "to unify the Republican Party behind its presumptive nominee." . . .
The question for Fox New is not whether Rove has phone chats with McCain's campaign staff. The question is whether Rove is being paid -- directly or indirectly -- for his campaign advice.

So long as he's not getting paid, so long as he has no financial interest in the McCain campaign, Rove's private conversations are nobody's business and no ethical concern to Fox. But you cannot present yourself as a disinterested analyst while simultaneously collecting a campaign paycheck from the people whose campaign you're supposed to be analyzing.

I've actually enjoyed watching Rove's analyses on Fox. He's a very good numbers guy, very adept at analyzing trends, with a fantastic memory for facts. He's also witty.

Yet Rove clearly bears some burden for the disastrous decline of the GOP since 2004. If news accounts are to be believed, Rove was influential in a lot of the policy-as-politics thinking of the Bush administration, where poll numbers rather than principle were calling the shots. And if Rove ever complained about Bush's open-borders enthusiasm, he kept those complaints to himself.

Policy people should do policy and campaign people should do campaigns. Rove's role in the Bush administration shows what can happen when there is too much overlap of these functions.

1 comment:

  1. It's not a big deal. Fox News is managed by a former advisor to a half dozen Republican mayor/presidential candidates.

    Fox is blatantly in the tank for the Republican Party. So why should it matter that they bring in Rove?