As the investigation of l’affaire Plame draws to a close, we learn that Karl Rove was not orchestrating a campaign to punish Joe Wilson by “outing” his wife, despite assurances from the left the president’s top political aide was doing just that (i.e., the “Wilson Payback” Theory). The left spun a story, which some MSM outlets repeated, based not on facts, but on their own convictions about Rove’s Machiavellian machinations.
Some still hold to this theory even after the facts have come out, facts which show that Rove himself never initiated a call to reporters to tell them about Mrs. Wilson. And show that he only referred to her in passing, in response to queries from reporters, spending less than two minutes dicussing this story. When speaking to the media, he never once mentioned her name.
As we compare the left’s allegations against Rove to the facts of the matter, it’s time to reexamine another liberal mantra about the man the president called the “architect” of his re-elecdtion victory, one which Administration critics, particularly on the gay left (and even in Log Cabin) repeat so many times that people assume it to be true. Just as many assumed he orchestrated a campaign against Mr. Wilson.
Rove and his lieutenant Ken Mehlman*, who ran the Republican National Committee, had targeted eleven swing states as locales to play out the wedge issue of gay marriage. Although they would work closely with the GOP state operations, Rove and Mehlman denied any coordination or involvement. They were, as they often are, lying.
First, that last line, shows his bias. I’m not aware of any Rove lies, especially since the president’s first election in 2000. So many believe that the president and his top aides are liars that they repeat that line as if it were gospel, a “truth” they need not back up with facts.
While I have often heard it said that Rove orchestrated the various state referenda defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman to play on the public’s fear of same-sex marriage, I have yet to read a single piece providing any evidence that Rove (& Mehlman) did as much. (If you have such evidence**, please provide the link, but until I find a credible source backing up this claim, I will continue to hold that this has as much veracity as the claim that Rove spearheaded a campaign to smear Joe Wilson.)
First of all, the eleven states with such referenda in the 2004 election were not all swing states, as Moore contends. While such contested states as Ohio, Michigan and Oregon did have ballot initiatives on gay marriage, so too did such “safe” Bush states as Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota and Utah. If Rove were using this as a swing issue, he would surely have tried to get similar initiatives on the ballot in Florida, Iowa, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania instead of those “red” states. And he would have worked his magic to move the Missouri initiative from the summer to the fall ballot. (Missourians voted in August 2004 to ban gay marriage.)
The left has the image of Rove as a mean-spiried Machiavellian, so much so that they spin stories of his involvement in nearly anything (no matter how dastardly) which hurts Democrats and benefits Republicans. Even if to allege his involvement, they need invent a most convoluted plot.
By suggesting that Rove orchestrated the flurry of marriage initiatives as a political ploy to help the GOP ignores the popularity of such gratuitous referenda. It seems yet again that the left just wants to blame Bush (and his advisors) for any activity which appears to benefit GOP at the expense of this or that minority group.
It’s not even certain that the marriage initiatives in 2004 helped the president. While he did win Ohio, his margin in the Buckeye State was lower than it had been four years previously (when there wasn’t such a referendum on the ballot) — and he failed to carry either Michigan or Oregon, two other swing states with marriage on the ballot. (Back in 2004, I read one pundit who claimed the initiatives hurt Bush, but was unable to find the link. If I do find it, I’ll update the post accordingly.)
Instead of blaming Republicans for any actions which hurt (or appear to hurt) gay people, we need to understand that these referenda were not cooked up in the smoke-filled rooms of GOP operatives, but were rather grassroots reactions to judicial attempts to redefine marriage. Advocates of gay marriage need to understand why so many people oppose changing this ancient institution so they can craft better arguments to convince their opponents of the merits of their cause.
It’s too bad that so many on the left would rather accuse Karl Rove (and his “minions”) of cynically exploiting people’s apparently anti-gay attitudes than make an effort to understand those attitudes and work to change them.
-Dan (AKA GayPatriotWest): GayPatriotWest@aol.com
*I may, in a subsequent post, address Moore’s allegations against Mehlman.
**In Moore’s piece, he makes no references to specific actions Rove took to get these initiatives on the ballot. Or comments Rove made about getting them on the ballot. Moore notes what he calls “The zealousness with which Rove and Mehlman pursue an anti-gay agenda for political utility,” but provides no evidence to back up this allegation. If you have evidence of such zeal, please e-mail it to me or provide the link in the comments below.