Sizing Up Karl Rove

One could easily imagine that the reason for Rove and others to create a mis-impression among Palin supporters that September 3rd would be the day for an announcement of a presidential campaign, but there must be more to this than meets the eye.  Why? As I have surmised, it’s likely the attempt to force Palin in early, leaving her to otherwise risk disappointing her supporters.  This would imply that he had some other potential candidate he wants to bring in afterward, or he wants to damage her and thereby dissuade her from entering at all.  Failing that, he must intend to damage her in support of a candidate already in the field.  Last night, as I reported, Rove went on FNC with Greta to continue his attack on Palin, feigning self-defense, and establishing a meme that she’s “thin-skinned.”  That’s not nearly true for any number of reasons, but as you know, Rove works at managing perceptions. Remember his operation against Christine O’Donnell? Don’t assume anything less will be in the offing for Sarah Palin.

Why, having been caught trying to force her hand, or otherwise cause her damage, would Rove then go on to continue this attack on Sarah Palin?  Rove knows that most polls made public are tools for guys like him to push the public, to establish narratives, or to support them once seeded.  He has access to other polls and I believe that when you consider Dick Morris’ brief piling-on, though he likely represents different people, they share an interest in this scenario, and it therefore must be this:  The remainder of the Republican field, even with Perry now in, is soft in their support for the candidates they may now seem to prefer.  The last thing any of them want to see is a Palin candidacy.

Consider it this way:  The support for candidates like Bachmann and Perry, and now, clearly even Romney, is much wider than it is deep.  This is because many people have leaped into support of those campaigns not because these represent their favorite candidate, but because they’ll serve as a sort of surrogate unless and until their real choice enters.  I know people like this, and so do you.  Right now, they’re out there supporting their “back-up plan” for 2012, waiting, or at least hoping for somebody else.  Part of the evidence of this is that money is not flowing to campaigns as readily as they might otherwise expect.  The other evidence lies in the softness in the polls that could permit Perry to announce only two weeks ago and virtually without effort, eclipse Mitt Romney.  What this should tell you is that people are looking for better choices, and some number of those who have gone from Romney to Perry may well jump from Perry’s ship once the dirt accumulates and another candidate they would prefer becomes available.

If Rove and others could substantially damage Palin, she might not get in, or if she did, be forced to fight too great an uphill battle from which to recover.  Even if Rove has no new candidates in mind,  let’s imagine that he supports one or more of those already in.  Ditto Morris.  Delivering a damaging theme to the media might well prevent her from entering, or having entered, from getting traction.  In other words, everything Rove is doing is aimed at aborting a Palin Campaign, or causing it to be delivered prematurely and stillborn.  If he could accomplish this, it would tend to settle the field.  We’re being told that Perry and Rove don’t mix, but who’s more apt to benefit, among the current crop, if Rove is able to freeze the field?  Well, that would be the three front-runners, would it not?  The only other plausible beneficiary would be an unknown late entrant, but Morris’ statement was too ad hoc, seemingly piling on to ride a wave Rove was trying to build.  Morris also quickly retreated to his previous stance that Palin will not run.  Settling the field would cause the money to start flowing.

This should tell us all something about which we should be thoroughly cautious: Over the remainder of the period between now and the legal cut-off to entry in some states, around the middle of October, there will be endless attempts to try to goad Governor Palin into rash actions in support of the theme Rove first advanced last night.  I even heard Mark Davis continue that theme, using the “thin-skinned” smear while sitting in for Rush Limbaugh on Thursday.  That isn’t accidental.  Look for more of the same as he sits in for Open Line Friday.  Beware of some of those you had once thought to be friends.  They will come out of the woodwork now, trying to join in the theme, on television, radio, and in blogs.

In most cases, the best thing for Sarah Palin and her PAC to do is just steer clear.  There’s no reason to engage it further, having made their position known, and those of us who are vigilant in the blogs will combat it here on the Internet.  It’s simple for us: We need only to oppose lies by revealing the truth.

If Governor Palin intends to run, it’s clear that she’s said we’d know probably by the end of September.  That’s good enough for me, and probably for you too, and nothing is served by further engaging these leeches directly.  Like Sarah Palin has done, we need only to maintain discipline.  So long as we do that, Rove and his cronies will fail.  It’s time to actively kill off the rumor mill to the extent we are able.  It’s time for heightened awareness and vigilance.  It’s time for us to stop with our own speculation and trust Governor Palin’s sense of timing.  Let’s get on with it.  We’ve come too long to fall prey to the purveyors of garbage now.

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