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Friday, September 16, 2005

Karl Rove to Head Katrina Reconstruction Effort

Buried in paragraph 9 of a New York Times article previewing Bush's speech on Katrina laid this implausible fact: Karl Rove, Bush's chief political adviser, has been put in charge of the reconstruction effort for Katrina.

First, this makes me think about how Michael Brown, former head of the International Arabian Horse Association, found his way to head FEMA. Bush didn't learn his lesson that people with no experience in disaster management have no business rebuilding New Orleans. Rove's entire body of experience relates only to political matters.

Second, it's a perfect example of how everything is politics to the Republican Party. Rove clearly won't be micromanaging the finer points of levee restoration and soil toxicity. Rove has been put on the job to handle this in such a way as to make the Republicans look good and their enemies look bad. Karl Rove, if you don't already know, once charged the Democratic opponent of his candidate Bill Clements with bugging Clements' office. Rove announced this at a press conference the night before the candidates' debate. The problem with the story: the battery on the bug only had a three hour lifespan. Unless Democrats were able to get in and out of Perry's office every three hours, there was no way Rove's story could be true. Karl Rove also was behind push-polls in 2000 that asked far-right voters in the South whether they would be less likely to vote for John McCain if they knew he fathered a black child out of wedlock. The truth is that McCain adopted a girl from Bangledish; the trick was to make McCain look bad to racist Republicans. Karl Rove has been willing to employ shady, often illegal, tactics to ensure Republican victories. He is Bush's right hand man who Bush referred to as "the architect" of his campaign in his victory speech last fall. I highly recommend everyone watch the documentary Bush's Brain for more Rove stories.

Third, Rove's involvement means that the rebuilding effort won't be non-political. Pay for play governance promises to be in order, as we have already seen Halliburton receive no bid contracts to rebuild in New Orleans. Bush's speech last night hinted as this conservative policy goal:

Federal funds will cover the great majority of the costs of repairing public infrastructure in the disaster zone, from roads and bridges to schools and water systems. Our goal is to get the work done quickly. And taxpayers expect this work to be done honestly and wisely -- so we'll have a team of inspectors general reviewing all expenditures.

Hmmm....who builds roads and bridges and schools and water systems? Big Republican Party cronies like Halliburton, that's who. Dan Froomkin of the Washington Post postulates that the Republicans want to "transform the Gulf Coast into a big test bed for conservative social policy, where tax breaks flow to big business and tax money flows to Halliburton, churches and private schools." Rove, Bush and the Republicans are licking their chops at the chance to spread some corporate evil in New Orleans. Considering the scope of their power, it's going to happen.

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