�The masses have never thirsted after truth. Whoever can
supply them with illusions is easily their master; whoever attempts to destroy
their illusions is always their victim.� --Gustave Le Bon, �The Crowd�
Karl Rove is not
Harry Houdini. He can�t change the fact that the Democrats could take up to 40
seats in the House and that the Republicans may lose the Senate as well. He
can�t change the national polling-data which favors the Democrats by a
considerable margin, or the exit polling which is predicted to show substantial
Democratic gains, too. And, there�s nothing Rove can do to stop the perception
that the elections are now expected to be a Democratic landslide extending from
sea to shining sea. The only thing that Rove can do to win the midterms is to
purge the voting roles in key states and crank up the voting machines to
But even that won�t
be enough this time.
The problem with
that strategy is that it will only increase the suspicion that the elections
have been rigged. Given the current projections, any massive voter tampering is
likely to trigger a public outcry that will inevitably result in an
investigation. That�s not what Rove or anyone else on the Bush team wants.
So what is Rove
supposed to do?
One thing is
certain; he won�t play by the rules. He�ll have to fabricate a story which will
explain why at the very last minute, the majority of Americans switched their vote
to Republican and changed the outcome of the election.
What else can he
That proved to be
quite easy in 2004 because Rove had the entire corporate media standing behind
his cockamamie story that 3 or 4 million fundamentalists, who had never voted
before in a general election, suddenly poured down from the mountains to cast
their ballot for their champion, George Bush. This absurd narrative was spouted
from every media-soapbox in the nation until it was generally accepted as fact.
The media then proceeded to quash any investigation of the massive voter fraud
which took place across the country (particularly in Ohio) while discrediting
critics as conspiracy theorists.
It worked like a
But things have
changed since 2004 and there are signs that a growing number of elites now
realize that Bush�s �stay the course� strategy in Iraq is bound to fail and
they�re looking for different leadership. That explains the deluge of bad news
pouring down on 1600 Pennsylvania Ave like a Burmese monsoon.
Most of the
scandals; the National Intelligent Estimate (NIE), Woodward�s book, and the
increased media focus on Iraq, and the Foley escapades, have all been timed to
coincide with the upcoming elections in order to sabotage any chance of a
For example, on
Sunday, ABC ran a 12-minute segment on Iraq, complete with smoldering vehicles,
wailing Iraqi women, and bloody children screaming in a Baghdad hospital.
When was the last
time we saw coverage like that from the corporate media?
What we are seeing
is a concerted effort by disgruntled plutocrats to take back the country from
the fanatics in the White House. The divisions in the American ruling class
have never been greater and the rash of scandals indicates that the fighting is
quickly escalating into open warfare. This combat will only get more ferocious
until Nov 7.
Rove faces a
daunting task, although it�s not insurmountable. The problem is that he has
very few options. We know from experience that he will probably invent a
fictional story that can be used to explain results that would otherwise seem
unbelievable. This strategy has been used many times before and has worked with
In the Orwellian
world of make-believe; the narrative is everything. Invent a good story, run it
through the ministry of truth (the media) and stick to it no matter how
ridiculous it may sound. After all, if the media can shift the national debate
from the war in Iraq, Social Security, and the enormous federal deficits to 14
weepy fundamentalists waving signs in front of a hospice in Florida where a
brain-dead patient is being kept alive against her will; anything is possible.
In researching the
Bush administration�s manipulation of public perceptions, I came across an
interesting summary of the State Department�s Philip Zelikow, who was executive
director of the 9-11 Commission, that greatest of all charades.
Wikipedia: �Prof. Zelikow�s area of academic expertise is the creation and
maintenance of, in his words, �public myths� or �public presumptions� which he
defines as �beliefs (1) thought to be true (although not necessarily known with
certainty) and (2) shared in common within the relevant political community.�
In his academic work and elsewhere he has taken a special interest in what he
has called �searing� or �molding� events (that) take on 'transcendent�
importance and therefore retain their power even as the experiencing generation
passes from the scene. . . . He has noted that �a history�s narrative power is
typically linked to how readers relate to the actions of individuals in the
history; if readers cannot make the connection to their own lives, then a
history may fail to engage them at all.� (�Thinking about Political History�
Miller center Report, winter 1999, p 5-7)
Isn�t that the same
as saying there is neither history nor truth; that what is really important is
the manipulation of epochal events so they serve the interests of society�s
managers? Thus, it follows that if the government can create their own �galvanizing
events,� then they can write history any way they choose.
If that�s the case,
then perhaps the entire war on terror is cut from whole cloth; a garish
public relations maneuver devoid of meaning.
Wikipedia helps to clarify this point by adding: �In the
Nov-Dec 1998 issue of Foreign Affairs he (Zelikow) co-authored (with the former
head of the CIA) an article entitled 'Catastrophic Terrorism' in which he
speculated that if the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center had succeeded,
�the resulting horror and chaos would have exceeded our ability to describe it.
Such an act of catastrophic terrorism would be a watershed event in American
history. It could involve loss of life and property unprecedented in peacetime
and undermine America�s fundamental sense of security, as did the Soviet atomic
bomb test in 1949. Like Pearl Harbor, the event would divide our past and
future into a before and after. The United States might respond with draconian
measures scaling back civil liberties, allowing wider surveillance of citizens,
detention of suspects and use of deadly force.� (Philip Zelikow, From
Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
That was written in
Amazing. It is
almost like Zelikow knew what was going to happen on 9-11 and was drawing
attention to the �draconian measures� (scaling back civil liberties) which may
seem attractive to ruling elites in the policy establishment.
(coincidentally) everything has evolved almost exactly as Zelikow predicted.
Just like Pearl Harbor, 9-11 has �divided our past and future into a before and
after.� The post-9-11 world relates to a world in which personal liberty is no
longer protected, and where surveillance, detention and the use of deadly force
are all permitted. It is a world in which �America�s fundamental sense of
security� has been shattered and will continue to be shattered as a way of
managing public opinion.
presciently implies, the post 9-11 world depends entirely on �public myths�;
fairy tales invented by society�s supervisors which perpetuate the illusion of
democracy, freedom and the rule of law.
So, how does this
apply to Karl Rove?
There are only two
weapons in the imperial tool chest; force and deception. I expect that the anticipated
Democratic landslide will be preempted by massive voter fraud accompanied by
some type of �searing event�; that way the fantastical outcome of a GOP victory
can be neatly folded into a larger and all-pervasive "myth."
As we have been
reminded many times: Reality no longer matters; only the perception of reality.
The power of myth reigns supreme.
Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can be reached at: email@example.com.