Doing what he does best, Karl Rove is appealing to conservatives through fear to motivate them for the November mid-terms. Not fear of fighting the terrorists over there instead of here, or the idea that precious tax cuts will vanish with a Democratic win, or that activist judges will run rampant over the Constitution, or any of the other high drama horseshit the GOP's relied on to whip up a base increasingly hostile to George W. Bush. No, this time, he's relying on the hope that the fear of a Democratic congress my upbraid his boss. But why would anyone care and what wedge issue will he strike to scare the base into action and save the boss' legacy?
The New York Times reports that a recent GOP fundraising letter has warned readers that a Democratic House or Senate would surely lead to investigations of the Bush administration. He's right of course, as Nancy Pelosi confirmed this Sunday on Meet the Press. But Rove's betting that the mere thought of such a thing will spur disgruntled conservatives to rally around "their" president and ensure his last two years in office are hassle free. Problem is, Bush is not their president. On nearly ever measure, Bush has sold out the conservative philosophy and done so with the Republican congress' help.
Six years in and we've seen the federal government expand beyond the Great Society's architects' wildest dreams with federal oversight of education through No Child Left Behind; a drug company's wet dream in the Senior Drug Benefit fiasco; debt spending that seriously looks like Bush is fucked on crank and just has to buy SOMETHING—anything; a debacle of the worst kind of nation building; the erosion of civil liberties that has J. Edgar Hoover shaking his head; and serious talk of not just pre-emptive war but preventative war. Traditional conservatives throughout the country must be pining for the days of dirty Bill Clinton and fumbling Janet Reno.
But the politics of fear work. It work all too well in 2004 when Rove rallied the base (already wary of their misguided boy president) with the double whammy of terrorism and—gasp!!!—gay marriage!! Karl Rove knows the hot buttons and will press them until his thumbs bleed to ensure the GOP retains their majority in Congress. It makes the rest of us wonder what kind of diabolical wedge issue he'll press next. If he can look Dick Cheney, a cut throat old school son of a bitch politician who will not think twice about gutting you in front of your children but who also has a gay daughter that he undoubtedly loves...if you can look him in the eye and say you're going after queer baiting as your political ace in the hole, then you are an evil man.
So what's left? Eleven states passed gay marriage bans in 2004 and what's left have either rejected the idea out of hand or passed moderate sounding (but equally unfair) laws on the issue. Bush has lost major ground in the war on terror and polls now show the American public trusting Democrats with the task. If he cuts any more taxes we'll be paying our $5 a gallon gas bills with wheel barrels of Monopoly money when our grandkids want to vacation in what used to be the Arctic Circle. What wedge issue is left? I'm truly afraid of what it could be but let's start a list of your favorite contenders. Post a comment with what you think Rove's wedge issue will be for the 2008 mid-terms.