The Decider has decided... not to be presidential lame duck

So Bush is down to a 35% (+/-) approval rating… so what! The Decider intends to show the nation that presidential lame duck he is not. But to succeed in his quest, Mr. Bush must continue to have a Republican Congress after the 2006 elections.

Enter Karl Rove, personal consigliere, political vizier, Machiavellian strategist, warnik while draft dodger, and consummate dirty trickster.

Now that Mr. Rove has been cleared from prosecution on L’Affaire Plame, one can anticipate that he’ll be burning the midnight oil on a probable major farewell task for the man in the White House. A last grand deed before he leaves the patronage of the House of Bush.

Two years may still prove to be adequate time for Bush and his neocon militia to finish demolishing those social and economic structures still standing after a six-year sack, should the GOP retain majority status in Congress post-election. And this committed political manipulator will give his all to help make that happen.

One doesn’t need to be a great visionary to project the GOP strategy during the next four months. The low approval for Bush only indicates a general discontent for how the war in Iraq is being managed, and does not imply American public sentiment has now become anti-war; while the sustained high price of gasoline, ineptness of governmental agencies and ethics scandals have added to the discontent. But Bush’s conservative and religious (fundamentalist) base is alive and well, unlikely to have changed any since the 2004 elections. Nothing that Bush does, or fails to do, is going to erode that base… be it in new ethics scandals, or just about anything else.

Among the so-called independent voters, the GOP has probably lost significant ground; but most of those votes will only add to a greater majority for Democrats in their “safe” districts, probably affecting but a few of the 32 congressional districts where the vote was close in 2004. For the Democrats to attain a net gain of 15 seats, and achieve a majority in the House, is going to require a monumental campaign effort and probably some additional miscues by the Administration, major scandals, or negative events of national significance. Actually, the probability for Democrats to obtain a majority in the Senate, underplayed in the media, may be greater than achieving it in the House.

Rove knows his math, never mind he didn’t obtain his bachelor’s degree because he lacked a math course and the foreign language requirement (according to him), and he knows it well. Confident that the religious-conservative base will remain solid, he’ll have little problem in determining where to concentrate both money and effort to stay on top. So the key to the kingdom will be simple: keep the Iraq monster caged, under control.

The key element in Rove’s strategy will be exactly that: dealing with that Iraq monster. From now until November 7, any news from Iraq will need to be restrained and kept manageable: American casualties must stay “reasonable” (10-15 dead, 50-75 wounded a week, given prior levels of public acceptability); show positive steps to help bring Iraq to prewar levels in oil and electricity output; and, most important of all, keep any criminal war improprieties by the American military dormant. Four and a half months is a short enough period to keep things under wraps… successfully.

Rove needs to keep Rumsfeld under control, make sure he doesn’t blabber too much via his improvised celebrity quips... and that he maintains his top brass in circumspect silence. And, by whatever means necessary, keep Haditha, Guantanamo, and the many other notable cases – most already whitewashed – as either cold cases, or cases “under investigation.” After all, the “under investigation” theme has always been the excuse of choice for dwellers of both this White House and this Pentagon. The truth, whether in full or in part, can come out later. Just keep the sordid details away from the American public, so as not to awaken their humanity… at least until after the votes have been counted and certified.

A lazy, unimaginative and self-censured American press will make things a lot easier for the king of foul politics, but if the outcome of the election remains in doubt for Karl Rove, one can see where this master of deceit will enlist Diebold-ical support where needed. And, take it on faith; these vote-counting machines have a conservative mind “of their own,” as if robots that have inherited the soul of their creator.

For Americans, the bottom line is that the chances for Democrats to obtain victory in either the House or the Senate have appeared magnified because of Bush’s low approval numbers, but the reality is quite different. There is some hope for Democrats in the public’s discontent, but they need more than that to best Karl Rove.

For the world at large, American foreign policy is not likely to change much regardless which party wins the election… although, in all fairness, there is always an inkling of hope for moderation if Democrats take charge of at least one body of legislative power, either the House or the Senate.