Frum gets the Rove thing

David Frum isn’t one of my favorite people, or even one of my favorite Republicans, but he understands Karl Rove better than anyone:

Mr. Rove often reminded me of a miner extracting the last nuggets from an exhausted seam. His attempts to prospect a new motherlode have led the Republican party into the immigration debacle…

Building coalitions is essential to political success. But it is not the same thing as political success. The point of politics is to elect governments, and political organizations are ultimately judged by the quality of government they deliver. Paradoxically, the antigovernment conservatives of the 1980s took the problems of government far more seriously than the pro-government conservatives of the 2000s.

The outlook is not, however, entirely bleak for Republicans. I notice that much of the Democratic party, and especially its activist netroots, has decided that the way to beat Rove Republicanism is by emulating it. They are practicing the politics of polarization; they are elevating “framing” above policy; they have decided that winning the next election by any means is all that matters — and never mind what happens on the day after that.

There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between Karl Rove and Markos Moulitsas. They’re both in the business of exploiting emotional weakness and creating division, and they’ve both profited handsomely from this ability.

The Democrats will most likely elect the next president since Bush has made such a hash of things that he’s given them a free pass to the White House. But, to the extent that netroots fanaticism is instrumental in picking the Party’s champion, the nation and the Party will suffer.

Maybe that’s the secret to Rove’s search for a “permanent Republican majority:” get the Democrats to blow themselves up by embracing extremism and hysteria. If it’s a long-term strategy, it’s working, now all that has to happen is for the Republicans to abandon their irrational roots. I’m not holding my breath waiting for that to happen.

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