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Sunday, May 01, 2005Rove's Revolution: Bash, Break and Borrow
I think this is an interesting article told from the perspective of Stirling Newberry that may give you some insights into how America works...
There are three basic pillars of constitutional order: the mandate of the government, the meaning which binds the people and the government together, and the mechanism by which the government pursues the mandate given to it by the people. Of the various mechanisms, money is the most important, though not in the crude sense merely of who gets money, but how money works, how it is created. Money determines, to no small extent, the incentives and range of actions that an individual has available to him.
The New Deal instituted a new kind of money, money based on assets that banks could show on their books, and backed by the Federal Reserve and deposit insurance. One of the key programs that the New Deal used to make this new kind of money work was Social Security. This money replaced the gold-backed money of the previous constitutional order, and changed, fundamentally, the way America worked as a nation. The mandate of the government was to balance the economy; the meaning was based on consensus for action; if there was a problem, or even a potential problem, then the public sense was that it had to be met head on.
Karl Rove has, more than any other single political operative, been responsible for designing a means of attacking that political order, and he has, in no small measure, accomplished this. Gone is the great spirit of bi-partisanship that dominated government from the chaotic early days of 1933 when "we weren't Democrats or Republicans, just Americans trying to save the banking system," in the words of one treasury official.
This cycle of American constitutional change, in which financial crisis leads, first, to a reactionary attempt to force the old system to work, has been seen three times before.
1. Before the Constitution of 1787 was the financial crisis of the 1780s and the Articles of Confederation.
2. Before the Civil War was a massive financial panic, and the infamous Dredd Scott decision, which overturned the Compromise of 1850, and opened the Great Plains to slavery.
3. And before FDR were Hoover's futile attempts to save the gold standard and a government which was less involved in the economy than in religion.
This reactionary order has always failed in the past, because it must consume every cent of the economy.
Rove's strategy is to create a three-tier attack on the old order, and on anyone who would prevent his new order. That three-tier attack unifies the reactionary elements in society, by providing each one with a specific role to fulfill. His plan can be stated in three words: Bash, Break and Borrow.