Sejanus of the US

Yesterday’s Freshair interview was with journalist Wayne Slater who is the co-author of Bush’s Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential. As I was listening to Slater went on and on about how brilliant a political strategist Rove has been and how he was not afraid of playing the dirtiest tricks against his opponents; I thought of Sejanus in I, Claudius. It seemed that in every long running empire, you would see creatures like Rove. Sejanus from the Roman Empire served under Tiberius, Li Lianying from the Chinese Qing Dynasty served under Empress Dowager Tzu Hsi(Cixi) , and now Rove. It is usually someone with a lower standing than his boss, who wouldn’t be able to run for the high office, but who could latch on the boss so well that he became the real boss without the crown.

Rove’s motto, according to Slater, is that you should always go after the strongest point of your opponent and discredit him/her by engaging in whisper campaign. The beauty of whisper campaign is it could be all lies, but all it needs to accomplish is to put your opponent on the defense, because “Once you start to explain, you lose.” Rove said.

Two things that related to Rove stood out. One is the uncovering CIA operative Valerie Plame’s identity to get to her diplomat husband Wilson, because Wilson provided evidence to prove Bush’s 16 words lie in State of the Union address in 2003. Another is Rove’s phone call to Slater after he wrote an unfavorable article about Rove. “I know where you live.” Rove started by saying, “and I know which highway you use. Imagine a patriot missile comes at you, boom-boom-boom.” Rove laughed.

And this is the right hand man of the President of the United States, the beacon of the entire democratic world?!

One thought on “Sejanus of the US

  1. Hi Jean, yes Rove sounds like a snake but you probably can’t nail him for any illegal activity. Regarding people like Rove, I sometimes wonder about the lineage of schemers. There are roles that people assume: nurturer, decision-maker, hard-ass, schemer, etc. There have been people like the above since the beginning of history. I wonder if we could take a time machine back to 100 000 BC tribal culture, would we see vying tribal leaders like Bush and Kerry with henchman like Rove. Maybe we shouldn’t be so disappointed with democracy since it’s made up of real people not angels.

    Jean’s Reply:
    Thanks mfd, for the sanity check.
    Problem is the whole idea of the US Constitution was to prevent the weaker part of human nature to take hold of the grander scheme of things. At least that was my understanding. The reason there are check and balances, the reason there is the seperation of Justice, Execution, and Legislature was to prevent the weakness of the President to weaken the country.
    Now, the fact that we are seeing the same kind evil and dirty scheme repeating itself should imply the breakdown or failure of the Constitution, no?

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