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Gone but not forgotten: Karl Rove's legacy of using the powers of government for political gain is presumably alive and well. (AP)

How far will Bush loyalists go to help McCain win?

ASK THIS | June 12, 2008

For administration officials trying to avoid a rollback, the best way, of course, would be to get a Republican elected president. Are they already aiming grants, announcements and visits at swing states? Last in a five-part series on questions for the twilight of the Bush era.

By Dan Froomkin

There are lots of ways that President Bush and his loyalists can entrench their people and policies in such a way that a Democratic president won’t find it so easy to reverse course. I’ve examined some of those in the first four parts of this series.

In part one, I focused on Iraq, Iran and the military; in part two, I examined ways Bushies could burrow into the federal agencies; in part three, I looked at the possible effect of pardons and judicial appointments; in part four, I suggested a closer look at what Vice President Cheney is up to.  

But let’s not forget the obvious: The best shot Bush loyalists have at averting a rollback is getting John McCain – and as many congressional Republicans as possible -- elected in November. Despite some divergence on issues like global warming and Guantanamo, McCain is in lockstep with Bush on most major issues including Iraq, tax cuts and health care. Furthermore, he’s much less likely to air Bush’s dirty laundry.

Q. How far are Bush aides going to using their executive branch powers to help Republicans in November?

We can reasonably expect the Karl Rove-trained political appointees throughout government to be coordinating and staging official announcements, high-visibility trips and declarations of federal grants in a way that helps McCain and the GOP as much or more than legally possible.

For a refresher on how Rove did this in 2004, study How Rove Directed Federal Assets for GOP Gain, Washington Post, Aug. 19,  2007:

The staging of official announcements, high-visibility trips and declarations of federal grants had to be carefully coordinated with the White House political affairs office to ensure the maximum promotion of Bush's reelection agenda and the Republicans in Congress who supported him, according to documents and some of those involved in the effort….

To lead the charge, Rove had his "asset deployment team." It comprised the chief White House liaison official at each Cabinet agency. The team members met -- sometimes as often as once a month -- to coordinate the travel of Cabinet secretaries and senior agency officials, the announcement of grant money, and personnel and policy decisions. Occasionally, the attendees got updates on election strategies.…

[A]dministration officials said .. the essence of Rove's approach [consisted of]  making sure that political appointees at every level of government pushed a uniform agenda in key media markets and on behalf of White House-backed candidates. That meant resisting the natural tendencies of the federal bureaucracy to cater just to congressional purse-string holders, officials said.…

The White House briefings also frequently identified key media markets where Republicans most wanted their message out. A Post review of trips announced by several Bush Cabinet members during the 2004 election showed that their travel fell neatly into the markets listed on a slide included in briefings that year.

Another way to help Republicans win in November would be to make it harder to vote. Establishing barriers to voting, such as the Indiana Voter ID law recently upheld by the Supreme Court, disproportionately affects Democratic voting blocs, such as minorities and the elderly. Rampant voter fraud, the ostensible motivation of those who favor restrictive voting rules, has repeatedly been proven to be a myth.

Q. In the run-up to the election, what kinds of cases are being pursued by the Voting Section of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division? Is the section trying to make it easier or harder for people to vote? Is it pursuing voting rights cases or voter fraud cases? Is the White House pushing states to tighten their voter identification policies or purge their voter rolls?

Entrenchment, the Series:

Part One: Do we really expect the Bushies to go quietly?
Part Two: Midnight rulemaking, last-minute hires and executive fiats
Part Three: The time for a national conversation on pardons is before, not after, they're granted
Part Four: What's the vice president up to these days?
Part Five: How far will Bush loyalists go to help McCain win?

Posted by EOD
06/14/2008, 08:34 PM

People like Bukko and his suggestions are why SWAT has sharpshooters.

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