Alan Keyes
What's wrong with Rove's treacherous 'be silent on socialism' Romney/Ryan strategy
By Alan Keyes
September 6, 2012

America's founders saw the symbiotic relationship between mob rule and the establishment of tyranny, whether by Oliver Cromwell or the absolute monarchs of Europe in their day. As friends of democratic self-government, they wanted to make sure that the American people would not mistakenly forget that such mob action is more often than not a precursor of tyranny.

If America's contemporary elites shared the prevalent founders' friendly commitment to government of, by, and for the people, they would have the same goal, and act to discourage the same mistaken view. Instead they do the opposite. By itself, this does not necessarily justify the conclusion that they have abandoned the prevalent founder's friendly commitment to democratic self-government. Neither does it warrant the charge that they aim to harvest the tyrannical fruits brought down by demagogic mob politics. But it certainly warrants those assumptions as part of a working hypothesis.

For this and myriad other reasons (some drawn from personal experience), it has been the working hypothesis for my thinking about America's contemporary politics for some time. So I was bound to read Cliff Kincaid's analysis of Karl Rove's presentation at the now infamous billionaires' breakfast with more than casual attentiveness. I'm not referring to the part about Rove's murderous "joking" at the expense of Todd Akin's peace of mind. I refer to Kincaid's analysis of what the report revealed about "Rove's so-called 'strategy' for defeating Obama":

Rove told the donors, "If you say he's a socialist, they'll go to defend him. If you call him a 'far out left-winger,' they'll say, 'no, no, he's not.'"

Hence, calling Obama a socialist or a left-winger is being ruled out of order. That means:
  • No talk of Obama's communist mentor, Frank Marshall Davis.

  • No talk of his backing from the Communist Party USA, DemocraticSocialists of America, and other such groups.

  • No talk of his extremely close personal relations with such figures as Hugo Chavez of Venezuela and the rulers of Russia.

  • No talk of how Obama couldn't pass a basic background check in order to get a low-level federal job.
The reporter went on, "The proper strategy, Rove declared, was criticizing Obama without really criticizing him — by reminding voters of what the president said that he was going to do and comparing it to what he's actually done."

Behind the pose of a political expert talking about the strategy that should govern the GOP's political tactics, what we have here is someone insisting that the GOP give Obama an ideological pass. Though the galvanizing core of opposition to Obama is a tide of resentment against his push toward tyrannical socialism, Rove suggests talking points that assume agreement with Obama's ideological goals and that focus criticism on his incompetence in pursuit of those goals. Furthermore, many Americans also resent what they perceive as the unpatriotic, indeed anti-American, animus that seems to drive Obama's policies and speeches. By advising silence on socialism Rove casts aside the best way of articulating this resentment in policy terms without inviting plausible accusations that the opposition to Obama appeals to, and exploits, visceral bigotry.

This ostensibly "non-ideological" approach has a decidedly ideological effect. It surrenders the galvanizing energy connected with the public's repudiation of Obama's socialist push. It turns the election into a contest between administrators, with the Romney/Ryan team saying, in effect: "What Obama promised, can he deliver? OBAMA CAN'T but YES, WE CAN."

It sounds plausible enough, as long as conservatives, including those who have routinely been the core of the GOP's margin of victory, don't consider the consequences. We want to conserve America's principles, the God-endowed rights of individual Americans, and the right of constitutional self-government for the American people as a whole. In no respect are these goals consistent with accepting Obama's goal of socialism. We don't want to elect people who will take us to that goal more efficiently and competently, while arousing less resistance among our people.

Two things ought to disturb us about Rove's so-called strategy: a) It leaves out the people who reject Obama because he's a socialist, not because he's a failing socialist. In saying no to Obama, we mean to deliver a resounding NO to the socialist "tyranny of the elites" he represents; and b) It casts the Romney/Ryan campaign in a light that verifies what Romney's record emphatically suggests: If and when Romney wins, Obama will be gone but Obama's policies will continue.

Because I am, like America's prevalent founders, a friend to constitutional self-government, I cannot accept the notion that this result is somehow better for America. A result that leaves the nation better prey to the elitist, tyrannical, anti-American, socialist delusion is the same evil, with better prospects of success.

We need to galvanize and unite all Americans who agree with America's founders in the desire to preserve constitutional self-government; the principle of God-endowed unalienable right; and government-constraining respect for individual human rights — which have made and keep us free. The GOP platform speaks the language of that brand of conservatism, even though the preponderance of the evidence goes to show that Mitt Romney, Karl Rove, the money barons who back them, and the contemporary American elitists they altogether represent, no longer share the commitment to constitutional self-government which defines that brand.

So I will vote for the part of the GOP ticket that still professes to stand on the language of the platform. I will not vote for the Romney/Ryan campaign that means to campaign on a basis that accepts Obama's socialist goals and promises to deliver America, with greater competence, to socialist perdition.

[If you will consider taking this approach to November's vote, just send me an email at Put "yes, I will" in the subject line. No further message is needed. Of course, your thoughts and suggestions will be welcomed. As the implementation of the idea develops, I'll send an email to the reply address you use, to keep you up to date. Also, and above all, share the idea with others so they can consider it for themselves.]
To see more articles by Dr. Keyes, visit his blog at and his commentary at and

© Alan Keyes


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Alan Keyes

Dr. Keyes holds the distinction of being the only person ever to run against Barack Obama in a truly contested election – featuring authentic moral conservatism vs. progressive liberalism – when they challenged each other for the open U.S. Senate seat from Illinois in 2004... (more)


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