Everybody's talking about the report that Karl Rove's offered to help the Lieberman campaign. An offer like this, leaked by one of Joe's top aides, it raises the question: Has Rove been guiding the Lieberman campaign from the very beginning? That alleged "website hacking" could well be Rove's handiwork - and more clues abound.
(UPDATE: Joe's people, and W's, have issued their predictable, obligatory, and not-too-convincing denials. My hypothesis still stands.) Before you say the idea's too farfetched, consider this:
Lieberman's campaign has been designed from the start to inflict maximum damage on the Democratic Party.
Lieberman's statements from the beginning have made it clear that, in his mind, any dissent from Bush's war policy constitutes a) "weakness on national defense," b) is a clear sign that Democrats "lack national security" credibility, and c) means that Dems "have yielded to the extremists" (despite the fact that new polls reveal those "extremists" agree with 60% of all Americans about the war).
Democrats are "extremist "and "weak on national security?" That's straight out of the Rove playbook.
Now the Republicans and their media associates are having a field day with Joe's loss, at the expense of the Democrats. Why would a Democrat - any Democrat - be willing to cause such harm to his own party? Unless he were being guided by a Republican ...
Lieberman immediately went savagely negative, and attacked Lamont for his own greatest weakness - a classic Rove strategy.
Joe came out swinging - below the belt. That's Rove's style all the way.
Lieberman's first campaign move was to launch the infamous (and stunningly inept) "bear ad," which - astonishingly - accused Lamont of being a Republican's tool! (In this case, former Sen. Lowell Weicker was the "big bear" to Lamont's "cub.")
Then, Lieberman and his supporters accused Lamont and his backers of running a "hate" campaign - while simultaneously spewing the most vitriolic campaign rhetoric in recent memory. (Lamont supporters were described as "Stalinist," "haters," "purgers," "fascists," and - if they were Jewish - as "bad Jews.")
Take you greatest weakness and label your opponent with it. Classic Rove.
The usual stenographers are taking dictation from Karl.
You know how it works with the Human Dictaphones in the press: Karl speaks, they record. No cliche's too trite, no argument's too stale, no observation's too obviously self-serving or shallow for these guys.
It doesn't matter if other pundits have said it 1,000 times and had their arguments thoroughly shot down. They'll always take an old "insight" for one more spin around the track (and collect a paycheck for it.) It's all Karl, all the time.
They're at it again, this time hyping the same stale mantra about what a "disaster" this is for Dems. (Here's a sample.) Who else but Karl has that special magic with the boys on the bus?
The "website incident" has all the earmarks of a Rove dirty trick.
Shortly before primary day the Lieberman campaign website went down, and Joe's team immediately accused the Lamont staff of sabotage. Anybody remember how Karl Rove first made his name? From a thoroughly footnoted entry in Wikipedia:
"In the fall of 1970, Rove used a false identity to enter the campaign office of Democrat Alan J. Dixon, who was running for Illinois State Treasurer, and stole 1000 sheets of paper with campaign letterhead. Rove then printed fake campaign rally fliers promising "free beer, free food, girls and a good time for nothing," and distributed them at rock concerts and homeless shelters."
Or how about this one - a close parallel to the website incident?
"In 1986, just before a crucial debate in (the William Clements) campaign, Rove claimed that his office had been bugged by the Democrats. The police and FBI investigated and discovered that bug's battery was so small that it needed to be changed every few hours, and the investigation was dropped. Critics suspected Rove had bugged his own office to garner sympathy votes in the close governor's race."
Now consider how quickly the Lieberman people were willing to accuse the Lamont people of sabotage as soon as the incident happened - almost as if they'd been prepared.
Now, even I have doubts that Rove or someone else in the Lieberman camp deliberately crashed the site. The most likely explanation is that their (extremely cut rate) hosting service buckled under increased traffic - a volume jump that anyone with common sense would expect to see in the last couple of days before a hotly contested election.
But it's not out of the question - not by a long shot. Remember, Rove is the guy who's had "pollers" call voters to ask if "they'd be less likely to vote for Ann Richards if they knew her campaign was dominated by lesbians," or for John McCain if "they knew he was the father of an interracial child."
Even if a Lieberman operative didn't bring down that website, their accusations against the Lamont campaign - wholly without foundation - constitute a dirty trick in and of itself.
"Why," you may ask, "would people like Bill Clinton and Barbara Boxer campaign for Joe if they thought Rove was involved?" Simple. Lieberman may win in November. If he does, they want that seat to stay Democratic. They're trying to placate him.
For the party insiders, Lieberman's like Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction." They don't want to keep humoring him, but they're being blackmailed ... so they keep having to act like they still care about him, while at the same time hoping against hope he'll go away.
Hmm .. blackmail ... dirty tricks ... that brings us back to the original question: Has Joe's latest campaign been a Rove operation from the very start?
They have a well-documented track record ... of playing dirty. Joe has a track record of willingness to serve their interests. All I'm saying is: think about it.
UPDATE II: Now they're investigating whether the site was brought down by spam ... possibly generated from within the website itself. Confusing, but it doesn't lessen the plausibility ... (via firedoglake)