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Rove: Right use Net to 'broaden our appeal,' while left use it to 'mobilize hate and anger'

Ron Brynaert
Published: Friday June 16, 2006

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In an exclusive interview with a New Hampshire "citizen activist network," President Bush's senior political adviser, Karl Rove, claimed that conservatives have broadened their appeal through the Internet while liberals have used it to "mobilize hate and anger," RAW STORY has found.

"I do also think that the Internet has proven to be a more powerful tool on our side than it has been for the other side," Rove told VictoryNH.com, a non-partisan Website founded by a former Ambassador who has raised and contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to strictly Republican candidates.

"It has proven to be a tool on our side to sort of unite Conservatives and have a healthy intra-movement dialogue," Rove explained. "But itís essentially been something that has helped us gain in influence and broaden our appeal."

Rove had harsh words to say about the effectiveness of liberal and Democratic blogs.

"Among Democrats, my sense is that the blog world has tended to strengthen the far Left of the Democratic Party at the expense of liberal, but somewhat less liberal, members of their party," Rove said.

Instead of "focusing on good ideas," Rove opined that the "Internet for the Left of the Democratic Party" only "mobilize hate and anger."

"It has tended to sort of drive their party even further to the Left rather than focusing on good ideas that would help unite people around common goals and common purposes," said Rove.

"Instead, the Internet for the Left of the Democratic Party has served as a way to mobilize hate and anger ó hate and anger, first and foremost, at this President and Conservatives, but then also at people within their own party whom they consider to be less than completely loyal to this very narrow, very out-of-the-mainstream, very far Left-wing ideology that they tend to represent," Rove continued.

"I think the Democrat focus, or at least the Internet blog world focus, if you will, is, 'How can we punish our enemies and express our anger?'" Rove added.

Rove also applauded conservative talk radio hosts such as Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity for holding "elite" and "big institutions" to "account," which he believes has been "enormously healthy for the system."

"Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and other talk radio people (but really pioneered obviously by Rush) have really changed the nature of the way that people get information and the way that the political dialogue is carried on in the country," Rove said.

VictoryNH.com

According to a press release promoting the Rove interview issued by VictoryNH.com, the group was founded two years ago.

"Victory NH began as a grassroots Internet effort led by Ambassador Joseph Petrone," the press release says. "Since its founding in 2004, it has grown into a network of activist groups across New Hampshire, working together to defend the principles and policies of lower taxes, smaller government, a strong national defense and a free-enterprise system; as well as protecting New Hampshire's first in-the-nation primary.

In April of 2005, VictoryNH.com "kicked off" it's Website with an exclusive interview with Newt Gingrich as he stopped in New Hampshire to promote a book. Ambassador Petrone announced the news at a New Hampshire Republican Party Website and recommended its readers to visit the former Republican House Speakers site (archived link).

"And for more about Newt, don't forget to visit newt.org," wrote Petrone.

According to CampaignMoney.com, Petrone has given over $300,000 in political contributions since 2000, all of it to Republican candidates and committees.

In 2000, Petrone led Bush/Cheney fund-raising efforts for New Hampshire, raising triple the money that Vice President Al Gore's campaign was able to. In 2000, Bush took New Hamshire by only a 1.27% margin of victory (link).

The co-founder of VictoryNH, Harry Levine, thanked "all of the potential Republican presidential candidates who currently serve in the U. S. Senate and have pledged to support an up or down vote for President Bush's judicial nominees, including Senators Allen, Brownback, Frist, and Santorum" in a message on the site, signed by the chairman of Republican First!, the president of NH Right to Life, and others.

"Moreover, it is important to understand that our members will find it extremely difficult to support any potential candidate who will stand-by silently while a small band of partisan extremists abuse the Senate rules and twist Senate history in order to obstruct President Bush's nominees," says the statement.

Blog reaction to Rove attack

A few bloggers have already responded to Rove's claims about the left.

"The article does not note whether he said this with a straight face," wrote Shakespeare's Sister.

"So, to Karl Rove we are advocating a very far Left-wing ideology. I guess when you are as far right as Rove we might appear far left," argues Ron Chusid at The Democratic Daily

Excerpts from the Rove interview:

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VNH: OK, letís switch over to elections here. Clearly with growth of talk radio and the Internet the last 2 cycles (2000 & 2004) marked the beginning of the new age in political campaigns. Having led and won campaigns in both cycles, talk about the impact that, for example, Rush Limbaugh has had for the Right and, in a different way, groups like MoveOn.org have had for the Left.

Rove: Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity and other talk radio people (but really pioneered obviously by Rush) have really changed the nature of the way that people get information and the way that the political dialogue is carried on in the country. It used to be that we had 3 national television networks, the Associated Press, and then the elite newspapers (particularly the New York Times and the Washington Post). The vast amount of information that people got and the dialogue about politics largely took place in venues that those institutions dominated. The growth of talk radio and the Internet means that a lot of our public discourse and our political dialogue takes place outside of the venues controlled by those big institutions. In fact, those big institutions can now be held to account by a Rush Limbaugh radio broadcast or a blogger pointing out difficulties in, say, CBSís approaches on documents, for example, or in commenting on the editorials found in the pages of the Washington Post or the New York Times. I think thatís healthy. I donít think weíre close to where we fully understand all the ramifications of that and where all that is going but I think itís enormously healthy for the system.

I do also think that the Internet has proven to be a more powerful tool on our side than it has been for the other side. It has proven to be a tool on our side to sort of unite Conservatives and have a healthy intra-movement dialogue. But itís essentially been something that has helped us gain in influence and broaden our appeal. Among Democrats, my sense is that the blog world has tended to strengthen the far Left of the Democratic Party at the expense of liberal, but somewhat less liberal, members of their party. It has tended to sort of drive their party even further to the Left rather than focusing on good ideas that would help unite people around common goals and common purposes. Instead, the Internet for the Left of the Democratic Party has served as a way to mobilize hate and anger ó hate and anger, first and foremost, at this President and Conservatives, but then also at people within their own party whom they consider to be less than completely loyal to this very narrow, very out-of-the-mainstream, very far Left-wing ideology that they tend to represent.

VNH: How do you see this affecting the next couple of cycles?

Rove: You know, I donít know! Again, weíre sort of feeling our way along. I do think the Internet is going to continue to be an enormously powerful tool for organization, which weíre now only beginning to understand and apply. I think itís going to have a huge impact upon providing alternative means by which people collect political information on which they make decisions ó particularly talk radio on our side and the Internet on both sides. But again, and maybe Iím just too optimistic about it, I think itís going to tend to strengthen the Conservative movement because our focus is so much on ideas; and where, by nature, our movement is optimistic and forward-looking and, if you will, progressive: How can we help expand freedom and democracy? How can we expand markets? What are the game-changing reforms that we can build into public policy that will strengthen the power of the individual over their own lives and destiny? I think thatís where our focus is. I think the Democrat focus, or at least the Internet blog world focus, if you will, is, ďHow can we punish our enemies and express our anger?Ē

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A full transcript of the interview can be found at the Victory NH Website at this link.


 

 
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