Rove Means Never Having to Say You`re Sorry

Although the Bush Administration`s
plan for granting


illegal Mexican immigrants
strikes most
Republicans as bad for their country and bad for their
party, it remains as

hard to kill
as the

Monkey`s Paw
, in large part due to its author
Karl Rove`s

as a political genius.

Sure, amnesty doesn`t make much
sense to you or me. But what do we know—compared
to the infallible Rove?

The truth, however, is that Rove`s
minority outreach initiatives have a lousy track record.
And his disastrous attempt to win Muslim votes
foreshadowed all the errors he`s making with Mexican

Rove`s Muslim project began in
early 1997 during a meeting with the energetic
Republican insider

Grover Norquist
. (When I met

a decade ago, his stumpy physique and
the very long, very red beard he wore back then made him
look exactly like the charming little brother of the big

that lived under the bridge in my sons`
favorite book at the time, The Three Billy Goats
.) Rove and Norquist discussed "the need for
Republicans to embrace Muslim Americans,"
to Tom Hamburger and Glenn R. Simpson in the Wall
Street Journal
11, 2003

"That brief conversation in Austin, Texas, helped
start a

new chapter in Mr. Norquist`s career
—and in the
political lives of Muslims in this country. The
following year, Mr. Norquist started the nonprofit

Islamic Free Market Institute
. In collaboration with
Mr. Rove, now Mr. Bush`s chief political adviser, he and
other institute leaders courted Muslim voters for the
Bush 2000 presidential campaign…


"Norquist`s Institute`s main supporter has been the
Persian Gulf state of

, from which it has received hundreds of
thousands of dollars since 1998. In 2001, the last year
for which complete records are available, roughly 80% of
the institute`s $641,000 in contributions came from
foreign governments, companies and individuals writing
checks on foreign banks. …


"Mr. Norquist helped secure a promise from
presidential candidate Bush to moderate federal policy
on investigating suspected illegal immigrants. In a
nationally televised

on Oct. 11, 2000, Mr. Bush said:
`Arab-Americans are racially profiled in what`s called
secret evidence …. We`ve got to do something about
that.` …


"Twice during the debate, Mr. Norquist says, Mr. Rove
phoned him at home to draw his attention to the remark
and urge him to "put the word out" among Muslims. Mr.
Rove says he doesn`t remember making such calls."

The White
House enthusiastically followed up on this pledge. In
fact, according to

Jake Tapper
in Salon, President Bush
was scheduled to meet with Muslim and Arab leaders at 3
p.m. on Sept. 11, 2001–to update them on the
progress the Administration had made in eliminating
Clinton Administration anti-terrorism policies that had
a disparate impact on Muslims

Florida college professor Sami Al-Arian

, “At 3:30 [on 9-11] the
president would have announced the end of secret
[Sept. 11 hurt aliens` rights, By
Grace Agostin, University of South Florida Oracle,
September 09, 2002] Al-Arian, whose brother-in-law

Mazen al-Najjar
had been locked up based on
evidence supplied by a government informant inside a
terrorist gang, campaigned for Bush in 2000 and had his

taken with the candidate.

And Mary

in the St. Petersburg
(March 11, 2003):

"In June 2001, Al-Arian was among members of the
American Muslim Council invited to the White House
complex for a briefing by Bush political adviser Karl
Rove. The next month, the National Coalition to Protect
Political Freedom—a civil liberties group headed by
Al-Arian—gave Norquist an award for his work to abolish
the use of secret intelligence evidence in terrorism
cases, a position Bush had adopted in the 2000

At that
time, Al-Arian was under investigation for involvement

. He was

on 50 counts on February 20, 2003.

One obvious
problem for the Rove-Norquist effort: many of the

Muslim organizations
that they hope to work
with are funded by the rulers of the Persian Gulf oil
states precisely to direct Muslim Arab discontent away
from themselves and toward that convenient scapegoat,
the West. As American Conservative Union President David

, "The problem is that moderate
Muslims control few organizations and have virtually no
voice. Most of them, in fact, know better than to
challenge the


But Rove`s Muslim outreach plan
also suffered all the characteristic problems of his
other, more celebrated outreach strategies:

(1) Exaggeration of the

potential gains.

(2) Failure at the ballot box.

(3) Underestimation of the
electoral costs of irritating rival groups.

(4) (Most importantly,) utter
disdain for the interests of the American people.

Let`s take them in

Exaggeration of the potential gains

Roveans typically make two mistakes
when salivating over targeted ethnicities:

Accepting bloated estimates of their numbers;

Lumping together disparate, even hostile, groups.

[A] Bloated estimates.
For example, the equally


Michael Barone
recently outlined the Rove
rationale for Hispanic outreach in a piece called

"Making New Amigos

"Hispanic immigrants are the fastest-growing and
politically most fluid segment of the electorate. They
were 7 percent of voters in 2000 and could be 9 percent
in 2004…"

Bunk! No way, no how, will
Hispanics (much less Barone`s "Hispanic immigrants")
account for 9 percent in 2004. If recent

continue, they`ll barely break 6

Exactly the same goes for the

estimates of Muslims
in America put out by
Muslim pressure groups—for example, Norquist`s Islamic
Institute`s claim of "more
than five million
.” The real number, according
to a Center for Immigration Studies report

by Daniel Pipes and
Khalid Durán
is probably about three

[B] Lumping together
disparate groups.
Rove and Norquist put together
a campaign aimed at Muslim Arabs. (That`s where the
money is!). They simply assumed this would make the GOP
more appealing to Muslims and Arabs.

W-R-O-N-G!  Most of those three
million Muslims aren`t Arabs. Many are

South Asians
or Persians. Others are

African-American converts.
And most
Arab-Americans aren`t Muslim. They`re Christians from
the Levant.

Some of these Muslims have reasons
to dislike Arabs. For example, Iran was attacked by Arab
Iraq from 1980-1988. And lots of Christian
Arab-Americans had relatives in Beirut who were shelled
by Muslims from 1975-1991.

Many Christian Arabs, especially
the ones whose ancestors came here before 1924, are well

and just don`t care much about
which party is playing the Arab ethnic card.

For example, can you name the other
Arab-American Bush Cabinet appointee besides Energy
Secretary Spencer Abraham?


Mitch Daniels
, former head of the Office of
Management & Budget, who is of Syrian descent. But he
doesn`t make a big deal out of it. (Note how hard

James Zogby
of the Arab-American Institute
had to work in this

to show that Daniels cares at all
about Arab issues,

compared to

The actual number of individuals
who are Muslims and Arab-Americans and

is miniscule. The Muslim Arab
population in the U.S. turns out to be only 600,000
according to Pipes and Duran. Because many of
this 600,000 are non-citizens, children, or otherwise
non-voters, the Muslim Arab proportion of the vote is
probably under 0.3 percent.

Exactly the same is true, as I have
pointed out repeatedly, of Hispanics. The
Mexican-American bloc that Rove`s amnesty is targeting
turns out to be an underwhelming 3.0 percent of the

vote in 2000.
And Rove assumes that he can
please all the Hispanics by giving amnesty just to
Mexicans—incredibly, since this means discriminating


Perhaps if the Bush Administration
worked hard enough, it could start to unify these
various groups into one domestic power bloc. Instead of
"divide and conquer" strategy, this would be "unite and

There is, indeed, some evidence
this is happening following the Nixon Administration
decision to treat “Hispanics” and “Asians” as

catch-all categories
for the purposes of the
Census—and for Affirmative Action handouts.

But is it (ahem) prudent for
Rove and Co. to turn Muslims immigrants into a
bloc—especially considering the

rampant in their homelands?

2. Failure at the ballot box.

The Rove-Norquist Muslim outreach
proved a bust in 2000. The only state where there are
enough Muslims for it to make any sense at all was

. Bush wound up losing Michigan.
Spencer Abraham lost his

U.S. Senate seat

Nobody knows much about which way
the national Muslim vote went—for a significant reason:
it`s too small to be measured accurately—but prominent
Arab Christian pollster John Zogby has said "My data
indicates that it was tilted Democratic in 2000. It went
more for Gore and Nader than for Bush."
, March 19, 2003,

Fight on the Right
by Byron York]

And again, as we at VDARE.COM have
pointed out

(sigh), the same is true for


3. Irritating rival groups

Incredibly, Rove apparently didn`t
grasp that pandering to Muslim Arabs would come at the
cost of scaring their traditional adversaries, the Jews.
Bush ended up with a

17 percent of the Jewish vote. Jews
don`t make up a

huge voting bloc
(4 percent in 2000) and they
are solidly Democratic. But they cast at least an order
of magnitude more votes than Muslim Arabs. And the cost
wasn`t just lost votes: in America, Jews are vastly more

per capita than Muslim Arabs.
Rove`s failure to consider this is a mystery.

4. Utter disdain for American

Finally, there is Rove`s typical
negligence of the needs of Americans as a whole—horribly
illustrated by 9-11.

Why did the Administration`s
cynical and catastrophic program of pandering to the
Muslim-Arab vote by cutting back on security disappear
down the national memory hole after

The subject has only begun to be
haltingly dredged up this year, with most of the

aimed at

I suggest a simple psychological
explanation: in a national crisis, you must hope that
your President and his aides aren`t venal fools. It was
too painful to remember that he and his top advisor had
been pursuing—for trivial political reasons—a policy of

proactive negligence
toward Arab Muslim

Maybe I`m just not a good team
player. Here`s what I

on the evening of


October 11, 2000, during the second presidential debate,
the Republican candidate attacked two anti-terrorist
policies that had long irritated Arab citizens of the

conflated two separate policies that Arab-Americans and
Muslim-Americans felt discriminate against them: the
heightened suspicions faced by Middle Eastern-looking
travelers at airport security checkpoints and the
government`s use of `secret evidence` in immigration
hearings of suspected terrorists. 

day after Bush`s remarks, 17 American sailors died in a
terrorist attack in the Arab nation of Yemen

[carried out, we now know, by the same Al-Qaeda
organization that blew up the World Trade Center]. … 

[2001], both Bush and his Attorney General
John Ashcroft have called for an end to racial
profiling… Of course, if Arabs and Muslims are
disproportionately more likely to hijack airliners, and
the profiling system does not end up disproportionately
targeting them, then the system wouldn`t work very well
at preventing hijackings. 

ensure that no disparate impact is occurring, the Bush
Administration carried out in June
[2001] a
three-week study, first planned by the Clinton
Administration, of whether or not profiling at the
Detroit airport disparately impacts Arabs…. 

[then-Senator Spencer] Abraham`s bill
repealing the use of secret evidence died in 2000,
during his confirmation hearing, Ashcroft endorsed the
ban on secret evidence… 

"As the
practice has come under increasing attack, the number of
Arab immigrants detained on secret evidence has dropped
sharply. Hussein Ibish of the

American Arab Anti-discrimination Committee
told UPI
in June
[i.e. four months before 9-11]: `Two
years ago there were 25 in prison. Now we`re down to
only one.`

If, instead of putting its Muslim
political ploy first, the Bush Administration had merely
been as anti-terrorist as the Clinton Administration,
could it have caught the


We don`t know. But it`s not as if
there had been no clues—for example, a month earlier,

James Woods
had figured out, all by himself,
that a hijacking was in the works.

The Bush Administration has
prudently resisted a full scale Congressional

But here`s another question: Would
Karl Rove be considered a genius today if 9-11 hadn`t
sparked a rally-round-the-President reaction in the 2002

[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and

movie critic

The American Conservative
His website
features his daily