Rove Means Never Having to Say You`re Sorry

Although the Bush Administration`s
plan for granting


amnesty
to

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


reputation
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
outreach.

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

Grover Norquist
. (When I met

Grover
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
mean

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

Qatar
, 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

debate
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
!

Indeed,
Florida college professor Sami Al-Arian

claims
, “At 3:30 [on 9-11] the
president would have announced the end of secret
evidence.”
[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

picture
taken with the candidate.

And Mary
Jacoby

reported
in the St. Petersburg
Times
(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
campaign."

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

terrorists
. He was


indicted
on 50 counts on February 20, 2003.

One obvious
problem for the Rove-Norquist effort: many of the
U.S.-based

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
Keene,

wrote
, "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

Wahhabis
."

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
order: 

1.
Exaggeration of the potential gains

Roveans typically make two mistakes
when salivating over targeted ethnicities:

[A]
Accepting bloated estimates of their numbers;

[B]
Lumping together disparate, even hostile, groups.

[A] Bloated estimates.
For example, the equally

credulous
commentator

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

trends
continue, they`ll barely break 6
percent.

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
million.

[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

assimilated
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?

Answer:

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

column
to show that Daniels cares at all
about Arab issues,

compared to
Abraham.)

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


voters
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
against


non-Mexican
Hispanics.

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
surrender."

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

anti-Americanism
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

Michigan
. 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."
[National
Review
, March 19, 2003,

Fight on the Right
by Byron York]

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


repeatedly
(sigh), the same is true for


Hispanic
outreach.

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

dismal
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


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

4. Utter disdain for American
interests
.

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

9-11-2001?
The subject has only begun to be
haltingly dredged up this year, with most of the
criticism

aimed at
Norquist.

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
terrorism.

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

wrote
on the evening of

9-11-2001

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

"…Bush
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. 

"The
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]. … 

"This
year
[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. 

"To
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…. 


"Although
[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


Al-Qaeda
terrorists?

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

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
investigation.

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
election?


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


movie critic
for


The American Conservative
.
His website


www.iSteve.blogspot.com
features his daily
blog.]