Despite Rove's enthusiasm he recognized that he could not accomplish this feat independently. The important thing about promoting an incurious and inarticulate buffoon-like figure such as Bush to the presidency was a willingness to please the neocon power structure and that he did.
To invest Bush with the kind of manufactured machismo that typified Ronald Reagan, who had earlier been fine-tuned by the corporate establishment all the way to the presidency, some early steps were taken.
Like Reagan, Bush developed a "man's man" image by becoming an instant cowboy as arrangements were made for him to purchase his Crawford, Texas ranch, the first step toward becoming the Lone Star State's governor, an important pivotal position en route to Washington.
It was Spencer who took Reagan under his wing in his California phase while the so-called Kitchen Cabinet from his California days issued directives and got the former actor ready for the extended order taking he would dutifully engage in on the national scene.
While Richard Nixon was and remains Karl Rove's political idol, as noted by his joyous propensity for dirty tricks and ruthless back stabbing, the Texas and Washington incarnations of Bush were more reflective of the Reagan experience. Put simply, you take someone with a large ego when it comes to the trappings of power that will not prove to be a problem in the realm of policy making.
Who could forget the defining moment at the Crawford ranch before Bush flew to Washington to be inaugurated? The 2000 campaign had been waged on the premise that Bush, like Reagan earlier, possessed legitimate reformer credentials.
In fact, a major objective that was expressed and deservingly scoffed at by progressives was that reformer Bush was going to Washington to end political division in the city and end a destructive syndrome of "politics as usual."
Fresh faces would be brought to Washington to form a government devoid of partisanship. Yet, lurking in the shadows in an attempt to hide from cameras, but being seen nonetheless, were George Schultz and Henry Kissinger, quintessential figures from the old order of global corporate hegemony.
In the early jousting for the Republican 2008 presidential nomination three candidates with sufficient national recognition to gain traction have been dangerously stagnating.
John McCain's pronouncements on Iraq have been so absurd that he has quickly become a laughing stock, particularly after his stroll through the streets of Baghdad to demonstrate safe conditions with a contingent that could have been confused with the landing force on Normandy Beach at D-Day.
The two other candidates who are also failing to generate excitement are Mitt Romney and Rudolph Guiliani. Their pasts have largely checkmated them.
The all-important religious right constituency has been far from convinced that the new positions taken by candidates dealing with progressive constituencies in Massachusetts and New York City respectively have switched from their earlier positions for any reason other than political expediency.
Considering the foregoing circumstances it is anything but surprising that elements of the media combined with certain Republican strategists are mentioning with increasing frequency the candidacy of former Tennessee Senator Fred Thompson as a unifier who could draw votes from the traditional hard right core as well as voters of a more moderate stripe.
With Bush polling in the thirties nationally Rove and other Republicans will perhaps try the same ploy that the party did in the seventies when Ronald Reagan was trumpeted as someone independent who could unite America.
The acid test as to the seriousness of such an effort will be revealed when Republican National Committee shills such as Robert Novak, Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity begin mentioning Thompson as a "unifier."
Fred Thompson has one basic quality to attract Rove and the neocons. Despite portraying himself as a moderate he can be counted on to follow orders in the same manner as a Reagan or George W. Bush. Thompson first garnered public attention as Republican Minority Counsel during the Senate Watergate Hearings.
With Richard Nixon going down in flames fellow Tennessean, Senator Howard Baker, the leading Republican on the Watergate Committee, appointed Thompson to help implement Baker's strategy of making a party suffering badly as a result of Nixon's popularity to look moderate and responsible. Sound familiar? Republicans are in a similar situation currently.
Can Thompson be counted on to toe the neocon line? After seeing his performance on "Meet the Press" just prior to the Cheney-Bush shock and awe assault on Baghdad the answer would be an emphatic "yes."
Thompson, who following two terms in the Senate returned to acting and assumed the continuing regular's role of New York District Attorney on the popular NBC series "Law and Order," delivered one of his finest performances as he delivered what sounded like a script that could have been written by Ahmad Chalibi or Judith Miller.
Fred Thompson issued a grim warning that America might well face an imminent mushroom cloud assault from Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. It was therefore imperative to attack Baghdad before he rendered great harm to America.
Thompson passed that test with flying colors. He can be easily perceived performing comparable duties for the neocon global team, all the while delivering his presentation in soothing tones conducive to a pretext of "moderation." In a pragmatic ideological context he is not likely to get in the way by asking questions, content to serve as a national symbol in the manner of another professional actor, Ronald Reagan.
Newt Gingrich today appeared on that great bastion of Republican propaganda Fox News to deliver a ringing endorsement of Thompson as well as Mitt Romney. Gingrich sees them as men of principle who can evoke change for America in the Oval Office.
So the Thompson myth is in full swing as efforts are made to construct him as a "man of the people" in the image of Ronald Reagan.
KEYWORDS: Fred Thompson, Karl Rove, Mitt Romney, John McCain, Rudolph Guiliani, Newt Gingrich, Fox News
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