Beyond The Rovian Playbook: The GOP’s “Secret” Weapon

This article is a discussion of the law of attraction in action, as seen in improbably successful manifestations by the GOP.
Originally published on HuffPost at

by Phaedre Suriyai Christ

The biggest conundrum of the 2008 election season may be: How is it possible that John McCain’s extremely clumsy campaign is so effective? Day after day across the blogosphere, Democrats strive to figure out how Barack Obama can decisively break ahead in the presidential race. Yet the mystery of McCain’s continuing competitiveness is second only to the greatest political puzzle of modern times: How was George Bush able to ruin the American economy, trample the Constitution, carry out an illegal war, and get off scot-free while the American people watched in horror for eight years? The answer to each of these two questions is the same. The guys on the right are working the secret. What secret? The Secret.

Democrats frequently cite Karl Rove’s playbook as the evil genius behind successful GOP campaigns, including George Bush’s victory over John Kerry in 2004, John McCain’s current ability to hold on to a tight second place in the polls, as well as Bush’s success over McCain in the 2000 Republican primaries. Rovian tactics, which consist of avoiding real issues and focusing on wedge issues, lying about the opponent’s policy positions, and “swiftboating,” debasing the opponent’s character to turn strengths into weaknesses, are generally accepted as the main reason why McCain has a chance at winning this year’s election despite record levels of public dissatisfaction with the GOP as well as many huge and serious blunders by McCain’s campaign.

Much of the discussion on the left revolves around whether Barack Obama should abandon the respectful tone and tactics which are the cornerstone of his appeal, and adopt Rovian tactics in his own campaign in order to take a decisive lead in the polls.

Those who favor Obama maintaining the high road point out that negative campaigning, or “the kitchen sink strategy” did not win the primaries for Hillary Clinton. Those who argue for Obama going negative note that Gore and Kerry stayed positive and lost their elections.

As the intra-party debate rages on, Democrats excoriate the media, bemoan the bogus nature of the attacks, and anxiously hold their collective breath whenever Obama is quoted in the media. Even a well-received speech by Obama in Berlin, and a recent humble remark explaining his popularity have been twisted and used to bludgeon him.

Simultaneously, McCain and his surrogates have insulted Americans, lied, made countless factual errors, and yet still retain competitive levels of public support.

Democrats are painfully aware that this lopsided spectacle is likely to continue, and expect increasingly damaging results for Obama. The Rovian tactics, though reviled by many, are widely assumed to be an almost unstoppable force. However, the reality of what is happening in the election race is rooted in laws much stronger than those in Karl Rove’s playbook.

Less discussed than the reasons for GOP campaign successes are the reasons behind George Bush’s ability to stay in office for eight years, governing on his own terms despite rock bottom approval ratings and congressional opposition. It is common knowledge that Bush is conducting an illegal war which has enriched his family and friends in the oil business while bankrupting the US economy, that he dismantled the Constitution, that he has committed war crimes and human rights abuses, and that he has presided over the most corrupt administration in American history.

George Bush’s crimes are vastly more heinous, blatant and destructive than those of either Richard Nixon or Bill Clinton. However, unlike those two predecessors, Bush has not been punished. Ironically, although George Bush is alternately ridiculed and despised and his approval rating is the lowest of any US president, he has actually been an extremely successful president in terms of carrying out exactly what he has intended to do.

The real reasons behind President Bush’s almost incomprehensible success at getting his way for the past eight years are rarely probed. The forces behind him are tacitly assumed to be Dick Cheney’s ruthlessness and lobbyists’ millions. While these forces do exist, they do not add up to a coherent explanation of how one man – and a man who is generally considered to be of average intelligence at best – has succeeded at restructuring the foundations of America to match his personal vision. Moreover, he has carried out this vast work without breaking a sweat, taking 500 days of vacation time over the past 8 years.

I pause here to admit that I’m a yogi, a scientist of the mind. My area of specialization is studying how the mind manifests physical reality. Like most people, my eyes glaze over when I read the words “energy,” “vibrations” and “spiritual” and, like many, I instinctually avoid established religion. However, in order to discuss real power it is necessary to use the vocabulary of spiritualists and discuss topics normally ceded to churches.

Furthermore, despite the interjection of a modicum of spiritual discussion into this election cycle vis-à-vis Reverends Wright, Hagee, and Parsley, by the frequent repetition of the word Muslim, as well as by Obama’s outreach to the religious community, I understand the reluctance to seriously consider the unseen realms when discussing a concrete topic like electoral politics. However, if Democrats are serious about comprehending and perhaps conquering the forces being used against them by the Republicans, it may be time to step beyond their comfort zone.

The Rovian playbook, the corporate owned media, Dick Cheney’s vice presidency, and oil industry lobbyists’ millions are not the source of the GOP’s power. These are merely physical outgrowths of malevolent thought. The real root of George Bush’s and the GOP’s success is their perhaps unwitting mastery of the law of attraction. For those who have not seen or read The Secret, which describes this universal law in simple, non-religious terms, here is the law in a nutshell:

Even the most ardent atheist can see that the body in which he or she lives is a far more complex, intricately designed mechanism than any human’s mind could ever think up. Therefore, some form of higher intelligence designed the human body… or it wouldn’t exist. That same advanced intelligence which created, and continues to create, the human body structure also designed what the body does — the process called life. The workings of the process of life match both the simplicity and complexity of the internal bodily systems. Life is governed by a system called the law of attraction.

The law of attraction, which operates at all times for all humans, creates the fabric and details of each of our lives by bringing to us whatever objects and situations we expect to receive. Manifesting our desires requires neither brilliance, luck, nor high morals. To activate this inherent human function, we merely need to know what we want and genuinely expect to receive it. Conversely, when we believe even the slightest bit in fears and worries, they take physical form as our lived reality. In short, those things which we truly, deep down believe will happen, happen. This is how life works.

If the law of attraction functions the same for every human being, why are Bush and GOP campaign operatives so successful at getting what they want, while the Democrats perpetually teeter on the brink of failure?

The answer lies in a character trait which George Bush, Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh and many GOP-ers are frequently cited for possessing, a trait which Democrats — the party of the middle class, women, and minorities — are less likely to have: a strong sense of entitlement. Although often viewed as negative, particularly when derived from a belief in racial or class-based superiority, entitlement may be defined as the absolute certainty that one can and will receive those things which he/she desires. That level of certainty is premium grade fuel in a system which runs on belief.

It is due to the law of attraction that:

* A man of mediocre intelligence whose sense of entitlement allowed him to believe he could wage a war for his own personal reasons, did so.

* This same man, absolutely certain that his own desires should prevail over any and all established laws, was able to dismantle the Constitution.

* GOP operatives, truly believing it was their party’s God-given right to be in charge of the American government, have been able to use kindergarten-level tactics to control the electorate and prevail in two national elections, even overcoming dubious election results.

* John McCain, certain that the established GOP machine has the ability to win him the presidency, has been able to maintain at least the appearance of a tie despite many flip-flops, errors, and a personal history which reveals questionable character.

Within the law of attraction, the correlation between internal beliefs and external results is precise – each is an exact reflection of the other. Therefore, the [weaknesses and inconsistencies] visible within McCain’s campaign — most of which concern McCain the man, rather than the efficacy of the GOP — suggest that while McCain has strong faith in his party, he doubts himself. Democrats are experiencing a similar internal split, galvanized by hope but still convinced that the GOP’s Rovian tactics have an almost unstoppable power. Thus although their candidate is routinely compared to the most effective leaders of all time, including JFK, MLK, Jr., Abraham Lincoln and even [Moses – by the McCain camp itself], Democrats’ own deeply-held doubts about their party’s effectiveness take physical form as static polling numbers and a corporate news media firewall.

Yet the Democratic candidate himself, a virtually unknown freshman senator a short while ago whose very name could have easily cancelled out any chance of his having a political career in America, remains unflappable in the face of unrelenting attacks as he continues his bold quest for the presidency. Obama’s confidence, his primary election success against the established Clinton machine, as well as the title of his second book, The Audacity of Hope, all suggest that Obama is well aware of the power he holds via the law of attraction. Awareness of the real power inherent to each of us, as human beings, is the purest and strongest form of entitlement.

And as George Bush has demonstrated, it takes just one man’s sense of entitlement combined with his vision, to re-make the world.