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Brent Budowsky: Rove, Benghazi lift Dems

With the Republican brand mired in vast public disapproval, Democrats hungry to inspire voter turnout in November, and Americans yearning for a higher standard of politics, Karl Rove suggesting former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suffers from brain damage was a Christmas gift to Democrats in May.

Let me count the ways.

When Rove threw his spittoon at Clinton, his saliva landed on former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R), whom I predict will not subject his family to the toxic politics of Republicans today.

{mosads}Perhaps Republicans believe Americans want to return to the politics of George W. Bush in 2000, masterminded by Rove, whose organization spread stories that Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) was mentally unstable because he was imprisoned as a Vietnam POW and returned home to father an illegitimate black child.

As Rove works his magic again, spinning his web of innuendo and lies against Clinton, implying she is a brain-damaged old woman, there will be a backlash like quiet thunder from the heavens by women voters who believe this is one war too many against one woman too many, and by many seniors, who are insulted by the ageist contempt shown by Rove Republicans.

As the GOP brand collapses further and Democratic candidates fight back, notice the increase in support for a number of Democratic senators running for reelection, such as Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.), and Democratic challengers, such as Michelle Nunn in Georgia. Witness Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan battling valiantly in North Carolina, who I believe will receive higher turnout than expected by North Carolinians who want to take back the Tar Heel state from rightist extremism.

As the metastasizing cancer of Republican venom spreads from cloakrooms in Washington, D.C., to the poisonous mouth of Karl Rove, the Democratic base is becoming roused again, the Republican brand is in free fall again, the ground for a Democratic comeback in 2014 is coming into view again, and the overwhelming stature of Hillary Clinton over potential Republican challengers is being dramatized again.

The Democratic base will be further roused and the political center further alienated by House Republicans who, not content with misusing taxpayer money by creating a kangaroo court committee on Benghazi, led by a junior member who describes this witch hunt as a trial against Democrats, now seek to use this sham GOP committee to raise campaign money by exploiting the death of Americans at Benghazi.

The GOP Benghazi ploy, the illegitimate child of GOP partisanship and desperation at the prospect of a Clinton landslide in 2016, has failed before and will backfire now. Every moment of televised invective from this sham committee will motivate more Democrats to vote and elevate Clinton’s stature against a McCarthyite hearing that is a partisan playground for sophomore members from the unpopular Tea Party.

In a stunning example of the metastasizing cancer that poisons the GOP brand, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who believes immigration reform must pass because his party faces a demographic Armageddon of alienating Hispanics as well as women, in a subtle confession about what he really thinks about his party, has declared he is “living on borrowed time” and is refusing to commit to remaining in his post through the next Congress.

I once joked that when the Speaker dines with his majority leader, Rep. Eric Cantor (R-Va.), he should bring a food tester to avoid a premature change in House Republican leadership. Now the majority leader himself needs a food tester when he dines with Republican constituents and GOP colleagues, lest he be offered a sip of poisoned tea.

The GOP brand has become a foul-tasting stew of wars against women, insults against seniors, alienation of Hispanics, dog-whistle undertones of racism against blacks, abusive congressional hearings and internecine warfare of Republican against Republican.

Thank you, Karl Rove. May pundits extol your brilliance and Republicans applaud your sleaze.

Ladies and gentlemen, we are witnessing the catastrophic destruction of the Republican brand. 2014 is now up for grabs and Karl Rove is making Hillary Rodham Clinton look like a progressive Democratic version of Ronald Wilson Reagan.


Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen and Bill Alexander, then chief deputy majority whip of the House. He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. He can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog and reached at

Tags Democratic Party Hillary Clinton Karl Rove Republican Party
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