Podhoretz was responding to the complaints of many Right Zionists who have been howling in the wilderness, upset that the Cheney administration has betrayed their Revolution.
Podhoretz explained to his Right Zionist friends that the central explanation for the setbacks was not to be found in an ideological battle (say, with Right Arabists like Brent Scowcroft), but in a simpler domain: politics.
Its the election, stupid. If there is anyone to blame… blame Rove.
But don’t blame Rove, Podhoretz implied, because the Revolution will not be televised if the Republicans lose control of government.
One thing I failed to mention at the time of my previous post: Podhoretz might not have simply offering sage advice from movement elder who has done his own share of howling in the wilderness in years past.
Is it possible that Podhoretz was actually giving voice to the frustrations–and rationalizations–of those Right Zionists who continue to serve within the administration, including the White House?
I have in mind the “voice” of Elliott Abrams, deputy assistant to the president and deputy national security adviser for global democracy strategy at the White House National Security Council.
Because Abrams and Podhoretz are family. As Tom Barry notes in his recent Counterpunch article, “Gangster Diplomacy: Elliott Abrams in Jerusalem,”
Abrams, a proud self-declared “neoconservative and neo-Reaganite,” is the son-in-law of Norman Podhoretz and Midge Decter, an activist couple who played a leading role in establishing neoconservatism as an influential political tendency in the 1970s.
It would still be highly speculative to talk about a rift between any Right Zionists and Karl Rove. None have explicitly attacked him.
On the other hand, it would be all the more interesting if the Podhoretz commentary was intended to serve as a kind of note passed from White House insiders to “movement” outsiders: “the President has not betrayed our ideology; he is just trying to keep all of us in office.”
Here is the punch line, from my perspective: any rift with Rove has nothing to do with Rove as an ideologue. It has to do with Rove as a “political professional” who knows how to pander to the polls. According to such a scenario, Rove acts as something like an opportunistic–even entrepreneurial–“register of the popular will” within an administration otherwise dominated by committed foreign policy factions.
And the popular verdict, in the current context? Don’t even think about sending US troops to Lebanon.
Wouldn’t that represent an interesting dynamic?