Mayberry Machiavellis

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The Mayberry Machiavellis—a term used to refer to the Bush administration—was employed in October 2002 by University of Pennsylvania professor and "earnest conservative" John J. DiIulio Jr., who was appointed January 30, 2001, by President George W. Bush to head the newly created White House office of Faith-based and Community Initiatives and who resigned in August 2001, "becoming the first person to quit the administration in disgust," Sidney Blumenthal wrote April 12, 2007, in Salon.

"Possessed with a sense of history, the disillusioned professor's remarks of five years ago have proved prophetic: 'There is no precedent in any modern White House for what is going on in this one: a complete lack of a policy apparatus. What you've got is everything -- and I mean everything -- being run by the political arm. It's the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis'," Blumenthal wrote.

Ron Suskind wrote January 1, 2003, in Esquire that DiIulio "defines the Mayberry Machiavellis as political staff, Karl Rove and his people, 'who consistently talked and acted as if the height of political sophistication consisted in reducing every issue to its simplest black-and-white terms for public consumption, then steering legislative initiatives or policy proposals as far right as possible. These folks have their predecessors in previous administrations (left and right, Democrat and Republican), but in the Bush administration, they were particularly unfettered.'"

Mayberry, North Carolina, is "the fictional setting for the classic television hit 'The Andy Griffith Show'" and a "symbol for small-town simplicity and backwardness." [1][2]

Niccolo Machiavelli, born on May 3, 1469, in Florence, Italy, "eventually became a man who lived his life for politics and patriotism. Right now, however, he is associated with corrupt, totalitarian government" based on a "small pamphlet he wrote called 'The Prince' to gain influence with the ruling Medici family in Florence." [3][4]

Strategy

"On the one hand," Sidney Blumenthal wrote, Karl Rove "has sought to forge a permanent Republican majority. On the other hand, that project might not be completed in just two Bush terms. In either case, Rove's strategy has depended on subjecting the federal government to political objectives. He is not trying to achieve any abstract goal, such as reaching the conservative nirvana of limited government. The endless scandals revealed are not a random compendium of corruption and incompetence, though they are that, too. They are evidence of Rove's -- and Bush's -- larger strategy of hollowing out the federal government in the interest of building a political state."

Resources and articles

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References

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