PM's Biographer Sees Rove Influence In Swedish Politics

Written by Andrew Kreig
Published on January 15, 2011

Dr. Brian Palmer of Uppsala University in Sweden provided an illuminating interview on the Jan.13 edition of my Washington Update radio show regarding the influence of Karl Rove on Swedish politics as an advisor to the governing Moderate Party.

Sweden is leading a global manhunt to question WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange on claims of sex misconduct filed by a politically connected lawyer at the same time the United States has launched an investigation of Assange and WikiLeaks volunteers for possession of secret diplomatic cables.

Palmer described why he co-authored a Swedish-language book about political parties were attracting voters, “George W. Reinfeldt: The art of making a political extreme makeover.” The book describes  how  Sweden’s political right, including Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, were creating an image of moderation, much as did U.S. President George W. Bush during his 2000 campaign.

The interview with my co-host Scott Draughon may be heard worldwide by archive via the My Technology Lawyer Radio Network.  Earlier in the week, I published evidence that Swedish sex probes of Assange and United States spy probes are suspect.

One column published by Connecticut Watchdog was headlined, “Partner at Firm Counseling Assange's Accusers Helped the CIA In Rendition for Torture.”  I amplify these comments Jan. 16 on the Connecticut Watchdog News Hour at 6 p.m. (ET), a video show available  globally.

Palmer and his co-author and Per-Anders Forstorp wrote a 2008 newspaper column describing a visit by Rove to Sweden that year. They said the trip’s purpose was to help conservatives reconfigure their public image in ways predicted by George Orwell and implemented successfully, in Palmer’s view, by President Bush.

“The method was the same as previously used by Bush and now John McCain: taking advantage of workers' anger against the elites,” they wrote.” If there were a prize named the George Orwell Award for linguistic innovations, Reinfeldt would be an obvious winner.”

Palmer, a social anthropologist, is a lecturer in the Department of Theology at Uppsala University in Stockholm, and was recently the Torgny Segerstedt Guest Professor at the University of Gothenburg. In 2002, he was voted Harvard University's best lecturer following the high enrollment for his course on  moral courage and personal engagement.

His study of Reinfeldt was published by Karneval, with the title the "George W. Reinfeldt: konsten att göra en politisk extreme makeover.” Palmer edited "Global Values 101” (Beacon), a book based on his Harvard courses and carrying a five-star reader rating on Amazon.com. He has also been a summer host on Swedish Radio. Details are on his blog. This week's interview followed  one the previous week with Dr. Roland P. Martinsson, executive director of the Timbro Media Institute in Sweden.

As a listener advisory: Mac listeners need “Parallels”

Selected Publications and Interview Excerprts by Dr. Brian Palmer

(With some translations via Google toolbar)


Afdonbladet (Sweden), In the Newspeak of 2010, Per-Anders Fors Torp and Brian Palmer, Sept. 16, 2008. Rove was invited to Sweden to advise the Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt and his team before the 2010 election. All polls like this at half-time show that the right alliance needs all the advice it could get. Republicans are clumsy rulers but brilliant when it comes to winning elections.

The method is linguistic innovations, media manipulation and the art of bringing smear campaigns, so-called negative campaigning. That there are, among others, as Rove has inspired the Conservatives, we showed in the book George W. Reinfeldt -- the art of making a political extreme makeover (Karneval, 2006), which is about the marketing of "the new workers' party." The method was the same as previously used by Bush and now John McCain: taking advantage of workers' anger against the elites. If there were a prize named George Orwell Award for linguistic innovations, Reinfeldt would be an obvious winner.

Democracy Now! Bush, Rove Tied to Effort to Dismantle Sweden’s Social Welfare Program, Dr. Brian Palmer interviewed by Amy Goodman, Dec. 8, 2008. Brian Palmer, Professor of Social Anthropology at University of Uppsala in Sweden.

BRIAN PALMER: We have a prime minister who in the 1990s wrote a book, The Sleeping People, where he said that the welfare state should only prevent starvation, nothing beyond that, no other standard should be guaranteed. After being elected, Fredrik Reinfeldt, one of his first major visits abroad was to George Bush in the White House, this in spite of Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo, a visit that many people thought shouldn’t have happened, his coalition then getting—bringing over Karl Rove for advice and support—Karl Rove, the architect of President Bush’s electoral victories.
AMY GOODMAN: They brought Karl Rove here?
BRIAN PALMER: This past summer.
AMY GOODMAN: Because?
BRIAN PALMER: Because he can offer good advice on how to win the 2010 election. And—
AMY GOODMAN: Is this unusual for Karl Rove to do this kind of international consulting?
BRIAN PALMER: According to his website, it’s his only foreign consulting, for the Moderate Party of Sweden.
AMY GOODMAN: Wasn’t the current prime minister visiting Bush in the White House?
BRIAN PALMER: Yeah, and there was much—many people writing that this shouldn’t happen. He justified the visit, that he would persuade Bush to sign the Kyoto Accord, but people who were there say that he didn’t even really attempt that.

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