September 13, 2012
Pudgy, balding, twice divorced, and a college dropout, Karl Rove
is a thoroughly unimpressive man.
But left-loon “investigative reporter” Craig Unger believes that
Rove has transitioned from a loyal Bush-family flunkie to the most powerful
politico in America -- the architect of “a master plan” and “grandiose vision”
to forge a “historic realignment of the nation’s political landscape, the transformation
of America into effectively a one-party state.”
Most of Boss Rove: Inside
Karl Rove’s Secret Kingdom of Power (Scribner;
320 pages; $26) is undiluted inanity. Moonbat conspiracy theories
abound, including the politically inspired prosecution of Alabama Governor Don
Siegelman, the Bush campaign’s theft of Ohio’s
2004 electoral votes, and the
mysterious death of an IT guru involved in “a powerful high-tech weapon ...
that provided legitimate websites for conservatives, but also hosted sensitive
material for nonpartisan government agencies and committees.” (One of Unger’s sources
for the vote-manipulation allegation: a mandolin-strumming “wandering minstrel”
who “spends several months a year clearing trails in the Adirondacks.”)
It’s disappointing that Boss Rove doesn’t
dig deeper -- didn’t its subject kill Caylee Anthony, cause Japan’s tsunami, and break up Tom
Cruise and Katie Holmes, too?
Yet skip past the fabulism -- exaggerations and innuendos that even
MSNBC, NPR, and Mother Jones have
either debunked or ignored -- and Boss
Rove gets interesting. On page 202, the author begins a valuable
examination of Rove’s significant role in the 2010 midterm elections and his machinations
in the wild race for the Republican nomination to challenge Barack Obama.
In the summer of 2007, Unger writes, Rove’s “departure from the
White House was ignominious at best. The presidency he had built was widely
regarded as a historic disaster. He was depleted physically, emotionally, and
financially. He was still hounded by the press. And his marriage was in
tatters.” Worse still for the man whose “entire life had been about politics,”
John McCain would go on to secure the GOP’s presidential nod -- thus, Rove had
“no horse to ride” in 2008.
neoconservative media complex gave Rove two sweet gigs: regular interviews
on the Fox News Channel and a column in The
Wall Street Journal. But getting back in the game was his mission, and Rove
began “to build an independent base within the party in which he would have
autonomy and be able to control the purse strings when the right candidate
American Crossroads, the multi-pronged, highly networked entity
assembled by Rove, launched in early 2010 and “in just one month, [it] had
obtained commitments of more than $30 million -- about four times what the
[Republican National Committee] had in its coffers.” The Super PAC threw its ad-buy
weight around in the midterms, and helped hand the Democrats a terrible thumping.
Rove and his empire, it appeared, had what it would take to oust an increasingly
But like many GOP power brokers, Rove hadn’t welcomed the eruption
of the Tea Party. The grassroots rebellion complicated his quest to find 2012’s
best pony. Rove, Republican
slime mold Roger Stone told the author, “dislikes party elements he can’t
control. He can’t control Sarah Palin. These are the people he calls kooks. He
likes establishment, inside the Beltway types.”
So throughout the GOP’s presidential primaries, Unger reports, Rove
“patiently watched and waited, content to sit back and quietly undermine
[Palin, Trump, Cain, Bachmann, Perry, Gingrich, and Santorum], all the while
halfheartedly backing presumptive nominee Mitt Romney, knowing that Romney
would ultimately have to come to him.” When the GOP finally settled on its man,
several of Rove’s “former operatives” -- most notably Ed Gillespie -- obtained “key
positions” with Romney.
Where Republicans will stand on Wednesday, November 7th, 2012,
remains an open question. But a GOP-majority Senate appears doubtful, and Rove’s
preferred presidential candidate looks
more and more like a loser.
A Romney defeat will make Republican World a very, very ugly
personality Laura Ingraham recently demanded a “shut down” of the party if
Obama wins: “Election after election, we hire people who have lost previous
campaigns, who have run campaigns that have failed, who have messaged campaigns
message fell flat, and they keep getting re-hired.”
Unger’s hysteria notwithstanding, Karl Rove isn’t a political demigod.
An Obama second term would send the strategist George W. Bush affectionately dubbed
“Turd Blossom” back into
exile, and this time, a reemergence would be far more difficult. Then, perhaps,
activists, and voters might muster the resources to turn a feckless GOP into
a weapon for smaller government.
D. Dowd Muska (www.dowdmuska.com) writes about government, economics, and technology. Follow him on Twitter @dowdmuska.
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