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Mi, Mi, Mi, Mi

My Way

Bush's Brain, aka Karl Rove, tells all. Really?

Book Cover As an unrepentant Vietnam war dissenter, political contrarian, and admirer of Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, and Christopher Hitchens, I had a feeling I would not be able to read very much of Karl Rove’s new memoir Courage and Consequence (Threshold Editions). But seized by a moment of attempted fairness, above and beyond the call, and perverse curiosity, I dove in.

I must confess I couldn’t read very far—as my knowledge of Bush’s Brain had seriously tainted my fruitless stab at a kind of objectivity (though I would argue objectivity is a false, empty, and untrustworthy value). Having experienced over two presidential campaigns and terms of Rove’s bare-knuckled, rough-and-tumble political approach adapted to the serious task of governance, I was predisposed to casting Karl Rove as a “lying liar” who was reputed to be the source for the much-ballyhooed Bushist quote about that claque controlling reality (meaning the public’s grasp of such.)

His publisher argues that because of Rove’s success, “Rove has been attacked his entire career, accused of everything from campaign chicanery to ideological divisiveness. In this frank memoir, Rove responds to critics, passionately articulates his political philosophy, and defends the choices he made on the campaign trail and in the White House.”

What motivates some media to employ a discredited political operative may be beyond my understanding—I remain in denial about Rove’s viability as a pundit. Here’s a snippet from Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal where Rove lectures our President on civility:
A lot is right with those words. But there’s a lot wrong with them coming from Mr. Obama, who is contributing to the “slash and burn politics” he preaches against.

If Mr. Obama is serious about his commitment to courtesy and respect, then he will need to demonstrate presidential leadership and rein in the verbal excesses of the leaders of his own party. He could start by having a conversation with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who condemned those with different views on health care as being “un-American.” He might also share a word with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who recently accused Republicans of being “anti-American” and wanting to continue to “make love to Wall Street” by pressing for changes in a bill regulating the financial industry.
As I see Rove’s self-hagiographical effort a hymn for the know-nothing choir, I must depend on the publisher’s claim to its revelations. If you share my disdain for Karl Rove, this commentary by Bill Moyers may be amusing: “Rove is riding out of Dodge City as the posse rides in.”
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