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inkwell.vue.333 : Paul Alexander, MACHIAVELLI'S SHADOW: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove
permalink #26 of 77: Scott MacFarlane (s-macfarlane) Sun 10 Aug 08 11:03
    
"But Rove appears to believe in nothing."

This statement reminds me of many people in the American west who
suggest they don't speak with an accent. Everyone else does.

Rove, believes in 
•the supremacy of the executive branch and making "his" US President
as strong as possible, 
•that the ends justify the means, 
•a Moral Majority/patriarchal outlook on governance 
and its vision of what the perfect society might look like,
•if Christian fundamentalist ethics contradict the ends justifying the
means, then he adheres to the ends justifying the means; 
•the American military as world policeman;
•neo-con philosophy which justifies using that military power
pre-emptively as well as defensively;
•trickle down Republican economics;
•corporate welfare and protecting "the base"

To suggest that Rove believes in nothing is dangerous, because he is a
sophisticated ideologue.  Never underestimate the opposition. He
adheres to a rather complex matrix of beliefs where American global
influence, personal liberties, separation of powers
(Judicial/Executive/Legislative), and even electoral politics are being
seriously eroded. 

Where Rove has been "brilliant" is in framing, through fear, the
Rebublican issues and GOP Candidates in ways that undermine the
opposition.  For example, tax cuts for the ultra-rich "base" are sold
to the American public as "tax relief."

Rove is a master behind-the-scenes orchestrator.  Just because he is
not the face delivering the message, he plays a significant role in
shaping what is said, how, when, etc.  

  
  
inkwell.vue.333 : Paul Alexander, MACHIAVELLI'S SHADOW: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove
permalink #27 of 77: Stuart (sjs) Sun 10 Aug 08 11:37
    
Are you sure about Rove's pursuit executive supremacy? (though I think
it's clear that's a Cheney motivation).  

Sure, Rove was GWBush's primary political guy, but some of Rove's most
egregious activity was all about the party -- as noted, to secure a
'permanent' republican majority.   Rove's willingness to manipulate
this president for primarily political ends emphasized -- because Bush
has been duped into going along with it -- this president's weakness.  
(I realize displaying that weakness was not Rove's motivation, but he
knew who he was dealing with)
  
inkwell.vue.333 : Paul Alexander, MACHIAVELLI'S SHADOW: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove
permalink #28 of 77: Sharon Brogan (sbmontana) Sun 10 Aug 08 12:43
    
* but, he's not a Christian, by his own statements

* he is still close to his gay, piercing celebrity stepfather, but
willing to mobilize bigotry against just such persons

* it seems to me he is willing to abandon any particular ideological
perspective in the pursuit of power

(slip)
  
inkwell.vue.333 : Paul Alexander, MACHIAVELLI'S SHADOW: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove
permalink #29 of 77: My free and simple demeanor set everybody at ease. (pdl) Mon 11 Aug 08 08:51
    
whether or not rove considers himself a christian is not clear.  Several
people, wayne slater and christopher hitchens for example, have claimed that
rove is not a believer and is either an agnostic or athiest. In response to
those claims, Rove has said that he's a Christian, an Episcopalian, and goes
to church.

fwiw, rove's gay, piercing celebrity stepfather died back around 2005 and
rove appeared to be on good terms with him throughout much of his adult
life.  Although who knows what rove went through back when his parents
divorced in 1969 and rove learned that the man he thought was his father,
Louis Rove, was, in fact, his stepfather and was divorcing rove's mom
because he was gay.

These issues raise the question of what does Rove actually believe.  It is
an intresting question for all sorts of reasons, one of which is that Rove
seems to have spent much of his life working hard not to reveal himself.
Two things about Rove that make it hard to know what he actually belives are
he seems to be an out and out liar and when he is not actually lying, he is
an obsessive and compulsive parser--you have to read his statements very
carefully to try to understand what he is actually saying.  I have no idea
whether or not Rove thinks of himself as a liar, it may be that he either
rationalizes the lying to himself or somehow has structured the statement in
a way that it can be literally true while not meaning what it seems to mean.

Despite Rove's abhorence of anything that can be psychologically or
emotionally revealing, Rove attempts to use psycholgical and emotional
manipulation, both in terms of constructing his own self-mythology and in
his electoral campaigns. For example Rove has long told a story about his
childhood--that a girl who lived across the street, a kennedy supporter,
beat him up because he was a nixon supporter.  Rove seems to use this story
to suggest that there is something thuggish and brute about democrats and
implies that this encounter was important to his own political development.
However, as far as I know, we don't know whether or not this encounter
actually occurred, i don't believe anyone has tracked down this neighbor.
If there is some truth to the story--so what, kids beat each other up for
all sorts of stupid reasons.  Rove is never explicit about why the story
seems so important to him.

It seems to me that Rove's beliefs are not clear.  I doubt the extent to
which Rove is motivated by any sort of prinicples, even those I disagree
with.  My own take is that Rove is motivated by resentment, hubris, ego,
vindication, and anger.  For some reason, Rove strikes me as someone who
seeks power, mainly to validate his ego. The permanent
Republican party is something that would establish the brilliance of Rove
and that is what drives Rove, rather than the desire to see the permenant
Republican party.  IMO, this seems to explain his miscalculations and his
downfall.

Paul, what you think about what Rove actually believes?  Has he ever said or
done anything that suggests to you what he actually believes?

Also, what insights do you have to Rove's psychology and emotional makeup?
  
inkwell.vue.333 : Paul Alexander, MACHIAVELLI'S SHADOW: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove
permalink #30 of 77: cupido? (robertflink) Mon 11 Aug 08 19:10
    
Why all this "psychologising "?  Couldn't the guy be in it simply for
the challenge, the grappling with a tough problem and winning?  

(Perhaps Occam's razor should be applied ;-).)
  
inkwell.vue.333 : Paul Alexander, MACHIAVELLI'S SHADOW: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove
permalink #31 of 77: My free and simple demeanor set everybody at ease. (pdl) Mon 11 Aug 08 19:34
    
in rove's case I think the psychologizing is interesting.  Partly because
rove is so resistant to revealing himself and partly because I don't think
his actions make rational sense.

But please, feel free to ask about anything that you are interested in!
  
inkwell.vue.333 : Paul Alexander, MACHIAVELLI'S SHADOW: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove
permalink #32 of 77: Paul Alexander (reporter1) Mon 11 Aug 08 19:47
    
What does Karl Rove actually believe? That's a good question. 

It's hard to find any writings from Rove that move beyond the
political into the philosophical or literary. So it's almost as if what
Rove believes in is  politics. Now, obviously, the politics he
believes in, or so he says, tend to be more conservative, but that
seems to be true only if you can dismiss the fact that this is perhaps
the least fiscally conservative administration in recent American
history. So if Rove considers himself to be conservative, he would have
to come up with a new definition of what it means to be conservative.

I think, ultimately, Rove believes in winning -- and winning for the
sake of winning. Clearly, in his career, he has been willing to do
anything in order to win. He thinks this makes in Machiavellian, though
many scholars would disagree. But here's the thing, once he won he
didn't seem to have any plan as to what he wanted to accomplish. He
just wanted to keep winning.

Looking back, it's pretty clear what figures like Ronald Reagan or
Barry Goldwater believed in. Not so with George W. Bush. I'm not sure I
know what it means to be a George W. Bush Republican -- for that
hardcore group of supporters who continue to say they approve of what
Bush is doing no matter what. Perhaps that fuzziness on the part of
G.W. Republicans can be traced back to Rove, who never seems to have
operated from a core of beliefs that actually determined what he did as
a political operative.
  
inkwell.vue.333 : Paul Alexander, MACHIAVELLI'S SHADOW: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove
permalink #33 of 77: Mark McDonough (mcdee) Tue 12 Aug 08 05:58
    
Well, I understand what you're saying in general, but there certainly
are things that Bush and his followers fairly consistently believe in. 
They are generally against any regulation which would hinder
corporations or the wealthy (environmental regulations, for example). 
They believe in "the spoils system" over professional civil service
based government.  They are anti-gay.  They believe in the theory of
the "unitary executive."  They're opposed to abortion.  They believe
(with varying degrees of fervency) that America is a Christian nation. 
And there's an underlying belief that being a "winner," economically
or politically (even when the wealth is inherited, as in the case of W)
is a sign of virtue and even of God's favor (again, the degrees of
fervency vary).
  
inkwell.vue.333 : Paul Alexander, MACHIAVELLI'S SHADOW: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove
permalink #34 of 77: Cogito, Ergo Dubito (robertflink) Tue 12 Aug 08 06:02
    
#32 sums it up nicely, IMHO.  

It may be worth considering the idea that many if not most people in
politics are fundamentally into the struggle and only peripherally into
principles and/or ideology.  

Part of this may be due to how the electorate wants their politics
served up. Another part is determined by the political reality in the
district one chooses to run in.

None of this suggests that the people don't have a voice.  It only
suggests that representation is primarily professional, not committed
to principle.  Similar things happen in industry where professional
management has little real commitment to the product or customers.  

Keep in mind that we may not get "better" politics from "principled"
politicians or better products from companies run by those in love with
their products.

BTW, there is a general, perhaps over-arching, "belief" in the US of A
in "winning".  Other "beliefs" may well be those of situation and
convenience, particularly in politics.
  
inkwell.vue.333 : Paul Alexander, MACHIAVELLI'S SHADOW: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove
permalink #35 of 77: David Wilson (dlwilson) Tue 12 Aug 08 07:55
    
I think you are mostly right.  There are politicans with "principles"
who keep them in front of them until they get elected.  Then the world
changes for them.  To get anything done, they have to "play the game." 
For those who keep to their principles, they become marginialized. 
Paul Wellstone is a good example.  He may have focused on constituent
service as his focus, but he never got any significant legislation
through.  He died before he could do anything with the mental health
insurance coverage equity.  It still has a chance.  It is important to
a lot of people and it may get through this Congress on the sentiment
of Wellstone's death.
  
inkwell.vue.333 : Paul Alexander, MACHIAVELLI'S SHADOW: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove
permalink #36 of 77: My free and simple demeanor set everybody at ease. (pdl) Wed 13 Aug 08 08:23
    
I have always been curious about Rove's actual methods and practices, what
his day-to-day life consists of.  Much of the coverage about Rove focuses on
the effects of his machinations, little has been able to throw a light
on the machnications themselves.  Maybe this kind of info will only come to
light if Rove ever ends up on trial for anything.  Still, i'd love to know
more about Rove's relationship with Greg Rampton, for example.  Who
approached who, what their relationship was like, etc.  Heck, in general,
i'd like to know more about how Rove works with various folks, known and
unknown operatives, how he plans stuff, how he communicates, etc.

Paul, do you have any information or stories about how Rove does what he
does or how he did what he did?

Also, have you ever tracked down Rampton?  Has anyone ever attempted to
interview him?
  
inkwell.vue.333 : Paul Alexander, MACHIAVELLI'S SHADOW: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove
permalink #37 of 77: Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 13 Aug 08 14:03
    

Is Rove married? Does he have children?
  
inkwell.vue.333 : Paul Alexander, MACHIAVELLI'S SHADOW: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove
permalink #38 of 77: Stuart (sjs) Wed 13 Aug 08 14:11
    
Allegedly -- because when he "resigned" from the Bush administration,
he gave the "spend more time with my family" line.  

(I think I recall from this book that he is married and has a college
age son)
  
inkwell.vue.333 : Paul Alexander, MACHIAVELLI'S SHADOW: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove
permalink #39 of 77: My free and simple demeanor set everybody at ease. (pdl) Wed 13 Aug 08 14:23
    
Rove is currently married, this is his second marriage.  He has one son who
i believe is an undergraduate in college.

Rove's current marriage has been the subject of speculation for ages.  I
know folks who have met his current wife and they claim that if they had met
her under any other circumstance, they would have just assumed she was gay.
Karl has been rumored to be having affairs at various points.  When Rove
left office, he claimed it was to spend more time with his family, yet his
son was off to college and he has never seemed to spend much time with his
wife anyway.
  
inkwell.vue.333 : Paul Alexander, MACHIAVELLI'S SHADOW: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove
permalink #40 of 77: My free and simple demeanor set everybody at ease. (pdl) Wed 13 Aug 08 14:23
    
slippage!
  
inkwell.vue.333 : Paul Alexander, MACHIAVELLI'S SHADOW: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove
permalink #41 of 77: Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 13 Aug 08 14:32
    

In other words, his marriage is like everything else he does.
  
inkwell.vue.333 : Paul Alexander, MACHIAVELLI'S SHADOW: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove
permalink #42 of 77: Paul Alexander (reporter1) Wed 13 Aug 08 17:44
    
Years ago, Rove was married briefly to a Texas socialite, but that
married ended in divorce. He is now on his second marriage, which has
lasted for many years now. He has one son, who is in college in Texas.
The excuse Rove gave when leaving the White House was that he wanted to
spend more time with his family, which is rather suspect, since he
doesn't really have a family to spend time with. His son no longer
lives at home, and his wife has long since gotten used to not having
him around the house.
  
inkwell.vue.333 : Paul Alexander, MACHIAVELLI'S SHADOW: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove
permalink #43 of 77: Sharon Brogan (sbmontana) Wed 13 Aug 08 19:58
    
Does his wife have a job/ profession? I've heard nothing about her,
other than what is in your book. Has his first wife ever spoken
publicly about him? 
  
inkwell.vue.333 : Paul Alexander, MACHIAVELLI'S SHADOW: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove
permalink #44 of 77: My free and simple demeanor set everybody at ease. (pdl) Thu 14 Aug 08 13:20
    
In today's Wall Street Journal, Rove offers his analysis of the electoral
college votes, identifying four key battleground states--Colorado, Virginia,
Michigan, and Ohio:

<http://online.wsj.com/article/SB121867218820238903.html>
  
inkwell.vue.333 : Paul Alexander, MACHIAVELLI'S SHADOW: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove
permalink #45 of 77: Suzanne Stefanac (zorca) Thu 14 Aug 08 13:45
    
so you KNOW there are at least three others and he's thrown these out as
distractions.
  
inkwell.vue.333 : Paul Alexander, MACHIAVELLI'S SHADOW: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove
permalink #46 of 77: My free and simple demeanor set everybody at ease. (pdl) Fri 15 Aug 08 06:47
    
paul, can you talk a bit about your last chapter and the story about Rove
being fired by Bush at the Episcopalian Church Service?  It's a vivid and
amazing story.  Can you say anything about your source for that story?  Any
insight into why GW would choose that particular venue to convey this
information?  I would assume that there were many opportunities for them to
spend a few private moments together whenever they were in the same town
together, why did GW choose a rather public arena, a church service, to
deliver this news?
  
inkwell.vue.333 : Paul Alexander, MACHIAVELLI'S SHADOW: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove
permalink #47 of 77: Sharon Brogan (sbmontana) Fri 15 Aug 08 07:57
    
My theory: Bush had made the decision on Saturday, possibly coerced by
other advisors (Laura?), and there they both were, and Bush just
couldn't control his anxiety long enough to wait until the next day. 

Also, of course, it gave Rove no opportunity to talk him out of it, as
a private meeting at the White House would have done.

I'm still curious about the debate performance and the mysterious bump
on the back. Do you, Paul, have any theory to account for that abysmal
performance?
  
inkwell.vue.333 : Paul Alexander, MACHIAVELLI'S SHADOW: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove
permalink #48 of 77: My free and simple demeanor set everybody at ease. (pdl) Fri 15 Aug 08 15:10
    
Well, well, well--now there is speculation that Rove might be involved in
the whole Georgia/Ossetia/Russia mess.  Apparantly, Condi Rice met with
Mikheil Saakashvili on July 9 and then, just a few days later, Rove attended
a meeting with Saakashvili in Yalta.

I certainly have no idea how credible this speculation is.  However, it does
seem possible that this is the inevitable "October" surprise for the 2008
election.

Anyways, you can read this speculations at:
<http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2008/08/13/did-karl-rove-chat-to-
saakashvili-about-south-ossetia-too/>

<http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2008/08/rove-rice-and-
s.html>

<http://www.dailykos.com/story/2008/8/14/1525/74622/554/567959>
  
inkwell.vue.333 : Paul Alexander, MACHIAVELLI'S SHADOW: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove
permalink #49 of 77: John Payne (satyr) Fri 15 Aug 08 20:39
    
Maybe the "family" Rove refers to above are his backers and those 
who carry out his schemes.
  
inkwell.vue.333 : Paul Alexander, MACHIAVELLI'S SHADOW: The Rise and Fall of Karl Rove
permalink #50 of 77: Paul Alexander (reporter1) Fri 15 Aug 08 21:55
    
When he was leaving the White House, Rove famously said that he was
resigning his job in order to "spend more time" with his family, which,
as I pointed out previously, was odd, since his son was already in
college and his wife had grown accustomed to his long work hours. In
fact, Bush asked Rove to leave because he was worried Rove had too much
"heat" on him, what with brewing Congressional investigations and
looming potential legal problems. (Actually, Rove should have been
indicted for lying to a grand jury concerning the Valerie Plame Wilson
affair, but he was given a pass by Patrick Fitzgerald.)

Bush gave Rove the news -- it was time for him to go -- while they
were attending church one Sunday in the summer of 2007, an event I
describe in my book. The information comes from a source close to Bush.
Interesting, I have not seen any denials from Rove regarding my
contention that he was fired.

Finally, as he seems to be traveling just as much now as he ever has,
Rove did not end up spending time with his family, even if there was a
family available for him to spend time with.
  

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