Inkwell: Authors and Artists
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.
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)
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)
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?
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 ;-).)
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!
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.
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).
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.
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.
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?
Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 13 Aug 08 14:03
Is Rove married? Does he have children?
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)
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.
My free and simple demeanor set everybody at ease. (pdl) Wed 13 Aug 08 14:23
Linda Castellani (castle) Wed 13 Aug 08 14:32
In other words, his marriage is like everything else he does.
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.
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?
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>
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.
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?
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?
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>
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.
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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