Saturday, March 27, 2010

Karl Rove Still Sucks

It's impossible to identify the single most loathsome member of the Bush/Cheney administration. David Addington? John Yoo? Cheney himself? Bush himself? Rummy? The list goes on and on. And on and on.

If I had to pick just one guy who stands out in my mind as the loathsomest of that loathsome bunch, it might very well be Karl Rove.

Sure, he didn't fabricate bogus legal opinions that made the U.S. a nation that tortures its prisoners. And no, he didn't take us into the disastrous Iraq war. And he didn't play the same kind of pivotal role in trying to steal the 2000 election that, say, James Baker played...

But what nauseates me about Rove is that he is a 21-st century sophist--a man who diligently works to make the world a worse and less reasonable place by devoting all his devious energies to making bad reasons sound good and good reasons sound bad. Sure he's all about style over substance...but that was one of the major failings of the Bush/Cheney admin--everything was about polls and politics and spin and appearance; by all indications, policy took a back seat to politics. So 'Karl Rove' might reasonably thought to be a kind of synecdoche, a proxy for the whole damn disaster of the Bush administration.

Here's a piece on Rove's book. You'll notice that even his central example used to criticize Obama is spin and sophistry:
In the memoir’s final chapter, humbly titled “Rove: the Myth,” the architect of a two-term Republican presidency reports how angry he was when he read a passage in then-Sen. Barack Obama’s second book lumping him in with Newt Gingrich, Grover Norquist, and Ralph Reed as “conservative operatives” with “fiery rhetoric” like “No new taxes” or “We are a Christian nation.”

“I certainly don’t believe and have never said, ‘We are a Christian nation,’” writes Rove. “I put the offending page in my pocket and went about my business.” Later that day, he encountered Obama and fell victim to “feistiness,” challenging the senator for using “my name and the word ’said’ and quote marks.” Obama, Rove reports, blanched when the torn-out page was shown to him and tried to wriggle out of the conversation: “It seemed to me he didn’t much care that he had attributed to me something I had never said and found offensive.”

Obama does not say that Rove said "we are a Christian nation;" rather, he said that Rove was one of the people who used inflammatory rhetoric of that kind--that is, Rove was one of he people who said things of a type that Obama listed, with "we are a Christian nation" being one of the examples. So Obama did not do what Rove says he did--attribute that specific quote to him. And, of course, Rove said so many things in that general ballpark that lumping him in with that bunch is hardly a stretch.

Now, I absolutely agree that Obama should have been more precise, and that you don't want to even suggest that someone said something that he didn't say. However, first, if this is the best Rove's got by way of impugning Obama's character, then the president is on secure ground indeed. A criticism this lame is a sign that there's no significant ammunition available. And, second, Rove himself has played so fast and loose with such claims that I must say, this thin gruel seems thin to the point of insubstantiality by comparison.

Rove is a scumbag. He bent all his energies to harming this country, even if he somehow managed to spin some Gerrymandered story in his own mind about the justness of his cause.

Jebus, what an astonishingly terrible person that guy is.


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