A Farewell to Rove

September 19, 2007 at 4:00 pm (Current Events, politics, The Atlantic Monthly)

I have unfortunately been too busy to read any books lately, but in the little snatches of time I can steal throughout the day I grab my new favorite short-term reading source:  “The Atlantic Monthly”.  I’ve been eying this great magazine for a while now and a few months ago I gave myself the present of the subscription.  The articles are long, but well written and very in depth.  I find that I’m learning a lot about very diverse subjects that I normally wouldn’t seek out information on.  The September issue focuses a lot on the failed Bush administration – “failed” is their word, not mine (although I agree).  It had a feature article on Karl Rove, a man that I have long disliked, but really didn’t know a lot about.  So in honor – or celebration – of his departure from the White House, here is what I learned about “The Architect” from the wonderful article, “The Rove Presidency” written by Joshua Green:

  • He is not a college graduate.  He attended the University of Utah for a very short time before quitting to take a job with the College Republicans (apparently one needs not be in college to belong), he was definitely ambitious for a career in politics from the beginning.  So here we have a college drop-out as one of Bush’s top advisers.  No one would argue that Rove isn’t intelligent, but he is self-educated, and with self-education you can focus on only what you want to learn and filter out the rest.  Certainly not a well-rounded or complete education.
  • His grand plan for taking back the government by the Republicans was to have a candidate (GWB) run on platforms that would attract a wider variety of voters.  A prime example of this is Bush’s (Rove’s) stand on immigration.  Bush is widely criticized by the GOP for his views and plans regarding immigration, but if you think about it, those policies did attract a lot of immigrant/Latino voters for both of his elections.
  • He came to the campaign and to the White House with 5 major ideas, and thankfully they were not all successful.  (1) Education standards, i.e. “No Child Left Behind” – this was the first policy passed, although its success is highly questionable and it may not be renewed.  (2) Passing “faith-based initiatives” to direct government money to religious organizations – isn’t this patently unconstitutional?  Although very typical of our evangelical executive branch.  (3)  Privatize Social Security – this was his pet project, and we all know that it went over like a lead balloon, thank god.  (4) Private health-savings accounts, instead of Medicare – again, like privatizing social security, the average citizen should not be held responsible for managing their own retirement or health insurance.  Its risky and doomed for failure.  (5) Reform immigration laws to appeal to the growing Hispanic population.  Also another raging success.  This was in such conflict with the GOP base that it really never stood a chance, although such blatant pandering to Hispanics is quite a bold choice.
  • President William McKinley is his hero.  The GOP really took hold during and after McKinley’s presidency, and it is this series of events that Rove has tried to emulate.
  • Pretty much everyone on Capital Hills, GOP and Dems alike, think he’s an uppity asshole.  The author of the article interviewed Republicans and Democrats that said he bullies our elected representatives around like he is actually in higher standing than them, even though, until just a couple years ago, he had no official title in the White House.  He is compared unfavorably to the “Big, booming voice of Oz”.  He and Bush are said to be arrogant and jerky to most people around them, which is one of the main reasons why no one would work with them on getting the majority of his 5 policies passed.  Bush worked cooperatively on with Dems. on the “No child left behind” act, but inexplicably abandoned that cooperative nature for later policies.  Maybe after 9/11 he had the Dems cowed for so long he thought it was no longer necessary.

Granted the article is obviously written with a bias against the Bush administration, but frankly, its hard to write about it without a bias these days.

I have been thoroughly enjoying all of these articles.  In the same magazine there was a great one written about Bush’s former lead speech-writing, Michael Gerson, another ego maniacal evangelical Christian.  That article was actually written by another Bush speech writer, Matthew Scully, so the perspective on the situation was quite interesting.

So a final farewell to Rove, you certainly won’t be missed by me and my fellow liberals.  However, I’m sure your words and wisdom will never be far from our President’s mind, even while you are “spending quality time” with your family in Texas.

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