Diary

Karl Rove: Svengali Lite?

I believe Karl Rove’s recent embarrassments regarding O’Donnell are not entirely his fault… but they may just be partially ours (in the vein of “why does anybody still listen to this guy?”)

As conservatives continue our prolonged awakening from the eight year-long “George W.” slumber party, I believe that we are shaking off a dream that the Dumocrats and their media pals helped spin: that Karl Rove is a Svengali of the first order, and he has always been able to read the signs of election races and somehow manipulate the outcomes.

Huh?

Are we talking about the same guy? The one who completely MISSED the 2006 mid-term Dumocrat revolution that pretty much began this whole nightmare.

In his book “Speechless,” (an incredibly fun read from a former Bush speechwriter) Matt Latimer skewers Rove. This passage from a review of his book yields the gist of his insight:

Rove was the guru behind Bush’s political rise, first as governor, then as president. He was the architect of a new Republican majority.

But then the party started losing, spectacularly. It lost Congress in 2006 and the White House in 2008.

“Karl had come to power promising to lead a Republican realignment not seen in the country since the days of William McKinley,” Latimer writes. “Yet it was the Democrats, not the GOP, that seemed to grow stronger with each passing day.”

Latimer also includes stories about Rove’s attempts to influence policy by influencing the language of Bush’s speeches:

“And then Karl pulled out what he thought was his trump card: the president himself,” Latimer writes. “He said Bush also wanted the change — and then threatened to go to him personally if it didn’t happen.”

It wasn’t true, not a word — perhaps like the story about the vice presidential aspirant who beat his wife. [ED NOTE: Rove had peddled such a story around the White House previously, without success.]”

“That was Karl. Right or wrong, he never relented on anything. That was the source of his power.”

Frankly, in the book, Rove comes off as a bit of a buffoonish, self-absorbed idealogue. And this is not a mean book! Latimer tells one story here.

Perhaps it’s to our own (and Fox’s) detriment that he has been afforded such political awe all these years. In four years, few will remember him.