Blog for our Future: Karl Rove And The Atwater Legacy

Blog for our Future

Karl Rove And The Atwater Legacy

After discussing the late political consultant Lee Atwater, it was hard not to think of one of his successors, Karl Rove. Here’s a quick tour of three pieces that spring to mind.

Here’s Joshua Green on Rove in 2004, with the election looming:

He seems to understand—indeed, to count on—the media’s unwillingness or inability, whether from squeamishness, laziness, or professional caution, ever to give a full estimate of him or his work. It is ultimately not just Rove’s skill but his character that allows him to perform on an entirely different plane. Along with remarkable strategic skills, he has both an understanding of the media’s unstated self-limitations and a willingness to fight in territory where conscience forbids most others.

Here’s Scott Horton in 2007 (commenting in part on another piece by Green):

The question is this: What do we mean by politics? Viewed properly, the way the great philosophers of man and state have viewed it from Aristotle onwards, politics is about the great issues of how humankind arranges its affairs. It is particularly about justice, about the establishment of social ideals, about the advancement of our species. But then we have Karl Rove’s conceptualization of politics, and we learn that it’s all about winning elections and the installation of a political lock on state power for the benefit of a voracious political party. That attitude comes very close to what the ancients meant when they used the words “tyrannical” and “corrupt.” And indeed it is.

The great failure of political analysis in America over the last six years is the arrival of a class of fools, the chattering class of political commentators, who share Karl Rove’s vision of what politics is all about. America as a nation has suffered immensely for this. And with Karl Rove’s demission, perhaps their time will also soon come.

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