Monday, August 13, 2007

Rove Leaves Behind Another Mess

The announcement that Karl Rove will leave the Bush White House is dominating the news today--and probably for many days to come.

Ironically, Atlantic Monthly has just released a major article by Joshua Green on the failed "Rove Presidency." The article is in the September issue and is available online only to subscribers. It was available briefly this morning at, but has since been taken down due to copyright issues. I managed to check out the article, and it seems Green knew Rove was in deep trouble. The opening sentence: "With more than a year left in the fading Bush presidency, Karl Rove's worst days in the White House may still lie ahead of him."

News surely will come out soon about the reasons behind Rove's exit. But for now, here are some key points in Green's article:

* "Rove's greatest shortcoming was not in conceptualizing policies but in failing to understand the process of getting them implemented, a weakness he never seems to have recognized in himself."

* "A corollary to the Cult of Consultant is the belief that winning an election--especially a tough one you weren't expected to win--is proof of the ability to govern. But the two are wholly distinct enterprises."

* "For all the fascination with what Rove was doing and thinking, little attention was given to whether or not it was working and why."

The key message of Green's superb article is this: Rove knew little, and perhaps cared even less, about governance. He was about getting elected and maintaining power--at all costs.

People like that tend to leave huge messes in their wake. America only now is beginning to come to grips with the mess Rove has made in our country. But those of us who have had up-close dealings with Alabama's state courts already know the kind of mess Rove can leave.

Rove was pretty much an unknown outside of Texas until he began a series of campaigns that led to Alabama's appellate courts being dominated by Republicans. One wonders if he ever would have made it to the White House without success in those Alabama court races. In a most unfortunate sense, America owes much of its current mess to Alabama voters and their willingness to buy into Rove's message about the need for "conservative" courts.

In an earlier piece for Atlantic, Joshua Green outlined Rove's tactics for gaining power, focusing heavily on Alabama. This article remains one of the definitive work on Rove, along with the books by Dallas-based journalists James Moore and Wayne Slater.

We will continue to learn, in the days ahead, about the mess Rove has left behind at the national level. But what about the mess he made in Alabama? That is the subject of our Legal Schnauzer blog. Corruption, cronyism, inefficiency, hypocrisy. It's all there and more, and we will paint the picture in detail. That's the Karl Rove legacy in Alabama.

For more on Rove and his resignation, you will want to check out the following journalists with strong Alabama ties:

* Scott Horton of Harper's has an interesting take on Rove and the new Atlantic Monthly article.

* Glynn Wilson, of Locust Fork News, says an investigation into selective prosecution by the Bush Department of Justice might be ominous for Rove.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually, Wilson's blub says nothing of the sort.