I just finished reading The Architect: Karl Rove and the Master Plan for Absolute Power, by Texas-based journalists Wayne Slater and James Moore. It is a followup to Slater and Moore's Bush's Brain: How Karl Rove Made George W. Bush Presidential, which became a best seller.
Together, the books are probably the definitive works, so far, on what might go down as the most dysfunctional and destructive administration in U.S. history.
I highly recommend The Architect for anyone who wants to understand Rove and Bush and the mess they've made. Here is an excellent article from Raw Story about the latest Rove book.
A couple of points in The Architect particularly jumped out at me:
* Slater and Moore provide details about the techniques Rove and disgraced Republican lobbyist Jack Abramoff used for managing the press. Rove used leaks and denying access to manage the media. Abramoff had a simpler method: He bought them. Abramoff paid Copley News Service columnist Doug Bandow for several years, and he also paid Peter Ferrara of the conservative Institute for Policy Innovation. Of course, it's well known that the Bush Administration paid conservative columnist and television host Armstrong Williams. Given the Alabama press's aversion to coverage of the Department of Justice scandal, you have to wonder if the Rove and Abramoff techniques have been used in the Heart of Dixie.
* The authors interview John Weaver, who once worked with Rove and eventually wound up managing John McCain's 2000 campaign. After McCain defeated Bush in the New Hampshire primary, Rove knew his man could not lose South Carolina. So a whisper and phone campaign started, spreading all kinds of ugly rumors about McCain in South Carolina. Bush, of course, went on to win South Carolina and the presidency. Here are Weaver's thoughts today:
"It's gotten to where you have to actually try to destroy--not just defeat, but destroy--your opponent. And not just destroy him or her politically, but destroy them personally, professionally; drive them not only from the political battlefield but from being able to be gainfully employed, try to get them indicted, attack their family. That's beyond winning and losing. That's about destruction. Some of that is evil, pure evil, and some of it is amoral at the very least."
Those words must surely resonate with anyone who has followed the Don Siegelman prosecution and the other activities of the Bush Justice Department.