Bill Moyers bids farewell to Karl Rove:

BILL MOYERS: Some closing thoughts now on politics. When Karl Rove announced his resignation from the White House earlier this week, he got some rave reviews. Here's a samplecirculating on the Internet.

CNN Correspondent: We should be congratulating Karl Rove for a long successful run - this is a guy who elected a president twice- who's known as one of the mostbrilliant political activists of our time...

CHRIS MATTHEWS: If you've ever talked to him he's almost got, almost like a blinder's eye- he looks you right in the eye - and he talks fast than I do - really fast right inyour face totally intent on you - and it's real like talking to a fire hydrant...

BILL PLAINE: He's not only the mastermind behind everything - he's the president's senior advisor...

MSNBC CORRESPONDENT: Boy genius, Bush's brain, the architect...

KAREN HUGHES: Karl is brilliant- he is fiunny- and he's a passionate advocate...

ANDREW CARD: Karl rove is a superstar- he's very insightful - he's a great friend to the president- he's also a very broad thinker - he is one of the moreintelligent that people I know - he's very quick witted- he's got a great sense of humor and the president will miss him...

CHRIS MATTHEWS: Well generally where there's brains, there's Rove...

BILL MOYERS: There is, of course, more to be said. What struck me about my fellow Texan, Karl Rove, is that he knew how to win elections as if they were divine interventions. You may think God summoned BillyGraham to Florida on the eve of the 2000 election to endorse George W. Bush just in the nick of time, but if it did happen that way, the good lord was speakingin a Texas accent.

Karl Rove figured out a long time ago that the way to take an intellectually incurious draft-averse naughty playboy in a flight jacket with chewing tobacco inhis back pocket and make him governor of Texas, was to sell him as God's anointed in a state where preachers andtelevangelists outnumber even oil derricks and jack rabbits. Using church pews as precincts Rove turned religion into a weapon of political combat -- a batteringram, aimed at the devil's minions, especially at gay people.

It's so easy, as Karl knew, to scapegoat people you outnumber, and if God is love, as rumor has it, Rove knew that, in politics, you better bet on fear andloathing. Never mind that in stroking the basest bigotry of true believers you coarsen both politics and religion.

At the same time he was recruiting an army of the lord for the born-again Bush, Rove was also shaking down corporations for campaign cash. Crony capitalismbecame a biblical injunction. Greed and God won four elections in a row - twice in the lone star state and twice again in the nation at large. But the result hasbeen to leave Texas under the thumb of big money with huge holes ripped in its social contract, and the U.S. government in shambles - paralyzed, polarized, andmired in war, debt and corruption.

Rove himself is deeply enmeshed in some of the scandals being investigated as we speak, including those missing emails that could tell us who turned the attorneygeneral of the United States into a partisan sockpuppet. Rove is riding out of Dodge city as the posse rides in. At his press conference this week he asked Godto bless the president and the country, even as reports were circulating that he himself had confessed to friends his own agnosticism; he wished he couldbelieve, but he cannot. That kind of intellectual honesty is to be admired, but you have to wonder how all those folks on the Christian right must feeldiscovering they were used for partisan reasons by a skeptic, a secular manipulator. On his last play of the game all Karl Rove had to offer them was a hail marypass, while telling himself there's no one there to catch it.

Bill Moyers Essay: The Rove Legacy

August 17, 2007

Karl Rove, senior advisor to President Bush, announced on August 13, 2007 that he plans on leaving the White House at the end of the month to spend more time with his family.

“I just think it’s time,” remarked Mr. Rove, the man who 14 years ago helped to get George W. Bush elected governor in Texas, and continued by his side through two tough presidential elections, a 2002 Republican midterm election victory, and more recently amidst political setbacks for an Administration with record-low approval ratings.

The Senate Judiciary Committee recently subpoenaed Mr. Rove, hoping he would help shed light on the firing of federal prosecutors, but President Bush rejected the subpoena on the grounds of executive privilege.

“After I leave the White House…the advice that I’ve given the President, my role within the White House remains protected,” Rove explains to reporters. “I do not lose privilege by leaving the White House, just as former Presidents don’t lose the privilege when they leave the White House.”

Josh Miller, senior editor for The Atlantic, recently opined The New York Times about “the paradox” he observes at the heart of Karl Rove’s White House tenure:

“Mr. Rove married a liberal’s faith in the potential of government to a conservative’s contempt for its actual functioning. This was the contradiction at the heart of ‘compassionate conservatism,’ and it helps explain the tension between the president’s fine words about, say, helping those hurt by Hurricane Katrina, and his actions.”

When asked about unfinished business, Rove remarked:

“There’s a robust set of issues that we’re dealing with. And, again, I’d love to be around for them. In a way, I’ll be kibitzing from the outside — he [President Bush] knows my phone number and I know his.”

  • submit to reddit