Foolishness, Not Evil Genius, Drove 'Rove-o-Lution'

Top adviser's near absolute power corrupted absolutely
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2009 1:15 PM CDT
Karl Rove exerted too much power in the Bush White House, Matt Latimer says.   (AP Photo/Sunday Aghaeze, File)
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(Newser) – Liberals like to think of Karl Rove as a malevolent demigod, using his powers to obstruct the greater good. But, former Bush speechwriter Matt Latimer writes in the Washington Post, the legacy of “Bush’s Brain” is far more mundane: “It is a story not of grand strategy or evil genius but of human foolishness and the love of power.” And if Republicans want to recapture the imagination of Americans, they’ll have to dissect what went wrong during the “Rove-o-lution,” Latimer says.

Bush officials favored cronyism over competence and acted “like schoolyard bullies” in pursuing personal vendettas. Rove was the figurehead for such malfeasance, and even Donald Rumsfeld clashed with the top adviser over Pentagon staffing. Rove’s “operation went on a power trip,” Latimer says, “and was ineffective at advancing conservative ideals. No one would deny Karl Rove his place in Republican political history. But Republicans need to lead with the power of their ideas, not slim percentages or forced consensus.”