The genius of Rove

What do you consider fun?

An item that should go on the top of the priority list: dump the party’s super PACs and the men and women who run them, including Karl Rove.

[…]

Despite losing, a network of favored Republican consultants and contractors emerged from the election richer than before: Mentzer Media Services, Inc. collected fees of $141 million; Crossroads Media LLC, $90.8 million; Target Enterprises, $15.2 million; Arena Communications, $12.8 million. For the Republican operatives running these companies, 2012 was hardly a defeat. It was a business bonanza.

I still maintain that Karl Rove is a genius, relative to Bob Shrum, in the same way that Jim Carrey is a genius relative to Pauly Shore. But he blew a lot of other people’s money on unwinnable races in 2012. And his decision to double down on “values voting” in 2004 was a mistake in terms of the long-term well-being of the Republican party.

I read a lot of articles about Rove back in the day. This Josh Green piece was well-researched. This Ron Suskind piece was remarkably prescient; the “Mayberry Machiavellis” went on to fuck with the DOJ and probably countless other federal agencies.

I wonder if there’s any change Karl will go “No Labels” on us. His old buddy, Mark McKinnon, co-rounded No Labels.

Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Pinterest
Share On Reddit

39 replies
  1. 1
    Forum Transmitted Disease says:

    But he blew a lot of other people’s money on unwinnablle races in 2012.

    They were unwinnable anyway.

    Please point to the “mistakes” he made in 2012. From where I’m standing it sure looks like he was 90 million dollars worth of smart.

  2. 2
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    It is, first and foremost, about the grift.

    Everything thing else to these conslutants is secondary.

  3. 3
    Elizabelle says:

    I still maintain that Karl Rove is a genius, relative to Bob Shrum, in the same way that Jim Carrey is a genius relative to Pauly Shore.

    This made me laugh. Thank you.

  4. 4
    Comrade Mary says:

    Gold medal for the transformed/slant rhyme, Doug.

  5. 5
    Yutsano says:

    Heh. They still think Turdblossom cares about Republican politics. How precious.

  6. 6
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I still maintain that Karl Rove is a genius, relative to Bob Shrum, in the same way that Jim Carrey is a genius relative to Pauly Shore.

    Does Bob Shrum have a mom who owns a major conslutancy operation and he gets his gigs because people want to suck up to her?

  7. 7
    MikeJ says:

    What’s he gonna do when he gets out of jail?

  8. 8
    Ben Franklin says:

    Shrum? Genius? Perhaps unrequited genius………

  9. 9
    MattF says:

    Just can’t help reflecting– Rove on domestic and electoral politics, Cheney on foreign policy and national security, W in the oval office, DeLay and Frist running Congress… and we survived. Hallelujah, brothers and sisters.

  10. 10
    Mnemosyne says:

    But he blew a lot of other people’s money on unwinnable races in 2012.

    I think you’re confused about what kind of genius Rove is. He’s not a political genius, he’s a genius con man who has convinced people like the Kochs to pay him millions to throw their money down a bottomless pit.

  11. 11
    Violet says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    a major conslutancy operation

    Exactly what is that? Sounds dirty.

  12. 12

    Scooby Doo singing the Tom Tom Club?

  13. 13
    General Stuck says:

    I still maintain that Karl Rove is a genius,

    Well, he certainly was in the matter of reading the electorate and applying that reading onto his candidate and campaign.

    The problem was, he got greedy, along with Delay and company, that they got completely caught up in the notion that there was a way to attain a permanent GOP majority. That caused them to do all sorts of un conservative, un republican shit, that ultimately shattered the always fragile GOP coalition of the day.

    So, in essence, Rove blew up his own creation from that genius, in a fully classical republican over reach. I don’t think he can get that genie back in the bottle, which has led to a meltdown of the grand ole party brand, to it’s quivering core of pure unbound wingnuttery.

    And to add insult to injury, the country is going through a kind of shift or realignment, that muddles the mans genius level knowledge of the electorate, in both a macro and micro sense. He is like the rest of that crew, flying by the seat of his pants, for the time being.

  14. 14
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Violet:

    A consultant is a guy who borrows your watch to tell you what time it is, then keeps the watch.

    Conslutant is just an intentional typo to clarify how disreputable these types can be.

  15. 15
    Palli says:

    @MattF: Sadly, some people did not survive and it is still to be determined if democratic progress in America did.

  16. 16
    Fester Addams says:

    Shrum, nasty Shrum…

  17. 17
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @General Stuck:

    And to add insult to injury, the country is going through a kind of shift or realignment, that muddles the mans genius level knowledge of the electorate, in both a macro and micro sense. He is like the rest of that crew, flying by the seat of his pants, for the time being.

    The irony here is that the deserting coward and Turd Blossom saw the shift coming, understood its implications, and still unleashed the xenophobes to turn what they planned to be a permanent Rethug majority into a rump party of neo-Confederates, racists, and the permanently butt hurt.

    Leading the way, screaming assholes like Arpaio and Tancredo, openly dissing the ethnic groups that make up a huge part of the demographic realignment and quite literally shoving them into the hands of the Democrats.

    The irony here is not lost on those of us who remember the days when having a vowel at the end of your name was a sure sign of inferiority to the proper WASP.

  18. 18
    handsmile says:

    @MikeJ:

    How sad that Rove has yet to be asked that question. Still, a boy can hope…

    @Fester Addams:

    That’s very tasty, indeed!

  19. 19
    burnspbesq says:

    @Violet:

    One of the best Dilbert strips of all time is a riff on the supposed origin of the word “consult” as an amalgam of “con” and “insult.”

  20. 20
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    The problem was, he got greedy, along with Delay and company, that they got completely caught up in the notion that there was a way to attain a permanent GOP majority.

    It was their last shot. Too late to broaden the GOP’s appeal, so they made one more run for the White House with as much of the angry white vote as they could muster. It didn’t work, but if it had, they’d have had the toe hold they needed to tip the playing field even farther in their direction via voting laws, etc.
    Sort of a Hail Mary pass that got intercepted.

  21. 21
    burnspbesq says:

    @Fester Addams:

    It sounds even nastier if you imagine Lenny Bruce mumbling out of the side of his mouth, “Yeah, I caught the Shrum.”

  22. 22
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    OK, I’ll be the contrarian and defend Rove’s record re: winning elections (not the man).

    If you look at the history of famous top-level managers of national campaigns (as distinct from the people running the state and city-level machines, i.e. glorified ward heelers), the thing which stands out is that each one of them enjoyed success for a very limited span of time, and then regressed back to the mean within 10 years or less. Colonel House, James Farley, etc., they all had a good run for a very short time, and then their candidates and causes either fell back down to the ground, or soared without them (e.g. in FDR’s case).

    Rove’s run of getting GWB elected in 2000 and re-elected in 2004 and then flopping at everything he’s tried thereafter is pretty well within the historical norm for famous campaign managers. He’s still a rancid piece of shit, but on account of the causes and people he’s supported, not his track record of success/lack of success in doing so.

  23. 23
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    That applies to Carville as well. His work for Clinton in 1992 was outstanding (“it’s the economy, stupid!”) but since then he’s been resting on his laurels, at best.

  24. 24
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Fair enough. The question ramains; why is Rove still considered relevant after the 2012 faceplant? I mean, how badly do you have to fail before people stop listening to you?

  25. 25
    lol says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ:

    Rove only won in 2000 thanks to a confluence of factors in Florida. If any one of a number of things went the other way, we’d be referring to him as that idiot who thought sending Bush to solid blue states the last week of the campaign was a great idea.

    I’ll give him 2004 though. Solid win that expanded Bush’s coalition.

  26. 26
    Ultraviolet Thunder says:

    Dubya was Rove’s meal ticket, and arguably his only real success. A malleable sucker with a famous political name comes about only once in a lifetime, if you’re lucky. Pretty much everything else he achieved can be linked to GWB’s ascent and the good fortune of a couple of bad wars.

  27. 27
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder:

    The question ramains; why is Rove still considered relevant after the 2012 faceplant? I mean, how badly do you have to fail before people stop listening to you?

    For the same reason the NFL head-coaching careers of Mike Holmgren and Andy Reid persisted long past their sell-by dates. Once you win the SuperBowl (or come close), it is hard for the franchise to get rid of you until they hit rock-bottom, because it is oh so easy for the owners and fans to think that some of the old magic is still there and we just got unlucky last time, and next year will be different.

  28. 28
    GregB says:

    MC Rove is doing the Karl Rove dance all the way to the bank.

  29. 29
    Zifnab says:

    I wonder if there’s any chance Karl will go “No Labels” on us.

    Not explicitly. The purpose of No Labels is to siphon off liberal voters and split the vote. Rove would siphon off conservative voters and scare away liberals. That’d be totally ass backwards.

    @Forum Transmitted Disease:

    Please point to the “mistakes” he made in 2012. From where I’m standing it sure looks like he was 90 million dollars worth of smart.

    This. It’s not like Rove pissed the money away (after giving himself a nice fat cut, of course). He placed his bets a wisely as any gambler. You’ll notice he didn’t go all-in in states like Missouri and Indiana, after it became apparent that the Tea Party putzes were going to lose. He aimed a lot of money at Ohio, Virginia, and North Carolina and prayed that voter disenfranchisement would do the rest. :-p

    You might also notice that Republicans have been doing amazingly well at the gubernatorial and state legislative level. That’s not an accident, either.

    Rove’s not a bad investment if you’ve got $100M to spend. He’s just working in a tough political environment with un-lovable candidates intent on selling the nation a shit-sandwich. The poor guy regularly goes on FOX News and says “Hey maybe we should stop kicking Latinos”, “Perhaps lets elect well-spoken moderates rather than illiterate loons in primaries”, and “Compromising on legislative items you actually support could really benefit the GOP”. He gets booed off the stage by the rank-and-file Republican trogoledites. That’s hardly his fault. :-p

  30. 30
    Redshirt says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    The irony here is that the deserting coward and Turd Blossom saw the shift coming, understood its implications, and still unleashed the xenophobes to turn what they planned to be a permanent Rethug majority into a rump party of neo-Confederates, racists, and the permanently butt hurt.

    True, but in fairness, I think they felt they had to – if they lost in 2004, the game was over. So winning was primary, by any means necessary.

    That they poisoned their own well in the process and doomed their thousand year Reich is to all our benefit.

  31. 31
    John.Ty says:

    This post title makes me happy.

  32. 32
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ultraviolet Thunder:

    I dunno, I still think that W’s own electoral acumen was vastly underrated. If the man was good at one thing, he was good at getting elected. I think Rove got a lot of credit for decisions that W made because it was in the Republicans’ best interest for W to look like an amiable dunce when it came to stuff like spreading rumors about John McCain’s illegitimate black baby. After all, it couldn’t have been W who came up with that one — look at how stupid he is!

  33. 33
    Hoodie says:

    Rove is and always has been about power, not ideology. His undoing was Iraq, because that showed that the GOP daddies didn’t know what the fuck they were doing, and you lose power when that happens to you. Rove’s notion of a permanent Republican majority wasn’t about “conservatism” as an ideology, it was about the country being run by a bunch of people who meet certain behavioral criteria that have as a prototype middle age white corporate executives; hence, “the MBA president.” It’s more style than ideology. Conservatism was more a marketing ploy, e.g., all serious manager types are “conservative” and conservatism provides a seemingly legitimate cover for the xenophobes and racists in the party that Rove needed to win elections. But Rove and the guys he works for never really meant it. Anyway, the Iraq fuckup blew up that whole arrangement and released the animals from their cages. He managed to squeak by using the dogwhistle in 2004, but 2006 and 2008 were disasters. Rove had little to do with the Tea Party stuff in 2010. The bigshots tried a restoration with Romney in 2012, but there simply are too many wild animals at large, and that’s screwed the ability of guys like Rove to bring back the good old days when GWB was flying high. Once the spell is broken, it’s over until you find a new spell, and Rove probably won’t be the one that finds it.

  34. 34
    shilohsmama says:

    I’m catching on to you, Doug. I related the title immediately to the Tom Tom Club, even before clicking over. What am I becoming?

  35. 35
    ricky says:

    The genius of Rove is his ability to separate those who believe him to be one from their money.

    Doug’s consultant/comedian genius comparison is amusing.
    Rove vs. his donors is more apt.

  36. 36
    hitchhiker says:

    They have no policy ideas. They have no policy ideas. They have no policy ideas.

    That’s the problem they confront, and it’s not an accident; it’s the political house that Rove built. Rove’s political house was built on bumper-sticker level “ideas” that predictably exploded in the face of the country like so many gag cigars.

    I just blew a half an hour reading that Suskind piece Doug linked to at the top, and now I might have to start drinking early, just to calm myself down. Those assholes.

  37. 37
    gene108 says:

    The funny thing is the GOP and consultant-Rove are still trying follow Rove’s playbook from 2000 and 2004.

    On paper it looks promising.

    McCain and Romney both carried 20+ states. Swing Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania or whatever combo of swing states you need, with rhetoric to get your supporters out of their seats and there you have the next GOP President.

    The reality is people aren’t buying what the GOP is selling.

    Rove & Co. had a chance to govern in the 00’s. They failed. They failed miserably.

    As much as people can be hooked into you because of the “corrupt Clinton White House”, “terrorists are going to attack, go to Orange Alert”, and whatever other campaign tactics exist, what kept people supporting Democrats for generations are policies that helped them and bettered their lives.

    The Republicans have nothing to offer. They’ve given up the pretense of “compassionate conservationism” and are going all in on “IGMFY, vote fore me”.

    As much as Americans can be swayed by rhetoric for an election cycle or two, they really do remember, which party did things to help them.

    The 800 lb. gorilla is about to be let out of his cage in 2014, when Obamacare gets fully implemented. When millions of people start getting access to medical care – and when Lenin doesn’t leap out of his crypt to declare America a model of Marxism and morning rises again in America – people will really start coming around to a more liberal way of thinking that government can be the solution, as well as realizing Democrats got this passed.

    Republicans will try to take credit for Obamacare, because it was their idea 20 years ago, but I don’t think Americans are going to fall for it.

    Rove had his chance to create a permanent Republican majority, but didn’t realize you actually have to have policies that help people in big ways for folks to keep wanting vote for you and have their children vote for you.

  38. 38
    Boots Day says:

    Rove strikes me as the apotheosis of the College Republicans, people who made their bones winning elections with absolutely no stake at the end other than their own power. He’s never had any interest in governing or policy or even ideology; that kind of crap just gets in the way of winning.

    That’s why he is at odds with the Tea Party types, who care much more about ideological purity than about winning elections.

  39. 39
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @hitchhiker:

    It is not true that they have no policy ideas.

    They have policy ideas.

    The problem is, they are repugnant policy ideas to all but the 1%.

    That’s the problem they face. They can’t sell it anymore. Too much has happened, a shift has taken place, the wheels have come off the wagon of the “Reagan Revolution.”

Comments are closed.