August 13, 2007
A Riveting Example of Investigative Journalism

John R. Guthrie

The Architect: Karl Rove and the Master Plan for Absolute Power

There was a crooked man and he walked a crooked mile,
He found a crooked sixpence upon a crooked stile.
He bought a crooked cat, which caught a crooked mouse.
And they all lived together in a little crooked house
--Nursery Rhyme

This remarkable read tells the story of the life of Karl Rove. The work could well be subtitled, “Karl Rove’s Corruption of the American Political system.”  Rove’s tactics involve attacking opponents using 3rd parties, straw men or organization to do their work

Misrepresentation of the truth is a favorite guise. E.g. in the drive to privatize Social Security privatization, Rove's "signature approach" also appeared vs. AARP, the leading ads appeared claiming that AARP supported same-sex marriages. In fact the AARP had opposed the wording of Ohio’s anti-gay marriage amendment because it feared the wording would also ban elderly heterosexuals living together.

“You think the electorate is dumb,” he (Tom Erney, former Democratic candidate for congress in Ohio) was asked.

“Yeah, I do. Especially those rural voters who don’t have a nickel in their pockets or a pot to piss in and can’t go to college but they are embracing the Republicans because they are talking to them about God, guns, and being antigay. God, guns, and antigay is a great thing to be, especially in Appalachian Ohio (93).” Rove’s use of gay rights, including gay marriage as a wedge issue become ironic in view of his own much-beloved gay stepfather. 

Meanwhile, the Bush II administration, instead of working out effective solutions to terrorism, Katrina, the economy, etc., focuses on weakening enforcement of regulations against businesses and the wealth, passing regulatory rules to diminish the power of unions.    

“Ultimately in Rove’s mind, there was no difference between politics and governance….Rove was the leader of he Whitehouse Iraq group, created to market the war.” He “treated Iraq and terrorism as a political opportunity”….an issue they could “go to the country with.” Now jailed vice presidential aid Scooter Libby pressed congress for a war resolution in the months prior to the 2002 election.

Once can thus describe the death and destruction of our own sons and daughters Iraq, not to mention the suffering and death of the millions of Iraqi’s as simply part of the collateral damage of the Republican/Rovian strategy for electoral.   

The Architect is an informative and well written narrative about the life and actions of Karl Rove. While the chapters on Labor unions and trial lawyers are less compelling than other areas, Moore and Slater still present complex issues with clarity. The result is a riveting example of investigative journalism.

The Architect: Karl Rove and the Master Plan for Absolute Power
by James Moore and Wayne Slater
Three Rivers Press (May 22, 2007)
352 pages
ISBN 9780307237934

Dr. John R. Guthrie practiced family medicine in the Smokey Mountain foothills of Appalachia for years. As an adolescent he was a U.S. Marine infantry rifleman and later served as a physician in the U.S. Navy Reserve. He lives in Southern California and is a writer and social activist.


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