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Newsweek, many readers surely know, has made the bold move of hiring both blogger Markos Moulitsas and former Bush Administration Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove as columnists to cover next year’s presidential elections. I agree with the Columbia Journalism Review‘s Paul McLeary, who wrote “Newsweek couldn’t have been more predictable,” and that he would “be shocked if either one writes anything that isn’t utterly predictable or that falls outside the narrow realm of the worlds inhabited by their ideological fellow-travelers.”
Based on today’s Washington Post, Rove will be not only predictable (which means he’s likely to come out with an early piece, say, on how smart Hillary Clinton or one of the other Democrats is, as proof that he’s not predictable), but utterly bland and vapid as well. In a major scoop, the Post unearthed remarks Rove recently made “to a university class taught by C-Span’s Steve Scully.” Here are some of highlights:
How many trees will die to print more of this drivel?
Update, 2:41 PM: I hadn’t realized when writing this that Rove debuted in Newsweek on Saturday. As expected, it’s a snoozer—all about how the GOP can beat Hillary Clinton:
The GOP nominee must highlight his core convictions to help people understand who he is and to set up a natural contrast with Clinton, both on style and substance. Don’t be afraid to say something controversial. The American people want their president to be authentic.
I’m still waiting for his “predictably unpredictable” column, but I was happy to see that he did have a few “unexpected” kind words about Clinton, saying “she is tough, persistent and forgets nothing. Those are some of the reasons she is so formidable as a contender, and why Republicans who think she would be easy to beat are wrong.”
Fresh. Bold. Insightful. Snore.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”