Washington Babylon — November 19, 2007, 11:29 am

Karl Rove’s Insight Penetrates Newsweek

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:

  • “Rudy Giuliani has surprised Rove with his staying power” and “done well by making terrorism the centerpiece of his campaign.”
  • Rove has been “impressed by former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s operation. ‘Romney’s done a very good job, has run a textbook campaign in building strength in Iowa and New Hampshire,’ he said.”
  • Former Tennessee senator Fred Thompson “has been a disappointment.” At the outset, Thompson “had a very interesting approach,” but Rove added, “I’m not certain that he got in as early enough to take advantage of that buzz.”

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.

Share
Single Page

More from Ken Silverstein:

Commentary November 17, 2015, 6:41 pm

Shaky Foundations

The Clintons’ so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich family friends.

From the November 2013 issue

Dirty South

The foul legacy of Louisiana oil

Perspective October 23, 2013, 8:00 am

On Brining and Dining

How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

May 2016

Unhackable

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

American Imperium

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Fighting Chance

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Front Runner

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Habits of Highly Cynical People

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
Elisabeth Zerofsky on Marine Le Pen, Paul Wachter on the quest for an unhackable email, Rebecca Solnit on cynical people, Andrew J. Bacevich on truth and fiction in the age of war, Samuel James photographs E.P.L. soccer, a story by Vince Passaro, and more

I sat in a taxi with Emma and her son, Stak, all three bodies muscled into the rear seat, and the boy checked the driver’s I.D. and immediately began to speak to the man in an unrecognizable language.

I conferred quietly with Emma, who said he was studying Pashto, privately, in his spare time. Afghani, she said, to enlighten me further.

Illustration by Taylor Callery
Article
Front Runner·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"The F.N. asked to be sent to an institution whose legitimacy it did not accept, and French voters rewarded the party with first place in the election."
Illustration (detail) by Matthew Richardson
Memoir
I Am Your Conscious, I Am Love·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A paean 2 Prince
"And one thinks, Looking into Prince's eyes must be like looking at the world."
Photo ©© PeterTea
Article
Stop Hillary!·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"As wacky as it sometimes appears on the surface, American politics has an amazing stability and continuity about it."
Article
Plexiglass·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

I sat in a taxi with Emma and her son, Stak, all three bodies muscled into the rear seat, and the boy checked the driver’s I.D. and immediately began to speak to the man in an unrecognizable language.

I conferred quietly with Emma, who said he was studying Pashto, privately, in his spare time. Afghani, she said, to enlighten me further.

Photograph (detail) by Karine Laval

Age at death last March of the sturgeon Nikita, Khrushchev’s gift to Norway, after an accidental immersion in salt water:

38

There were new reports of cannibalism in North Korea.

The Finnish postal service announced it will begin mowing lawns on Tuesdays.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Mississippi Drift

By

Matt was happy enough to sustain himself on the detritus of a world he saw as careening toward self-destruction, and equally happy to scam a government he despised. 'I’m glad everyone’s so wasteful,' he told me. 'It supports my lifestyle.'

Subscribe Today