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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
On a Friday evening in January, a thousand people at the annual California Native Plant Society conference in San Jose settled down to a banquet and a keynote speech delivered by an environmental historian named Jared Farmer. His chosen topic was the eucalyptus tree and its role in California’s ecology and history. The address did not go well. Eucalyptus is not a native plant but a Victorian import from Australia. In the eyes of those gathered at the San Jose DoubleTree, it qualified as “invasive,” “exotic,” “alien” — all dirty words to this crowd, who were therefore convinced that the tree was dangerously combustible, unfriendly to birds, and excessively greedy in competing for water with honest native species.
In his speech, Farmer dutifully highlighted these ugly attributes, but also quoted a few more positive remarks made by others over the years. This was a reckless move. A reference to the tree as “indigenously Californian” elicited an abusive roar, as did an observation that without the aromatic import, the state would be like a “home without its mother.” Thereafter, the mild-mannered speaker was continually interrupted by boos, groans, and exasperated gasps. Only when he mentioned the longhorn beetle, a species imported (illegally) from Australia during the 1990s with the specific aim of killing the eucalyptus, did he earn a resounding cheer.
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 tourism company in Australia announced a service that will allow users to take the “world’s biggest selfies,” and a Texas man accidentally killed himself while trying to pose for a selfie with a handgun.
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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.”