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[Washington Babylon]

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.

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