Political consultants are nothing new in American politics; they are the big guns called in to work on a campaign or deal with the occasional crisis, then dismissed for another day. Not so with White House Senior Advisor Karl Rove. Due to his close personal relationship and unlimited access to George W. Bush, as well as his control of the information that reaches the president, this "permanent consultant" occupies a unique spot in Bush's inner circle and in history. "His influence marks a transcendent moment in American politics: the rise of an unelected consultant to a position of unprecedented power," write authors Moore and Slater. Since Rove is ultimately responsible to Bush only, not to American citizens, he is not required to work openly. As a result, Rove is hardly a household name, despite his considerable clout. This intriguing and important book seeks to remedy this by offering a comprehensive look at this behind-the-scenes political guru. "Karl Rove matters to all Americans, many who have never even heard his name. While the president chafes at the description of Rove as 'Bush's Brain,' he can hardly deny that every policy and political decision either goes through, or comes from, the consultant," write the authors, leading them to pose the question, "Who really runs this country?"
Rove has been involved with the Bush family for nearly 30 years and has worked on every one of George W.'s campaigns. In great detail, the book shows how Rove led Bush, a "reluctant political warrior," all the way to the White House. The portrait of Bush and Rove's relationship is fascinating. Though opposites in many respects, they are an unusually effective political team. But where Bush seemed to fall into politics, Rove has been preparing for his current job all of his life, and Bush has served as a vehicle for Rove's considerable ambitions, the authors contend. "Without Karl Rove, there would be no President George W. Bush," they write. Moore and Slater look deeply into Rove's past to offer copious evidence of his political genius, his tenacity, and his remarkable success rate in getting his clients elected. The facts also portray Rove as unethical, vindictive, and a chronic abuser of power. Loaded with revealing anecdotes and inside information, this is essential reading for anyone looking to understand not only the Bush administration, but how politics really work. --Shawn Carkonen
From Publishers Weekly
The complete subordination of public policy to political calculation is the theme of this hard-hitting biography of über-advisor Karl Rove. Drawing on their own reporting and interviews with Rove friends and foes, journalists Moore and Slater trace Rove's rise from high-school pol to high-priced, bare-knuckled campaign consultant, to his current perch as unrivaled architect of Bush administration policy. With an uncanny head for voting trends and poll results, a masterful way with a donor list and a gift for political re-packaging, Rove groomed Bush to ride the compassionate conservatism strategy straight to the White House. It's a colorful story, full of dirty tricks, misleading attack ads and sleazy whispering campaigns that drown out the issues. To the authors, Rove's "co-presidency" marks "the apotheosis of the permanent campaign," with everything from farm subsidies to steel tariffs to the saber-rattling against Iraq a part of his carefully considered mid-term election plans. The authors' line on Rove is by now conventional wisdom, but they bring it to life with a wealth of detail, painting nuanced character studies of Rove, the driven intellectual with an abrasive edge and an iron will to win, and Bush, the callow anti-intellectual with a charming air and a need for discipline and a game plan. Rove may not be the "genius" behind Bush's election they say he is-after all, there was more than campaign wizardry at work behind that contested victory-but he is a compelling character on the American political stage.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.