- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Three Rivers Press; Reprint edition (May 22, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0307237931
- ISBN-13: 978-0307237934
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 0.8 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 11 customer reviews
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The Architect: Karl Rove and the Dream of Absolute Power Paperback – May 22, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
This bold follow-up to journalists Moore and Slater's bestseller, Bush's Brain, takes a provocative look at how Karl Rove used George Bush's various campaigns and presidency to engineer nothing less than the assertion of a long-term Republican hegemony and the complete dismantling of the Democratic Party. To make their case, they draw on a wide range of materials, including interviews and reportage done by other journalists to demonstrate how Rove mobilized his party's base, forging an unlikely alliance between religious and economic conservatives, while mounting targeted assaults on gays and lesbians, trial lawyers and labor unions. Yet in this narrative, his bid for a complete realignment of American politics begins to derail with the failure of Bush's Social Security reform plan, the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina, the failed nomination of Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court and, most significantly, the implication of Rove in the leak of CIA employee Valerie Plame's identity. In this damning but scattered account, Rove remains an elusive, almost inhuman figure, despite short digressions about his relationship with his gay stepfather and his weekly brunches with members of the White House and RNC teams during the reelection campaign. The result is a compulsive page-turner that's bound to be divisive. (Sept. 12)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Moore and Slater, authors of the best-selling Bush's Brain(2003), take a scalpel to dissect that brain in this probing look at the personality and political strategizing of Karl Rove. They offer a portrait of a bright, cynical, and manipulative man bent on maintaining Republican political dominance for generations to come. Himself an agnostic, Rove has masterminded a strategy that has helped to broaden the Republican base beyond its pro-business, anti-government heritage to appeal to devout evangelicals. In a calculated effort to weaken the Democratic base, Rove has engineered plans to use the antiabortion stance to attract Catholics, the anti-gay stance to attract black churchgoers, and the pro-Israel stance to attract Jews. Moore and Slater trace Rove's fingerprints on the Bush campaign for Texas governor, where he honed his skills at surreptitious campaigns to smear opponents, often with hints at their sexual orientation. The authors reveal that while gay bashing has figured prominently in Republican campaigns, many of their insiders are gay. Moore and Slater also detail Rove's connections to convicted lobbyist Jack Abramoff as well as Rove's involvement in the orchestration of the war in Iraq. The authors maintain that these tactics are all part of a scheme to maintain Republican dominance of all aspects of American government for the next 30 years. Riveting investigative journalism. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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The co-authors assert that nothing is sacred to Rove, in particular, founding democratic principles and the U.S. Constitution, when it comes to attaining victory and that in fact, the amoral gamesmanship he feels is required is what motivates him. It's a scarifying portrait but one that comes across as far more textured than one would expect due to some surprising disclosures from the co-authors. They fill in details of Rove's background with his long-standing affiliation with several neo-con organizations, which in turn, shaped his drive toward dismantling unions, privatizing Social Security and diminishing those he saw as his political enemies, homosexuals and anti-war activists. However, the most publicized disclosure is the personal account of how Rove's beloved stepfather revealed himself to be gay and left his mother for another man. It is debatable whether this perceived act of betrayal was the lightning rod for Rove's aggregation of anti-gay sentiments.
At the same time, his persistent efforts to smear opponents appear to have this common thread, and the co-authors effectively show us to what degree he was willing to use this tactic. It is not a new campaigning approach, but it's one that Rove has elevated to an art form in 2004. Targeting the Christian fundamentalist conservatives that constitute the largest cross-section of the Republican base, Rove used whatever means necessary to convey the conviction that Democratic opponents were dominated by a significant homosexual lobby. The most egregious maneuver was how he purportedly orchestrated a campaign of automatic telephone messages to be placed to thousands of numbers nationwide. The infamous message stated it was from the Kerry campaign and that if elected, gay rights would be a top priority. Moreover, beyond the presidential campaign, the Republican machine under Rove's direction managed to put anti-marriage equality referenda on eleven state ballots under the guise of groups like the Traditional Values Coalition, which were fronts for the religious right.
While anti-gay paranoia was his linchpin, Rove was not limited in his arsenal of weapons, whether it was vote suppression in Ohio where Bush won by a slim margin or pressure placed on members of Congress to support controversial bills. Moore and Slater detail the smear campaign developed against Joe Wilson and Valerie Plame to cover up the truth about Bush's rationale for invading Iraq, as well as the connection to Jack Abramoff and the resulting corporate corruption scandals. While Rove's hypocrisy is fiercely documented and obviously reviled by his opponents, his supporters are ambivalent about his methods. Moore and Slater provide a comprehensive portrait of a man who based on his record, illustrates a total disregard for democracy. He has amassed a fearsome respect among the White House inner circle for the past six years, and one wonders from this fascinating book whether a possible dismantling of the Republican hegemony in the House will diminish his standing.
Molly Ivins wannabes.
The authors also spend a disproportionate amount of the book trying to "out" gay Republicans without telling us that both of them are in fact gay. How precious!
The proof is in the reviews: 7 reviews in 5 years on Amazon. The royalties might have covered a few Starbucks but not much more.
"The Architect" hits the ground running. After terrific chapters about the connection with Rove and the Christian right, the book lands on what Rove does best. By promoting the wedge issue known as "gay marriage", Rove succeeded in disarming then actually arming Evangelical Christians to rise up against this issue. Rove rightly looks at this group as "absolutists" and ramping up support for anti-gay marriage amendments with the help of the religious right is made all the more curious when one finds out that he was raised in a non-religious home and had a gay stepfather to boot. It must take great disassociation yet immense focus to achieve what Rove did on just this issue alone. It is also a wonder as to what could have been achieved had Rove recast his forces for the common good and not for divisive ends.
While "The Architect" is a very good book, it stumbles occasionally. Chapters regarding labor unions and trial lawyers have less of a direct Rove fingerprint. However, when Moore and Slater return to the sheer political power wielded by Rove, the book regains its clarity and interest. This is where the authors are at their collective best.
If one has read "The Architect" before last week it would be good to give it another read. For now we see that the whiz kid-cum-guru can't win them all and this lack of recent political success signals the beginning of the tide away from Rove and Co. I highly recommend this book for its revelations and the authors' ability to see their subject from so many different angles.
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