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August 13, 2007

He's no Prince Matchabelli either

timerove_small.jpgI'll leave the debate over Karl Rove's legacy to others, but since you're bound to be hearing the name Machiavelli a lot for the next few days, I think an axiom Andrew Sullivan posited a few months ago is worth recalling: If you have a reputation for being a Machiavellian, you arenít one.

"That was Machiavelliís view, at least. The key to all successful power-mongers, he argued, is the appearance of innocence, and a reputation for honesty and benevolence. Underneath, of course, youíre stitching the system up. So it doesnít take a genius to realise that if Niccolo were around today he would laugh heartily at the idea that Karl Rove is a master of the art of ruthless politics."

Update: In the new Atlantic Monthly, Josh Green has the definitive demolition of Rove's reputation as a master manipulator. Online for subscribers only, but worth picking up at the newsstand. Green compares Rove's approach on domestic policy and election strategy to Dick Cheney's on remaking the Middle East: "Both men came in believing they had superior insights into history and theoretical underpinnings so strong that their ideas would prevail. But neither man understood how to see them through, and so both failed."

Posted by Daniel Radosh

Comments

I've followed this guy from his fledgling steps till now and his great success in being appointed to one of the largest and most powerful jobs in the world. Interesting comment about ruthless politics. Recent news/magazine publicity about neo-con Republicans aside, this guy has a good head on his shoulders (as well as thousands of fans around the world) and he has made it to where he is by their amazing charisma and political talents. Seems to me that we should be happy for him and optimistic about his bright future instead of making cracks about their possible future descriptions of him as Machiavellian? And perhaps a reminder is in order..if you google Karl Rove (as I did) you come apon this very blog where you can read rants/raves/critisisms about them from people who don't even know him. He can read and they he has feelings too

Also, when Karl strangles a kitten and drinks its fresh blood, he feels just awful about it for the rest of the day.

Hey, you hater, what has this guy done to you? Do you envy him, cause he's talented, pretty and nice? Stop writing stupid stuff 'bout him and find yourself something to do....

I was going to post a serious response to Sullivan about the impossibility of a true Machiavelli arising in a saturated media age, but now all I want to say is that Karl Rove's dog loves him.

So would "the Great Communicator" qualify as a true Machivellian then?

Eh, I'm unimpressed. So ergo no person can ever accurately be described as "Machiavellian." Who might qualify? Does Sully say? Do you? Owen mentions Reagan but Eisenhower is the interesting possibility here, a reputation for a foggy uncle type but (according to the chapter on Ike in Garry Wills's "Nixon Agonistes") he was pretty successful in political manipulation.

I give him a year before he's blogging.

"So would "the Great Communicator" qualify as a true Machivellian then?"

He just might, though we'd have to limit the discussion to the first term.

I mean, you look at the hostage-for-arms deal, creation of the "welfare queen" archetype, and generally turning an anti-Nixon nation into one that marginalized liberal politics (while increasing federal spending no less), one could easily make an argument that Ronnie was the closest thing to Machiavelli in modern American politics. Shit, I bet Machiavelli would have faked Alzheimer too.

As for Rove, sure he's ruthless and he's certainly earned the "turd blossom" moniker. But the last couple of years shows he can't spin everything, and while organizing the Swifties and turning out the gay-haters in 2004 were masterstroke, he was running against Kerry.

By saying Hills is fatally flawed is he trying to undermine her candidacy because he doesn't want the GOP to face her or by saying she'll probably win the nom is he trying to boost her because he thinks the GOP can beat her? Oh, the sneaky wiles and snakey wisdom of the Polyp of the Potomac. Seriously, this guy? The fact that he has been held in such awe by the establishment is just the sort of thing that makes bloggers, blog commentors, and toothless street maniacs think they're smarter than those in charge. He's read "What is to be done" and "Mein Kampf" and that makes him some sort of supergenius in certain circles but he's just the only nipple in a roomful of boobs.

Francis claims he's going to start blogging, and I'm the one who gets called a hater? By a guy who can't even spell his own name consistently, no less.

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