Those who criticize Karl Rove usually do so either out of ignorance or partisan hypocrisy. As students prepare to hear “the architect” speak at UCSB, they should remember that Rove, like any strategist, was one of many political arms of the presidency. As Deputy Chief of Staff, Rove faithfully served President Bush in advocating his policy positions and getting him reelected. There is no reason for any Democrat to have warm feelings about him, just as no Republican will ever praise the political finesse of President Obama’s Chief of Staff, Rahm Emmanuel. Political operatives are an unpopular, yet essential component of both parties, and they should be honored on the basis of whether or not they perform their duties well.
Leftists have long despised Karl Rove’s political resourcefulness. For instance, during the 2004 presidential race, Rove supported a group of Vietnam Swift boat veterans who brought into question John Kerry’s military credentials.
The veterans held that Kerry, as a former member of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, was a committed Leftist unfit to guide American foreign policy. ABC’s David Wright indignantly complained that Karl Rove’s indirect, “sustained attack on John Kerry’s war record… [was] an audacious move” that turned Kerry’s strengths against him. So, basically, Rove did his job. How diabolical!
Democrats, however, rarely question the political hacks within the Obama administration. Take, for example, Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel, former Senior Advisor to President Clinton. When he wasn’t screaming obscenities, Rahm was known for making a list of Clinton’s political betrayers, furiously stabbing the names with a steak knife and shouting “Dead!” after each successive plunge.
Or Valerie Jarett, who, like Rove before her, occupies the White House Office of Public Liaison. Jarrett was simply thrilled to hire Anthony “Van” Jones, a 9/11 conspiracy theorist, as Obama’s “Green Jobs Czar.” “We were so delighted to be able to recruit him,”
explained Jarrett, particularly with “all the creative ideas he has,” such as the theory that the US government secretly blew up the twin towers.
Other, more radical Leftists claim that Rove is a “war criminal” for his role in marketing the US invasion of Iraq. By “lying” about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, they argue, Rove “tricked” Congress into supporting the war, leading to thousands of civilian deaths. Even if this was correct, let’s be consistent. If those responsible for civilian deaths in war are criminals, we must also condemn President FDR for approving the firebombing of Dresden. Yes, civilians die in war. That doesn’t mean that those who advocate war are criminals.
Democrats constantly malign the character of Karl Rove, but he was neither unethical nor criminal in his service to President Bush. Rove simply took it upon himself to handle the political dirty work of winning elections and he was magnificently successful at it. He may not be popular, but for what he was able to accomplish he deserves to be treated with dignity and respect.