I was tempted not to write anything about Karl Rove’s departure since there will be so much print devoted to it. However, this man has had an impact on so many lives. His legacy of war, division and even hate cannot be overlooked, especially as the spin doctors try to whitewash his destructive role over the past six years with a genteel swan song. Karl Rove does not deserve praise either for his so-called public service or his perceived political skills.
Rove’s contribution to our national discourse was to refine the political art of division, anger and attack after the horror of 9/11, a time when the nation needed to be united more than ever before. He callously used the LGBT community as a political punching bag and encouraged those who bitterly attack us by giving them political legitimacy. He ceded the Republican Party to Robertson, Falwell and others, who used the White House to build even more power and raise even more money for their personal agendas. People who literally preached hate against the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities had Rove’s counsel and support. Then, he dragged out the Federal Marriage Amendment and dressed up George Bush in the Rose Garden to endorse it.
If Rove is remembered for anything, however, he should be reviled for hawking massive lies to a fearful nation in order to build support for the invasion of Iraq. He created a political strategy around questioning the patriotism of those that disagreed with the war. Instead of addressing the flawed conduct of the war, he filled the air with slick PR catchphrases like “shock and awe” and “mission accomplished.” Rove always seemed to be the last to let go of a lie, even insisting that weapons of mass destruction would still be found in Iraq long after everyone else had moved on.
His spiteful spin was a disservice to the nation. His significant role in selling the war contributed to the destruction of a country, the deaths of American soldiers and the further proliferation of terrorism in the Middle East. In the name of war, he advocated for the violation of human rights and principles of due process.
Rove is no political genius and his service deserves no praise. He masterminded a cynical reelection strategy for a flawed president and sold an unnecessary war to a wounded people preoccupied with nightmares of 9/11. I believe that history will judge Rove harshly, measuring his victories by the profound damage he inflicted