For Karl Rove's legions of liberal detractors – who did not manage to
lay a hand on him while he was in power – it has been a case of too
little, too late.
But watching the man dubbed "Bush's brain" take
to the media circuit to flog his self-serving memoir Courage and
Consequence has at last provided a tiny bit of satisfying blood
sport at Rove's expense. It has not been a pretty sight and is one that
Rove, no doubt, will blame on the natural liberal tendencies of
America's media classes. Yet it has been fun watching a man whose name
became a byword for brutal, dirty politics go cap in hand around the
talk shows and get a thorough roasting.
Leading the charge was
normally genial daytime TV host Matt Lauer, who laid into Rove over
everything from the lack of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq to Hurricane Katrina to his role in the
leak of the identity of CIA spy Valerie Plame. "Some are saying this is
500 pages of you rewriting history," Lauer said. He was wrong. It's 608
The book stands accused of being a towering monument to
self-denial of what are now seen as self-evident truths. Despite
millions of words of newsprint, endless government probes in numerous
countries and hours upon hours of TV reports proving the opposite, Rove
stands by the idea that President George W Bush invaded Iraq
reluctantly. He also denies Bush condoned torture. "He did just the
opposite," Rove wrote.
He even makes the case that Bush moved
swiftly and aggressively on climate change and says administration
officials never tried to foster the belief that Saddam Hussein was
behind the 9/11 terror attacks. Ah yes, and the earth is flat, the moon
is made of green cheese and I've got a reliable secondhand car I'd like
to sell you.
No one tore into Rove better than Dana Milbank, the Washington
Post's frequently scathing political sketch writer. "What he
divulges nearly made me choke on a pretzel," he said. Even former
colleagues stuck the knife in. "I think what you're seeing is that Karl
is continuing to live in his own world here," Scott McClellan, Bush's
former press spokesman, told MSNBC.
According to Rove, Bush will
be remembered by history as the man who "laid the foundation for victory
in the global war on terrorism and the expansion of democracy abroad".
Milbank said: "Rove's work should have been called Ten Thousand Miles