Since its publication last week, Karl Rove's memoir, Courage and Consequences, has inspired heated debate between commentators on the right and left. As conservative blogger Ed Morrissey at Hot Air noted: "[The book] is already generating some of the histrionics and nastiness we saw from the [liberal] media during the Bush administration." This weekend, Frank Rich of The New York Times officially weighed in. A key passage:
"There’s a good reason why Rove’s memoir is titled “Courage and Consequence,” not “Truth or Consequences.” Its spin is so uninhibited that even “Brownie, you’re doing a heck of a job!” is repackaged with an alibi. The book’s apolitical asides are as untrustworthy as its major events. For all Rove’s self-proclaimed expertise as a student of history, he writes that eight American presidents assumed office “as a result of the assassination or resignation of their predecessor.” (He’s off by only three.) After a peculiar early narrative detour to combat reports of his late adoptive father’s homosexuality, Rove burnishes his family values cred with repeated references to his own happy heterosexual domesticity. This, too, is a smoke screen: Readers learned months before the book was published that his marriage ended in divorce.
"Rove’s overall thesis on the misbegotten birth of the Iraq war is a stretch even by his standards. “Would the Iraq war have occurred without W.M.D.?” he writes. “I doubt it.” He claims that Bush would have looked for other ways “to constrain” Saddam Hussein had the intelligence not revealed Iraq’s “unique threat” to America’s security. Even if you buy Rove’s predictable (and easily refuted) claims that the White House neither hyped, manipulated nor cherry-picked the intelligence, his portrait of Bush as an apostle of containment is absurd."
Subscribe to The Week
Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.
Continue reading for free
We hope you're enjoying The Week's refreshingly open-minded journalism.
Subscribed to The Week? Register your account with the same email as your subscription.