When the book "Bush's Brain" was published, my co-author Wayne Slater and I assumed we were done with Karl Rove. We had exercised what we believed was a journalistic responsibility to inform the public about Karl and, of course, made a few dollars selling books. We both had other projects and ideas we wanted to explore. Karl, though, was influencing much of what was taking place in our country and in the wider world. Interest in him increased. We knew him better than others and felt inclined to write a sequel to our first book. "The Architect: Karl Rove and the Master Plan for Absolute Power" will be published in a few weeks by Random House/Crown.
And Karl is not happy.
Mr. Rove does not deign to call me. I am beneath contempt. When FOX News and Brit Hume ran an excerpt of an interview with me in the film based on the original book, Rove responded by describing me as a "far left wing liberal who has been drinking too much swamp water." The president's big brain advisor, therefore, calls my co-author when he has a peeve with our work. Last week, Rove called Slater several times to begin his ritual dissembling about information in "The Architect." He wants his lawyer to talk to our publisher's lawyers. He wants to pretend like he has been cooperative and we are obstinate and did not listen to his side of any story. He is, as always, beginning his spin in advance of any public interest the book may generate.
Just as he did with "Bush's Brain," Rove managed to acquire an early galley version of the new book. He is disturbed about several matters but appears most deeply troubled about how the narrative proves he has had a complex relationship with convicted felon Jack Abramoff. Information provided to us for the book by an eyewitness and participant in Rove and Abramoff meetings gives lie to Rove and the White House's claims that Abramoff was barely known by the administration. Karl has always known who has money to spend on politics and how to use those people. Our witness, who also told the same story to federal investigators, details meetings between Rove and Abramoff that show the two were using each other for their own political ends.
After reading the galley, Rove called Slater and denied the meetings ever occurred. He wants us to believe that our source simply made up the events and also lied to federal investigators. Of course, Karl Rove is the same man who claimed he did not speak to reporters about Valerie Plame's identity until her name was published by Robert Novak and he is the same person who told the world Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. I do not believe anything he says nor should anyone in our country. Nonetheless, he wants us to provide him with dates that these meetings allegedly happened so that he can check them against his calendar to see if he was in Kuala Lumpur or Washington. Is there anyone left in America who might believe any document provided by Karl Rove? I will not. Nor will I provide him any material or other information for him to use in the building of his spin.
Karl is pathological and has spent so much of his life distorting the truth that he presently has difficulty discerning the difference between what he believes is real and what actually is true. His goal, obviously, is to be able to tell other journalists and pundits that he tried to cooperate with us and show us that we had bad information. He wants to raise doubt and claim good faith communications. He has done nothing but consistently refuse to speak to us since "Bush's Brain" was published. Regardless, he has called Slater constantly wanting to put his lawyer in touch with our publisher's counsel. Rove is too smart to complain publicly about our book because he knows it will drive attention and possibly sales so he calls Slater and demands to talk off the record so he can file his grievances.
Rove is also upset about information in "The Architect" that explores his family history. Ordinarily, a political reporter will ignore a subject's background when writing about issues being promoted by a particular political operative. Their personal life is not relevant unless it contradicts a public posture on a relevant issue. Rove's zealous approach to promoting the anti-gay marriage amendment, however, prompted curiosity during the course of researching for the book. We will leave it to students of Freud to deconstruct what we discovered through on the record interviews, but it will be clear that Mr. Rove's motivations for promoting anti gay marriage legislation has as much to do with his own background as it does the political utility of motivating the conservative and fundamentalist base for the GOP.
But what I will not leave to Karl Rove is the freedom to frame this story in a way that suits his interests. He has already begun to call his political operatives in Texas and elsewhere to suggest that Slater and I, who have about 70 years of journalistic background between us, have simply resorted to making up material to sell books. We did not, of course. Karl is the expert at creating information to serve a purpose.
And there are thousands of dead Americans and Iraqis whose ghosts bear witness to Rove's ability to lie and spin for political ends.