Rove’s ‘Courage and Consequence’ Short on Both

I imagine that some folks are anxious to get their hands on Karl Rove’s memoir.  As I’ve previously mentioned, I am not one of those folks.

I gather from the numerous previews and reviews, “Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight,” is around 600 pages of Rove taking whacks at his critics, attempting to spin the Bush administration’s legacy out of pit for which it is destined. If you’re curious about Rove’s memoir, but you’re not in the market for a new doorstop, here are a few places to look:

  • Stephen Levingston, book reviewer for The Washington Postwrites, “Rove has fashioned a portrait of the Bush presidency that aims to shape history in his boss’s favor.”
  • Also at WaPoDana Milbank offers “… what he learned from Karl Rove’s book” within a Q&A chat with readers.
  • The Huffington Post features “The 13 Must-Read Passages From ‘Courage And Consequence’” along with a slide show presentation of relevant material.
  • The Daily Beasnarrows it down to the “10 best revelations” within Rove’s book, sans the slideshow.

All of the above mention a couple of assertions made by Rove which demand further scrutiny. 

Rove posits that his biggest regret from the Bush years was that he didn’t push back harder on accusations suggesting Bush misled the nation into war with Iraq. Further, Rove maintains the tired conservative meme, proclaiming an intelligence community consensus on the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq as proof of Bush’s honesty.

You can almost hear the incredulous sigh from David Corn — Washington Bureau Chief for Mother Jones and author/coauthor of two books on the subject – as he writes:

Here we go again: Did Bush grease the way to war with lies?..

Let’s cut to the bottom line: prior to the Iraq war, US intelligence generally produced faulty information overstating Saddam Hussein’s WMD capabilities, which were actually nonexistent. But Bush and his crew purposefully and callously overstated these overstatements—and made dramatic and untrue assertions unconnected to the flawed intelligence—in order to whip up popular support for the invasion of Iraq.

Corn suggests checking out Mother Jones‘ extensive timeline of “the false Bush administration assertions. I would add that Sam Smith’s “The revision thing,” originally published by Harper’s Magazine in Oct. 2003, should be required reading for anyone considering Rove’s, or any other Bush lackey’s memoir broaching this topic. Smith’s treatment is remarkable for its being composed entirely from false statements made by Bush administration officials.

Rove also attempts to spin away Bush administration statements connecting al Qaida and Saddam Hussein.

From “Courage and Consequence”:

Statements that Iraq provided safe haven for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and other terrorists with ties to al-Qaeda and about Iraq’s support for terrorist groups other than al-Qaeda “were substantiated by intelligence information,” according to the Senate Intelligence Committee 2004 report.

But, Rove is leaving out some important information.

From Media Matters Research (emphasis added):

Rove is presumably referring to a June 5, 2008, Senate Intelligence Committee report examining government officials’ pre-war statements about Iraq. (…) Rove is correct that the committee found that some Bush claims — specifically, “[s]tatements that Iraq provided safe haven for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and other terrorists with ties to al-Qaeda and about Iraq’s support for terrorist groups other than al-Qaeda” — were substantiated by the intelligence at the time. But the committee also concluded that Bush’s allegations suggesting “that Iraq and al-Qa’ida had a partnership” were “not substantiated by the intelligence”; and that Bush’s statements indicating Saddam was prepared to give WMD to terrorists were “contradicted by available intelligence.”

Should you decide to subject yourself to “Courage and Consequence,” keep in mind that Karl Rove was, and is, in essence, a BS artist. This designation is implied in Bush’s nickname for him: Turd Blossom.  His entire professional life has been spent crafting favorable public perceptions for his employers, often emphasizing, even creating negative memes to hang around the necks of those candidates and critics who happened to be in the way.

The “elections” of George W. Bush are the twin pinnacle achievements of Karl Rove’s life. He has a vested interest in Bush’s historical legacy. And as a professional BS artist, Rove will buff that turd to a fine shimmering shine before conceding anything to his critics.

Knowing full well that Rove’s self interest is woven throughout the pages of “Courage and Consequences” — His positions, crafted for the purpose of propping up the Bush legacy, informed by a lifetime of BS artistry – has the effect of rendering his memoir historically worthless. Put another way, if those responsible for rendering judgment on the Bush presidency are to find Rove’s memoir useful as a source, it will be when they discredit it with other, more objective, sources.

Thus, I see no reason for creating space in my library for it.

Public Domain image via Wikimedia Commons


Valeria Rogers
Valeria Rogers6 years ago

Rove, the neverending spin machine. I wonder if the guy is even in touch with himself, he's spun so much? You know, like chronic liars who forget what they've lied about? Obviously, he's disconnected from his conscience.

Anyone familiar with psychology has Rove's number. All his ploys like fearmongering are indeed effective and still in play by the GOP. Look it up in any psychology book. How do you think Hitler rose to power? And the Nazi's really used the religious card throughout it all. It's easy to research on the Internet. I used to have the link for all the religious quotes and banter used by the Nazis in their rise to power. Scary stuff.

Mimi S.
Mimi S.6 years ago

I felt slightly sick just watching Karl Rove flap his self-justifying jaws on TV; I will not be reading his book; it appears he wrote the book to justify his own actions and get even with anyone for whom he has born a grudge; reading his book would be cruel and unusual punishment for me

Linda J.
Linda J.6 years ago

Thanks for article.

Gwendolyn K.
Gwendolyn Krupa6 years ago

Don't care to waste my eyesight or time on that book!

carole hagen
.6 years ago

Read this!

Allan S.
Allan S.6 years ago

why can't they (Busch,Rove & Rice) be brought up on charges of MURDER???Over 4,000 American troops and possibly 100's of thousands of Iraqui citizens murdered and injured ,as a result of their lies.....

Mary Hunt
Mary Hunt6 years ago

I am offended by this man and everything he stands for. The last thing I want to do is benefit him in any way so why would I spend money on his book? Will the book influence Bush's legacy? I'm afraid it will. Obviously, it will not change anything that the Bush administration did, but putting down lies and excuses in black and white will no doubt convince some people. Others with the same skewered outlook will feel validated. It is hard to comprehend why, but look at how many people voted for Bush for the second term. Rove was the architect of Bush's campaign strategy which was based on lies and yet a lot of people still glorify him as brilliant and as a winner and give him great respect. How loathsome!

Audrey L.
Audrey L.6 years ago

Who wants a book of lies. 9/11 happened on the BUSH watch, please do not forget that. Also the shoe bomber.

Thomas S.
6 years ago

Bush kept us safe....that's rich! Tell that to the families of people killed on 9/11, or in Katrina or the war in Iraq, or...........etc.

Thomas S.
6 years ago

Show me 10 people who buy his book and I'll show you 10 idiots who love to be lied to.