Rove: The History Campaign

Turd Blossom to bloom anew in Hill Country

Aug. 31 marks the last day of Karl Rove as White House deputy chief of staff, and Turd Blossom hopes to bloom in the Hill Country again. Rove and his wife, Darby, own property in Kerr County, and, in an e-mail to friends, he said they plan to "spend more time in Texas" and to make their "way back there within a few years." But what will the notorious workaholic do when he gets here?

Before permanently joining the Bush camp in 1999, Rove was a leading independent pol­i­tic­al consultant dealing primarily with state Republicans. Karl Rove & Co. specialized in providing direct-mailing lists to candidates, among them future Gov. Rick Perry in his successful 1990 run for agriculture commissioner. But according to James Moore, co-author of Rove biography The Architect, Rove is now too tainted by the Bush association to help another campaign.

"He's so radioactive that having him in Washington was harming the GOP in '08," Moore said. That doesn't mean he'll be out of campaigning completely. "Never underestimate the guy's zeal for this stuff," Moore said. "He might be involved in a campaign but not the [presidential] campaign. He might be involved in some of the third-party attack efforts to take on the Democratic candidate, like he was behind the scenes with some of the Swift boat attacks."

Rove also has been long associated with Austin academia. Although campaigning originally distracted him from completing a graduate degree at UT-Austin, as well as the Univer­sity of Utah and George Mason in Virginia, Rove told The Wall Street Journal he is considering taking up teaching. In 1997, he taught a graduate seminar in American political campaign finance at UT's Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. He was also a co-lecturer on the school's modern American political campaigning course, an electioneer's "how-to" guide. In the School of Journalism, he taught a course titled Politics and the Press with Bill Israel and then-Statesman columnist Dave McNeely – previously taught by former Bill Clinton campaign consultant and UT alum Paul Begala. However, Rove has not taught that course since 1999, and neither school reports discussions to bring him back onto staff.

According to Moore, the most likely outcome is Rove will concentrate on his autobiography. Like everything else he has done, it will be for political ends. "He'll be offered a huge book advance and try to position Bush and himself in the best possible light," Moore said. "Karl's priority is to write his first draft of history."

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Karl Rove, Jim Moore

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