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Karl Rove, agnostic?
September 7, 2006 6:18 PM   Subscribe

"Himself an agnostic, Rove has masterminded a strategy that has helped to broaden the Republican base beyond its pro-business, anti-government heritage to appeal to devout evangelicals. In a calculated effort to weaken the Democratic base, Rove has engineered plans to use the antiabortion stance to attract Catholics, the anti-gay stance to attract black churchgoers, and the pro-Israel stance to attract Jews." Karl Rove's agnosticism also mentioned here and here (audio).
posted by Brian B. (50 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
I can't wait until he gets forcibly outed from his closet.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:21 PM on September 7, 2006


I've always thought that in order to manipulate people as cynically as Rove tends to, one can't really have much in the way of firm beliefs. After all religion is just a handle he uses to politically align people the way he wants.
posted by clevershark at 6:27 PM on September 7, 2006


How about the anti-republican stance to attract the sane?
posted by wumpus at 6:28 PM on September 7, 2006


Rove really, really hopes there isn't a god.
posted by riotgrrl69 at 6:29 PM on September 7, 2006 [3 favorites]


Mr. Rove wouldn't stand a snowball's chance of getting elected dog-catcher, Mr Bush wouldn't stand a snowball's chance of figuring out how to get elected dog-catcher, but put 'em together and hey presto: The Presidency.
posted by scheptech at 6:32 PM on September 7, 2006 [1 favorite]


...or, an elected dogcatcher.
posted by clevershark at 6:34 PM on September 7, 2006


I'm not sure I understand this post. How is it contradictory (or even vaguely suspect) to try to protect the values of religious conservatives when you hold the same values though you are not religious?
posted by MarshallPoe at 6:43 PM on September 7, 2006


When we stoop to using a man's religious beliefs to attack him, we have become the enemy.
posted by LarryC at 6:45 PM on September 7, 2006


I'm not sure why it's a surprise (or why it matters) that Karl Rove is an agnostic. His amorality is more interesting (as a case study, as a paradigm of what constitutes political success in the US in 2006, etc.) than his agnosticism.
posted by blucevalo at 6:49 PM on September 7, 2006


The relation (and tension) between secular and religious conservatism is not only a classic subject of debate on the right, it's one that it is being talked about very seriously these days.

Anecdotally, I know lots of athetist, agnoistic, or irreligious conservatives, and they don't see themselves as exploiting religious or religious conservatives. There's actually a kind of many-paths-up-the-mountain respect, in large part becuase secular conservatives generally are highly Burkean in outlook, setting resistance to social change for change's sake as a high principle, and knowing how strong a bulwark of tradition is religious orthodoxy.

There's also quite a strong cross-polination of ideas between secular and religious conservatives. School choice is a terrific example of a movement which has partaken from both streams of thought.
posted by MattD at 6:51 PM on September 7, 2006


I'm not sure why it's a surprise (or why it matters) that Karl Rove is an agnostic.

Because one of the Republican Party's key elements, and some would figure reason for success, in the last couple elections has been the followership of the 'religious right'. And Karl Rove is the Big Giant Head of the Republican Party. The 'brain' if you will. The thought leader...
posted by scheptech at 6:53 PM on September 7, 2006


MarshallPoe and LarryC both raised issues in defense of Rove that nobody previously hinted at. Excellent.
posted by Brian B. at 6:53 PM on September 7, 2006


Do pagans burn strawmen?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 7:00 PM on September 7, 2006


How is it contradictory (or even vaguely suspect) to try to protect the values of religious conservatives when you hold the same values though you are not religious?

Haven't followed the first two links but I heard the referenced NPR interview and the author's argument is that Karl Rove does not personally believe in many of the political and religious positions that he leverages tactically in the election campaigns he has managed. But during the interview the author often cited evidence I didn't find particularly compelling. For example, he says that Karl Rove's stepfather, with whom Rove has a close relationship, is now openly gay, and contends that Rove couldn't simultaneously be anti-gay politically and close to a gay stepfather at the same time.
posted by XMLicious at 7:00 PM on September 7, 2006


Yeah... I meant to say "simultaneously at the same time simultaneously." Why doesn't this post editor have a redundancy checker as well as a spell checker? ;^>
posted by XMLicious at 7:03 PM on September 7, 2006


I think Rove must surely be the most repellent person in American politics in my lifetime. He clearly beats Nixon by a mile and has only his alter ego GWB as real competition.

The man appears to have no principles beyond a desire for power. It seems to me that if it weren't for Article 2, he'd just as soon wipe his ass with the U.S. Constitution. He's a soulless tactician who has no compunctions about savaging 200+ years of political tradition for 51% at the polls.
posted by hwestiii at 7:10 PM on September 7, 2006


I think the jig is up and most people who were fooled by his sincerity will not attempt to square it with their loyalty.
posted by Brian B. at 7:12 PM on September 7, 2006


Karl Rove's not religious? Christ.
posted by delmoi at 7:13 PM on September 7, 2006


Anyone noticed how conservatism isn't?

The point that is missed on many of the neo-conned is that the people in charge of the GOP have no conservative values whatsoever. Not in their lives, policies, or actions.

If Jesus and/or Goldwater were to come back now, they'd never stop throwing up.
posted by re6smith at 7:13 PM on September 7, 2006


New Book: Rove Had Three Priests cast Hillary's "Evil Spirit" From West Wing...
posted by jikel_morten at 7:18 PM on September 7, 2006


Maybe now people will realize that half the reason for a seperation between church and state is to protect the church from the state.
posted by Afroblanco at 7:31 PM on September 7, 2006


I can eat octupus, alligator, and brain tacos, but I do not have the intestinal fortitude to tackle this book.
posted by kozad at 7:32 PM on September 7, 2006


MarshallPoe: "I'm not sure I understand this post. How is it contradictory (or even vaguely suspect) to try to protect the values of religious conservatives when you hold the same values though you are not religious?"

That's making a brazen assumption about Rove. We know his step-father, whom he loved as a father, was gay. Rove was okay with that. We do not know if he holds the same values as the religious. It's more likely that he simply has no personal opinion of these various issues. Or if he did, such an opinion pro or con would be a detriment to his goal: accumulate power by any means necessary.

The truth is if liberals were actually organized, and met together on a weekly basis and shared anything common at all, politicians would flock to wherever they gather and pretend to be liberal. Instead of suits and ties they'd be wearing jeans or khakis. Politicians were courting NASCAR fans for Christ's sake. They don't give a shit what you believe in - just so long as whatever you believe in ties into a demographic they can leech onto.

The one thing I took away with me from my years in Sunday School as a child that still haunts me to this day: SATAN READ THE BIBLE TOO. He knows how to use it towards his own purposes. So does Karl Rove.

At the end of George Orwell's Animal Farm, the other farm animals realize they can no longer tell the pigs from the humans. Here, it's impossible to distinguish people who honestly believe in *insert random religion here* from those who twist and distort that belief structure for their own unscrupulous purposes.

Except for Rove. He's been pretty damn blatant about it, and the sheep pretend he's not a wolf wearing a sheep costume anyway, because they are lulled by the lies he lies to them so sweetly.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:34 PM on September 7, 2006


yet it seems mr. rove is still a smart guy. he's kept the democrats out of office for a long time.
posted by obeygiant at 7:34 PM on September 7, 2006


"yet it seems mr. rove is still a smart guy. he's kept the democrats out of office for a long time."

Absolutely. I'm not for a second suggesting Rove is dumb. Quite the contrary. I don't even buy that Shrub's dumb. He just plays dumb really well. So did his father. So did Reagan.

The democrats underestimated the Bush administration, and it was at their peril. Brilliant when you think about it. If you're Karl Rove, the president is your front. Like putting up a candy shop to hide whatever you're doing in the backroom. No one would suspect someone as stupid as Bush was playing point for sinister, and smart, bastards like Rove and Cheney.

Well okay. Some of us did, but just barely half the electorate fell for it, and that's all they needed to get the power they wanted.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:44 PM on September 7, 2006


yet it seems mr. rove is still a smart guy. he's kept the democrats out of office for a long time. Millions of Americans are vulnerable to religious confidence scams, because they are desperate in their daily struggle to cope with limited ability. Most people didn't fall for Rove's tricks, merely the one's who couldn't afford to. Sorry I ever called them assholes.
posted by Brian B. at 7:57 PM on September 7, 2006


obeygiant writes "yet it seems mr. rove is still a smart guy. he's kept the democrats out of office for a long time."

I really don't think anyone argued he wasn't smart.
posted by clevershark at 7:58 PM on September 7, 2006


My question: What is Rove's price? I'm sure he has one. How many millions of dollars would it take for him to turn his Machiavellian abilities towards the pursuit of peace and equal rights? Or is the point moot because those who prefer war and hatred always have the most money?
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:17 PM on September 7, 2006



posted by Heywood Mogroot at 8:18 PM on September 7, 2006


Because one of the Republican Party's key elements, and some would figure reason for success, in the last couple elections has been the followership of the 'religious right'. And Karl Rove is the Big Giant Head of the Republican Party. The 'brain' if you will. The thought leader...

Knowing that Rove is an agnostic, or knowing that he's an atheist, doesn't change anything about the dynamics of the alliances that he has made. My impression is that the religious right would keep Rove in their back pocket even if he were caught on videotape sacrificing goats to Baal. He brings the magic voodoo that keeps them in power, or close to power. That's all that matters. Rove is hardly the first political operative in US history to make alliances with strange bedfellows.
posted by blucevalo at 8:20 PM on September 7, 2006


I don't even buy that Shrub's dumb. He just plays dumb really well.

If that guy is just playing dumb, he's the best fucking actor this world has ever seen.
posted by bob sarabia at 8:21 PM on September 7, 2006


What is Rove's price? This is a great question. Can he be bought, or is he motivated by psychology? I tend to think the latter. Hating liberals is an acceptable form of sociopathology in America. The haters are often mildly disturbed people however, typically with latency issues or child abuse. Social reform confronts their well-tended fantasy of normal and they are deeply threatened by any suggestion of change because it confronts their problem. One doesn't need to go very far with Rove to see....
posted by Brian B. at 8:34 PM on September 7, 2006


"Rove has engineered plans to use [...] the anti-gay stance to attract black churchgoers.."
Huh? Is this some focally prejudiced group I've never heard about previously?
posted by peacay at 8:34 PM on September 7, 2006


I don't even buy that Shrub's dumb. He just plays dumb really well.

If that guy is just playing dumb, he's the best fucking actor this world has ever seen.
posted by bob sarabia at 8:21 PM PST


There is a difference between 'playing dumb' to get what you want or handing out large piles of cash to get what you want done done.

Who needs to be bright if you are willing to hand out cash?
posted by rough ashlar at 8:37 PM on September 7, 2006


Huh? Is this some focally prejudiced group I've never heard about previously?

Well, it's a cultural stereotype, so obviously it does not apply to all. But as far as stereotypes go, it's not one that's unheard of. The rather interesting phenomenon of sex on the "down-low" could be seen as a symptom of this.

I grew up around many black Americans and can say that this stereotype isn't completely off-base, and actually reflects a lot of what I experienced. If you're not comfortable hearing this from a white person, here's Kayne West on the subject.
posted by dhammond at 8:46 PM on September 7, 2006


My question: What is Rove's price? I'm sure he has one.
posted by Faint of Butt


It's not money he's after; it's your soul.
posted by leftcoastbob at 9:46 PM on September 7, 2006


Thanks dhammond - I think you phrased that all well. Just my general ignorance.
posted by peacay at 9:51 PM on September 7, 2006


Rove's a smart fascist: he rules from behind the throne.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:54 PM on September 7, 2006


Can I just say that Rove sets off my gaydar so much that I had to unplug it? I know he has a wife, but still... (She's the, um, lady on the left in the photo.)
posted by turducken at 11:28 PM on September 7, 2006


An atheist does not believe in a god.
An agnostic does not believe it matters.

(Note: I am an atheist.)
posted by dgbellak at 11:56 PM on September 7, 2006


LarryC: When we stoop to using a man's religious beliefs to attack him, we have become the enemy.

But that's not what's going on here and you get -1 disingenuous for suggesting it.

I don't care that Rove is agnostic. I'm an atheist, so on that account we're more alike than not.

The problem is that he's cynical, hypocritical, amoral, and he wields enormous power as an unelected public "servant". That's worthy of attack.
posted by oncogenesis at 12:07 AM on September 8, 2006


you get -1 disingenuous for suggesting it

I noticed that too but figured my stupid picture would have a better effect on the convo than actually engaging the idiot.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 12:12 AM on September 8, 2006


An atheist does not believe in a god.
An agnostic does not believe it matters.


This is a slight mischaracterization.

Let's take it from an agnostic's perspective. To an agnostic, atheism is a religion every bit as much as Islam or Christianity.

Agnostics don't believe in anything that cannot demonstrably be proven or disproven. Since one cannot disprove the existence of a god any more than one can prove it, it is not knowable, and is therefore not the basis for belief.

Oh, and Karl Rove is a pig fucker. Apologies to pig fuckers for making that association.
posted by Hypnic jerk at 3:00 AM on September 8, 2006


An agnostic does not believe it matters.

That would be an apathetic agnostic. An agnostic just do not know if there is a god or not.
posted by Eirixon at 5:39 AM on September 8, 2006


Can I just say that Rove sets off my gaydar so much that I had to unplug it? I know he has a wife, but still... (She's the, um, lady on the left in the photo.)
posted by turducken at 2:28 AM EST on September 8 [+] [!]


And maybe he's madly in love with Bushie the cute irascible frat boy and he's content to remain subserviently in the background, ever loving and ever faithful to his he-man silver spoon master.

I think there's a steamy novel in there somewhere.

Rove: George?
Bush: Yes Karl.
Rove: Can I...um..can I kiss you?
Bush: Now Karl we've been through this before...
Rove: But George. (he whines) I am "the architect".
Bush: Turdy Blossom. I am sorry, but as much as I love you...I just don't love you in that way...
Rove: You bastard!! I did everything for you. I WISH I COULD QUIT YOU!!

Etc.
posted by Skygazer at 7:38 AM on September 8, 2006


Rove's actions say this:

There are three things in this world that matter. Money, Power and Loyality. Every predator knows this. *There's a fourth as well, which is FAMILY, and sometimes trumps the other three, but we won't get into that for now as it tends to make things messy.

Loyalty is sometimes know as "friendship" but is mostly defined as giving money and/or power to those useful to you, as you amass more money and power. The circle jerk goes round and round. Trickles sidewas, down and up. There are 3 axises (X,Y,Z) to the flow of power.

Intangibles like political beliefs, country, patriotism, religion, ideals, the constitution, rule of law (only one rule: Don't get caught.), principles (beyond those above) are for the suckers. (i.e., 98% of the people in this world who want to believe in something better). The suckers are yours for the taking, just lie your fucking ass off and never stop. It's you or them and you are the more carnivorious and higher animal.

If you can leverage those tools to leverage the "suckers" you are in-like-flynn as the saying goes, into the higher stratospheres of the American dream. This is what Bush means when he says "liberty" or "Democracy".
posted by Skygazer at 8:02 AM on September 8, 2006


"An atheist does not believe in a god.
An agnostic does not believe it matters."


What about believing in a god who doesn't believe we matter?
posted by ZachsMind at 9:57 AM on September 8, 2006


I think Rove must surely be the most repellent person in American politics in my lifetime.
Were you born after Linda Tripp left the scene? Granted, Rove is much more effective, but Tripp really is a poor excuse for a human.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 9:59 AM on September 8, 2006


(only one rule: Don't get caught.)

But they get caught all the time and they couldn't care less. The more they get caught, the less it matters.
posted by blucevalo at 1:37 PM on September 8, 2006


That's true. I guess it's not so much about "not getting caught", but being able to lie about it and BS/spin your way out of accountability (i.e. "executive privilege" or "unpatriotism" or "Terrorist appeaser" or "disrespect to our proud troops" or "Democratic/liberal weakness" etc.)
posted by Skygazer at 9:02 AM on September 9, 2006


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