Karl Rove says families should be off limits in politics
Karl Rove thinks the families of public figures should be off limits from the nasty, maligning, ad hominem attacks of election politics.
On an NBC Today show appearance to promote his new book, “Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight”, Rove was asked about reports that his adoptive father, Louis, was gay.
Some critics have gone so far as to speculate that a gay father might help explain his parents’ divorce, his mother’s suicide and even his opposition to gay marriage. But Rove wants to “set the record straight” in the book, which is due for release on Tuesday.
“This was a political attack on me, that in order to get to me, people had to say ugly things about my parents. I don’t know whether my father was, at the end of his life, gay or not. I just don’t. I don’t think so, but I don’t know,” he told NBC.
“My mother never said to us that their marriage fell apart because my father was gay. So, the journalists who say, ‘Well obviously he was gay and Karl had to know that and this is why she committed suicide,’ they don’t know what they’re talking about.”
“Our view on political issues, on issues of public policy, can and should be divorced from our families. And our families shouldn’t be used as convenient targets to shoot at in order to get at people in politics,” Rove said.
That may sound ironic to people connected with John McCain’s 2000 run for the White House. They blame Rove for the famous South Carolina whisper campaign that sought to undermine their candidate in a key Republican primary battle against George W. Bush by implying McCain had fathered an illegitimate black child. The senator and his wife, Cindy, had in fact adopted a girl from Bangladesh.
Rove denies any involvement in the smear, saying the rumor was started by a professor at Bob Jones University, a private fundamentalist Christian school and conservative political powerhouse.
Despite his denials, Rove isn’t out of the woods. As NBC points out, former Bush speech writer Matt Latimer says in his own book, “Speech-less: Tales of a White House Survivor,” that Rove is in fact a calculating political operator, though one with considerable shortcomings.
“He was what all the liberals said he was: the villain. And to make matters worse, a clumsy one at that. He employed ham-handed tactics, put forward obviously unqualified subordinates and stubbornly defended them. He turned out to be less a Voldemort than a Boris Badenov chasing Rocky and Bullwinkle,” Latimer wrote.
Rove’s response? “Well, I do like Rocky and Bullwinkle.”
Photo credits: Reuters/Robert Giroux (Rove); Reuters/Win McNamee (McCain with wife Cindy and daughter Bridget); Reuters/Jeff Christensen (Rocky and Bullwinkle flyover at Macy’s Thanksgiving day parade)
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