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What's missing in Karl Rove's memoir

March 9, 2010 |  8:28 am


Republican strategist Karl Rove inked a reported $1.5-million deal in 2007 to produce his memoir. That book, "Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight" hits the shelves today. Tim Rutten reviews the book in today's paper:

In the extensive news coverage leading up to Tuesday's publication, much has been made of his admissions of tactical error -- failing to push back against charges that the administration misled the country into the Iraqi war; botching the post-Katrina response; predictable score-settling with prominent Democrats. More interesting are the vague and largely unexamined origins of Rove's conservatism. As he tells it, he holds the views he does largely because he grew up in the mountain West, where self-reliance is prized, and because when, as a 10-year-old Denver boy, he put a Richard Nixon sticker on his bike, a little girl down the street whose family supported John F. Kennedy beat the heck out of him....

Rove has produced -- that seems the right word -- a curious memoir, clear in its antipathies and in its constrained but obvious affection for the Bush dynasty, particularly George W. The why of those antagonisms and affections is more obscure. Can it really come down to the geographic accident of birth and a feisty little girl down the street? Perhaps -- or, maybe both are fruits of a largely unexamined life lived entirely within the hothouse of contemporary electoral politics.

Like many political authors, Rove is taking his show on the road. He'll be in Los Angeles on March 29 -- doing a book-signing at Borders in Thousand Oaks and then appearing at the Saban Theater -- those tickets are $45, which includes a copy of his book.

-- Carolyn Kellogg

Photo: Karl Rove, right, with President George W. Bush in 2007. Credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images