Karl Rove, fair weather friend

9/11, 4:51p: Karl Rove is denying he advised Komen’s Nancy Brinker to reinstate funding to Planned Parenthood. He told The Daily Caller that Karen Handel’s portrayal is “not accurate” but wouldn’t elaborate.

9/10, 2:36p: I have received assurances from a source close to him that Karl Rove is pro-life.

Many may have already assumed this, since Rove worked a heartbeat away from the most pro-active pro-life president our country has seen since President Reagan, although those sleeping a heartbeat away from both, Laura Bush and Nancy Reagan, were pro-abortion. So osmosis is no guarantee.

But Rove did speak at the National Right to Life Convention in 2008, which gave him street cred.

That said, at best Karl Rove is a fair weather friend.

Before I get to Todd Akin and Caroline Kennedy, I want to quote from Karen Handel’s book, Planned Bullyhood, scheduled for release tomorrow.

Backdrop: Susan G. Komen for the Cure CEO Nancy Brinker (pictured right) had decided to cave to Planned Parenthood’s demand that it reinstate grants, and Handel was Komen’s Senior Vice President of Public Policy…

I just said, “You don’t have to apologize to me. But I have to say again that it is a huge mistake. Wait through the weekend. It’s Super Bowl weekend. We know there are op-eds teed up about how outrageous Planned Parenthood is being, that private organizations have the right to make the decisions they believe are best. If we blink now, it’s over and no one will know that Komen stands for,” I implored.

Nancy’s reply stunned me. “Karen, I’ve talked to a lot of people. And even Karl says we have to backtrack. There’s just no other way.”

“Karl? Who’s Karl?”

She looked at me strangely as if I should know exactly who she was talking about. She said, “Karl Rove!”

I started laughing. Just when I thought things could not get more bizarre. What in the world did Karl Rove have to do with anything?

Indeed, Karl Rove gave bad advice. Not only was he instrumental in a decision that left Komen with zero friends rather than one, he demonstrated a total lack of understanding as to why Komen decided to break with Planned Parenthood as well as a lack of understanding of the enemy itself. And business ethics be damned. Rove showed he has a politically calculated hair trigger on controversy surrounding the abortion issue, and he aims his gun at us.

Flash forward to the Todd Akin (pictured right) controversy, when Rove gave the very same advice:

As a result this is a mistake from which, in my opinion, he cannot recover…. This race is over unless he gets out….. Look, it’s not gonna do Todd Akin any good to lose by the biggest margin that any Republican senate candidate has lost in modern history…. It’s better for the cause that he believes in and the values that he’s espoused if he gets out….

Granted, the scenarios were different, but in both cases Rove showed the same impulse, which was to turn against pro-lifers and toward the path of least political resistance, which in both cases played into the hands of abortion proponents.

How much animus does Rove feel toward Akin? He has since apologized but said, quoting CNN on August 31:

“We should sink Todd Akin. If he’s found mysteriously murdered, don’t look for my whereabouts,” Rove said Thursday at a private fundraiser, according to a Businessweek reporter who was not supposed to be there.

Finally, to Caroline Kennedy. From NewsMax.com, September 7:

Republican political strategist Karl Rove Thursday accused Caroline Kennedy of mounting a direct attack on the Catholic Church over abortion in her speech to the Democratic National Convention, in which she declared: “As a Catholic woman, I take reproductive rights seriously, and today they are under attack.”…

No one is seriously talking about ending abortion,” Rove declared. “What [Republicans] are talking about is the administration’s effort to expand the realm of choice by – for example, requiring churches to provide contraceptive coverage to their employees – regardless of the fact that it violates the deeply most-held tenets of that faith.”

Excuse me, really? Rove hangs with the movers and shakers of the Republican Party. Is that what they think? Are pro-lifers being duped? Why in the world are pro-lifers supporting the Romney/Ryan ticket if not to work toward ending abortion? As recently as yesterday Romney said he wanted Roe overturned.

As reader Tyler wrote in an email:

It seems Mr. Rove has set the GOP agenda on life issues by himself.  His position doesn’t even reflect the GOP’s platform position.  The only two reasons I can think of why he is said this is either 1) he is pro-life but feels it is political expedient for the GOP to deny the pro-life position; or 2) he is not pro-life and this is his own position.

However, I can’t see how either of these scenarios helps the pro-life cause politically, morally, or culturally.  If Rove is pro-life, it makes pro-lifers look sneaky and underhanded, and I don’t know how that is going to win people over to the pro-life position.  It sure takes away the possibility of having a pro-life political mandate and undermines the GOP’s platform position.

I like Rove as a pundit but think he is only pro-life as long as it is convenient.

[Top photo via CNN]

50 thoughts on “Karl Rove, fair weather friend”

  1. To paraphrase from Margaret Thatcher:  “Don’t go wobbly on me now, Karl!”
    He appears to be a pol first, a true believer second. Like a wheat stalk, he bends with the wind (polls). He’s a follower, not a leader.


  2. Hans nailed it.  Political opportunist. 

    And I’ve felt that way about him since I first heard of him.


  3. Hey, thanks for the quote.

    I sure hope Mr. Rove decides to fight more often for his publicly stated prolife position and decides to fund Mr. Akin’s campaign.  I am surprised that few liberal reporters have ever called him on his lukewarm support of the prolife cause. 


  4. Huh, I didn’t know Nancy Reagan supports legal abortion.  But I guess that would make sense, given that she backed destroying embryonic humans for their stem cells (for research that would have had no chance of saving her husband, or others with his condition).


  5. Rove is hired to get people elected.  Perhaps this is the reason the GOP is really kind of pro-life in name only.  I mean, why isn’t Santorum our nominee.

    It’s like us pro-lifers are too many in number to ignore but really thought to be those that can’t be elected. 


  6. There are pro lifers and pro choicers on both sides of the aisle so they start in by trying to confuse the voters.


  7. The problem is Rove is a numbers guy, not a hearts and minds guy. Great for running a campaign, not advancing a movement. You have to pick and win your short-term battles and focus on your long term objectives, not focus everything on winning the small battles or just focusing on your end-game and forgetting about the daily issues. Don’t trust a pollster to be a leader.


  8. As far as his Komen advice, he was too-focused on the short-term. The pro-aborts gleefully delight in throwing Komen under the bus, and the prolifers have been skeptical for years. Instead of advocating that they just pick a side with some positive potential, they vacillated and now have both sides mad at them and totally gave PP the win. Had they stuck to their guns they would have recovered and probably been better-off in the long-term. What, was the NFL going to stop wearing pink on Sunday’s at the behest of Richards?


  9. I mean no disrespect by this comment but who would’ve thought that Mitt Romney would hava a stronger public prolife position than Karl Rove.  Mitt Romeny handled himself quite well on Meet the Press.   Even when Mr. Gregory tried to push Mitt’s buttons by using the word “fight” is his question. 

    I would like our pro-life politician to show at little disgust at the lack of awareness these reporters have about the fact that they are talking about human life.  These reporters are so clinically detached it is frightening to watch.  Mitt’s response that he is aware that there are two lives involved is spot on.   I have to give a low five to Mitt Romney!


  10. I had always thought that Karl Rove had a primary dysfunction of the gonads, given his advice to President Bush and the republican party establishment.  With  this synopsis, Jill has effectively illuminated the problem, and pro-life bloggers need to pass it on.
    Mitt Romney will say what needs to be said, because he can’t get elected without the pro-life vote.  His record and his speech are spotty on the issue.
    Pro-lifers will have to support Romney just to get Obama out.  Absent  a massive conversion on Mitt’s part, conservatives should still be casting about for his replacement, and be able to supply a strong primary opponent in 2016, or a third party opponent, depending on the response of the republican establishment.
    The Tea-Party needs to repeatedly demonstrate to the RINO’s  that they are no longer needed.  One effective means of accomplishing this is helping Todd Akin beat Claire McCaskill.   This is worthwhile for every member of the grass roots, whether or not they are big on the abortion issue. The establishment has been dissing the Tea-Party since the beginning.   All of us would benefit from the retirement of Karl Rove and his ilk. 


  11. Thank you Jill Stanek for the informative piece on Karl Rove. I think it typifies the thinking and action of many powerful and/or rich people in and out of politics. It is another reason that for many years I have given my limited funds either directly to politicians who I think do have some genuine moral convictions in their public stands and private lives; or I donate to organizations with the same qaulifications.

    I have long believed that we are in not only a great political battle, but that the battle is also cultural and spiritual.


  12. Hi all, haven’t been over here for the last 10 days. My non-human parasite passed through my magical personhood-bestowing birth canal and became a human. :) I wasn’t up to reading about abortion for a bit (may not be here much for a bit longer) wanted to say hi and let you all know my unexpected pregnancy ended on Aug 31st with a healthy 9lb 8oz girl named Alexandra. Everyone is doing wonderfully. :)


  13. Just to be clear, I hadn’t seen Lrning’s comment when I typed mine, or else I would have come up with something more unique. :) 


  14. I’m afraid that on judgment day, we’re going to find out that many of the Republican pro-lifers who kept increasing funding for planned parenthood, kept defending the killing of some kids, etc., were given a false sense of (eternal) security by pro-lifers who affirmed them, when in reality, we should have been warning them and pleading with them to stop supporting the killing of thousands of innocent kids a year. God doesn’t look kindly on those who support the killing of children, even if they’re Republicans.


  15. Why in the world are pro-lifers supporting the Romney/Ryan ticket if not to work toward ending abortion?
    I’m pretty sure it’s because you believe that Obama is the worstest president in the history of forever who will use his second term to kill all the babies and old people he can between bouts of imprisoning the clergy and forcing your children into reeducation camps, and you believe that Romney and Ryan won’t do that.


  16. Yay Jespren.  Welcome Baby Girl Alexandra!  

    Little girls are the sweetest.  My little girl just called me; she’s in her first month of college and she grew up so fast!

    I wish people would see their children for the wonderful blessings they are — from conception on. 


  17. Jill you would have more credibility if you were not trying to advance “pro-life” incremental laws that end with the words “and then you can kill the baby” and if you didn’t endorse the founding father of the $50 co-pay elective surgical abortion, Mitt Romney. You have zero crediblity in my book. Take a look in the mirrow Jill. You and Karl are not that much different…


  18. I’m pretty sure it’s because you believe that Obama is the worstest president in the history of forever who will use his second term to kill all the babies and old people he can between bouts of imprisoning the clergy and forcing your children into reeducation camps, and you believe that Romney and Ryan won’t do that.

    Making strawman arguments would be out of character for you, LY112…


  19. Greg Jackson.  Are you also against the 65 mph speed limit because it doesn’t stop all highway traffic deaths? 


  20. No I hadn’t Bob.  Thanks for pointing it out to me.  The hostage taker is a better analogy than the speed limit. But rather than saving one by agreeing to kill another; I would say you are saving one and the kidnappers are killing the other.


  21. Karl Rove is , and always has been, an oily, opportunistic snake.  He is no friend of Christian, social Conservatives…he sees us as wingnuts and rubes (has made reported comments to the point).  He is literal wormtongue…give him NO support.


  22. Congratulations, Jespren! Tell Alexandra I said: welcome to the club of Little Girls With Big Names! 


  23. Not a good analogy, Jill. By supporting speed limits, I am not consenting to the intentional murder of tiny babies in the womb. When u support laws that end with the words “then you can kill the baby” you are consenting to their murders by abandoning the fundamental principle that all pre-born babies possess a God given right to their lives from the very moment they become living human persons….at conception. Personhood is the best way to end the silent genocide because it doesn’t compromise that core principle. When u abandon the fundamental premise of any argument, u have already lost. We as pro-lifers must never consent to the intentional murder of even one innocent baby. Nor should we support politicians like Romney who do.


  24. Thanks for the well-wishes all. :)
    Alexandra: yep, especially since she has 2 middle names! We’re calling her ‘Xandra so it’s marginably shorter.


  25. Gregg, the year is 2012 not 1972.  You do know that Roe v. Wade is the law of the US land, don’t you?


  26. Kenthebirther, that was an excellent video link – what a sentence!

    That video derserves a thread all to itself.


  27. Southern Beale, though that is (most likely) the case, the Democrats are playing the entire American Public, including pro-choicers.  One day abortion will be mandated by the Democrats, and it will no longer be choice.  Then I would like to hear you play your pipe. 


  28. Southern Beal,

    for whom doth the beal troll?

    If you are a politcal mercenary who’s primary, perhaps sole, objective is to win elections then an issue is only valueable as long as it is perceived as contributing to winning.

    ‘Truth’ becomes at best a secondary consideration and is only seen as valueable so long as it is percieved as contrbuting to victory.

    The only people more ruthless than liberal humanists is conservative secular humanists who only see ‘religion’ as valueable as a tool to manipulate the ‘religious’.

    They will persecute, prosecute, torture and murder the faithful and do it in the name of their ‘god’, whomever and/or whatever that may be.

    If your faith is in your ‘religion’, rather than in a relationship with the GOD who gives you life and breath, then at best you may have a form of godliness, but it in the fiery furnace, it will fail you because. it lacks the power of HIS love, which produces and activates ‘faith’. 


  29. Karl Rove is just one guy. An influential guy with powerful friends, but just one guy. The pro-life plank of the Republican Party has minders assigned to it, to make sure it stays in the platform, completely undiluted by daily considerations. The minders of that plank are true pro-life believers who are not shy about making their case.


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