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   Party Unfaithful: The Republican implosion

NEWS INFORMATION

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Parent

News Date

5/30/2007 9:00 am

Author

Media

New Yorker

Category

Analysis

Database Record

Entered 5/30/2007, Updated 5/30/2007

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The West Wing of the White House tends to have a funereal stillness, even in the best of times, which these are not. The President’s aides walk the narrow corridors with pensive expressions and vigilantly modulated voices. By contrast, Karl Rove’s office has an almost party atmosphere. Rove, the President’s chief political adviser—the “architect,” Bush has called him, of his 2004 victory over John Kerry—has been a man of constant troubles: Valerie Plame troubles, U.S. Attorney-firing troubles, and, most of all, collapse-of-the-Republican Party troubles. Yet his voice is suffused with bonhomie, his jokes are bad and frequent, his enthusiasm is communicable; he resembles an oversized leprechaun, although one with unconcealed resentments and a receding hairline. “Hey, what’s Snow doing here?” Rove said one recent afternoon. “Must be important, if he’s visiting us.” Tony Snow, the White House press secretary, stood in Rove’s outer office, bent over in conversation with one of several assistants. “Uh-oh, here’s the big gun,” Rove said as Peter Wehner, the White House director of strategic initiatives, came into the office. Wehner, an evangelical Christian, is known in Washington for a relentless stream of e-mails that praise George W. Bush’s allies (“The Remarkable Anthony Charles Lynton Blair,” “The Remarkable Joseph Lieberman”); that glean from the Internet any cheerful news from Iraq; and that provide links to articles by writers like the Middle East scholar Fouad Ajami and the untiring neoconservative Norman Podhoretz. As we talked, Rove would bounce up from his chair, twice making a show of going to the dictionary to look up words. (One was “sanguinity,” as in “I’m very sanguine” about the Republican Party’s future.)


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