My Photo

Welcome to Mannionville

  • Politics, art, movies, television, books, parenting, home repair, caffeine addiction---you name it, we blog it. Since 2004. Call for free estimate.

The Tip Jar

  • Please help keep this blog running strong with your donation

Help Save the Post Office: My snail mail address

  • Lance Mannion
    109 Third St.
    Wallkill, NY 12589

Save a Blogger From Begging...Buy Stuff

The one, the only

Sister Site

« A word to the wise | Main | Shallow theatrics »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.


Rove is the Wicked Witch of the West Wing and Patrick Fitzgerald is Glinda who will remind us how to get back home. We knew all along, we were just distracted by all of the smoke and mirrors. If we are lucky, we'll all get to watch as the White House comes falling down on Rove and we'll see his little, angry, toddler toes curl up and disappear.

Lance... yet another satisfying post.

Anne Laurie

Another great essay, Lance. Only one thing to add: I think you missed a third strand in the braid that is Karl Rove's much-proclaimed "genius", and that is his grasp of the ugly fact that many people just love Mean. Taking candy from babies, torturing smaller kids, hurting people who can't fight back -- once young Rove realized that quite a few people enjoyed watching such ugliness happen (even if they didn't have the guts, or the lack of shame, to commit Ugly themselves), he had a blueprint for his entire political career. I'd argue that a good chunk of Rove's fan base, both inside and out of the Beltway Mindmeld, are the people who've made Quentin Tarantino movies blockbusters and the amped-up explicitness of the CSI-type victim-in-jeopardy series into "must-see tv". Remember, the schoolyard bully always has a coterie of followers, coat-holders, and cheerleaders. Of course, those followers are quick to desert their Fearless Leader once the grownups catch him in action -- and I fully expect Rove's least inhibited cheerleaders, the drunken College Republicans & the wingnut trolls, to evaporate just as soon as Fitzgerald and the grand jury shine the light on some of Rove's extra-legal "genius".

Bill Altreuter

Rove may seem like a genius because the people who are making that assesment are such dim bulbs themselves. Who calls Rove a genius? Other politicians, and journalists. I hate to say it, but we all know it's true-- politicians are not usually all that bright. This particular Congress, for example, bought into all that smoke and jive about Iraq posessing weapons of mass distruction. It was a transparent lie, and anyone who was paying any attention could see it for swhat it was, and they bought it. Part of the problem is that professional Washington is in denial about what this bunch is really up to-- even if they disagree on matters of substance, they don't want to admit that the other guys are really operating in bad faith. Professional Washington doesn't want to admit that Karl Rove stole the election in 2000 because it discredits the process, and the process is what has elivated the lot of them to the exaulted position that they each enjoy.

Think about it for a moment. How many actually intelligent people can you name in Washington today? There are some, of course, but if you can name as many as five Senators that you think are actually smart people, I'd be impressed. This is the fruit of representative democracy, I'm afraid. As Harvey Peckar once said, "Average? Average is stupid."

Journalists are even worse, because their fawning compounds their stupidity. Tim Russert, to cite an example of someone lauded for his intelligence, is about as bright as a typical high school social studies teacher. Being described as a genius by the likes of someone like Russert is, I suspect, really damning with faint praise to someone who is actually intelligent.

Do I think I'm smarter than these people? Well, yes, I do. Do I think I'm a genius? I certainly do not, but I am smart enough to recognize real intellignece when I see it. I'm lucky because I do get to see it fairly often. There are a fair number of really smart people in my glamour profession, and I have had occassion to represent some really smart people, and I've had classes from some, over the years. Smart is rare, and part of the problem with our system of government is that it is populated by people who equate "smart" with "getting elected". They are not at all the same thing


There are a lot of these so-called eminence grise types throughout history, of course. Mark Hanna, Jesse Unruh, maybe even Harry Hopkins. Rove is supposed to be the second coming of Lee Atwater. Atwater rode on the tail of Richard Viguerle's direct mail success (also how Rove got started). And that's just American politics in the past century or so.

It's a theme in literature, too. L. Frank Baum got the idea for the Wizard from somewhere (maybe Hanna, for all I know; they were contemporaries).

How the heck do you think so clearly so early in the day, Lance? ;)


Lance is a morning person. He posts at dawn. I post at midnight. And that was not a mized metaphor if you are talking about the game of polo.


Actually, I wrote in one of the recent posts that the Miers nomination is one of the first things taht Bush did on his own, with no advice from anyone.

mac macgillicuddy

Bill has already made one of the points I was going to point out -- that everyone looks like a genius to people who aren't that smart.

But there's another dynamic at work here that I think is also worth pointing out, and if you've ever been in a corporate HQ-type job, you'll probably recognize it. I call it the hi-po bully.

"Hi-po" for those readers fortunate enough never to be exposed to the ridiculous term, is short for high potential. It's a human resources (they used to call themselves personnnel, until they took over) term.

There is an uncanny phenomenon that whenever one of these bullies leaves a room, everyone will start talking to one another about how smart he or she is. That's because they don't want to be in that person's cross-hairs -- ever. The hi-po bully will turn on anyone, and make grist out of anyone in order to get his or her next job, which is always the next level up. No one wants to get in this person's way, for fear that the consequence will be losing their own job. Group think says that the best tactic is to heap praise on the hi-po bully when he's not in the room in the hopes that the rumor mill will spin it back to him. For whatever genius these people lack, they do make it up in vanity.

And this corporate dynamic can easily be attributed to D.C. these days.


The hi-po bully syndrome in corporate America sounds like nothing more than school bullying for the adult set. For that matter, Rove has always seemed like nothing more than a school bully who keeps people on his side by using the fear that he will turn against them. My oldest daughter (9) told me the other day that she lied when asked if she liked the girl who was the bully in her class. She said she knew it was wrong to lie, but she knew there would be hell to pay if she said no...


The hi-po denotation from Human Resources seems pretty useful in this case, but I think there is an addition of sycophantic personality types reacting in the "Wow! That's Genius" way. The hi-po reminds me of what my wife used to call the "food corp exec" when we both worked in food service industry while going through college. "Food corp exec" meant the type of person who slavishly guards all of the highly specific regulations as if the next promotion in his (and rarely her) future would put them on the executive board. The difference I'm guessing between the food corp exec and a hi-po is probably relative social standing. In a dying franchise on the edge of civilization, a pimply kid who refuses, on principle, the extra side of barbecue sauce to a little old lady is just an @$$-hole, even for coworkers predisposed toward officiousness. Add a little social standing, some chubby-ness, rosy red cheeks and you get Santa Claus. Add an inhuman thirst for vengeance and you get Rove.

Ultimately, however, I think a good portion of people when faced with Rove's thuggish "genius" wouldn't consider it as such. Unfortunately, most of those types seem to prefer posting on this board instead of joining the press corps. Power and sycophancy bond together in an unctuous grease of mutual admiration. And a lot of people who would be the "I'm sorry Tim but Rove is just a Recreant Brute" check on this circle by self-selection refused to make the kind of concessions of soul necessary to get the job where they hold back the sycophants to the detriment of the Roves.


you're always a pleasure to read, lance, when
the bastards get you stirred up. nicely done.

one thing that is never truly explored in the msm
is that rove is truly a scumbag. i think right about now is a good time to revisit rove's dirty-tricks history. i believe joshua green had a long article about them about a year ago- the one that sticks in my mind is a case where rove started a whispering campaign that an opponent was a pederast. of course, untrue, and of course the opponent was toast.

whenever these scroundrels try to wrap themselves up in the bible, we should call them
up on their sins. genius, indeed!

cali dem

Rove is not a genuis. He's not even an "evil genius." He's just a dirty trickster who has taken advantage of certain changes in our society and who has also been lucky.

Maybe this 'genius' business is about building him up so it's more interesting when he falls.

Tell you who's smart, though, name rhymes with France Companion.

The Heretik

Karl Rove? Eminence grease.


Heretik: ROFLMAO.

Lance: superb post, as usual. I had been lazily talking about Rove's expertise myself, but a willingness to go lower than anyone else doesn't constitute genius.


Rove has actually been quite brilliant at (1) seeing the stress points in the Democratic coalition and (2) exploiting them. Now granted, Kerry is and was an incompetent candidate and I barely managed to make myself vote for him... but consider just how much more inept Bush is and realize that Rove still managed to get him both elected and reelected. I'd say that is brilliant -- taking a man as unexceptional and incompetent as Bush and getting him reelected after he demonstrated said traits to the world is a work of genious.


harry near indy


regarding the washington news media, it reminds me of what's been called the court hermaphrodite -- a lacky/suck up/tuchus lecher/brown nose/bootlicker/sycophant.

the court hermaphrodite is either at your feet or at your throat.

i got this insight from a book entitled sexual personae. by c@mille p@gli@.

at first, i was hesitant to post her name or any insight from her, considering some of her other comments, but after reading 1thedamned's comment ... hey, it's not that radical.

The comments to this entry are closed.

Data Analysis

  • Data Analysis


April 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
        1 2 3
4 5 6 7 8 9 10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17
18 19 20 21 22 23 24
25 26 27 28 29 30  

Movies, Music, Books, Kindles, and more

For All Your Laundry Needs

In Case of Typepad Emergency Break Glass

Be Smart, Buy Books

Blog powered by Typepad