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New at Reason: Is Karl Rove really the Bush Administration's genius? And if so, is he an evil genius or just a regular genius? Two new books explore these questions; John J. Pitney examines the books.

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  1. drf:

    … anytime D&D can be mentioned, that’s a good post!

    Actually, the hat trick would be to mention Martin from the “Simpsons” making a D&D reference (“maximum hit points”) while calling someone an idiotarian who wears a tin-foil hat.

  2. I stopped playing years ago, alas. Anybody ever play 3rd edition? How is it?

    Here’s a character sheet:

    Name: George of the House of Bush
    Race: Human
    Age: (forgot)
    Str: 12
    Con: 17 (he must, given how well he has held up despite drug use 😉
    Dex: 10
    Int: 10
    Wis: 2 (same as any politician, don’t call me partisan)
    Chr: 8

    Armor: Flight Suit
    Weapon: Baseball bat +1

  3. John Hood,

    You’d have to do so after using “[sic]” somewhere in the middle of your quote of their strawman argument.

  4. thoreau

    You forgot class, level, hit points, possessions — come to think of it, didn’t he used to OWN some rangers?

  5. Reminds me of the Onion issue titled “Bill Gates Grants Self 18 Dex, 22 Cha” and featured a filled out character sheet reflecting Bill G’s D&D persona ;).

  6. OK, more of Bush’s character sheet:

    Class: Thief (same as any politician)
    Alignment: Chaotic Evil (same as any politician)
    Level: 14 (more than enough to have followers)
    Hit Points: 70
    AC: 7 (Flight Suit is equivalent to leather armor, but it has a +1 bonus due to special polymer materials)
    THAc0: I don’t have that table memorized anymore.

    Henchmen: Karl Rove (Level 8 Enchanter), Condoleeza Rice (Level 7 thief), Donald Rumsfeld (Level 12 fighter), John Ashcroft (Level 9 cleric), Gail Norton (level 6 Anti-Druid)

    Allegiance: Bush serves many masters. His father is one. Dick Cheney is his most immediate superior most days. He’s also a member of the Skull and Bones secret society, and had gone on many missions for them (acquiring many magic items in the process). He’s frequently employed by various CEO’s. It’s believed that all of them, however, answer to the Lord of The Illuminati, a 27th level Necromancer who uses the public alias “Mick Jagger” (he sure looks like a 27th level necromancer!).

    This is kind of fun…

  7. Nice of you all to come out of the closet.

  8. …who happens to own the Lips of Vec….er, um, forget I said anything

  9. Various body parts of Vecna were believed to be horded in Iraq. The Skull and Bones society needs them to complete their project. The WMD claims were fabricated to conceal the true agenda: Bring the body parts of Vecna to Yale!

    Bush has teams of clerics scouring Iraq right now. They need clerics to defeat the undead guardians of Vecna’s body parts.

    Bush had better watch out. Wesley Clark is actually an elf, which means he can multi-class. He’s a 14th level fighter/12th level wizard, and he’s trying to summon the Tarrasque to defeat Bush in 2004. The Lord of the Illuminati (Keith Richards, I said Mick Jagger by mistake) is refusing to take sides in the Clark vs. Bush battle. Whichever one defeats the other will become Mr. Richards’ most favorite henchman.

  10. All elected politicians are ‘lawful evil’ by definition. Also I suspect that Bush is actually a Thief-assassin.

  11. The problem with politicians being “lawful evil” is that, if I recall correctly, in 2nd edition D&D thieves couldn’t be classified as “lawful.” If you want to classify politicians as “lawful evil” you’ll either have to change their character class to something other than thief or get special permission from your Dungeon Master. I always found it useful to provide pizza for the Dungeon Master 😉

  12. You guys are bringing back a pleasant flood of memories for me… ah, those were the days, with hours and hours scribbling on my player sheet, tossing that dreaded 20-sided dice in mortal combat with my fellow geeks…

    Thanks!

    🙂

    PS I had a chaotic evil dwarf with the eye-of-vecna! He was fun. Bush probably thinks he is a Paladin, but alas, he’s nothing but an orc born with a silver mace in hands… in my opinion.

    PPS Too bad we can’t do an “dis-believe!” regarding the events of the last 2 and half years or so.

  13. An analysis of Bush in Pokemon terms might be more apt. I know I always wind up rolling around on the living room floor and chewing on my tongue when he comes on the TV, anyway.

  14. Karl Rove reminds me of Scott Pritchard in the Kevin Costner movie, “No Way Out”. However, he does a good job — anti bushies have a person to blame, and the reference to the 7% solution is spot on. he’s the Kaiser Souza for real. he’s “The Torch” (Top secret reference). oh yeah!

    it gets tiring hearing this litany that bush is “dumb”. he’s not that good of a public speaker, but he was AMAZING in the days just after 9/11. clinton would have been too busy feeling our pain and our daughters. gore would have found some way to link terror with kyoto.

    Karl Rove is not my favorite, nor is this administration, but the thought of some sort of dark evil genius (hyped by dems and reps) who manipulated this whole thing is silly. The line from the article: “It?s hard to assess just how much Rove has guided the policies and strategies of the administration, since Bush is running a notably leak-free operation. White House aides and Republican operatives feel a genuine loyalty to the president, so they seldom talk out of turn to the press” is spot on.

    good article!

    drf

  15. Karl Rove is a first class campaign strategist who understands the nature and value of image in electoral politics. That does not mean he never makes mistakes on the campaign trail — he made some beauts in the closing weeks of the 2000 campaign — but George Bush would not be President without him.

    Here’s the problem: campaigning and governing are two different things. Rove, who I will grant has a greater interest in policy substance than others in his trade, appears to dominate domestic policymaking in the Bush White House. This effectively means that there is not much domestic policymaking in the Bush White House, because new initiatives entail political risk and also because initiatives that need sustained advocacy cannot get it from upper echlons at the White House but only from the Cabinet departments Rove has shut out of policymaking.

    The worm turns for Rove in foreign affairs and military issues, where he can only influence how the administration responds to the reaction its policies provoke — he appears to have but little influence in how those policies are made. His dominant role in domestic policy making means he gets blamed for things he had nothing to do with.

    In the end Rove’s standing with Bush rests on his ability to secure Bush’s successive election victories. No one pretends that the 2004 election is not Rove’s focus now. As a matter of propriety the President’s campaign manager should not have a policy role, or a White House office, at all, but Bush is so dependent on Rove that his removal from a role he does not belong in and does not fill particularly well is out of the question.

  16. As has been said, facility with language is not the same thing as intelligence. I don’t go for the Howard Gardner multiple-intelligences nonsense, as it takes a useful concept way too far and essentially “de-limits the limit,” but surely someone can be an effective decisionmaker and leader without being able to banter with tele-bimbos, recall names expressed in unfamiliar languages, or micro-manage the White House calendar. My experience with both politicians and folks in private life is that you often don’t want the “clever” ones actually making critical policy or hiring decisions.

    Bush is clearly an intelligent man, though a flawed one and clearly mistaken on some important issues. Critics who call him stupid or worse simply disagree with him and don’t consider it enought to explain why. This is playground behavior — which was, as I recall, quite fun when I was a child.

    And I’m just talking about intelligence, not wisdom. As with so many other life lessons, Dungeons & Dragons clarified these matters many years ago by distinguishing intelligence from wisdom and charisma in creating a character.

  17. … anytime D&D can be mentioned, that’s a good post!

    kudos!

    drf

  18. thoreau,

    It’s been a while, but I seem to recall that thieves could not be lawful good in 2nd ed. Lawful neutral and lawful evil are OK (think mafia).

    Personally, I think the Dems (rank & file) are true neutral (leaning evil). The Reps are lawful neutral (also leaning evil). The idealogues of each are lawful evil. All want to think they are lawful good, except the actual politicians, who know better…

    Libertarians, I think, are chaotic neutral (the same alignment associated with the insane, not so coincidentally!:-). They think they are chaotic good.

    I always felt the ideal alignment was neutral good.

    Incidentally, I note that we’re both science and D&D geeks, and yet we are both married. Can you imagine the odds on a thing like that? The intersection of those two sets is surely minute!

  19. Mark A.-

    There are two very good reasons why I’m a science and D&D geek with a wife.

    1) I haven’t played D&D since 1996 or early 1997.

    2) I’m an average scientist by the standards of my lab. Nothing special. (But I’m also the happiest person in my lab, I’d say.)

  20. I pissed away my whole senior year of H.S. playing AD&D. Played a monk all the way up to 10th level, before getting wasted in personal combat with anti-mage. Still get together with the same group of dweebs, albeit for other reasons, now. Good times.

  21. EMAIL: draime_2000@yahoo.com
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    DATE: 01/25/2004 06:21:54
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