Friday, September 17, 2004

San Francisco Chronicle : "Bush's Brain" review

'Bush's Brain'

Documentary. Directed by Joseph Mealey and Michael Paradies Shoob. (Rated PG-13. 80 minutes. At the Lumiere.).

In a sign of how much power Karl Rove has, some political observers cite him as "co-president" of the United States. Compared to Dick Cheney, Condoleezza Rice and others who were with George W. Bush from the start of his first presidential campaign, Rove is a virtual unknown, but "Bush's Brain" will rectify that -- much to Rove's displeasure.

The film is a damning look at a key Bush operative who has the title of political adviser. Based on the best-selling book of the same name, the documentary features interviews with people whom Rove has victimized politically, journalists (including "Bush's Brain" authors James Moore and Wayne Slater) who speculate about Rove's tactics, and a smattering of Republicans who support the filmmakers' thesis that Rove has a 30-year pattern of using dirty tricks, lies and almost anything else to win political races.

In 1970, Rove stole campaign letterhead from the office of a Democrat running for Illinois state treasurer, printed up bogus invitations advertising "free beer, free food, girls and a good time for nothing," passed them out on Chicago's Skid Row and then watched as hundreds of people flocked to the candidate's new headquarters' open house. A fraternity-like prank, perhaps, but three years later, Rove exhibited more questionable behavior, according to Robert Edgeworth, a Louisiana State University professor of classics who was Rove's 1973 rival for the chairmanship of the College Republicans. Edgeworth says Rove "robbed" him of that position with such tactics as persistently questioning the credentials of Edgeworth's convention supporters. In 1973, George Herbert Walker Bush, then head of the Republican National Committee, investigated the controversy, exonerated Rove and then hired him to a full- time job at the RNC.

(click on the title for the whole article)


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