For the record, I heartily approve of both of Newsweek's recent pundit hires--Rove and Markos. After all, news outlets dump a lot of money to pay pundits whose predictions turn out to be wrong year after year. So why not hire two guys who at least have contributed historic innovations to elections--the guys who execute campaigns, rather than talk about doing so? Plus, there's a wonderful bit of symmetry here. Rove, direct mail, and the Republican party represent the past. Markos, online, and the Democratic party represent the future. I even love that it pits a fat white guy from Utah against a multicultural guy living in the Bay Area.
So I'm not necessarily gleeful with the news that Time Magazine rejected Rove's advances, at least not because it might validate the opinion that Rove was a poor choice for Newsweek. Rather, I'm curious by the terms by which Time rejected Rove.
For its part, Time magazine said nothing publicly about Rove's arrival at Newsweek, but a well-placed source told me that Bob Barnett (every Washington literati's favorite lawyer, including Bill Clinton) had traveled to the Time-Life building on Sixth Avenue to offer Rove's services before Newsweek snared them. Time's editors apparently felt the cost/benefit analysis wouldn't be in their favor if they embraced the man who has done more than anyone to keep the spirit of Joe McCarthy alive and well in American politics. (Read Joshua Green's definitive profile from the Atlantic in 2004.) "Time thought this wouldn't be like hiring George Stephanopoulos," my source explained. "They think Karl is essentially like an unindicted coconspirator in a whole string of felonies."
Well, yeah, I wonder whether Newsweek has done its due diligence on Rove. After all, it would suck for them if
the Abramoff scandal USA Purge scandal email scandal wholesale politicization of government scandal anything arose to hurt Rove's brand.
But I'm most amused that Time magazine--the company that spent very large chunks of cash to withhold details about Rove's nefarious leaking of Valerie Wilson's name from Patrick Fitzgerald--would call him "an unindicted coconspirator in a whole string of felonies." Time, after all, probably could have swung the election in 2004 (and they thought they could, too), had Matt Cooper simply revealed that Karl Rove leaked Valerie Wilson's identity. ("I've said too much already," Rove said.) That would have saved the American public from at least one out of a string of felonies.
So nice that Time magazine takes this moment to object.