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Paul Alexander: How Karl Rove Played Politics While People Drowned

Karl Rove's role in building, running and ruining the most corrupt, inept and politically polarizing presidential administration in U.S. history, is

Karl Rove's role in building, running and ruining the most corrupt, inept and politically polarizing presidential administration in U.S. history, is the stuff of legends. The below excerpts from Paul Alexander's new book, "Machiavelli's Shadow: The Rise And Fall Of Karl Rove", gives a stunning picture of how Rove, within hours of Hurricane Katrina making landfall, put his political machine to work protecting George Bush, his administration and their Republican allies in the Gulf Coast region, by smearing both New Orlenas Mayor, Ray Nagin and Louisiana Governor, Kathleen Blanco.

With Karl Rove neutered and disgraced, Alexander found that people (politicians) directly involved in the disaster were finally willing to speak openly about the immoral, disgraceful and unforgivably political nature of the Bush Administration's handling of one the worst natural disasters ever to strike the United States -- and was widely viewed as a seminal moment in the downward spiral of George Bush, Karl Rove and the Republican party, from which they never recovered. Excerpts from Salon:

On Monday, August 29, 2005, at about 6:00 a.m., Hurricane Katrina slammed into the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama. A category 5 hurricane until just before landfall, it was one of the worst storms ever to hit the Gulf Coast. Kathleen Blanco, the governor of Louisiana, had been briefed extensively about what to expect when the storm hit, which was why, on the Friday night before the storm reached the coast, she signed papers declaring Louisiana to be in a state of emergency. Based on what she had been told by her advisers and what she knew from being a native Louisianan, she understood that Katrina, creeping gradually toward land with sustained winds of a strength rarely seen in a hurricane, could prove to be catastrophic for Louisiana, and particularly for New Orleans.

If Bush had not seen what was taking place by Tuesday, Karl Rove had. The first evidence of Rove's involvement in the Katrina disaster occurred on Tuesday afternoon. "Rove understood what a nightmare this was for the president," Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana says, "so he went into high gear on the spin thing they're so good at in the White House. Rove had David Vitter, the Republican senator from Louisiana. I was at a press conference and David Vitter walked up to the mike and said, 'I just got off the phone with Karl Rove.' I looked at the governor and she looked at me, like, 'Why is David Vitter on the phone with Karl Rove?' I mean, he could have been talking to generals, the president himself, but Rove is just a political hatchet man."

"I could not believe that the president of the United States, staged by Karl Rove himself, had come down to the city of New Orleans and basically put up a stage prop. It was like you had gone to a studio in California and filmed a movie. They put the props up and the minute we were gone they took them down. All the dump trucks were gone. All the Coast Guard people were gone. It was an empty spot with one little crane. It was the saddest thing I have ever seen in my life. At that moment I knew what was going on and I've been a changed woman ever since. It truly changed my life." Read on...

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