Related Posts

Share This

The Controller. From The New Yorker.

Politics is a field with a lot of former practitioners: there is a high failure rate, and success comes tinged with a gnawing nervousness that makes it not worthwhile for everybody. Robert Edgeworth, a Virgil scholar who teaches at Louisiana State University, in Baton Rouge, is in politics purely avocationally these days. Edgeworth is practically a museum-worthy example of what is connoted by the word “professorial”: at fifty-six, he has white hair and parchment skin, he wears tweed, and he speaks with great precision. It’s hard to imagine him as a budding politico, but, then, his most active period ended nearly thirty years ago, when he placed himself in the onrushing path of Karl Rove, President Bush’s chief political adviser. This has never been a smart thing to do, but Edgeworth, as one of the first of many to find that out, had the excuse of not having been as well informed on the subject as people in Washington are now.

The story of Edgeworth and Rove is a well-burnished legend within a very small circle—well burnished enough that just saying “Lake of the Ozarks” is enough to evoke it. The circle is made up of people connected with College Republicans, a group tight enough (it became an independent organization in 1971) that all its significant figures at least know one another’s names. Theirs is a subculture that took form in the mid- to late sixties, at a time when what was officially going on in the United States was a great uprising of rebellious youth and a flowering of liberal politics. The College Republicans were young people who believed that the coming thing was a resurgence of the political right. They felt this so strongly, and loved politics so much, that they devoted a ruthless, all-consuming effort to gaining advantage in a small student organization that today seems a little eccentric. The history of College Republicans is like that of a left-wing group, full of coups and counter-coups and intrigue. And the most College Republican of all College Republicans was Karl Rove.  GET THE REST OF THIS STORY HERE.