Friday, January 5, 2007


In the five years my family has lived in a quiet corner of northwest Washington, our neighbors have included the secretary of homeland security, the executive editor of The Washington Post, the junior senator from Texas, a former White House chief of staff, the ambassador to the United Nations, and the general counsel of the Federal Communications Commission. But, as far as I know, only one of them has ever carried our newspapers up the 34 steps from the driveway to our front porch when we were away on vacation and forgot to stop delivery. His name is Karl Rove. And I know that he did so only because he made it his business to tell me.

"You have the second-most-expensive house on the block after Don Riegle," he said in an adenoidal bellow when he called me once about a story I was reporting, "and you can't pick up your own papers?" I have no idea whether this claim is true, or whether Rove came to his view by consulting tax records, real-estate listings, or simply his gut. But, in a single sentence, he marked me as a limousine liberal, associated me with a former senator caught up in an influence-peddling scandal, and suggested that I was a sloppy householder. It was friendly. Funny. But the unmistakable effect was to assert control: of the conversation, the situation, and me.

- Todd S. Purdum, in the December 2006 Vanity Fair article, Karl Rove's Split Personality

adenoidal (adj) - pinched, nasal (sounding as if the nose were pinched) "a whining nasal voice"

definition from Princeton's WordNet.

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