When California Dreamin' Turns Bad

Karl Rove's primary strategy backfired, but he remains undeterred

When Karl Rove hatched the plan, it looked like the sort of deft political move that led George W. Bush to dub him "Boy Genius." Last year the President's political strategist recruited Los Angeles' popular outgoing mayor, Richard Riordan, to run for Governor against the vulnerable Demo-cratic incumbent, Gray Davis--and Rove seemed to be taking the first step toward remaking the moribund California G.O.P. in Bush's image. But Riordan's spectacular defeat in last week's Republican primary suggests that what passes for genius in Washington can look too clever by half anywhere else.

That may explain why Bush's other nickname for Rove...

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