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Big stains in 'Bush's Brain'

By Djamila Noelle Grossman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, October 21, 2004
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Anti–Bush movies grow like mushrooms out of cow manure these days. And we should be pretty thankful for that. When the print media is unable to fan the fire, it becomes even more important to sprawl different political opinions in order to get some facts among the voters.

Joseph Mealey and Michael Shoob, the directors of "Bush's Brain," crammed their movie with evil truths about George W. Bush's political adviser, Karl Rove. Strung together in chronological order are video clips of Rove, spiced up by interviews with Dallas Morning News senior political reporter Wayne Slater and TV correspondent James C. Moore. Other journalists, media correspondents and politicians who obviously don't like Rove have nice little anecdotes telling of their encounter with the man behind Bush, or the "co- president," as the directors like to call him.

Rove, who was an active member of the College Republicans, was so occupied with his political career that he couldn't finish college.

Bush's Brain

6 out of 10

TLA Releasing
Rated: PG-13
80 min.
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In fact Robert Edgeworth, a fellow College Republican back then, says in the movie that Rove "would sometimes do things that weren't necessarily illegal but were questionable," such as sneaking into the office of a Democrat and stealing copies of the guy's speech for the next day.

Such as bugging his own office to get publicity before a 1986 election.

Such as having a so-called "whisper campaign" against John McCain in 2000, accusing him of fathering an illegitimate black child.

Bush hired Rove as a political consultant when he ran for governor in Texas. According to the film, Bush didn't have a clue about the job, so Rove assisted him and brought him all the way to the top.

"Bush's Brain" implies Rove's strategies to be often close to illegal. One interviewee in the movie says, "There is no rule he won't break."

The film claims that Rove's current influence lies in the image George Bush has at the moment. For example, Rove created the "I'm a war president" line, which uses war as a political instrument. Many interviewees say that Rove wanted the war in Iraq when Bush got into office, so he found the connection to Osama bin Laden that the CIA couldn't.

I guess the book would be much more interesting to read since the movie, despite its many interviews and news clips, is poorly assembled. Some shots could be taken out of an '80s crime movie, and the camera was not able to capture interesting images. They made sure the face of the interviewee was visible, not caring about the composition of the shot.

Also, the contents were crammed into a limited amount of time. Therefore it was often confusing and hard to follow. It just seemed like a disorganized grab-bag of reasons to hate Karl Rove.

Mealey and Shoob (much like Michael Moore and George Bush) all use the bereaved families who have lost their loved ones in Iraq for political reasons. Whatever the film's political message, it is miniscule compared to the tragedies of war and terrorism. This is, in my opinion, a miserable method to convince the viewer. The facts should speak for themselves. This is supposed to be a documentary, not a sentimental Hollywood movie.

The directors wanted to get their stuff out before the election (so it seems), not realizing that it takes more than a bad boy in the White House to become a the next Michael Moore.

Even though I doubt the movie is going to revolutionize voters' opinions, it is still interesting to see for those who are open to its message.

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