Reihan explains why he wrote that "Karl Rove never imagined that opposition to same-sex marriage would cement a permanent Republican majority. It was a distraction that I'm sure he found distasteful":
I think I was seriously, seriously misunderstood here. If I could write it again, I would definitely write it differently. Note that this isn't a position that's very flattering to Rove -- it suggests that he was a hypocrite who was using this position to political advantage. And I certainly shouldn't have said, "I'm sure," as I don't live inside Rove's brain and I've never met the man. I was basing this, rather carelessly, on news reports concerning his warm relationship with a gay father-figure, and I thought, "Surely he can't be a hateful goon in his personal relationships."
More to the point, I think it really is true that Bush and Rove were, when they were setting out to win the presidency and remake the country, had in mind a domestic policy agenda focused on spreading asset ownership -- Social Security reform, encouraging low-income families to buy homes, etc. It turns out that almost all of these ideas were actually pretty bad ideas, at least in the form that Bush and Rove had in mind. But that doesn't change the fact that they cared about those issues far more than "social issues." (The scare quotes are there because I think a lot of "economic issues" are in fact "social issues.")
I cannot know Karl Rove's conscience. Yes, he has no record of personal hostility toward or contempt for gay people, including openly gay people. But that makes his cynical use of homophobia all the more wretched. I'm sure he saw himself as a reformist visionary who had to stoop to fear-mongering to win power. But that's how most people do evil; they think it's a means of doing good.