Bring It On!

Meet Karl Rove

July 21st, 2005 | by Tom Harper |

This post will not be dealing with whether Rove is technically guilty of outing Valerie Plame to the media. Right wing spinmeisters keep coming up with more technicalities to defend him. He didn’t mention her name when he outed her (after all, Joseph Wilson has so many wives, who could possibly know which wife Rove was talking about), it was raining and he wasn’t wearing a green shirt when he outed her, etc.

Instead we’ll be delving into his political career from 1970 up through the 2000 presidential election.

The information came from here and here.

He’s probably been the most powerful person in our country for the past 4½ years. If you like the direction our government has been going since January 2001, Karl Rove is your hero. He’s the Architect, aka “Boy Genius,” “Bush’s Brain.” On the other hand, if you think something mysterious and terrible happened to our country starting in early 2001, then you probably think Karl Rove is a %$#@&@#!

He almost singlehandedly transformed George W. Bush from a directionless, partying, booze-and-drug-addled playboy and presidential brat into the Leader of the Free World (by way of the Texas governorship). So, who is Karl Rove?

In 1970, a fat dorky teenager volunteered for the campaign of Alan Dixon, a Democratic candidate for State Treasurer of Illinois. (Yes, Democratic — that wasn’t a typo.) He didn’t stay long, and hardly anyone noticed him while he was there. He stayed long enough to swipe several boxes of Dixon’s campaign stationery. And soon thousands of invitations — on Dixon’s campaign letterhead — began circulating through the red-light district and various soup kitchens. The invitations read “free beer, free food, girls and a good time for nothing” at Dixon’s headquarters.

It was a funny prank, with hundreds of heavy drinkers and homeless people pouring into Dixon’s office. It didn’t derail his campaign, though — Dixon was elected treasurer and later became a senator. But little Karl Rove was getting his feet wet.

Rove had some shitty breaks during his early life (who didn’t?), which may have deleted any remaining semblance of a conscience or moral compass. When he was 19 his father walked out on the family. Soon afterward, Karl found out (from an aunt and uncle) that this wasn’t even his real father. Twelve years later his mother committed suicide.

Like Dick Cheney and other ferocious hawks in the Bush administration, Rove went to college to avoid the Viet Nam war (he never graduated). While he was there — University of Utah — he sharpened his political hardball tactics when he decided to take control of the College Republicans. Instead of campaigning on the issues, Rove challenged the credentials of each and every one of his opponent’s delegates. It worked. 22-year-old Karl Rove was going places.

During this period Rove was working with Lee Willie Horton Atwater, who later got George H.W. Bush into the White House by smearing and destroying his opponent. Atwater’s campaign tactics — this was 1988 — were considered at the time to be the lowest, sleaziest, most execrable campaign tactics in our history.

Rove was also active — behind the scenes — in Nixon’s 1972 re-election campaign, helping to paint World War II bomber pilot George McGovern as a soft wussy peacenik.

In 1973 Rove and a colleague were touring the country, giving “political combat training” lectures to young Republicans. Some of the how-to information included Rove’s earlier “prank” at Alan Dixon’s campaign headquarters, and the tactics he had used for wresting control of the College Republicans.

During this period, Rove became friends with a former Texas Congressman struggling to keep his political career going: George Herbert Walker Bush. Bush Senior hired Rove and brought him to Washington.

Shortly afterward, Rove met Boy George, and he was smitten. “Huge amounts of charisma, swagger, cowboy boots, flight jacket, wonderful smile, just charisma — you know, wow," Rove recalled. In the late ’70s, Rove was sent to Texas. Officially, his assignment was to run a political action committee. Unofficially, he was sent to “handle” the president’s boozing carousing son.

During this time he set up a direct mail operation — sending fundraising or voter registration letters to targeted voters. He tailored each letter to the specific voter group he was targeting. He had an uncanny skill for knowing exactly which buttons to push for which groups. This is a much more common political skill nowadays, but back then Rove (along with rightwing direct-mail wizard Richard Viguerie) was on the cutting edge. They both seemed like human Geiger counters when it came to scoping out very specific groups of voters and knowing exactly what to say to them and how to get them to the polls.

The 1980s were a turning point in Texas politics. The Democrats had been the dominant party since the civil war era. But the Democratic party was moving further to the left, and most of the newcomers pouring into Texas’ suburban communities were Republicans. Election by election, post by post, Republicans were inching their way in and taking over the state. And Rove was playing a hand in all this.

In 1986 Rove was running the gubernatorial campaign for Republican Bill Clements. Clements was neck-and-neck with his Democratic opponent. How to break the stalemate? Rove announced that he had found a listening device in his office, and he went screaming to the media about the scandal, the shock, the disgrace. An outraged public tilted toward Clements, who ended up winning the election.

No listening device was ever found, and Rove never mentioned it again after the election. Lots of Texans thought Rove concocted the whole thing as a campaign stunt. What, he’d stoop to something like that?!?

In 1994 Anne Richards (Democrat) was finishing her first term as governor and was running for re-election. Her opponent was George W. Bush, and Rove was his campaign manager. Everyone on Anne Richards’ campaign staff thought this was hilarious: the boozing partying presidential brat was running for governor? Hahahahahaha. The laughter died down soon enough.

Richards’ campaign adviser said “We did not believe that Bush would be as disciplined as he was. He was extremely disciplined.” He also said “Karl gave him 10 index cards and said, ‘This is what you are going to say. Don’t confuse yourself with the issues.’ It’s the model for the presidency.”

During the campaign, voters began receiving phone calls from alleged “pollsters” asking questions like “Would you be more or less likely to vote for Governor Richards if you knew her staff is dominated by lesbians?” Richards’ campaign adviser knew who was behind these “questions” (although no Rove connection could be proven). He said “Rove has used this kind of dirty tricks in every campaign he’s ever run.”

For Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign, Rove dreamed up that phony “compassionate conservatism” slogan that Bush kept repeating. After drumming this new buzzword into the American psyche, the next problem was John McCain, who had the nerve to run against Bush in the Republican primary.

McCain was a decorated Viet Nam war hero who had spent several years in a Vietnamese prison camp. This made an embarrassing contrast to Baby Bush using his family connections to get into the Texas Air Guard during the Viet Nam war. (There was a 3-year waiting list to get into the Guard, and then suddenly there was an opening for little Georgie. Connect the dots.)

On top of that, McCain had a certain charisma, based on his plain-spoken straight-talking bluntness. This created a painful contrast with Bush’s memorized cue card lines and his frantic determination to stay “on message.” What to do?

Rove orchestrated a rumor campaign. Probably his dirtiest rumor was that McCain was a stoolie while he was in the Vietnamese prison camp. That’s doubtful, but in any case, let’s see how long Karl and his five chins would last in a city jail overnight, let alone a POW camp in Viet Nam.

Another Rove-generated rumor was that McCain had illegitimately fathered a black daughter. The truth turned out to be that McCain had adopted a daughter. The girl was from Bangladesh. But what the hey, they all look alike, right?

Rove also spread rumors about the “drug problems” of McCain’s wife. (Ever notice — Republicans always go after the wives. Hmmm…why is this and what does it say about them?)

Rumors spread, damage done. Mission accomplished.

McCain turned out to be little more than a speed bump on Karl and George’s road to the White House.

During the stalemate period from election day until mid-December when the Supreme Court, uh, “selected” Bush, Rove again had to reach into his little bag of sleaze. When Florida officials were recounting and evaluating the ballots, they were charged and threatened and intimidated by an angry mob of protesters. These scary, out-of-control “protesters” turned out to be a bunch of Republican operatives from Washington, D.C. They had been hired by — yup, you guessed it — Karl Rove. He hired them, put them on a bus to Florida and told them what to do when they got there.

OK, we’ve had a little glimpse into Rove’s character and the history of his political tactics. So, what do you all think? Let’s hear from you. Does Karl Rove seem like the kind of political manipulator who would leak a CIA agent’s name to the press just to get even with her husband? Think he did it?

Answers in the Comment section (sorry Gindy).

  1. 19 Responses to “Meet Karl Rove”

  2. By TheChosenOne on Jul 21, 2005 | Reply

    Wow….Now I not just like Karl Rove, I love him. He’s becoming more and more a hero to me. Kind of reminds me of another hero of mine, James Carvelle. Yes, you heard that right, James Carvelle, another little slimmy bastard I hate to love to death. Every administration needs a slime balls like Karl Rove and James Carvelle. They both run (ran) great smear campaigns. James just has a little more flare to him and is a little more ruthless!

  3. By MoxieGrrrl on Jul 21, 2005 | Reply

    Pig. Foul, excrement-filled sack.

    It’s a sad day when people like this are looked up to. Like schoolyard bullies. We need true leadership and this is the bullshit we get. And lots of people just fall in line, wanting to fawn over them. Sheep.

  4. By Tom Harper on Jul 21, 2005 | Reply

    Chosen One: He’s a hero? OK, each to his own. Every politician has a pitbull or a slimebag to do their dirty work for them. I just think Rove crosses a line that the others haven’t crossed. And yes he’s fuckin’ brilliant at what he does and I hate him for that.

    MoxieGrrl: Yup, he’s definitely an excrement sack. And he’ll probably spawn a bunch of wannabes that admire him and try to do exactly what he’s doing.

    OK, so far we’re running 50-50 — he’s a hero and he’s an excrement-filled sack.

  5. By The Bastard on Jul 21, 2005 | Reply

    Hey, what can you expect when they only need to appeal to the “reality” TV generation! It works well!!

    Not to worry, these men are all scumbags and the only way they can play is dirty politics but we all know what dirty politics gets you, tricky Dick can swear to it!!!!

    They will be caught for breaking the law and they will go to jail. Someone else will fill their shoes and it will happen again.

    It just sucks that white collar crime laws aren’t as tuff as the the laws that bust a poor fuck for pocketing a joint!!!!

  6. By Zataod on Jul 21, 2005 | Reply

    Great recap of the Rove bio. It says something about our society that people like this are respected the way they are.

  7. By Chandira on Jul 21, 2005 | Reply

    Rove is the ugliest piece of S*** in the world. I mean, even to look at, pasty, fat, piggy eyed.. He just oozes Ick. Bleuch.. I never understand how people aren’t REPULSED by him and our monkey-boy Chimperor.. shudder…

    I confess I base some of my politics on the ‘ick’ factor.. lol

    It was helpful to read that the poor boy had such a rough time with his family though. It doesn’t excuse him, by any means, but it sort of explains some of it..

  8. By pia on Jul 21, 2005 | Reply

    Just finished writing how sick I am of the political divide, words and actions being distorted and/or manipulated, yet…

    I will always hate Bush, Rove and company for what they did in Florida, 2000. It was just beginning to be discussed intelligently when 9/11 happened. No I don’t think Bush had anything to do with that. yes I do think that it wss the best thing to happen to his presidency.

    In the interest of patriotism, loyalty and more, we all immediatly accepted Bush’s presidency as legitimate. Now we wonder why.

    I have officially joined almost everybody I know in New York as being cynical and jaded. It’s the only way to survive here without being scared all the time.

    But I can’t help but wonder about people who don’t think Rove is slime; if Carville was so skanky how did he allow Clinton to be impeached over something so banal.

    And moral values doesn’t cut it. Carville and Clinton showed true morals and values by not trying to cover it up.

  9. By Tom Harper on Jul 21, 2005 | Reply

    TB: Between reality TV shows and all the cuts in public education, the American public keeps getting easier to fool. Like you say, the cycle will just keep repeating. Some people will go to jail over this, later there’ll be another scandal, more people will go to jail, there’ll be another scandal…

    Zataod: Yeah, it’s too bad people like that are looked up to. I guess all that money and power are just seductive.

    Chandira: What, you don’t think he’s kinda cute? :) He probably couldn’t get a date all through high school or college or his early political career, and that’s why he hates the world. Now he’s getting even.

    Pia: I guess being jaded is the only way to go , especially in an urban environment like NYC. Bush sure has reaped a goldmine from 9/11, whether or not he had anything to do with it. He had such popularity after 9/11 and when we toppled the Taliban, all across America and worldwide. Then he squandered it all with the Iraqi invasion and the Patriot Act.

  10. By Dr. Forbush on Jul 21, 2005 | Reply

    Rove is about winning and doing what he wants. Some people who want the same things as Rove like this approach. Unfortunately, in order to win he lies about what he wants to do as well as what his opponents want to do. This means that the voter who doesn’t pay close attention will vote for what they have been told, rather than for what they really want.

    Obviously if you have a lot of money, then Rove is your guy. He wants to make sure that the wealthy stay wealthy and the poor stay poor. With Bush in power the middle class is slipping into the poor category. Until Americans realize this reality people will continue to be deceived by Rove…

  11. By EKENYERENGOZI MICHAEL CHIMA on Jul 21, 2005 | Reply

    Thanks for the information.

    That resume is the perfect resume any politician that wants to succeed should have.

    There is even no saint without taint in the Vatican talkless of the White House. The White sepulchre of the ogre?

    Now should we all confess our sins?
    And see who has not sinned or Rove sinned more than you all?

    Have you looked in the mirror lately?
    Is there a face in the mirror without any error?

    Brave American soldiers are dying daily in Iraq and you are all here crying over some skeletons in the cupboard of the oval office?

  12. By sally on Jul 21, 2005 | Reply

    Tom, nice post…I can almost feel the slime from the post!

    TCO, there is always a political tactician in every political group…but, has Carvelle done anything equal to the sleaze of Rove?

  13. By Tom Harper on Jul 21, 2005 | Reply

    Dr. Forbush: Yeah, it’s too bad so many people only listen to the soundbites and don’t pay attention to what’s going on behind the scenes. I can’t believe how many middle class and working class people vote against their own self interest just because of a few well-placed buzzwords like “gay marriage.” A strong middle class is what separates us from the third world countries we’re starting to resemble.

    Whateveryournameis: If this is the kind of resume you’re looking for, I don’t even want to know what line of work you’re in or what your values are. (I haven’t looked at your website yet; I usually do that before I answer comments.) If you’re hiring employees, what does the want ad say? “Must have experience in derailing people’s careers and endangering national security. Must be highly skilled in generating slanderous rumors about people’s family members.”

    If you’re concerned (like we all are) about the soldiers fighting in Iraq, you should direct your anger toward the crooked administration that lied to get us into that war, and not the people who are trying to uncover the truth.

    Sally: Thanks. Yeah, there might be some slime oozing out of the post; better stand back.

  14. By Burnt Weenie Sandwich on Jul 21, 2005 | Reply

    You know guys like Rove could probably get a cabinet posistion in an African nation with a resume like that.

  15. By Tom Harper on Jul 21, 2005 | Reply

    Burnt Weenie Sandwich: Unfortunately our government is slowly turning us into a third world country, in terms of corruption and the growing gap between the richest and poorest. The good news is, if you want to go to the Third World, soon you won’t have to travel at all. It’ll be right here.

  16. By The Bastard on Jul 21, 2005 | Reply


    What an interesting take? The aoldiers are partially there because of this lie Karl and Bush have worked up.

    Nah, lets forget about law breakers, it’s a free for all everyone. Soldiers are dying so we must stop holding people accountable until they stop dying!!!!

    Do yo know how idiotic your comment sounded?

    Thanks for playing, if your so concerned, than go enlist and help get our boys home!!!

  17. By semimba on Jul 23, 2005 | Reply

    It is nice to read that someone else besides myself has read up on Sir Karl. Even his fellow Republican think he is a dangerous demogogue. Of course, no matter what happens with Karl’s illegal disclosure of the CIA operative, GW will pardon the dope. Without Karl, GW would still be a drunken failed businessman from Conn (errr - Texas)

  18. By Tom Harper on Jul 23, 2005 | Reply

    Semi MBA: Yeah, Rove’s a piece of work all right. Even people who agree with his politics probably think he’s a sack of shit and don’t want to deal with him any more than they have to. And Bush needs him more than anything. Without Rove, GWB would be just another idle rich party animal getting bailed out of his business failures and drug busts by his rich daddy.

  19. By Ekenyerengozi Michael Chima on Jul 29, 2005 | Reply

    Medicine after death.
    All your anger against GWB and his cabin crew is belated. Twice you elected him. Now you are crying that there is fire on the on mountain!

    I did all the Bush-bashing years ago and I wanted Kerry to win. But, unfortuantely you all disappointed me and re-elected GWB. Now you are screaming “blue murder” on the roof of the White House. When you saw the murderer coming you were watching the horror movie until the murderer slew the victim. Then, you are shouting now like cry-babies?

    Did you read, “TRANNY COMES TO AMERICA”?
    Go to the forum of and read all my posts and even go to the Etherzone, and go and read the posts on my own blog. You would be wiser than all these rantings over Karl Rove. The American rot started before GWB and Karl Rove left High School. GWB is a child of circumstance. If you found yourself in the same kind of critical situation, you would have done the same. Or even worse.The invasion of Iraq is a continuation of the Gulf War. You have to go back to look at the causes of the Gulf War. Osama bin Laden even knows this “American Tragedy” more than you. The history terrorism in America and Europe did not start with 9/11.

    You need to take at least one hour to digest all the reports on my blog on the genesis of this crisis.

    Some posters mentioned about enlisting.
    Two of the Nigerians in the US Marines have been killed in Iraq, another Nigerian was killed fighting for the Israeli Army and I am no longer a terrorist. The war on terror is being fought here in Africa with the support of the Pentagon.
    You are very ignorant of so many of the issues.
    Below are some quotations that will eaducate you all.

    Stay blessed.

    Two thumbs up to ‘Bring It On”.
    Keep your rugged chin up.
    Heat not a furnace for your foe so hot that it do singe yourself.
    William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

    Britain had thoughts of using poisoned gas on Iraq long before 1991:
    “I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilized tribes. The moral effect should be good… and it would spread a lively terror…” (Winston Churchill commenting on the British use of poison gas against the Iraqis after the First World War).

    “Military Men Are Just Dumb,
    Stupid, Animals To Be Used
    As Pawns In Foreign Policy”
    — Henry Kissinger

    THE DEEPER PURPOSE: G*O*D* [Gold, Oil, and Drugs]
    “We must become the owners, or at any rate the controllers at the source, of at least a proportion of the oil which we require.” (British Royal Commission, agreeing with Winston Churchill’s policy towards Iraq 1913).

    “It is clear our nation is reliant upon big foreign oil. More and more of our imports come from overseas.”
    (US President George W. Bush, Beaverton, Oregon, Sep. 25, 2000).

    “If they turn on the radars we’re going to blow up their goddamn SAMs (surface-to-air missiles). They know we own their country. We own their airspace… We dictate the way they live and talk. And that’s what’s great about America right now. It’s a good thing, especially when there’s a lot of oil out there we need.”

    (US Brig. General William Looney in 1999, referring to Iraq).

  20. By Tom Harper on Jul 29, 2005 | Reply

    Damn, you’ve sure got us dialed. Not us here at Bring It On! but the millions of gullible voters who put Bush in the White House twice. And yes I know it didn’t all start with Bush and Bush isn’t the ringleader — he’s just a puppet.

    I hope you’ll check out my post called “Christian Right: Who’s the Man Behind The Curtain.” It was cross-posted on June 15th at this site and also at my own site:

    It’s a brief history of the Religious Right and Big Business basically taking over the country and pulling all the strings behind the scenes, starting in the 1930s. I’m sure it goes back further than that but the source I used only goes back to the 1930s.

    I’ll check out your site and all the other sites you mentioned. Thanks for your comment.

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