from a public HS teacher (Gov't, Religion, Soc. Issues), who is eclectic (Dem-leaning) politically and Quaker (& open) on everything else. Hope you enjoy what you find here.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Grime Pays 

is the title of a piece by James of Ridgeway in this week's Village Voice.  

The opening paragraph reads

From the time he was 10 years old, Karl Rove, Bush's closest and most important political adviser, has made a specialty of dirty tricks. They run all the way from trying to slime a candidate by calling him a peacenik or gay to planting phony campaign literature on an opponent. If the Wilsons turn out to be anything but just another weird turn in Rove's career, that would be real news.

The article provides a chronicle of Rove's life and political career, beginning with his birth on Christmas Day, 1950.

Rove was a Republican from the get go, but in 1960 he was beaten up by a young lady (!!) who supported JFK over his hero Nixon.  For a while, after supporting Goldwater in 19064, Rove was a laissez-faire libertarian and follower of Ayn Rand.

I will mix summaries and quotes from the article

1965: A card-carrying nerd, Rove arrives at Salt Lake City's Olympus High School in a jacket and tie, toting a briefcase. Wins notoriety as high school debater by bringing boxes of blank index cards to tournaments as a means of intimidating opponents.

At various times Rove attend Utah, Texas and George Mason without ever graduating from college.

At his 19th birthday, the man he thought was father walks out on the family, and only then does he learn the man was not his biological father.

FALL 1970: Rove pays visit to Chicago campaign headquarters of Alan Dixon, a Democrat running for state treasurer. Disguised as a volunteer, Rove steals official campaign letterhead and sends out 1,000 invitations to people in the city's red-light district and soup kitchens, offering "free beer, free food, girls, and a good time for nothing" at Dixon headquarters. When hundreds of homeless and alcoholic Chicagoans show up at a fancy Dixon reception, Rove succeeds in embarrassing the candidate. Dixon still wins the election.

Interesting that Rove his already doing dirty tricks BEFORE he gets involved with Segretti.

IN 1971 Rove drops out of college to focus fulltime on College Republicans.  It is here he becomes a protégé of Lee Atwater.  Ridgeway does not cover how Rove becomes National Chairman --  by challenging every single one of his opponents delegates.  Nor does Ridgeway tell us that the final arbiter of the dispute was the national chair of the parent party, George Herbert Walker Bush, later 41st president.

During the ‘72 campaign, Rove becomes involved with Segretti, where he
paints McGovern as "left-wing peacenik," in spite of McGovern's World War II stint piloting a B-24. Rove also works as staff assistant to George Bush Sr., then chairman of Republican National Committee (RNC).
.  The following year Rove introduces Atwater to Bush, with the consequences we all know.

AUGUST 10, 1973: The Washington Post says it received tape of Rove telling about some of his "dirty tricks." Rove is rumored to have participated in "dumpster-diving" (looking through opponents' trash for information to be used against them), crimes such as identity theft, petty larceny, and campaign fraud, and tours to teach other College Republicans how to perform these tricks.

In November of that year Rove first meets our current president, and is greatly impresses with the young man’s swagger, charisma, etc.

Rove marries for the first time, Valerie Wainwright, in 1976.  This is followed by a period of closer involvement with the Bushes, raising money for the 1980 presidential campaign of the father, advising the son on his ultimately failed Congressional bid, and baby-sitting the son during his drinking.  At the end of this period, in 1979, his wife divorces. him.  IN 1981 his mother commits suicide, and he forms his political direct mail firm, which even though the Republicans get clobbered in Texas in 1982, enables Rove to develop his strategies of targeting the suburbs.

During the period of 1984-1988 Rove helps Phil Gramm win his Senate seat, marries his 2nd wife Darby, helps Bill Clement get elected governor, and - very important:

1988: Rove hits on "tort reform" as winning issue for Republicans. His candidates win five out of six open seats on the Texas Supreme Court.
 (for an interesting analysis of this election and the use of “tort reform”, you can look at a transcript of a program Frontline did on this election).

Let me offer the next item in Ridgeway’s chronology without comment.  
1994: Rove becomes political adviser to George W. Bush in his race against incumbent governor Ann Richards. Bush aided by $1 million pumped into the race. Rove dreams up idea of staging calls to voters from supposed pollsters who ask such things as whether people would be "more or less likely to vote for Governor Richards if [they] knew her staff is dominated by lesbians."

Ridgeway brings us up to the present, including the 2000 smear job on McCain, Rove being forced to sell his Enron stock, the lost PowerPoint presentation which advocated using WOT as a campaign tactic, and all the events from the Plame outing in 2003 on.

Take the time to read it.  When one looks at Rove’s entire career, it tells you all you need to know about Bush and his (absolutely total lack of) ethics when it comes to gaining political advantage.
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