Karl Rove Legacy?

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Filed under: Hype, Propaganda and Disinformation, Spin

On August 17, 2007, Bill Moyers commented on the Rove Legacy on his PBS Bill Moyers Journal. Yesterday, The Village Voice ran James Ridgeway’s Grime Pays: a chronology cataloging Karl Rove’s “legacy” of dirty political tricks starting in the early 70’s.

Here’s the Moyers video (via MediaChannel.org), followed by a few highlights from the Voice article:

Here are highlights from The Village Voice, Grime Pays article:

rove-200.jpg1970: 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.

1971: Rove drops out of college to devote full time to College Republicans, where he becomes protégé of dirty trickster Lee Atwater, the group’s Southern regional coordinator. Rove becomes executive director, then national chairman.

1972: Under mentorship of dirty trickster Donald Segretti (who later went to jail for Watergate), Rove 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).

1973: Rove introduces Atwater to Bush Sr. Atwater later becomes “political attack dog” for the Reagan-Bush team, helps Bush Sr. become president, himself becomes RNC chairman, is struck by a brain tumor, and dies.

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.

1977-79: Rove starts raising money for Bush Sr.’s eventual presidential campaign, begins advising George W. Bush in his unsuccessful congressional bid, and as a Texan political consultant put it, has to “babysit Bush back when [he] was drinking.”

1982: Texas Republicans suffer heavy election losses. Rove, however, uses opportunity to develop campaign strategies targeting suburbs.

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.”

2000: Rove is at heart of Bush’s vicious smear job on John McCain in South Carolina primary: Thinly disguised Bush surrogates claim McCain was a stoolie while a P.O.W. Rove also credited with spreading rumor that McCain’s adopted Bangladeshi daughter is black and illegitimate and his wife a drug addict.

2000: Rove is required to sell his Enron stock before Bush takes office. Reportedly still holds between $100,000 and $250,000 worth of shares when appointed.

2001: Rove launches “72-Hour Task Force” aimed at evangelicals, Hispanics, Catholics, and other faith-based groups.

2003: Syndicated columnist Robert Novak mentions to Rove that former ambassador Joseph Wilson’s wife, Valerie Plame, is a CIA undercover operative. Rove’s comment: “I heard that too.”

2005: The Bush administration denies having had anything to do with the Swift Boat Veterans, who smeared John Kerry during the campaign and denounced his war stories as lies. But rumors persist when Rove pays tribute to the group at the Conservative Political Action Conference during the annual Ronald Reagan banquet in D.C.

2005: Rove says, “Conservatives saw the savagery of 9-11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9-11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.”

Additional reporting: Halley Bondy and Natalie Wittlin