Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
Support Our Annual Fund Drive! CounterPunch is entirely supported by our readers. Your donations pay for our small staff, tiny office, writers, designers, techies, bandwidth and servers. We don’t owe anything to advertisers, foundations, one-percenters or political parties. You are our only safety net. Please make a tax-deductible donation today.
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Exposing Karl Rove

by WAYNE MADSEN

He’s America’s Joseph Goebbels. As a 21-year old Young Republican in Texas, Karl Rove not only pimped for Richard Nixon’s chief political dirty tricks strategist Donald Segretti but soon caught the eye of the incoming Republican National Committee Chairman, George H. W. Bush. Rove’s dirty tricks on behalf of Nixon’s 1972 campaign catapulted Rove onto the national stage. From his Eagle’s Nest in the West Wing of the White House, Rove now directs a formidable political dirty tricks operation and disinformation mill.

Since his formative political years when he tried to paint World War II B-24 pilot and hero George McGovern as a left-wing peacenik through his mid-level career as a planter of disinformation in the media on behalf of Texas and national GOP candidates to his current role as Dubya’s “Svengali,” Rove has practiced the same style of slash and burn politics as did his Nixonian mentor Segretti. Many of us remember the Lincolnesque Senator Ed Muskie breaking down in tears during the 1972 campaign over Segretti-planted false stories in a New Hampshire newspaper that accused Mrs. Muskie of being a heavy smoker, drinker, and cusser and accused Muskie of uttering a slur in describing New Hampshire’s French Canadian population. Rove’s hero also forged letters on fake Muskie campaign letterhead, disrupted rallies and fundraising dinners, and spread false stories about the sex lives of candidates. Segretti’s brush also smeared George McGovern, George Wallace, Shirley Chisholm, and McGovern’s first vice presidential choice, Senator Tom Eagleton. Segretti of course did not go on to a high-level White House job — he was sentenced to six months in federal prison for distributing illegal campaign material.

In many respects, however, the apprentice Rove has far exceeded the chicanery and evil-mindedness of his mentor Segretti. Rove is a tech-savvy puppet master for Bush. Take, for example, last June’s discovery of a “lost” CD-ROM in Lafayette Park across from the White House. Contained on the CD was a PowerPoint presentation given by White House political director Ken Mehlman to Rove on the strategy for next Tuesday’s off-year election. The slide show showed First Brother Jeb Bush being vulnerable in Florida. Jeb Bush later joked that the disc was part of a plot cooked up by him and his brother to make it appear that he was vulnerable in order to rally an otherwise complacent GOP base in the Sunshine State. Or was it a joke? Jeb Bush and his political minions like Katherine Harris have shown us that if anyone thinks what the GOP has done in Florida is funny they have an incredibly sick sense of humor.

Rove’s own tendency to be sick-minded originates with his mentor Segretti. The 2000 GOP primary was a chance for Rove to hone his skills in dirty tricks. His target then was Senator John McCain who appeared to be within striking distance of Dubya in South Carolina after the then-GOP maverick’s surprise upset victory in New Hampshire. Rove’s operation proceeded to target McCain with false stories: McCain was a stoolie for his captors in the Hanoi Hilton (this from a lunatic self-promoting Vietnam “veteran”); McCain fathered a black daughter out of wedlock (a despicable reference to McCain’s adopted Bangladeshi daughter); Cindy McCain’s drug “abuse”; and even McCain’s “homosexuality.” In the spirit of Segretti, Rove engineered a victory for Dubya but at the cost of trashing an honorable man and his family. Muskie, McGovern, Carter, Mondale, Dukakis, Gore, Hart, Tsongas, Clinton, Biden, Dole, Perot, and others had all seen the Segretti/Rove slash and burn tactics before.

And Rove’s penchant for fascistic demagoguery and outright lying continues to this very day. After Paul Wellstone’s sons asked that Vice President Dick Cheney not attend the Minneapolis memorial service for their father, mother, and sister, the White House explained that the real reason wasn’t the surviving Wellstone family’s abhorrence for Cheney but the fact the family didn’t want Cheney’s Secret Service protection to interfere with public access to the service. Of course, the Rove and Ari Fleischer disinformation machine forgot to take into account that two attendees, Bill and Hillary Clinton, had their own Secret Service details. But such is the case with a White House that takes its lessons from Goebbels and the editorial staff of the old Soviet News Agency Tass.

Rove’s dirty fingerprints could also be seen in the Iowa Senate race between Tom Harkin and GOP candidate Greg Ganske. A few months ago, a story was leaked that the Harkin campaign had employed a spy within the Ganske campaign. To put this in a Rove context, we must go back to the 1986 Texas gubernatorial race in which Rove’s candidate Bill Clements was taking on Democratic Governor Mark White. Just before a debate between the two candidates, Rove spun the story that his office had been bugged. No proof. But the insinuation that White’s people had carried out the bugging was reported by the media. In the election, Clements defeated White. Rove stashed away more political capital into his already heavy knapsack of ill-gotten IOUs.

During the 2000 presidential campaign, we were obviously treated to more Rove chicanery when the following Associated Press story hit the wires: “A woman who worked for a media company that produced ads for President George W. Bush’s campaign was indicted for secretly mailing a videotape of Bush practicing for a debate to Vice President Al Gore’s campaign.” Yes, that videotape, along with a 120-page briefing book, just happened to turn up in Gore’s headquarters as fast as the CD-ROM turned up in Lafayette Park. The sourcerer Segretti must be very proud of his apprentice. In 1980, no Republican bemoaned the fact that Jimmy Carter’s debate briefing book was swiped and found its way into the hands of the Reagan-Bush campaign. In Rove’s world, its only an affront when someone “steals” your own campaign secrets and not when your are on the receiving end of a heist.

“If you’re not with me, you’re against me.” Bush’s binary view of “good and evil” and “friend and enemy” sits well with the Rove strategy. Georgia’s conservative but libertarian-minded Representative Bob Barr found out about this in last August’s primary when his GOP primary opponent John Linder began spreading around stories that Barr was “soft on terrorism.” Because Barr was skeptical about a number of aspects of the Bush-Ashcroft USA PATRIOT Act, he became a target for the Rove machine. However, it was likely that Barr became a target earlier on when he supported Steve Forbes against Bush in the 2000 primary. Bush apparently means to say, “If you’ve not always been with me, you’re against me.” It must have really been a dilemma for Bush and Rove to have to come to the support of John Sununu, Jr. in the New Hampshire Senate race. Although Daddy made George W. unceremoniously give the axe to Sununu’s father as White House Chief of Staff during the Bush 41 administration, the man who the junior Sununu defeated in the primary, Bob Smith, was even more of a problem. He had the temerity to quit the Republican Party in 2000 and run against Dubya for President. So in Bushspeak, which is obviously borrowed from Forrest Gump’s scripts, “if you’re less with me than the other guy, you’re more against me.”

Undoubtedly, Rove was also behind the campaign to “get” Georgia Representative Cynthia McKinney who was the first nationally-known politician to question what Bush may have known beforehand about 9-11. She was defeated by a former Republican state judge who had supported the wacky Alan Keyes for President in 2000. Never mind, McKinney was “less with Bush” than Keyes, so it was more important to get McKinney who was “more against” Bush.

In all seriousness, rewarding the GOP on November 5 will only increase the appetite of Rove to amass more and more power into the White House. The advent of a Democratic-controlled Senate and House might even begin to spell the end of the road for Segretti’s star pupil. German opposition figures in the mid-1930s often lamented the fact that they could have stopped the rise of the Nazis if only they had been more united in a common front when they had a chance. However, they fell prey to the media manipulation of Goebbels and fought among themselves more than they did against the menace from the far right. We Americans also have an early opportunity to stem an out-of-control and anti-constitutional regime with the Rasputin-like Rove at the after steerage helm of our ship of state. That opportunity presents itself next Tuesday–Election Day.

WAYNE MADSEN is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and columnist. He wrote the introduction to Forbidden Truth.

Madsen can be reached at: WMadsen777@aol.com

 

More articles by:

2016 Fund Drive
Smart. Fierce. Uncompromised. Support CounterPunch Now!

  • cp-store
  • donate paypal

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

September 29, 2016
Robert Fisk
The Butcher of Qana: Shimon Peres Was No Peacemaker
James Rose
Politics in the Echo Chamber: How Trump Becomes President
Russell Mokhiber
The Corporate Vice Grip on the Presidential Debates
Daniel Kato
Rethinking the Race over Race: What Clinton Should do Now About ‘Super-Predators’
Peter Certo
Clinton’s Awkward Stumbles on Trade
Fran Shor
Demonizing the Green Party Vote
Rev. William Alberts
Trump’s Road Rage to the White House
Luke O'Brien
Because We Couldn’t Have Sanders, You’ll Get Trump
Michael J. Sainato
How the Payday Loan Industry is Obstructing Reform
Robert Fantina
You Can’t Have War Without Racism
Gregory Barrett
Bad Theater at the United Nations (Starring Kerry, Power, and Obama
James A Haught
The Long, Long Journey to Female Equality
Thomas Knapp
US Military Aid: Thai-ed to Torture
Jack Smith
Must They be Enemies? Russia, Putin and the US
Gilbert Mercier
Clinton vs Trump: Lesser of Two Evils or the Devil You Know
Tom H. Hastings
Manifesting the Worst Old Norms
George Ella Lyon
This Just in From Rancho Politico
September 28, 2016
Eric Draitser
Stop Trump! Stop Clinton!! Stop the Madness (and Let Me Get Off)!
Ted Rall
The Thrilla at Hofstra: How Trump Won the Debate
Robert Fisk
Cliché and Banality at the Debates: Trump and Clinton on the Middle East
Patrick Cockburn
Cracks in the Kingdom: Saudi Arabia Rocked by Financial Strains
Lowell Flanders
Donald Trump, Islamophobia and Immigrants
Shane Burley
Defining the Alt Right and the New American Fascism
Jan Oberg
Ukraine as the Border of NATO Expansion
Ramzy Baroud
Ban Ki-Moon’s Legacy in Palestine: Failure in Words and Deeds
Gareth Porter
How We Could End the Permanent War State
Sam Husseini
Debate Night’s Biggest Lie Was Told by Lester Holt
Laura Carlsen
Ayotzinapa’s Message to the World: Organize!
Binoy Kampmark
The Triumph of Momentum: Re-Electing Jeremy Corbyn
David Macaray
When the Saints Go Marching In
Seth Oelbaum
All Black Lives Will Never Matter for Clinton and Trump
Adam Parsons
Standing in Solidarity for a Humanity Without Borders
Cesar Chelala
The Trump Bubble
September 27, 2016
Louisa Willcox
The Tribal Fight for Nature: From the Grizzly to the Black Snake of the Dakota Pipeline
Paul Street
The Roots are in the System: Charlotte and Beyond
Jeffrey St. Clair
Idiot Winds at Hofstra: Notes on the Not-So-Great Debate
Mark Harris
Clinton, Trump, and the Death of Idealism
Mike Whitney
Putin Ups the Ante: Ceasefire Sabotage Triggers Major Offensive in Aleppo
Anthony DiMaggio
The Debates as Democratic Façade: Voter “Rationality” in American Elections
Binoy Kampmark
Punishing the Punished: the Torments of Chelsea Manning
Paul Buhle
Why “Snowden” is Important (or How Kafka Foresaw the Juggernaut State)
Jack Rasmus
Hillary’s Ghosts
Brian Cloughley
Billions Down the Afghan Drain
Lawrence Davidson
True Believers and the U.S. Election
Matt Peppe
Taking a Knee: Resisting Enforced Patriotism
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail
[i]
[i]
[i]
[i]