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.