Saturday, June 19, 2010

Karl Rove

In 1960 nine-year-old Karl Rove affixed a Nixon campaign bumper sticker on the basket of his bike and was promptly beaten up by a little girl in his neighborhood who adored John F. Kennedy. Why Rove would share this humiliating story in his autobiography is unknown, but nine years later he graduated from Olympus High School in Salt Lake City, Utah conservative as ever. The self-described "nerd" who carried a briefcase excelled in debate and student government and won the position of School Chairman of Students for Senator Wallace F. Bennett. Rove locked up this youthful achievement by riding in a VW convertible through the school gym sandwiched between two "babes." The assembled students, Rove recalls in his book, loved the stunt and he was elected.

In 1969 the budding political operative was enrolled at the University of Utah and had joined the College Republicans. In 1970 he interviewed for and won the opportunity to work as a student organizer for the special election campaign of Illinois Senator Ralph Smith. It was during his mission in Illinois that Rove pulled off his first notorious dirty trick. As he recounts the story in his autobiography, an attractive young volunteer in Smith's Chicago office brought in an invitation that her Democratic parents had received for an event celebrating the opening of state treasurer candidate Alan J. Dixon's campaign headquarters. In an attempt to impress the young woman, Rove and a few of his cronies created a mock variation of the invitation with the amended copy reading "Free Beer, Free Food, Girls, and A Good Time for Nothing." With copies of the faux flyer listing the real date, time and address of the function, Rove and his team handed them out to "vagrants, homeless, and drifters and at a free rock concernt in Grant Park." The hungry have-nots showed up at Dixon's gala and the media reported on the prank, but Dixon turned the publicity to his advantage and won his race (Smith, the Senate candidate for whom Rove was working, lost his contest to Adlai Stevenson III).

Rove's involvement in the Dixon episode remained secret until 1973 when he was running for chairman of the College Republican National Committee with Lee Atwater as his campaign manager. The Washington Post reported on the incident based on tape recordings that had been leaked to them from an internal meeting (Rove is heard on the recording discussing his prank and another student is heard discussing other malfeasance). The results of the election were contested and none other George HW Bush--then the Chairman of the Republican National Committee--led a committee to review the matter. But, according to Bad Boy: The Life and Politics of Lee Atwater, the review panel did not even consider the tape and transcript--the strongest pieces of evidence against Rove. Their rationale for setting aside the incriminating material was that the tapes could have been tampered with. A few weeks later Bush sent the victorious Rove a letter informing him that he was the duly recognized chairman. Atwater and Rove met with Bush for the very first time in Washington, D.C. shortly thereafter (upon winning, Rove had appointed Atwater to his former position--Executive Director of the College Republican National Committee) and became fast friends with both young men.

Rove would go on to help George W. Bush win the Texas governorship and the presidency twice. For his efforts he was rewarded with the nicknames Turd Blossom, Boy Genius and the Architect. He also had the honor of being allowed to "rap" at the 2007 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner. For video of a younger, even less rhythmic Rove see this CBS News report from 1972. The future Turd Blossom appears at approximately the four-minute mark.



  1. Karl Rove is the architect of American neo-fascism. He has been a principal force in the commission of war crimes and treason. He should be tried, convicted, and sentenced to the same torture he touts as just for American citizens for whom habeas corpus has become a defunct tenet of the U. S. judicial system. Karl Rove is a traitor and deserves justice. Put Rove in prison, or just kill him to save us the expense.

  2. Jeezus Tartigrade! I couldn't have said it better myself. Same goes for limbaugh.

  3. The only thing conservatives are good for?