Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Not To Belabor This, But...

Now Lloyd Grove gets on the "Was Rove behind Memogate?" bus, previewing Joshua Green's upcoming Atlantic article:

When Dan Rather finally admitted that fake memos might have been used in his "60 Minutes Wednesday" report on President Bush's National Guard Service, political insiders immediately suspected the hand of Karl Rove.

Rove has vehemently denied the speculation. But, as the Atlantic Monthly's Joshua Green points out in the upcoming issue, Bush's political guru has earned quite a reputation for using dirty tricks in the heat of a campaign.

Green reports that:

- In the 1996 Alabama Supreme Court race between Democratic incumbent Kenneth Ingram and Republican challenger Harold See, Rove printed anonymous fliers attacking See, his own client. The purpose was "'to create a backlash against the Democrat,' as Joe Perkins, who worked for Ingram, put it to me," Green writes. "Presumably the public would believe that Democrats were spreading terrible rumors about See and his family. ... The ploy left Rove's opponent at a loss. Ingram's staff realized that it would be fruitless to try to persuade the public that the See campaign was attacking its own candidate.

- Rumormongering is another tool in Rove's bag, Green writes. In the late 1980s, when political consultant John Weaver - John McCain's top 2000 adviser - hired away one of Rove's employees, "Rove spread a rumor that Weaver had made a pass at a young man at a state Republican function," Green writes. Weaver quickly became persona non grata in the Texas GOP.

<>- Rove's slimiest moment came in 1994, when See first ran for the Supreme Court in Alabama against Democratic incumbent Mark Kennedy, who had just served a term as president of the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect. Kennedy's commercials highlighted his volunteer work - and included one that showed him holding hands with children - so Rove started a whispering campaign that Kennedy was a pedophile, Green writes. "What Rove does is try and make something so bad for a family that the candidate will not subject the family to the hardship," explained Perkins.

The traumatized Kennedy won narrowly, but decided not to run for reelection.

Rove didn't respond to Green's request for an interview.


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