Karl Rove in deep do-do? The man who always ends up smellin’ rosy.
Karl Rove is the political advisor to the Bush administration who has been called at various turns ‘“the Architect,’” ‘“Superman’” and ‘“the Boy Genius.’” He’s scrambling these days to vindicate himself of any wrongdoing in the Valerie Plame affair. Smart money says he’ll walk away from this with nary a scratch on his figurative political hide, mainly because Rove is slicker than a greased weasel and harder to pin down than a debutante during her coming out ball.
Allegations of unscrupulous behavior have followed Rove in a particularly distasteful wake since 1970, when at 19 he lifted a stack of letterhead stationary from the Chicago campaign headquarters of Alan Dixon, a Democrat running for Illinois state treasurer. The pages resurfaced in the city’s red light district bearing invitations to Dixon’s offices for ‘“free beer, free food, girls and a good time for nothing.’”
Rove got pinched for this one only because he admitted his role in what he later called ‘“a political prank.’”
Rove was also accused of dirty tricks when he took over the College Republicans in the Nixon era, an accusation that resulted in an investigation by the chairman of the Republican National Committee who subsequently cleared Rove of all charges and then promptly hired him. That man was George HW Bush, who later fired him during his second presidential campaign because he suspected that he had leaked information to a newspaper columnist named Robert Novak.
Any of this sound familiar?
But over the years Rove has been charged with more than just loose lips. He apprenticed under Donald Segretti, Nixon’s head stooge who coined the term ‘ratf–king’ and eventually served six months in federal prison in 1974, mainly for distributing a forged letter about a political rival on stolen letterhead stationery. While working under Segretti Rove probably played a role in the attempt to color 1972 Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern, a decorated pilot in WWII, as a left-wing ‘peacenik.’ DÃ©jÃ vu?
In the 1986 gubernatorial race in Texas, a neck-and-neck contest between incumbent Democrat Mark White and Rove’s guy Bill Clements, Rove told the press that his office had been bugged. There was no proof, but Clements won the election by a narrow margin.
In the 1994 Texas gubernatorial race Rove masterminded the younger Bush’s campaign against incumbent Ann Richards. Telephone ‘pollsters’ began circulating rumors that Richards was not only overly tolerant of gays and lesbians, but that her staff was ‘“dominated’” by them. During that time, information leaked to the media about Lena Guerrero, an up and coming Texas Democrat, insinuating that she lied about graduating college, foreshortened her political career.
In the 2000 Republican presidential primaries John McCain was a frontrunner until rumors began circulating about his character, including accusations from a Vietnam veteran who claimed that the Senator was a ‘“stoolie’” while being held prisoner in the Hanoi Hilton. McCain was also rumored to have fathered a black child out of wedlock. Another story that made the rounds insinuated that he was gay.
But none of these incidents can be traced directly back to Rove, who has managed to keep a clean sheet since his teenage ‘“prank’” back in Chicago in 1970. In the Valerie Plame affair, we feel that Rove’s savvy and cunning (and also the administration’s dependency on him) will probably keep him out of the soup.
And Rove has a knack for turning negative situations into positive ones. His other nickname around the White House is ‘“Turd Blossom,’” a Texas euphemism for flowers that bloom in cattle excrement.