Forget Ann Coulter. If you want to see what is wrong with politics in this country, look to Bush’s right-hand man. Karl Rove is Bush’s adviser and confidant. He is the mastermind behind both Bush campaigns and a strong voice in shaping Bush’s public policy. However, it is his connection with controversy for which he is best known.
His penchant for questionable tactics started early. In 1970, Rove, working with the Illinois Republican Party, attempted to sabotage the campaign of Democratic State Treasurer candidate Alan Dixon. In a 1999 interview with the Washington Post, he admitted to stealing 1,000 sheets of campaign letterhead and used them to make fliers advertising a rally with “free beer, free food, girls, and a good time for nothing.” Dixon eventually won, but respondents to the fake ad disrupted a major rally.
In races since, there have been allegations of similar wrongdoing. During the 1998 George W. Bush gubernatorial campaign, there were reports of phone calls to voters, asking if they would be “more or less likely to vote for (Democratic candidate) Ann Richards if (they) knew that her staff was dominated by lesbians.” Rove has been speculated to be the source.
Later, in the 2000 election, similar tactics were used against a Bush opponent with Rove at the helm. During the primaries, prior to an appearance by John McCain in South Carolina, many voters were sent an e-mail claiming McCain fathered an “illegitimate black daughter.” Voters then got an opportunity to see him, his wife and children, including his adopted Bangladeshi daughter, at the rally. I am sure most made the connection, and in an area with as much racial strife as the South, it cost McCain votes.
Unfortunately, these two events will never be substantially linked back to Rove. Too much time has passed to conduct an investigation, and since American voters have the attention spans of cocker spaniels, they no longer care.
However, when Bush won the election, Rove’s actions continued. The biggest scandal came over the release of CIA agent Valerie Plame’s identity to the press. Her husband, Joseph Wilson, asserted this leak was in response to an editorial he had written just days earlier.
During the investigation, Rove claimed he could not be the leak because he had not been aware of her identity before speaking to the press. This assertion is suspect.
In an e-mail sent by Time reporter Matthew Cooper on July 11 to his Bureau Chief Mike Duffy, he said Karl Rove told him it had been “Wilson’s wife, who apparently works at the Agency on WMDs, who authorized the trip” described in the Wilson editorial.
Plame’s name was released on the July 14. Rove would have had to know her identity prior to the scandal if he knew that she authorized her husband’s trip.
Even if Rove did not leak her name, he did leak information that, at the time, was classified. Scooter Libby was convicted of perjury and obstruction of justice for his involvement in this sordid affair. I think a case for the same charges could be made for Rove.
Now Rove is involved in another controversy involving the dismissal of eight U.S. attorneys. According to a New York Times report, there has been speculation that these firings were carried out for political retribution against attorneys who did not please the Republican powers that be.
One of Rove’s former aides was given the post of one of the fired attorneys and the Justice Department has been caught on four instances giving false information regarding Rove’s role in the matter. There is also e-mail correspondence documented by MSNBC asking Rove to get rid of attorney David Iglesias. Rove responded to the e-mail: “He’s gone.”
For crimes past and present, I hope prosecutors establish a connection. His entire career stinks of corruption, and I think it is time we remove this man from the White House and put him with the rest of the criminals.
Sean Reed is a junior political science major. His column appears every Wednesday in the Collegian. Replies and feedback can be sent to email@example.com.