WASHINGTON, D.C. — Karl Rove, affectionately called “Turd Blossom” by President George W. Bush, announced in mid-August that he would be stepping down from his post at the end of the month. Rove is credited with the election and re-election of George W. Bush, as well as the accompanying majorities that Republicans enjoyed in the government during the first half or more of the president’s tenure.
Despite his alignment with the extreme right-wing, Rove reportedly ‘did not consider himself a Christian.’
During his years in Washington, Rove has also developed a reputation for being a singularly gifted and forward thinking strategist.
One reported example of his long-term tactics includes a 1995 interview with political columnist John B. Judis. During the interview Rove is said to have spoke highly of the candidate he was currently campaigning for (presidential aspirant Phil Gramm), but would occasionally slip in criticisms, as if by accident. Judis, believing he had cleverly coerced secrets about Gramm from Rove, printed the “slip ups” in a story. Gramm neither gained the nomination, nor any enduring national recognition. Only later did Judis theorize that Rove had already singled Bush out as his candidate of choice and was maneuvering to remove any other Texans from the competition.
By friends and foes alike, Rove has often been cited for for his “winability” — reported tactics that he develops procedures to undermine his candidate’s opponents. He used “dumpster diving” in the 1970s to obtain information about adversaries, and has reportedly posed as a Democratic party volunteer in the past in order to gain access to official documents.
In one alleged situation he created an invitation on a candidate’s letterhead, asking people to attend a formal fundraising dinner where they could enjoy free food, drink and female companionship. According to the story, he then handed these letters out at homeless shelters.
Despite embarrassment when hundreds of homeless individuals arrived, the candidate in question won the election. These methods have allowed Rove, a three-time college drop out, to be recognized as “the architect” and “the brain” of Bush’s presidency.
In 1995 Rove is said to have instigated a mass telephone campaign asking potential voters such questions as whether someone would be “more or less likely to vote for Gov. Ann Richards if [they] knew her staff was dominated by lesbians.” Richards, an LGBT-affirmative governor, lost the election to future president George W. Bush.
Rove used a similar plan in 2004 to galvanize Republicans by simultaneously addressing gay marriage, gay adoption and civil unions. While pushing for constitutional amendments in 11 key swing states, Rove’s adopted father, Louis Rove, died in California.
President George W. Bush and Karl Rove at the resignation announcement.
Photo: Joyce N. Boghosian
Louis Rove was openly gay and raised Karl from the age of two. When asked about his stepfather’s life, Rove surprised many by saying with pride that, “[my father] lived life exactly the way he wanted to live it.” No obituary or public funeral was held in Louis Rove’s honor. Many friends of Louis Rove stated that they had not even been aware of his death. Very shortly after Louis Rove’s burial Karl Rove claimed “no homosexual will ever legally marry another homosexual of the same gender on Bush’s watch.”
Rove allied the Bush administration to the Christian Right by saying, “America’s vital interests and our deepest beliefs are now one. From the day of our founding, we have proclaimed that every man and woman on this earth has rights, and dignity, and matchless value, because they bear the image of the maker of heaven and earth.”
Despite attending an Episcopal church with his wife, Rove has reportedly said that he does not consider himself a Christian.