The November edition of The Atlantic includes an excellent article, still relevant in the final days of the US presidential election campaign, on Karl Rove's electoral strategies.
Karl Rover in a Corner by Joshua Green is fascinating on the detail - and brilliance - of Rove's techniques. The article is also chilling on just how outrageous are some of the lengths to which Rove will go.
Mark Kennedy, an incumbent Democratic justice in the state of Alambama was a Rove target in one of the strategist's earlier battles. Kennedy tells Green:
"People vote in Alabama for two reasons...Anger and fear. It's a state that votes against somebody rather than for them. Rove understood how to put his finger right on the trigger point."
The article speculates that Rove has less of an advantage in '04 than in many other campaigns he has fought and won. Green concludes:
[Rove] seems to understand—indeed, to count on—the media's unwillingness or inability, whether from squeamishness, laziness, or professional caution, ever to give a full estimate of him or his work. It is ultimately not just Rove's skill but his character that allows him to perform on an entirely different plane. Along with remarkable strategic skills, he has both an understanding of the media's unstated self-limitations and a willingness to fight in territory where conscience forbids most others.
The Democrats are playing the anger and fear card today. The difference seems to be that they have evidence and truth on their side.
Joe Lockhart, a senior advisor at johnkerry.com, e mails their list serve citing an article in this morning's New York Times as "further proof of how the Bush administration's incompetence and arrogance has endangered the lives of our troops and the American people". The article is at http://www.johnkerry.com/pressroom/news/news_2004_1025.html