by Scoobie Davis
One Email Will Go A Long Way
Josh Marshall excerpted Joshua Green's article on Karl Rove in the November Atlantic Monthly. The excerpt dealt with Rove and company's smear of then Alabama Supreme Court Justice R. Mark Kennedy:
When his term on the court ended, he chose not to run for re-election. I later learned another reason why. Kennedy had spent years on the bench as a juvenile and family-court judge, during which time he had developed a strong interest in aiding abused children. In the early 1980s he had helped to start the Children's Trust Fund of Alabama, and he later established the Corporate Foundation for Children, a private, nonprofit organization. At the time of the race he had just served a term as president of the National Committee to Prevent Child Abuse and Neglect. One of Rove's signature tactics is to attack an opponent on the very front that seems unassailable. Kennedy was no exception.
Some of Kennedy's campaign commercials touted his volunteer work, including one that showed him holding hands with children. "We were trying to counter the positives from that ad," a former Rove staffer told me, explaining that some within the See camp initiated a whisper campaign that Kennedy was a pedophile. "It was our standard practice to use the University of Alabama Law School to disseminate whisper-campaign information," the staffer went on. "That was a major device we used for the transmission of this stuff. The students at the law school are from all over the state, and that's one of the ways that Karl got the information out--he knew the law students would take it back to their home towns and it would get out." This would create the impression that the lie was in fact common knowledge across the state. "What Rove does," says Joe Perkins, "is try to make something so bad for a family that the candidate will not subject the family to the hardship. Mark is not your typical Alabama macho, beer-drinkin', tobacco-chewin', pickup-drivin' kind of guy. He is a small, well-groomed, well-educated family man, and what they tried to do was make him look like a homosexual pedophile. That was really, really hard to take."
Unfortunately, I don't subscribe so I couldn't read the entire article. Who were these University of Alabama law students? They certainly wouldn't be random law students who would agree to engage in such vile behavior. Were these students affiliated with the Federalist Society? Whatever is the case, spreading malicious gossip is a serious violation of ethics--whether one is an attorney or is training to become one.
Contact Keith Norman of the Alabama State Bar at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell him about the Atlantic Monthly article. Demand an investigation.
UPDATE: John Kerry should bring a copy of the Atlantic Monthly article and tell the American people that it shows what Bush and Rove are all about. As several analysts of Rove have pointed out (click here for Lou Dubose's take), Rove's tactic is to take an opponent's greatest strenth and make it a weakness--or at least a wash. One of Ann Richard's greatest srengths was her devotion to diversity; Rove's tactic, spread the rumor that she was a lesbian. John McCain was admired for his sacrifice as a POW; Rove's ploy, spread the rumors that McCain's imprisonment made him unstable and that he fathered an illegitimate Vietnamese child. R. Mark Kennedy's was respected for helping exploited children; Rove's response: create a coordinated whisper campaign that Kennedy molests children. John Kerry's biggest strength was his military service; Rove's solution: have phony front groups lie about Kerry's military record.