Wednesday, November 30, 2011


Chapter 8: Emphasize her education and turn it against her
[Go to beginning]

Karl Rove was distressed to find the GOP campaign office practically deserted. He shouted to the  only people in the office; two women talking at a corner desk, “Where is everybody?!”
The woman leaning against the desk shrugged. The woman seated at the desk stared at him with a puzzled expression on her heavily made-up face.
Rove turned away and snaked his way through the maze of desks to the chairman’s office. Jeananne Kangas, who was the acting chairperson of the Massachusetts GOP, was on the phone. She looked up, brushed a wave of rust-colored hair from her narrowed eyes, and recognizing Rove, motioned to a chair at the side of her desk.
From the content and tenor of her conversation, Rove figured she was addressing someone who was dissatisfied with how the process for electing the new chairperson was going. Jennifer Nassour’s unexpected resignation had raised some ugly divisions in the party.
Kangas hung up with a curt, “Well, that’s the way it is,” and turned to Rove. “I’m afraid I haven’t been able to raise Tim yet. He’s supposed to have been here fifteen minutes ago.”
Rove checked his watch. The meeting he’d set up with Kangas and her communications manager, Tim Buckley, had been for 2:15. Kangas probably wanted to pow-wow with Buckley before they had their sit down with Rove. “Well, that’s okay, Jean, gives me a chance to ask about who the new chair’s gonna be.”
“Bob Maginn, if I have any say,” Kangas responded.
“But McNamara’s thrown his hat in ring?” Rove said, making it a question instead of a statement.
“Yeah. He’s a favorite of the Mass Tea Party,” Kangas said, frowning.
“Well and good,” said Rove. “But Maginn gets you Mitt Romney.”
“Don’t I know it,” said Kangas. “You betting on Romney to get the nod?”
“It’s between him and Gingrich. Newt’s baggage may weigh him down, but this flip-flopping by Mitt is getting a lot of traction,” Rove said, checking his vibrating smart phone.
Kangas looked over Rove’s shoulder. “Ah, here’s Tim. Finally,” she said, as Buckley hurried into the office.
“Sorry I’m late. Traffic,” Buckley said, taking off his sport coat and hanging it over the back of the remaining chair. Buckley reached out to shake Rove’s hand. “Karl. How was your trip?”
Rove’s handshake was perfunctory. He wasn't big on hearty handshakes. “Fine,” he said.
Kangas said, “Karl wanted--”
Rove cut her off. “I want to talk about a more aggressive campaign against Warren,” he said.
“Well, we’re --,” Buckley said.
Rove talked over him. “I want more direct mailings, and I have a list of points I want included. I emailed them to you, Tim, on my way here.”
Buckley started to take out his smart phone.
“You can check later, Tim,” Kangas said.
“I’m sure you’ve seen the ad we’re running against Warren,” Rove said,
“Sure,” Kangas and Buckley said, simultaneously. “Great stuff,” Buckley said.
“Well, I want more ads focusing on her Harvard Law connection. Tie her directly to Obama. Emphasize her education and turn it against her. She’s elitist. Doesn’t understand the common working man. Or woman. That sort of thing,” Rove said.
Kangas was taking notes. Buckley was still thumbing his cell.
“Look, I know we feel confident about Brown keeping his seat, but the Democrats are going to throw a lot of money at this race. They think he’s vulnerable. I don’t want to take any chances,” Rove said.
“I hear you,” Buckley said.
Kangas gave Buckley a fish eye look. “We appreciate the input Karl,” Kangas said, with something less than conviction, and thought, Who the hell does he think he is?

Rove looked at Kangas and came to a decision. "I've gotta run," he said, and started for the door. "Oh, Tim, walk with me. Want to ask you something." Raising his hand, he said, "So long, Jean. Next time, huh?"

Once in the outer office Rove put his hand on Buckley's shoulder and guided out the front door. "Jean's a lawyer, isn't she," he said, making it a statement, rather than a question.

"Yeah, she is," said Buckley.

"She a little squirrely on things you might want to do?"

"Well...," said Buckley.

"I mean, say you wanted to direct mail something negative on Scott Brown, and make it look like it came from Warren's campaign? You know, something that questions his character, or family values. That sort of thing. Or say there was an implication that he avoided service in Iraq or Afghanistan because of his National Guard service?" Rove smiled at Buckley, who looked slightly ill.

Buckley just shook his head. He was thinking, Jesus Christ!, It was all he could do not to cross himself.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, or are used fictitiously, and any similarity to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

1 comment:

  1. According to The Atlantic Monthly, in the hard-fought 1996 race for a seat on the Alabama Supreme Court between Rove's client, Harold See, and the Democratic incumbent, Kenneth Ingram, Rove had flyers printed -- absent any trace of who was behind them -- viciously attacking See and his family. It was assumed the flyers came from Ingram’s campaign. The ploy worked, and See won the seat.


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