“I READ ABOUT IT IN THE NEWSPAPER”
On August 12, 2007, Karl Rove resigned his position at the White House. He gave no other reason to the press than “the time is now.”
In fact, he resigned under a cloud of pending investigations signaling the beginning of his long, slow decline. The Congressional Judiciary Committee had subpoenaed Rove for his participation in a number of white hot scandals. He was wanted for questioning in the Valerie Plame Affair, the Attorneys General scandal and last, but not least, his direction of the Don Siegelman Political Prosecution.
It is hard to believe today that Karl Rove was considered a young genius or the “Architect” of anything. But at one time he was the Steve Bannon in the White House, the Paul Manafort of GOP election campaigns, and he could not be beat, he could do no wrong no matter how dirty the tricks he used to win. Today he is barely a player.
The “Dirty Tricks” legacy for which he was famous, preceded him in the Nixon White House and will not die despite his professional decline. The dirty tricks legacy lives on in old Rove pals, GOP player Jeff Sessions. The dirty tricks legacy is alive and well in the appointed staff and advisors at the Trump White House. Here we look at the
Karl Rove & Don Siegelman
Rove said he knew nothing about the Siegelman Case when he was first accused of directing the prosecution. Furthermore, he claimed to have nothing to do with Alabama or its politics. He asserted that he had learned about the case by reading about it in the newspapers.
Roots in Alabama
In reality, Rove put down deep roots in Alabama and decades long involvement its politics. More than 30 years earlier, Karl toured the south as the Southern Coordinator for the National College Republicans. In that role, he met many future Republican politicians and politicos, including Lee Atwater and Alabama’s Jeff Sessions in 1973. Karl returned to Alabama in the 90’s to commandeer the Alabama Judiciary for the Republican party as he had done in Texas.
He worked closely with Alabama Republican politicos for the next decade, the decade following his political work for Gov. Bush in Texas, and preceding his tour at the White House. William Pryor, Bill and Leura Canary, Bob and Rob Riley all worked closely with Karl to advance a Republican takeover of Alabama. (On a personal note, his wife and beach house at the time, were both rooted in the Flora-bama coast.) Yes, Karl Rove had plenty to do with Alabama.
Texas was the Training Ground for the Alabama Turn-around
Texas and Alabama broke politically from blue to deep red in strikingly similar ways. Rove, famous for dirty-tricks against democratic opposition and in-house republican opponents alike, directed a take-no-prisoners Republican Revolution in both states. Both political conversions featured mad-dog Federal investigations and prosecutions of political, usually Democratic, opponents.
“I learned about it for the first time by reading about it in the newspaper.”
Accused of directing the Hightower prosecution in Texas, Karl Rove responded with “non-denial” denials. He insisted that the FBI investigation of his political rivals was prompted by stories, he said “which had appeared in August and September, I believe, in the Dallas Morning News.”
Leura Canary similarly insisted that the Siegelman case was inspired by newspaper articles. She pointed to the investigative reporting of the Mobile, Alabama Journalist, Eddie Curran. However, his journalistic series started in mid-2001, a year after the Pryor/Canary investigation began. Some claimed the investigators fed the stories to journalists, rather than the other way around.
Karl gave his famous non-denial denial to George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s This Week when asked about being involved in the Siegelman Case. “I’ve — you know, I read – I heard about it, read about it, learned about it for the first time by reading about it in the newspaper.” Rove insisted. Sounds familiar.