Like Puck, a character in William Shakespeare's "Midsummer's Night Dream", Karl Rove's ability to create mischief in the lives of Democrats is well documented. His entrance into politics began on a national scale with the re-election campaign of Senator Wallace F. Bennett in 1968. Since that time, he has been a force in determining the historical saga of the United States with an uncanny ability to play upon the anxieties, distrust and fears of voters.
Rove was born on December 25, 1950 and by the age of nine was already thinking about politics when he decided to support Richard Nixon. It began a journey that eventually led to his role in the White House during most of the George W. Bush's presidency. By the time he was eighteen, when he entered the University of Utah on a $1000 scholarship, joined the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity and through the University's Hinckley Institute of Politics, was given an internship with the Utah Republican party. His work on the Bennett campaign would bring him to the attention of powerful Republicans. During that period, he disrupted a rally held by Democrat Alan J. Dixon, who was running for Treasurer of Illinois and eventually won, by stealing 1000 letterheads from the campaign headquarters and printing false invitations to "free beer, free food, girls and a good time for nothing" and distributing them to rock concerts and homeless shelters. Although he later described it as a "prank", it was an indication of things to come as he became a consultant to future presidents.
This would not be the first of his "maneuvers" that would leave political rivals, both Democrats and Republicans, unable to compete with his affable manner which hid the creativity of a Machiavelli and a die-hard, succeed at any cost, mindset that would carefully dissect any politicians that stood in his way.
In the May 12, 2003 issue of the New Yorker, Nicholas Lemann wrote, "Rove is both a fox and a hedgehog. He is a detail man of all detail men, but he also makes a point of doing more long-term strategic planning than most political consultants...he produces written plans far in advance, mapping out the race in its entirety, and he's famous for sticking precisely to the plan no matter what." The result was that George W. Bush won the presidency in the year 2000 and again in the 2004 in spite of his economic and foreign policy blunders.
Within the last few weeks, the Republican National Committee has let it be known that its investigative team, still actively working in the Chicago area, had amassed a one-thousand page dossier of Obama. According to reports, this plan was instituted soon after the Democratic primary began in the event that he would be the nominee chosen by the National Democratic Committee. Every moment of Obama's life, before and after his political involvement, is laid out with a collection of events and names surrounded by innuendo based on bits and pieces of information that will be conveyed from site to site on Internet, to be heard, read and seen as facts and with the help of the sensation-seeking media, headline the evening news and right-leaning talk shows.
Or will the fact that William Jefferson Clinton was one of the few Democrats to outwit him when first winning against the senior Bush and then being re-elected in spite of Rove's effort be remembered? Will Hillary have the opportunity to repeat that feat in 2008 using the successful tactics of her husband or to the determent of the Democratic party, be forced aside resulting in McCain becoming the next president of the United States? The answers to those questions will determine whether Rove's tactics will prevail once again, as it did in 2000 and 2004, in making a Republican the next president of the United States.
Those who underestimate Karl Rove's influence in prior elections may live to regret it. Like Puck, who used his shape-shifting to turn Phouka into a horse and lead people on a wild ride, the Republican's mischievous mastermind may send the Democrats over a cliff.