From his office in the West Wing, Karl Rove now directs a “formidable political dirty tricks operation and disinformation mill.” Where did this begin, and who is this proclaimed American Joseph Goebbels?

Karl Rove was born in on December 25, 1950, in Denver. He grew up in Colorado, Utah, and Nevada. He attended several different colleges but never attained a degree.

Matriculating academically probably wasn’t a priority for Karl. Politics was his focus. Republican politics. Legend has it that, at the tender age of nine, he backed Richard Nixon against John Kennedy. Perhaps this first loss galvanized his energy and concentrated his thinking. Many people think that JFK stole the 1960 election. Perhaps Nixon’s defeat convinced the young Karl Rove of something that the rest of already know: politics was, after all, a blood sport.

As mentioned above, Karl Rove had little use for college, but he did manage to win the race for the presidency of the College Republicans. The late Lee Atwater, a political hired killer of vicious reputation, managed Karl’s campaign. Rove was chairman of these same College Republicans when he caught the eye of George H.W. Bush, soon to be Republican National Committee chairman, director of the CIA, and, eventual, president. According to some sources, Karl Rove began his career in hardball politics during the 1972 re-election campaign of Richard Nixon. Rove is reported to have been a protégée of the infamous Donald Segretti. True or not, Rove ended up in the White House and Segretti in the big house.

As mentioned, Karl Rove has been compared to Nazi Germany propaganda minister Goebbels. He has been called George W. Bush’s political "Svengali" and, of course, a political genius. Much like the aforementioned Segretti, Karl Rove is showing that he is little more than a dirty trickster with an overblown reputation and very little imagination. To wit:

Karl Rove: senior adviser to the president; office of political affairs; office of political liaison; and office of strategic initiatives. With this title comes tremendous access to the president, where Karl Rove is said to wield great power and has absolute authority on everything political inside the White House.

But the following blunders prove that it’s understandable why Bush’s poll numbers have tanked and why Karl Rove has great style but no substance.

The latest fumbles are juvenile at best. First, a story broke on the Drudge Report, alleging an affair between John Kerry and an intern. This proved to be a hoax with no journalistic legs. A photo then circulated on the Internet showed Kerry and Hanoi Jane Fonda at a Vietnam war demonstration. This too proved to be a fake. Still another obvious fake photo surfaced yet again, this one showing John Kerry with the late Anton the Vampire. No one knows the source for the above nonsense, but these are strictly Bush league. High school pranks fit Karl Rove’s m.o. exactly.

As go-between for the Christian Right and the president regarding the proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution against gay marriage, Rove promised that Bush would deliver. Rove is hoping to appease his political base and, at the same time, he is trying to put this non-issue on the front page for as long as possible. Gay marriage draws a lot of attention, and Rove knows it. He also knows that such an amendment will never come to pass.

Rove also had a hand in the disastrous Bush immigration policy announcement. This so-called amnesty angered everyone but illegal wetback mules. What began as a gambit designed to demonstrate Bush’s compassion for immigrants backfired once again, showing Rove as simply pandering for Hispanic votes while upsetting his political base.

George Bush and Meet the Press. The only reason that Bush didn’t come off worse than he did was the fact that host Tim Russert gave the president a pass. Nonetheless, Rove had his boss ill prepared for his interview. In it, Bush came off as an unsure one-trick pony, babbling endlessly about his “war time presidency.”

George Bush’s numbers flopped after his equally flat State of The Union address.

Karl Rove has been selling the president’s tax cuts as hard as he can from behind the scenes. These tax cuts, along with an unprecedented spending spree, have resulted in record deficits that will not soon go away. This behavior propelled New Hampshire Republicans to write in Democratic candidates during the primary, further embarrassing the president.

The Joe Wilson/Valerie Plame affair. After Ambassador Joe Wilson discredited Bush’s now-famous sixteen words regarding the elusive yellow cake from Niger in the 2003 State of the Union address as more justification for Iraq II, someone decided to expose Wilson’s wife Valerie as a CIA operative (or agent) in retaliation. The leak may have come from Vice president Dick Cheney’s office, but Wilson insists that Karl Rove was behind it. Given Rove’s record of schoolboy pranks, poor political decisions, and just plain stupidity, I can see why he made the claim. Outing Valerie Plame was not an act of political genius, it was an act of a jackass. It is a felony, with a grand jury now sticking its subpoenaed nose into the administration’s phone logs, e-mail records, and the pantry aboard Air Force One. The intelligence community is outraged; Joe Wilson has not been silenced and no one else was intimidated. And indictments against senior White House staff are looming just before the election. Someone is going to do ten years hard time for this.

Indeed, Karl Rove’s political skill is that of his so-called mentor, Donald Segretti. But in the end, Segretti had little effect on the outcome of the 1972 presidential campaign. Nixon had it locked up all along. He had a 20 percent lead in the polls just before the Watergate break in. The campaigns that Segretti targeted were not destroyed by him, but by their own candidates. The two most notable self-defeating candidates were Senators George McGovern and Ed Muskie, both of whom ran dismal campaigns. Donald Segretti gained little money and secured for himself an evil reputation in history as well as disbarment and a prison sentence. Richard Nixon would have won regardless of Segretti’s shenanigans.

But not so with Karl Rove. He has thus far ill served his master. There exists the very real possibility that the arrogance and hubris demonstrated by Karl Rove, along with his bag of sophomoric dirty tricks, could very well undermine the Bush re-election. A determined Senator Kerry could very well turn any further Karl Rove slander neatly on its ill-conceived head.

As a political talking head and pundit, my advice to Mr. Bush is to fire Karl Rove.

By Grady Hawkins

Its official. The race for the 2004 presidential election has begun. Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts is the Democratic Party’s anointed 500-pound political gorilla. John Edwards, his last opponent, was sent home after a Tuesday, March 2nd primary rout. With Ralph Nader now in the hunt, the poll numbers have evened off, and the race between George Bush and John Kerry are now too close to call. Before Ralph’s return to the presidential arena, Kerry was a ten-point favorite. Indeed, the political blunders exhibited by the Bush White House leave one wondering who is in charge of the political shop. This contradicts the notion of a well-oiled political machine, with someone pulling the strings and calling the shots. But the George W. Bush political train wreck continues to derail week after week, blunder after blunder, raising the question: where is the so-called political genius of Karl Rove? He must be a political genius. Every talking head and political columnist, left and right, agree.