In researching the Republican strategies (syn: Karl Rove), I came across an interesting analysis of the G.W. Bush (syn: Karl Rove's puppet) re-election campaign that may be of interest. It is the closest thing to a "Rove's" handbook that I've seen. It discusses both the tactics used and suggests responses/countermeasures.
Medical cautions: Do not view if you suffer from high blood pressure, fits of rage, manic depression or thoughts of suicide. Do not read if you have a history of computer abuse. Remove all sharp or throwable items from arms lenght before reading.
You should be 18 or older, or view with supervision.
Side effects: Viewing may result in damage to household property, yelling, screaming, or thoughts of revenge. Temporary hair loss, ringing in the ears and eye gouging have also been reported after viewing.
DECIPHERING KARL ROVE’S PLAYBOOK: CAMPAIGN TACTICS AND RESPONSE STRATEGIES (pdf)
Marianna76 published an excellent diary in June, 2011 that also deserves mention and a recommendation to revisit: When the Left Borrows from the Right
Here is the direct link to the article discussed in her diary:
Fourteen Propaganda Techniques Fox "News" Uses to Brainwash Americans.
If you are truely masochistic, then there is always Rove's website. Best taken in small amounts or with high doses of seditives. I only mention it for use as a study guide after the previous articles. Karl Rove
A brief outline follows after the o/0/o
Where possible, I paraphrased what I thought was a key component of the tactic, but omitted the Strategic Response completely. (the paper does a nice job explaining those, such that I couldn't condense and do it justice).
Subtopics are marked with an asterisk, as they are in the article.
Tactic #1: Take the Offensive.
"Throws opponents “off message,” so they cannot get their message across. In addition, a candidate who is on the defensive generally makes a poor impression on voters, who are looking for positive and assertive leadership."
Tactic #2: Attack Your Opponent’s Strengths.
"Rove’s tactic of attacking an opponent’s strengths forces his opponent to back away from the very qualities that makes them an attractive candidate."
Tactic #3: Accuse Your Opponent of What He/She is Going to Accuse You Of.
"‘You say that I don’t love you! I think it is you who does not love me!’"
Tactic #4: Go Negative, Then Cry Foul.
"campaign typically “goes negative” early, using scare tactics or lifting comments out of context. Once the opponent retaliates, the Rove camp calls public attention to their “dirty” campaign tactics."
Tactic #5: The “Big Lie”.
"Ironically, it is the very magnitude of a “big lie” that makes it believable. The response of the voters can be summarized as follows: “Well, there must be some truth in the assertion, or they wouldn’t be able to say it. Where there’ smoke, there’s fire.”"
Tactic #6: Appeal to Moral Values.
"At campaign events, Bush openly discussed his “faith-based” approach to government, declaring that his religious beliefs were at the core of his political decisions."
"Twenty-two percent of voters polled said that the issue of moral issues mattered most in deciding how to vote for president. Of those 22 percent, 80 percent voted for President Bush."
Tactic #7: Sell the (Bush) Persona.
* Bush, the Man of the people
* Bush the Macho Man:
"Never Apologize, Stay the Course."
* Bush the Dimwit.
"people often tend to “misunderestimate” him, thus, taking him lightly"
"As a result, the Bush team was able to claim a victory in the debate for even
coming close to the challenger’s performance."
"this dimwit persona is used to absolve Bush of responsibility when things
Tactic #8: Sell an Adolescent Worldview.
"The Rove campaign machine sells an adolescent worldview that resonates
with the American public"
* An uncomplicated world
* A world of immediate gratification
* A self-absorbed world
Tactic #9: Exploit the Media.
* Exploiting the capabilities of the media.
"They understand the visual as well as anybody ever has."
* Denouncing the Media.
"One of the most damaging Big Lies perpetuated by conservatives is that the
American media are liberal. In reality, right wing ideological media has emerged as a
powerful presence in the U.S. However, this charge provides a way to discredit
unfavorable news reports."
* Controlling the mainstream media through intimidation.
"Early in Bush’s first term, the White House abolished the longstanding tradition of
allowing reporter Helen Thomas to ask the first question at press conferences.
This was a strong signal to the press corps that critics of the administration would
* Imposing limits on “unscripted encounters” with the media.
"... Instead, the administration requires that journalists submit their questions in
advance and using assigned seating to pinpoint friendly questioners."
* Cultivating a network of influential media commentators and media outlets that
supports the (Bush) agenda
"Rush Limbaugh ... Fox news ... a survey found that regular viewers of Fox news
were more likely to hold certain misconceptions, as compared to consumers of
other mainstream media channels"
* Exploiting the capabilities of the media.
"television ads are most effective when they focus on themes rather than issues"
"the “MTV style,” relying on hand-held cameras and quick cuts, sends a message
that the candidate is dynamic, innovative and energetic."
* Popular culture can serve as a valuable resource for campaign strategy.
"political commercials are so predictable that the audience tunes them out.
However, an ad campaign could be designed with an eye on popular media
* Cultivate ideological media.
* Political campaigns must take advantage of the vast potential of the Internet.
Tactic #10: Create Straw Issues.
"The Bush campaigns manufacture minor (but emotionally loaded) issues in order to divert the attention and allegiance of voters."
"Because most people think superficially, few will notice that the point is minor, especially if they are emotionally attached to it."
"Rove raised wedge issues, including same sex marriage, gun control, and abortion"
Tactic #11: Employ Surrogates.
"“The advantage of speaking through a surrogate was that we could say sulfurous
things about our opponent and put that on record without our candidate taking
personal responsibility for it.”"
Tactic #12: Use Emotional Appeals.
"The (Bush) campaign strategy taps into a wide range of fears and insecurities that
in turn controls their attitudes and—more importantly—their voting behavior. As
Jim McDermott observes, creating a climate of fear makes people compliant—willing
to accept the unacceptable and embrace a strong, authoritarian leader."
Tactic #13: Rely on Expert Testimonials.
"It is not terribly difficult to find “experts” who will support a political point of view.
Often, these people have a financial stake in their positions (e.g., working for a
tobacco company or as a lobbyist) or hold a like-minded ideological position"
Tactic #14: Rhetorical Devices.
* Misrepresenting a person's position and presenting it in a form that people will reject.
* Take your opponent’s words out of context.
* Three-Card Monte.
* Shift the burden of proof.
* Shift the argument.
* Personal Testimonials.
* Ignore/Downplay the Evidence.
* Substitute (isolated) Fact for Truth.
* Evasive Rhetorical Techniques.
Tactic 15: Use of Language.
* Newspeak, Connotative words, Labels, Euphemisms, Obfuscation, Code Words.
Thanks for listening.