Karl Rove’s well-known political tactics also reached Missouri, observers said Monday after he resigned the post of chief political adviser at the White House.
As a pivitol state in national elections, they said, Rove — if not his strategies — was a player in Show-Me-State politics.
Michael Smith, a former Washington, D.C., speechwriter and Columbia resident who now works in the Missouri State Department of Health, pointed to Mel and Jean Carnahan’s 2000 U.S. Senate race against John Ashcroft as evidence of Rove’s influence.
Smith said questioning opponents’ patriotism was one of Rove’s trademark tactics.
“Unfortunately, Missourians were no different than a lot of Americans that they bought into that,” said Smith.
Jeffrey L. Pasley, a history professor at MU, said Rove had some influence in getting Missourians to cast Republican votes in the last two elections — even if voters may not have credited Rove as the reason they supported Bush.
Pasley criticized Rove for manipulating voters to get them to the ballot box.
“Rove is as responsible as anyone for poking sticks at the Christian right to rile them up and use them,” Pasley said. “We have rural Christians in the state upset about science and suspicious of biotech.
“His goals seem to be to win whatever particular fight (the party) is in at that particular moment.”