June 21, 2004
Memorandum to Karl RoveBy Thomas Lifson
We at Overstep Strategies, LLC, are proud to have been selected by the re—election campaign for counsel on opposition disempowerment�. Undermining the other side's ability take advantage of their natural strengths is a complex process, which requires vision and discipline. As we advised you at the beginning of this engagement in 2003, it remains necessary to take some hits and suffer apparent damage, in order to lure the opposition forces into the kind of overconfidence which commits them to losing strategies.
Now that poll data reveals the President recovering a slight lead — prematurely in our estimation — it is necessary to review progress according to our strategic guidelines, so as to prevent our side from committing the very sort of errors we are inducing in the opposition. Since our consulting relationship must of necessity remain completely invisible outside the inner circle, it will be up to you to take the hits in the press, and within the campaign, for perceived weakness and passivity. But as we, you, and the President have all agreed, the only metric which counts is the Electoral College.
Point one: discrediting the opposition press
We realized going into this that most of the big newspapers and all of the broadcast networks would construe every bit of information in the worst possible light for the president. No amount of additional information, complaints from the public, or shame (as if!) would prevent them from taking this course of action. Thus our strategy is to let their momentum in this direction carry them into a position where a public backlash would develop. The more they would rail against us, the more the public would sympathize with the President's self—evident sincerity in protecting the nation.
Our planning has begun to pay off 'big time,' to use a familiar and beloved phrase. All the work in carefully structuring and staffing the 9/11 Commission, and managing the information flow to them, has led the big left wing papers and broadcast network news shows to commit themselves to headlining an obvious and disprovable falsehood. In particular, those who allowed Zelikow the room to insert but one sentence, about a lack a definitive proof of coordination between Saddam and al Qaeda, deserve special recognition.
You may recall that we on the operating team seriously debated whether or not the press would rise to such minimal bait. It turns out that the burning desire to harm the President impelled them to seize on the merest scrap, and publish definitive headlines to the effect of no connection at all. The existence of contradictory data in the body of the report meant nothing to them, as the 'hawks' within our team argued. Now is the time in which we tighten the noose, and let the public see that their press is willing to lie to them. This realization, once created, will serve to progressively immunize us from their further criticisms as the campaign develops.
Meanwhile, the opposition press continues to commit itself to the thesis that no WMDs have been found in
Point two: discrediting the opposition candidate
Senator McCain's cooperation has been invaluable. If there is a dam, some highways, airport improvements, or other public works in
Thanks are also due to the Swift Boat captains who met with the Senator, to brief him on the nature of Senator Kerry's combat actions, and his effect on his unit's effectiveness.
Once again, our opposition's eagerness to win and their hatred of the President has led them to overstep�, and actually allow the press to publicize the 'potential' of a Kerry/McCain ticket. Inviting the Senator to introduce the President at McCord AFB last week was a perfectly—timed rebuke, making Senator Kerry appear naively unrealistic in his hopes, and aggravating his inability to make up his mind on a suitable ticket—mate.
Our other initiatives on Senator Kerry continue to develop as planned (see point three). But keep in mind that none of them should see the light until he has accepted the Democrats' nomination. We are all aware of the uneasiness about him among the party pros, and the last thing we want is for him to step aside in favor of a more viable opponent. Meanwhile, just in case, continue to hold in reserve the data which has been developed concerning the Marc Rich pardon, the theft of White House furnishings, and the other matters we have discussed but will not commit to paper.
Point three: The UN and the 'international community'
Once again, our opponents' predictability has worked in our favor. As our intelligence effort developed evidence of UN, French, Russian, and other complicity in massive fraud in the Oil for Food Program, we realized that they would never voluntarily 'fess up to their crimes. Having committed themselves to their innocence, the data we have mined out of the Ministry of Oil archives and other
Senator Kerry's decision to base his campaign on his ability to 'work with' the UN and foreign powers is also playing right into our hands here (see point two). The 'diplomatic accomplishments' we have in the pipeline for later in the campaign are going to be awfully hard for him to respond to negatively, without destroying his own credibility.
In conclusion, however, we must reiterate our insistence that we resist the temptation to prematurely proclaim our victories. Let the opponents have some more rope. Do not use the best speech material until mid—September at the earliest. Do not berate the press. We can allow talk radio, the internet bloggers, activists, and the few journalists and media outlets willing to look at our side without hatred, to accumulate evidence of media bias.
Remember, the people are not stupid, as our opponents believe. The payoff will come in late October, and finally in November.