Karl Rove Playbook

This is not a document written by Karl Rove. The Karl Rove Playbook is a critical or satirical interpretation of Karl Rove's political philosophy, ethics, political methodology and campaign strategy.

The Karl Rove Playbook

  • The function of propaganda lies in calling the masses' attention to certain facts, processes and necessities, whose significance is for the first time placed within their field of vision.
  • The whole art consists in doing this so skillfully that everyone will be convinced that the fact is real, the process necessary, the necessity correct.
  • Its effect, for the most part must be aimed at the emotions and only to a very limited degree at the intellect.
  • All propaganda must be popular and its intellectual level must be adjusted to the most limited intelligence among those it is addressed to. Consequently, the greater the mass it is intended to reach, the lower its purely intellectual level will have to be.
  • The more modest its intellectual weight, the more exclusively it takes into consideration the emotions of the masses, the more effective it will be.
  • The art of propaganda lies in understanding the emotional ideas of the great masses and finding, through a psychologically correct form, the way to the attention and thence to the heart of the broad masses.It is a mistake to make propaganda many-sided, like scientific instruction, for instance.
  • The receptivity of the great masses is very limited, their intelligence is small, but their power of forgetting is enormous.
  • Effective propaganda must be limited to a very few points and must harp on these in slogans until the last member of the public understands what you want him to understand by your slogan. As soon as you sacrifice this slogan and try to be many-sided, the effect will piddle away, for the crowd can neither digest nor retain the material offered. In this way the result is weakened and in the end entirely cancelled out.
  • The function of propaganda is not to weigh and ponder the rights of different people, but exclusively to emphasize the one right which it has set out to argue for.
  • Its task is not to make an objective study of the truth and then set it before the masses with academic fairness; its task is to serve our own right, always and unflinchingly.
  • As soon as our own propaganda admits so much as a glimmer of right on the other side, the foundation for doubt in our own right has been laid. The masses are then in no position to distinguish where others injustice ends and our own begins.
  • It must confine itself to a few points and repeat them over and over. Here, as so often in this world, persistence is the first and most important requirement for success.
  • The masses are slow moving, and they always require a certain time before they are ready even to notice a thing, and only after the simplest ideas are repeated thousands of times will the masses finally remember them.
  • When there is a change, it must not alter the content of what the propaganda is driving at, but in the end must always say the same thing. For instance, a slogan must be presented from different angles, but the end of all remarks must always and immutably be the slogan itself. Only in this way can the propaganda have a unified and complete effect.
  • All advertising, whether in the field of business or politics, achieves success through the continuity and sustained uniformity of its application.
  • The cleverest trick used in propaganda was to accuse your enemies of doing themselves what you are doing.
  • Propaganda is a means to an end. Its purpose is to lead the people to an understanding that will allow them to willingly and without internal resistance devote themselves to the tasks and goals of a superior leadership.
  • Propaganda is the sharpest weapon in conquering the state, in defending and building the state.
  • Propaganda in the end, miraculously makes the unpopular popular, enabling even a governments most difficult decisions to secure the resolute support of the people.
  • There are no (opposing) parties in any longer. How could we have overcome them had we not waged a campaign for years that persuaded people of their weaknesses, harms and disadvantages? Their final elimination was only the result of what the people had already realized. Our propaganda weakened these parties.
  • Propaganda is a matter of productive fantasy. It requires alert attention to the events of the day, and a complete knowledge of the soul of the people for only then can one speak in a way that the people will understand. Propaganda must be the science of the soul of the people. It requires an organized and purposeful system if it is to be successful in the long run.
  • The effective propagandist must be a master of the art of speech, of writing, of journalism. He must have the gift to use the major methods of influencing public opinion such as the press, film, and radio to serve his ideas and goals.
  • Effective propaganda avoids any form of bureaucracy. It requires lightning-fast decisions, alert creativity and inexhaustible inventiveness.


Text in red is from the chapter on propaganda in Adolf Hitler's autobiography, "Mein Kampf".

Text in blue is from a speech by Hitler's minister of propaganda, Joseph Goebbels, at Nuremberg in 1934.

Many of the quotes have been shortened and edited for clarity. The content or focus of each sentence has not been changed. The reader is encouraged to check the original texts.

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