Though Brand Destruction Research is technically on hiatus, I think I will continue to drop links to articles that relate to this project's core concerns.
I'm not always sure how to respond to Robert Greene, author of The 48 Laws of Power, but his take on the Democrat's need to more closely examine Karl Rove's tactics is quite similar to mine:
The question to Democrats . . . It is clear what is coming on the horizon--the stakes, the strategies, etc. How do you defend against this? What are the plans of the Democrats? Are they prepared for a nasty fight in which fairness and rationality will be thrown out the window? Will they end up losing the election and complaining about Republican tactics and strategies, or will they have a defense and offense in place? All indications are that they are as chaotic and unprepared as usual. In normal times, this is their election to lose. What would your answer be, how would you counter this strategic beast named Rove, wresting control from him and putting him on the defensive? It is you versus Rove, mano a mano.
For more on Karl Rove, Greene links to a useful article that ran a couple of years back in The Atlantic Monthly:
A former Rove staffer told me . . . that some within the [Harold] See camp initiated a whisper campaign that [Mark] Kennedy was a pedophile. "It was our standard practice to use the University of Alabama Law School to disseminate whisper-campaign information," the staffer went on. "That was a major device we used for the transmission of this stuff. The students at the law school are from all over the state, and that's one of the ways that Karl got the information out—he knew the law students would take it back to their home towns and it would get out." This would create the impression that the lie was in fact common knowledge across the state. [p. 3]
If this year  stays true to past form, the campaign will get nastier in the closing weeks, and without anyone's quite registering it, Rove will be right back in his element. He seems to understand—indeed, to count on—the media's unwillingness or inability, whether from squeamishness, laziness, or professional caution, ever to give a full estimate of him or his work. It is ultimately not just Rove's skill but his character that allows him to perform on an entirely different plane. Along with remarkable strategic skills, he has both an understanding of the media's unstated self-limitations and a willingness to fight in territory where conscience forbids most others. [p. 3]