Karl Rove’s basic approach was always to accuse his targets of outrageous behavior, with no regard for truth, just smears. Whether it was cover for his team doing the exact awful things he accused others of, or to attack an opponent’s greatest perceived strength, like Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, attacking John Kerry’s status as a “war hero,” or the “he loves terrorists” ads against multiple-amputee Max Cleland (in a US Senate election that was almost certainly stolen from Cleland through fraud, above and beyond the smears).
Before Rove, Lee Atwater used similar tactics (Atwater was manager for GHW Bush’s ugly campaigns, including the infamous “Willie Horton” ad against Dukakis).
Classic tactics, used for millennia by ugly manipulators and demagogues: Smear, distort, lie, publicly fling endless streams of crap at your opponents. Like Trump with his decade-long attacks on Obama’s citizenship, absolutely irrespective of zero evidence and actual fact.
The shitty thing is, beyond the ugliness and rank obvious duplicity, is that so many of us humans fall for such transparent bullying, smears and lies.