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Karl Rove -- The Architect


Discussion Questions

Featured Lesson Plan
  • Social Security Reform: A Timely Political Issue
  • Student Handout: Essential Terms
  • Student Handout: Understanding Different Views of Social Security Reform: Background
  • Student Handout: Understanding Different Views of Social Security Reform: Questions
  • Student Handout: Devising Your Political Strategy

  • Additional Lesson Ideas
  • Comparing Political Strategies: Machiavelli and Rousseau
  • Letter to Karl Rove or Editorial Evaluating His Strategy and Success

  • Additional Resources

    Printable .pdf of Entire Guide
    (Adobe Acrobat required)

    » About the Film:

    President George W. Bush called him "the architect" of his re-election victory and he has been the president's chief strategist from the beginning. But Karl Rove is much more than a political guru, he is the single most powerful policy advisor in the White House. FRONTLINE and The Washington Post join forces to trace the political history and modus operandi of the man who has been on the inside of every political and policy decision of the Bush administration, including the current battles on Social Security, taxes and tort reform. For Rove -- observers say -- enactment of the Bush agenda is a way to win the biggest prize of all: a permanent Republican majority.

    » A Note to Teachers:

    For classes in Social Studies, American Government, Current Events, Language Arts. Grade level 9th-12th

    The United States electorate was sharply divided in both the 2000 and 2004 elections of President George W. Bush. After his 2004 victory, however, President Bush announced his intention to use the "political capital" he gained to push for big policy changes, including Social Security reform, tort reform, tax reform and more. This teacher's guide invites students to consider both how political decisions and strategies develop and to evaluate the various means toward political ends.

    » Discussion Questions:

    A list of questions for students to discuss before and immediately after viewing

    » Featured Lesson Plan:

    Social Security Reform: A Timely Political Issue
    By informing themselves about and addressing this issue of national, local and personal importance, students will become "architects" of a political strategy. As they develop strategy, they will have to decide what information they will include and highlight and what information they will de-emphasize in order to persuade a particular target group.

    Students will:

    • Explore Social Security restructuring proposals
    • Build a political strategy appropriate to the audience they are addressing
    • Evaluate effectiveness and ethics in persuading others of their point of view

    » Additional Lesson Ideas:

    Comparing Political Strategies: Machiavelli and Rousseau
    Students will step back from current politics to learn about two political philosophers of the past. They will read about Machiavelli's The Prince and Rousseau's The Social Contract, completing the lesson by comparing the two thinkers, either through class debate or writing.

    Letter to Karl Rove Evaluating His Strategy and Success
    Students will use information from the documentary, additional research and their own discussions to evaluate Rove's goals and strategies, as shown in the film. By spotlighting the power of sentence structure, the goal of this exercise is to show students the potency of their own rhetoric.

    » Purchasing the Film:

    "Karl Rove: The Architect" can be purchased from Shop PBS for Teachers. Also, teachers and students can watch the film streamed in its entirety on the FRONTLINE Web site.

    » Credits

    This teacher's guide was developed by Simone Bloom Nathan of Media Education Consultants. It was written by Ellen Greenblatt of University High School San Francisco. Advisers were Dr. Sharon E. Jarvis of the University of Texas at Austin and the Annette Strauss Institute for Civic Participation and Patricia Grimmer of Carbondale High School, Carbondale, Illinois.

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