Thursday, July 14, 2005

Your Daily Dose of Karl Rove

Like "an apple a day keeps the doctor away" I hope that a post on Karl Rove every day will keep him at bay. I hope, but I don't have much real optimism about it. Why can't Rove go for a run or something so that he would look less like the white grubs I dig up in my garden, by the way? This was very mean-spirited of me, true, but Rove is a very mean-spirited little grub.

His major strategy has always been to smear the political opponent, to question the opponent's values, ethics and ability. To hint and imply that the opponent is lying, or breaking the law, or eating little babies for breakfast. Note the crucial words "to hint", "to imply". Evidence is not necessary for all this, and if it is needed it will be created.

This is how Rove has always played the political game and he has been extremely successful. Rove is behind the rise of George Bush and the wingnut revolution in this country, and his success has depended on smearing and not finding legal questions overly interesting.

And as this opinion piece in the Salon points out, this very fact may turn out to be Rove's downfall. (It is a good piece on the whole Plame affair, so if you want background information it's worth sitting through an ad if you don't subscribe.) He knows how to do politics in the media but this particular game is now in the courts and his strategies may not work very well with the judiciary, especially not with Fitzgerald who seems to take the law quite seriously.

But notice how the right-wing defense campaign is using the very Rove tricks I mentioned above: they question Joseph Wilson's competency, they imply that Valerie Plame wasn't undercover at all, wasn't important, was, in fact, a traitor to the American cause and Rove a hero for revealing her plots. All this is aimed at us, the consumers of media soundbites, and the countercampaign already seems to have some effect. The snag for the wingnuts is, of course, that who they should convince is the prosecutor of the case, and he is unlikely to be taken in by all these irrelevancies.

For irrelevancies they are. It doesn't matter one whit whether Wilson was incompetent or Plame unimportant. The question for the courts is whether an undercover CIA agent was outed, and all this other stuff is noise.

The case itself is intriguing enough. Why did Miller choose to go to prison? What, exactly, is she protecting? Greg Palast has some theories on that, though so do many others. Reading the various reports on Miller has made me see layers upon layers of subterfuge, and I no longer feel willing to make any kind of guess on her motives. Though it would be verrry interesting to know what she knows. Without lying on the floor of a prison cell with the cockroaches, naturally.

What is going to happen with the Rove debacle? We'll see, but this is something to keep in mind:

"Bush cannot function without Rove. And the GOP is equally invested in his skills. I expect that, if the pressure gets too great, the president will move Rove out of the White House so he can continue to use his brain on congressional matters like Social Security and tort reform while not having to suffer quite as much politically with Rove still sitting in the West Wing. But I don't think Bush will make such a move, if he can avoid it. His Achilles heel is his loyalty to his friends and it always has been. Bush will stick with Rove long past the point that he ought to have cut his losses and he will endure significant political harm."

-- James Moore, Co-Author of "Bush's Brain" and Author of "Bush's War for Reelection"