Many Americans (including this one) are gnashing their teeth over the apparent “get out of jail” card that Pat Fitzgerald may’ve handed Karl Rove by not indicting him yesterday. It is clearly (to my mind) a fate he doesn’t not deserve. But justice can’t always “get it right” and that may be the case here as well.
But there is a definite bright side to his not being indicted. Make no mistake, Karl Rove is damaged goods from here on out. He may still be able to rally the conservative base, but no one else in this country will give him the time of day. In the mid-term elections, Rove, Libby and Cheney will become the Democratic mantra of sleaze just as Newt Gingrich did during the Clinton years. A mere mention of the name “Rove” will become shorthand for slash and burn politics, lying to the American people and covering up for your misdeeds. He will become associated in the minds of Americans with every value they do not share with such Republican ideological extremists.
So in a way, Pat Fitzgerald has handed Democrats an inadvertent gift. I just hope they use it as wisely as the Clinton-era Democrats used Newt Gingrich to beat up on Republicans and win elections in the mid to late-1990s.
George Bush gives every indication of believing there is nothing fundamentally wrong with his presidency. According to today’s Times, he doesn’t plan a housecleaning a la Ronald Reagan during Iran-Contra. That means he plans to stick by Rove no matter what. And that’s music to the ears of Democrats. They should be telling Bush to stick by his man, love him to death. Because by doing so it will make Rove the albatross hanging around Republican necks through the next presidential elections. Conversely, if Bush did own up to the disastrous situation he now finds himself in and sought out a Republican “wise man” (like Howard Baker was to Reagan and James Baker was to GHW Bush) to set the ship of state aright, then he might save his presidency. The longer it takes Bush to come to this realization the more damage it does him.
Here’s an example of the type of denial that spells doom to Bush:
“I don’t think you want to send a signal that this is a crisis bigger than it is,” said Vin Weber, a lobbyist and former Republican House member who is a White House ally. “This was a bad week obviously, but you cleared the board of a couple big problems or question marks hanging over us. It’s unfortunate for the individuals involved, but it gives us a chance to start rebuilding, clawing our way back.”
Representative Thomas M. Reynolds of New York, chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, dismissed the notion that the week’s events had long-range political significance. The midterm election, Mr. Reynolds said, “is 12, almost 13 months away. All of this week will be forgotten in a year. It will be forgotten in two months.”
I hope those words come back to haunt this political numbskull.
And here’s more:
Allies of the White House said they hoped that Mr. Rove’s legal jeopardy in the leak investigation would end quickly, perhaps within days or weeks, clearing him of wrongdoing and allowing him to refocus his attention on stabilizing Mr. Bush’s presidency and advancing the Republican agenda.
“It is the thinking of most people at the White House, including the lawyers, that this is done,” said a Republican who is in close contact with senior administration officials, referring to the investigation.
The law may be done with Karl, but you can bet the Democrats aren’t.
So George, sleep peacefully at night. All’s well in your world. And whatever you do don’t spoil things by starting to read any of those nasty newspapers you don’t trust anyway. They’d only tell you what you don’t already know.