this week in major newspapers have identified him as the "Democratic
nemesis" and "public enemy #1" of the Democratic
National Committee. Gee, guys. Can't we all just get along?
been so heavily pursued by the press in recent days that his wife,
perhaps desperate, opened the garage door of their Washington
D.C. home to prove the embattled presidential adviser was not
there. The Associated Press promptly recorded the contents
and sent out a wire story with the following lead: "He is
'the architect' who steered George W. Bush to victory four times,
twice as Texas governor and twice as president. But can Karl Rove
organize his own garage? Can the master of Bush's political planning
figure out where to put the ladders, paint cans and cardboard
a news report, of course; this is a gloat. But the journalist
was nothing if not precise; the AP story records that
there are not one, but two ladders in the garage, one aluminum
and the other "green, leaning sideways." It's official:
The Washington press corp has lost it.
isn't far behind. Record hurricane season? Avian flu pandemic?
Sadaam on trial? Not much to work with, granted. But on Monday,
CNN's Jack Cafferty took his best shot. Cafferty suggested that
Rove start preparing to be indicted. "He might want to get
measured for one of those extra large orange jump suits,"
Cafferty sneered, "'cause looking at old Karl, I'm not sure
that he'd, they'd be able to zip him into the regular size one."
After considering whether the "large" size would be
enough for Rove, Cafferty gleefully acknowledged he was hoping
for an indictment not yet handed down. "I love to see those
kinds of things happen," he confessed. "It does wonders
me wonder what Cafferty does for fun on the weekends.
and thigh-slapping in public and private may have a lot to do
with Rove, but they probably have very little to do with a crime
he may or may not stand accused of committing. It's apparent at
this point that Rove gave reporters information designed to undermine
the credibility of Joseph Wilson, which in hindsight was hardly
necessary. Rove may have given reporters the name of Wilson's
wife, Valerie Plame, who may or may not have been a covert CIA
agent at any time in her career.
these acts are clearly juvenile - and the effort just as clearly
bungled - they hardly seem criminal. When most people think "criminal,"
they picture people robbing banks, kidnapping children or stuffing
classified documents in their socks.
But in the
political realm, the definition of "criminal" keeps
expanding to include activities - leaking stories, redirecting
campaign money - that used to be regarded as, well, political.
for the party that chanted "character matters," Rove
lied when he denied being a source of the leak. No one likes a
liar, of course, unless the liar happens to be a brilliant political
strategist working to turn your agenda into reality. It also helps
if you lie to the press, for which no one has any sympathy anyway.
it's embarrassing to be caught not keeping your hands clean when
playing dirty. Truth-telling and cleanliness were issues for Bill
Clinton, too, as the Democrats well remember. . . which surely
is one reason they are enjoying Rove's seeming reversal of fortune
have at Karl Rove:
he whisper the name of a woman who most likely was never a covert
agent: Traitor! How dare he politically outmanuever the Democratic
party: Hack! How dare he create election strategies that elected
George W. Bush with Republican majorities in the House and Senate:
Cheater! How dare he have friends among the Religious Right, openly
enjoy his time in political power and eat, famously, eggs fried
in bacon grease: Fatso!
It may be
payback, but it's hardly justice.