Rove May Be a Typical Political Consultant After All
Presidential adviser Karl Rove was Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper’s source in the Valerie Plame story, Newsweek is reporting. While it seems Rove did not reveal Plame’s name or that she was an undercover agent, he did tell Cooper that former-ambassador and Bush critic Joseph Wilson’s wife was with the CIA.
If true, Rove was really walking the line. The goal of leaking the name was to discredit Wilson who took a CIA funded trip to Africa. It was his wife who authorized the trip—the implication being that the trip was not on the up-and-up but was instead an abuse of family connections. The fact that Plame was an undercover agent was either unknown to Rove or was unimportant. Whether or not he is prosecuted hinges on the difference.
If he did not knowingly reveal Plame’s undercover status, he could likely avoid prosecution. If he knew and just didn’t care, then it’s likely there will be an indictment. But either way, it’s a clear example of politics as usual where a political consultant handles a criticism by smearing the critic rather than addressing the critique. Those kinds of tactics are almost always deplorable. And this time they may even have been illegal.
Not surprisingly, groups like MoveOn are already calling for Rove’s resignation. That is, of course, premature as we still only have a handful of details in this case. But should Rove be indicted, I don’t see how he can be allowed to stay part of the administration.
Rove has been credited with masterminding Bush’s presidency and has obtained an almost demonic-like status amongst the left who see his handiwork in everything they dislike. Of course, in reality, Rove is just a political consultant who happens to be extraordinarily good—but by no means all-powerful and certainly not infallible. In fact, by acting like a typical political consultant who lets his venom override his good sense, Rove may have revealed that, under all the mystique, he’s still capable of making one heck of a bad mistake.