Monday, July 11, 2005

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.

5 Comments:

At 4:20 PM, Blogger AubreyJ said...

No matter how this all turns out, good… bad… flat out ugly-- the White House has egg on its face....

 
At 4:27 PM, Anonymous kenB said...

My understanding is that Rove didn't have the appropriate security clearance to know Plame's status and is therefore not prosecutable under the law in question. The question for the prosecutor AFAIK is, who told Rove? Although if it turns out that Rove perjured himself, that's of course a different story.

 
At 5:02 PM, Blogger J. James Mooney said...

How do you know he didn't have clearance? He is the Deputy Chief of Staff. I would think he would have clearance, but if you have a source that knows otherwise I would be interested.

 
At 5:43 PM, Blogger Heiuan said...

He's DCS now...but was he then? Clearance depends strictly on what your current job is, IIRC.

Just being Bush's brain didn't qualify him for a high security clearance until he had a government job that required it.

Mere speculation on my part, I could be completely wrong.

 
At 5:55 PM, Anonymous PaulK said...

The interesting question to me is not how the Left or the Right respond to Rove's involvement in all this (it is a foregone colclusion that the two extremes will have the same responses as they always have had to every issue), but how is the 25% to 40% of the people in the middle going to view all this. Will this hurt Bush with the Middle or will it help him?

In light of the most recent Zogby numbers that showed Bush's approval rating continuing to slide, and that slide coming from erosion in the Middle, this particular bit of news holds the potential of moving Bush's approval rating from 42% into the 30's.

I somehow can't bring myself to believe that either a prosecution, or a firing will come from any of this. Rove and his people are too smart and talented at what they do, and "W" is too loyal. But further erosion of Bush's ratings will certainly add early fuel to the mid-term election fires that are just now starting to stoke up.

Put differently, do I hear the sound of quacking coming out of the White House?

 

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