Monday, May 26, 2008
Karl Rove’s reputation for ‘slick’ seems undeserved in retrospect. Rove, after all, had been the best at ‘bad’. A sultan of slime, Rove has slipped-up on slick. Interviewed recently by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos, Rove betrayed his guilt as he bungled his own tactics. Rove did a ham-fisted job of ‘staying on message’. The maven of ‘bridging’ i.e, ‘changing the subject’ without appearing to be ‘changing the subject’, Rove just –flat out –changed the subject. A perpetrator of ‘cover stories’, Rove was caught flat-footed and stumbling.
When asked to explain himself in the light of day, as he was on This Week, Rove stumbled badly. His attempts to parse and twist words, so effective from behind the scenes in the Bush White House, don’t play as well when the heat’s on him.Commenter: “By answering the imaginary question, Rove in no way answers the real one”
Stephanopoulos: You were subpoenaed this week by the House Judiciary Committee to give testimony on any involvement you may have had with the prosecution of the former Alabama Gov Don Seigleman. He’s claiming there was selective prosecution. He’s out on bail now, even though he was convicted. He says your fingerprints were all over it. Here’s what the House report said. It said, ‘In May, 2007, a Republican attorney from Northern Alabama named Jill Simpson wrote an affidavit stating that in November, 2002 she heard a prominent Alabama Republican operative named Bill Canary say that Karl Rove had contacted the Justice Department about bringing a prosecution of Don S. The question for Mr. Rove is whether he directly or indirectly discussed the possibility of prosecuting Don Siegelman with either the Justice Department or Alabama Republicans.’ Did you?Rove: Let me say three things. First of all, I think it’s interesting, everybody who was supposedly on that telephone call that Ms. Simpson talks about says that the call never took place.Stephanopoulos: Although she’s produced a cell phone record, according to the committee.
Rove: Well, I would say three things. First of all, uh, I learned about the Don Siegelman prosecution by reading about it in the newspaper. Second of all, this is really about a constitutional question of separation of powers. Congress, the House Judiciary Committee, wants to be able to call presidential aides, on its whim, up to testify, violating the separation of powers. Executive privilege has been asserted by the White House in a similar instance in the Senate. It will be probably asserted very quickly in this, in the House. Third, the White House, has agreed — I’m not asserting any personal privilege. The White House has offered, and my lawyer’s offered, several different ways in which, if the House wants to find out information about this, they can find out information about this. And they’ve refused to avail themselves of those opportunities. We didn’t say, ‘Close off any option to do what else you want to do about this in the future.’ We said, ‘If you want to hear about this, let’s sit down and talk about this, and then if you, you know, you’re entitled to do what you want to do in the future.’ This is now tied up in court, it’s going to be tied up in court, and probably settled in court. And frankly, the House last week, you know, doing this is duplicating what the Senate’s already done. It’s already found its way into the courts.
Stephanopoulos: But to be clear, you did not contact the Justice Department about this case?
Rove: Uh, I read about — I’m simply going to say what I’ve said before, which is I found about Don Seigleman’s investigation and indictment by reading about it in the newspaper.
Stephanopoulos: But that’s not a denial.
Rove: Uh, I’ve uh, you know, uh, um, I read about it in the newspaper. You know, I read about, heard about it, learned about it for the first time by reading about it in the newspaper.
Stephanopoulos: Mr. Rove, thank you very much.
—Rove Shows His Hand — and His Guilt — in Siegelman Case, Pensito Review: Politics and Media
Why was Rove so feared? At the age of nine, Rove openly supported Richard Nixon and because of it, he got into a fight with a girl who beat him up! Perhaps trying to live that down, Rove took up less physical forms of political expression. His reputation as a ‘master debater’ goes back to his adolescence. He was elected president of the student council at Olympus High School in Salt Lake City and became ‘skilled in debate’.
“I was the complete nerd. I had the briefcase. I had the pocket protector. I wore Hush Puppies when they were not cool. I was the thin, scrawny little guy. I was definitely uncool.–Karl Rove
Hey, Karl! You still are! And you are also as guilty as sin. Rove can be depended upon to take a low road. Addressing a fund-raiser in New York, Rove said:
Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.
In response, ‘Families of September 11’, demanded that Rove “stop trying to reap political gain in the tragic misfortune of others”. But, in fact, Rove’s career is built around that and every other vile and slimy GOP tactic. Rove may not be the source of every thing vile about the GOP, but the record puts Rove in association with the likes of Donald Segreti and Nixon’s other ‘dirty tricksters’. When it came to bad politics, Rove was simply the best of the ‘rottenest’.