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July 18, 2005


Posted by Phil on July 18, 2005 10:48 AM

I'd say we can stand down from the Karl Rove death watch, because I've never thought there was enough smoke to warrant an indictment, and now, barring that, the White House/GOP seem to think they have wiggle room (they never need much) with their arguments that Rove didn't reveal her actual name, and she wasn't a covert agent anyway, or at least not an important one in a dangerous position in a foreign country where she wore a trenchcoat and had a leg holster--you know, what you and I think of when we think of secret agents.

I mean, she was a covert agent, because the CIA wouldn't have referred the case to the Justice Dept. if she wasn't, and they did, but whatever. Who cares about the CIA? Except for George Tenet, who got the Medal of Freedom and left, they're a bunch of incompetent hacks! Look how they misled the president in his march to war!

Anyway, the jig's up. Orrin Hatch put on his parson face yesterday on "Meet the Press" and talked dismissively about Valerie Plame's status and lovingly about what a straight-shootin', "ebullient" guy Karl is. You see, he's so full of joy and life, he just can't hide his light under a bushel, and that really riles those Washington sourpusses.

Joe Biden wasn't buying it, or taking any of it seriously. Karl Rove certainly puts the "bully" in "ebullient," but it's not his pink-cheeked enthusiasm that made him the most powerful partisan operative in America. Karl Rove does three things meaner than outing Valerie Plame before he eats breakfast every morning, so the idea that he's a swell guy who's "innocent" of compromising someone's career (and American intelligence) for the sake of a political attack is absurd--as absurd as the notion that Bush would fire him. Bush is about as likely to resign and join the ballet as fire Karl Rove.

I don't even know why I'm posting on this, except that I thought if I went on the record, maybe I'd get pleasantly surprised by being wrong, and I was tired of thinking of bombs whenever I looked at the home page. Not that this doesn't make me think of bombs.

What still truly puzzles me is why the White House didn't seem to know Rove and Libby were the leakers (or thought it would never come out), and why Bush and McClellan went so far in declaring that no one in the administration was involved--definitely not Karl Rove--and that if anyone in the administration was involved, you'd better believe their ass was gonna be fired yesterday. They were vehement about it, however disingenuously, which to me is hard to square with their willingness to dismiss it now. I mean, the president seemed very upset.

Now, pathetic as it seems, the only trouble Bush is in is rhetorical, because he said he'd fire anyone who leaked, and now, not so much so. This is trouble the White House could've easily avoided by not protesting so much in the first place, but maybe stonewalling back then would've been a tacit admission of guilt, so they played it like they had to at the time. By lying, I mean.

But, a little egg on Bush's face and, fiddle-dee-dee, tomorrow's another day in the war on terror. To save Rove's ass, he'd eat shit and call it ice cream.

In the meantime, Frank Rich focuses on the only issue that matters. For what that's worth. As Josh Marshall puts it,

This is about a president who knowingly took his country to war on the basis of lies, and the war on the homefront against anyone and everyone who's tried to peel back the lies and expose the truth.