Thursday, July 14, 2005

Rove Watch, Day One

Why day one? Well, it wasn't until yesterday (as far as we know) that someone who definitely knows finally named Karl Rove as the source of the Valerie Plame leak to the grand jury investigating the case. It's official ... unless Chris Cooper perjured himself (and pre-falsified his notes to support his story), Rove is the man.

We'll follow this one all the way down the sewer, folks. We have to. We are, after all, professionals. For now, the affair goes down two tracks:

The legal track

Did Karl Rove tell the grand jury the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth when he testified previously? If not, he's shoulder high in fecal soup and sinking fast without a life preserver. Even if he can successfully defend himself against the charge of breaking federal law in outing Plame, he's got a perjury rap to deal with.

I don't know about you, but if I got dragged off to serve on a grand jury for month upon month on a case like this, and at the end of it all found at that ol' Turd Blossom could have put the thing to bed early and easy but decided to dodge, I'd be inclined to throw the library at him -- go ahead and indict on the charge originally at issue and for perjury, and maybe just for conspiracy to cover it up as well (with most of the Bush White House as indicted or unindicted co-conspirators).

If he's indicted, I can't see even President Bush -- among whose few virtues is intense loyalty to his friends -- keeping him on at the White House. The purge preparations are already in their early stages as Bush dodges the bullets and waits to see what happens.

The political track

But what if Rove isn't indicted? Maybe he gave sufficiently detailed and honest testimony that Cooper's (and Judith Miller's) notes don't reveal anything new. Maybe the grand jury has already concluded that his conduct didn't meet the standard for indictment on charges of outing Plame. Maybe this thing is a legal dead end.

In that case, it all comes down to politics. I don't think that Bush will bend or break under demands to fire Rove if there's no indictment. And other than the fact that he seems to have promised to fire whoever was responsible for the leak (since when do politicians keep their promiises?), I don't see why he should.

Politics is a nasty business, and Rove's job has always been to handle the nastiest part of that business: to go after his candidate's enemies with a meat ax, bury their bodies deep in the woods and make sure that his guys can credibly say that they don't know where those bodies are. That's what he does. Bush isn't going to fire him for it if it can be avoided. Firing your best employees makes it hard to hire good help.

Think there's anything new there? Think it's a partisan thing? Think again. Ever heard of Lee Atwater? How about James Carville?

When it comes to practical politics, Carville is my idol. This is a man who can ram a red hot poker up his opponent's ass, and nobody else notices anything but the beatific smile that lights up his face while he's doing it. I've been in the position of having to take the fight to the enemy myself* -- even over my own candidate's objections -- and it was Carville's example which lit my way. He makes Rove look like a rank amateur (which he may be -- this isn't the first time he's been caught with the dirt still on his hands).

Like making sausage, folks. Like making sausage. But you don't get sausage made without the sausage makers.

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