Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Karl Rove, the Republican Majority and Oversight

I have made a number of postings about oversight with regard to the Bush administration. With the developing Karl Rove/Plame/CIA leak scandal, it is worth bring up again. Karl Rove has been identified as the source that "outed" an undercover CIA operative in a crude attempt to punish her husband for criticizing Bush administration "intelligence" about Iraqi WMDs (intelligence since proven to be a combination of lies and idle speculation). Rove and Bush administration lawyers initially called accusations that Rove was the source "ridiculous." Well, unless you have been living under a rock you know that this is nonsense. Check this latest LA Times story on it.

Now, Democrats are demanding hearings on the matter but since the Republicans have the majority in both houses, no hearings will take place. In the past, contributors on this blog have accused Democrats of not doing enough to keep Bush in check. It is almost cliche in this country to say that Democrats are wimps. However, given the commitment of the Republican party to protect its own even when they are shown to be both criminal and incompetent, there is little the Democrats can do until and unless those who criticize them vote them the power they need to prove themselves.

I guess I have two points here: First, the problem is not Karl Rove or George W. Bush. The problem is the entire Republican party apparatus. Second, self described "independents" who say they don't support Democrats because they are "wimps," have little understanding of the institutional constraints imposed on the minority party - particularly with regard to oversight (as the Karl Rove case is demonstrating). At the same time, they blame a minority party for being weak when it was they (and their ilk) that made that party weak in the first place with their apathy.

OK, I feel better now. I certainly hope I'm wrong about the Rove case. I hope the Republicans stop protecting him. But...

20 comments:

Dr. Strangelove said...

I did not vote for Clinton in 1996 because I was upset that he abandoned his friends in the face of criticism--specifically, Dr. Jocelyn Elders and Lani Guinier. Bush has not made the same mistake: he sticks by his friends no matter what. I think that is a good strategy... the difference, though, is that neither of the Clinton friends had done anything wrong, whereas Rove is at least guilty of being malicious, if not downright criminally liable.

And yet the Republicans do not care. Because for the Bush wing of the party, what matters (I have said this before) is winning, not truth. I am sure they see no difference between Dr. Elders' being hounded out of town for saying it was OK to talk about masturbation in sex ed. classses and Karl Rove being hounded for endangering an American agent abroad in order to get back at her husband. All they see is their buddy being attacked. And you're either with them or you are their enemy.

Did you hear how White House Spokesman Scott McClellan was grilled during the last press conference? It's revealing to listen to the entire video, or read the transcript of the whole session. I think he was told Rove had nothing to do with it, and he believed it, and now is being told to cover up--and he doesn't like it. He distanced himself from his own words and practically begged the press to get his own side of the story once this was all over.

Republicans. Sigh. Can't live with 'em... can't shoot 'em.

Anonymous said...

I saw the Daily Show tonight. They played the press conference clip after showing McClellen denying Rove's involved back in 2003. Stewart also said, "We've secretly replaced the White House Press Corps with real reporters."

Back in the 1970s the Democrats were in power and so the Watergate cover up led to Congressional hearings and oversight leading to Nixon's resignation. We'll see if the Republican Party's so called "moderates" and "mavricks" will call for investigations now. I doubt it.

The problem isn't people like Clinton who are flawed but otherwise OK. The problem is a Republican party that is totally lacking scruples and voters who continue to pretend that the two parties are morally equivolent. 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

Dr. Strangelove, you disappoint me. Of all the reasons not to vote for Clinton, you chose that one? Let me guess, you extrapolated from Clinton's treatment of his friends something seriously flawed in his character that made him a poor presidential choice. I don't agree with that as a standard, but I respect your choice. But consider this: Maybe it was a question of choosing your fights carefully and arguing over masturbation was a waste of energy considering all the frivolous investigations that the Republicans were quite able to run despite or in spite of a DEMOCRAT CONTROLLED Congress!! (I growl between gritted teeth) Ok, you two, let's consider some character flaws that really DO seem to impact the serious business of our nation.

I think it is amusing how "quiet" the White House has been. Remember Dr. Strangelove, Bush said that when the leaker was uncovered, he would be fired. So while Bush may stick by his friends, he doesn't keep his promises. And how can you be a "security" president when a top member of your own staff exposes intelligences agents. How can you even claim to care about the security of the nation when you have staffers doing something like that?

Rove ruined this woman's career. Currently, Michael Bolton is not being confirmed partially because of his treatment of his employees. Rove also mistreated a person in his employ but endangering this woman. In addition to the laws that govern top secret information, he violated all whistle blower laws and protections (which I had to be trained into today as part of settlement at my own government agency). His motive was retribution and retaliation, both have serious legal consequences in the workplace.

Intelligences agents are often dumped in the field with little back up and a trustful understanding that they will be protected even if that protection comes from nothing more than silence. Rove did more than break the law, he broke an important code of conduct. Why should the President's intelligence advisors be candid if there are leaks coming from inside the White House that endanger their agents and assets? And you wonder why the President gets "bad intelligence"? And let's talk about the damage to the "Office of the President" that may result from things like this.

Furthermore, the fact that Rove was so willing to do what he did as a way to hush this woman's husband means that they knew there was something worth covering up -like the lack of WMD. And may I point out that 2 journalists are now going to jail for protecting Rove as a source in order to uphold their journalistic principles, and freedoms of the press, both of which are now degraded due to their editors' decision to release the name of the leak. In the end, these people will go to jail anyhow and there is little discussion about what this means for journalism which is already in a poor state in this country.

So it seems that a lot of people are upholding principles and laws that are far bigger and more important than "standing by your man". Rove has a track record that goes way back for this sort of thing and he is called a "friend" by the President. Well, birds of a feather . . . I think the President needs to be more careful about the friends he keeps.

As for RBR's comment about the Democrats- I think they are wimpy because they lack the creativity to get around the obstacles. I think that the DNC or some affiliated think tank should run a highly publicized independent investigation and hit the public hard with the message that they have to do this because the Republicans won't allow it in Congress.
 

// posted by USWest

Anonymous said...

The Democrats did not control Congress in 1996. Nor did they control Congress for any but two years of the Clinton administration.

Actually, the harassment of Clinton is the perfect counter example to the free pass Bush gets. Clinton was impeached for covering up his affair with Lewinsky. Bush is not even investigated despite clear evidence that not just spin but outright lies, intimidation and corruption have been the norm among his highest advisors.

Why the difference? Partisan control of Congress. Republicans controlled both houses of Congress for most of the Clinton years (all but the first two years). And Republicans control both houses now. Result, Democrats getting BJs is impeachable but Republicans starting an undeclared war under demonstrably false pretenses is a misunderstanding.

That said, I'm dissapointed with Dr. Strangelove too for his 1996 vote. His vote then was suggesting that he prefered Bob Dole to Bill Clinton. Regardless of the character issue, that is an odd choice given the views he's expressed here. 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

Sorry RBR, the investigations started before he lost the Congress. In fact, they started before he was even elected.

And that isn't the point I was making. I have a friend who insists that what Rove did is tantamount to treason. That is the real issue- not Clinton and not the Democratic party. So let's not get off track. The real issue is when politics gets in the way of of national security as it always seems to do- especially in this administration. 

// posted by USWest

Anonymous said...

The Karl Rove scandal is the real deal. For the past two years, the White House has publicly lied about his involvement. What he did was put a woman's life at risk to punish her husband for disloyalty to the administration, and also put national security at risk by exposing a covert CIA operative. Undermining national security while both he and the president claim we are "at war" should be a profound shock to any real patriot. It's not trivial, and not technical. And he's incredibly guilty, even if he said "Wilson's wife" rather than "Valerie Plame" (his defense now is that he did not "name" her, but the email identifies her as Wilson's wife!).

As I said, this is the real deal. I have been waiting for the criminal and treasonous activity of this most-un-American administration to finally break. Investigations will uncover more of this behavior. Republicans will not be able to put a lid on this as they did the Downing Street Memo. 

// posted by LTG

Dr. Strangelove said...

Actually, I registered Green and voted for Nader in 1996 as a protest vote. At the time, I was so disgusted with Clinton's waffling that I figured it wouldn't make a difference if he lost. I realize now that this was naive.

Incidentally, I did not vote for Nader in 2000. I saw him speak in person and I realized we disagreed on many issues, whereas I found I was much more in agreement with Gore, so I voted for Gore. The whole Florida fiasco sealed the deal for me; Ralph Nader managed to convince me to do something no one else had been able to: become a Democrat.

I agree with everyone on the blog that Rove's actions are treasonous. It kills me when I hear NPR report that Rove revealed Ambassador's Wilson's wife was a CIA agent, and yet they feel compelled to add Rove's attorney's lame excuse that his client did nothing illegal because he "did not disclose her name."

Huh?? I don't think it was a secret that Ambassador Wilson was married! The secret is that his wife was a CIA agent! Ah well... I suppose we're now going to hear that it just depends on what the definition of "is" is...

Dr. Strangelove said...

USWest wrote, "Of all the reasons not to vote for Clinton..." That just sunk in. Very amusing! Yes, USWest, I was very focused on a small aspect of his character: I did not like that he would sell out his courageous friends in a vain attempt to buy some political peace.

And you see how badly that strategy worked. Clinton fired as many lightning-rods for criticism as he could... so what happened? The Republicans just focused their attacks on him directly. People forget that the purpose of a lightning rod is not to draw down lightning, but to re-direct it away from something more valuable. Bush lets his minions be the lightning rods, and it's not fun. If you doubt that, just ask Scott McClellan...

Anonymous said...

Poor Scott McClellan indeed. You almost feel bad for the guy, now that the White House press corps has turned into a bunch of reporters...

-----------
Question: Do you want to retract your statement that Rove -- Karl Rove was not involved in the Valerie Plame expose? -- involved?

McClellan: This is -- no, I appreciate the question. This is an ongoing investigation at this point. The President directed the White House to cooperate fully with the investigation, and as part of cooperating fully with the investigation, that means we're not going to be commenting on it while it is ongoing.

Question: But Rove has apparently commented, through his lawyer, that he was definitely involved.

McClellan: You're asking me to comment on an ongoing investigation.

Question: I'm saying, why did you stand there and say he was not involved?

McClellan: Again, while there is an ongoing investigation, I'm not going to be commenting on it, nor is --

Question: -- any remorse?

McClellan: -- nor is the White House, because the President wanted us to cooperate fully with the investigation, and that's what we're doing.

Question: That's not an answer.

Question: It's not an answer. And you were perfectly willing to comment from that podium while the investigation was going on, and try to clear Karl Rove. Why the double standard? Why were you willing to say Karl Rove was not involved when -- and talk at length about it, when the investigation was going on, and now that he's been caught red-handed, all of a sudden you've got a new line?

McClellan: No, I don't think it is the way you characterize it, as new, because I have said for quite some time that this is an ongoing investigation, and we're not going to get into discussing it while it's an ongoing investigation. I've really said all I'm going to say on it.

Question: But you did -- you did discuss it while it was an ongoing investigation. You stood there and told the American people Karl Rove wasn't involved.

McClellan: I've said all I'm going to say on it.
------- 

// posted by Bell Curve

Anonymous said...

I agree with LTG that Rove committed treason for selfish political reasons and I believe he did it on behalf of the President if not at his actual behest. He and Novak should be in jail.

But to get back to my original point, I don't think the fact that he has been caught red handed will matter a bit to the Republican party. What's more it won't matter to about 35% of the voters (guess which ones) either.

As for Scott "Mouth of Sauron" McClellan, I have no sympathy at all for the man. He signed on with men he knew to be dishonest and knowingly accepted this particular mission. As a senior Nixon aid said of FBI Director Gray (who recently passed away), "Let him twist slowly in the wind." 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

I agree with RBR: no sympathy for McClellan. He signed on. And I love Bell Curve's crack about reporters suddenly deciding to become reporters.

I hope LTG, that this turns into the real deal, but I wonder if I hope in vain. I will say, though, that the press has done a good job keeping this story alive over the months. This is probably because it involved their own. Jailing 2 journaIists may be the wake up call the press corps needs.

RBR, I thought you were being a little too pessimistic. Then a friend called and I mentioned Karl Rove and he said, "who?". So I am afraid you may be correct.

 

// posted by USWest

Anonymous said...

US West,

Your friend who doesn't know who Karl Rove is: I bet this person either doesn't vote or votes Republican because "Democrats are wimps" or some otherwise thoughtless reason. I also bet they watch Fox News because they like the presentation. 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Dr. Strangelove said...

A lot of people don't know who Karl Rove is. But that can be a good thing. Democrats have a chance to change that and give a damning first impression.

Anonymous said...

My friend does vote democrat. As for his views on the party, I don't know. He is a guy who is very busy, who listens to NPR and CNN as background noise. He isn'r terribly political.

I agree that the Democrats could give a damning first impression, but they could also be accused of demonizing a Republican operative. In the end, will it make much difference? No because this administration is effective at selling the "few rotten apples" argument.

Sticking it to Rove will not end the culture war that is largely responsible for putting these people in power to begin with. They use the rhetoric of religion to garner votes, and then pursue inhumane policies.

I am all but certain, however, that if you roll the Rove stone over, you will find all sorts of creepy crawlies. I long for another Watergate-type scandal. There have been so many opportunities for this that have dropped dead. Maybe this one will stick.
 

// posted by USWest

Anonymous said...

I concur that demonizing Karl Rove is a bad idea. The idea is to demonize George Bush. Rove is his mouthpiece. Make that stick. Put them together. Make sure that when Rove goes down, so does Bush.

You do that by pressing them to admit the lie and the bad motives, not by talking about how Rove is "Bush's brain."



// posted by LTG

Anonymous said...

The problem is neither Bush nor Rove nor both together. The problem is a Republican party that has fundamentally departed from the idea of a democracy.

Somehow we need to tar the entire GOP with the Karl Rove brush. By defending him they'll help us do just that. 

// posted by Raised By Republicans

Anonymous said...

You just know in the 2006 election every photo of a Republican congressman or senator with Karl Rove is going to be mailed out to the public with a statement, "Did he betray your wife to the enemy too?"
 

// posted by LTG

Anonymous said...

That is a good one LTG. If they don't do it, can we do it for them? We'll form our 527! 

// posted by USWest

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