In his column today, right-wing pundit Robert Novak lays one accolade at Karl Rove’s feet after another, calling him “one of the most effective and most powerful of all presidential aides” and “one of the canniest and most successful managers in American political history.”
Novak mourns that the “happy warrior” Rove had lost his “political joy” as a result of the CIA leak investigation:
Rove had always been a happy warrior, self-confident in building a broad-based Republican majority. But his political joy was diminished by special counsel Patrick Fitzgerald’s investigation of him in the CIA leak case. Although Fitzgerald knew from the start that not Rove but the politically nondescript Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage was my primary source in identifying Valerie Plame as a CIA employee, the prosecutor came close to indicting Rove for perjury or obstruction of justice. Rove rivaled Bush as a hate figure for left-wing politics.
Joseph Wilson did not know the identity of my source when he talked about “frog-marching” Rove into jail, setting a mindless pattern soon followed by bloggers and politicians alike. A talkative juror, after convicting Scooter Libby for perjury and obstruction of justice, expressed sorrow that it was not Karl Rove.
The desire to get Rove has outlived the Plame case, with Democratic lawmakers trying to make him the target in the firings of U.S. attorneys. Since there will be no impeachment proceedings against the president, Rove has been the best available surrogate.
Novak attempts to spin Rove’s participation in the leak scandal as the fantasies of “mindless” bloggers. For the record, Karl Rove was a confirming source for Novak’s outing of Valerie Plame. Rove also told Time’s Matt Cooper that Plame worked at the “agency on wmd,” and ended that conversation by saying “I’ve already said too much.” Immediately after Novak’s column appeared in July 2003, Rove called MSNBC “Hardball” host Chris Matthews and told him that Wilson’s wife was “fair game.”
Asked in Sept. 2003 whether he had “any knowledge” of the leak or whether he leaked the name of the CIA agent, Rove told ABC News “no.” White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan, after having “spoken to Karl,” asserted that “it is a ridiculous suggestion” to say Rove was involved in the leak. In August 2004, Rove maintained, “I didn’t know her name and didn’t leak her name.”
Novak has called Rove one of his best sources inside the White House, and he has made clear that he “tries not to” ever “criticize a source” in his column. The combination of those two factors — as Novak proves today — makes for entertaining “truthiness.”
UPDATE: Marcy Wheeler has more.
In GQ magazine’s inaugural “50 Most Powerful People in D.C.” list, which hits newsstands later this month, Vice President Cheney’s chief of staff, David Addington, is ranked higher at number seven than both the outgoing Karl Rove and current White House chief of staff Joshua Bolten, who are placed at nine and sixteen respectively. GQ associate editor Greg Veis explained Addington’s placement to the Reliable Source:
He has done more than anyone else in government to provide the administration with its (sometimes dubious) legal justifications for expanding executive authority.
UPDATE: Here’s GQ’s full list.
Utilizing “a little-noticed provision in last year’s reauthorization of the Patriot Act,” Attorney General Alberto Gonzales may soon have greater influence over death penalty cases in California and other states, “including the power to shorten the time that death row inmates have to appeal convictions to federal courts.”
While former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney “divested from companies doing business in Iran,” financial disclosure reports filed Monday show that “he still holds stock in an oil company that does business in Sudan — where the government is accused of sponsoring genocide.”
“Rudy Giuliani will jump back into the debate over immigration policy today, but don’t expect him to talk about his days as mayor - when his policies were all but lifted from his liberal predecessor, Ed Koch.” “He is repudiating the good things that he did [as mayor], to his shame,” Koch said.
Tomorrow, a three-judge panel will hear arguments on whether a legal battle relating to Bush’s NSA spy program “can go forward.” “The outcome could determine whether the courts will ever rule on the legality of surveillance conducted by the NSA without judicial oversight between 2001 and January 2007.”
The New York Times reports Defense Secretary Robert Gates “keeps his own counsel on Iraq.” Gates has “avoided showing his hand about whether changes will be needed when the Bush administration completes its war strategy review next month.” (more…)
Mary Ann Akers reports on a random Donald Rumsfeld sighting in Washington D.C. today. “What was remarkable was how, according to our (Republican) source, Rumsfeld’s handlers had to help him onto the escalator and ‘held his elbow’ and opened doors for him. ‘He looked old,’ our tipster said.” Akers notes that’s a stark contrast from the Rumsfeld who used to stand for 8-10 hours a day and used a stand-up desk in his Pentagon office.
The AP reports that “rich federal tax breaks designed to spur rebuilding are flowing hundreds of miles inland to investors who are buying up luxury condos.” The Gulf Opportunity Zone Act of 2005 granted “generous tax benefits available to investors. Now, investors are renting out luxury condos in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which “got only heavy rain and scattered wind damage from Katrina.” “It was supposed to be about getting people..to put housing in New Orleans, Louisiana, or Biloxi, Mississippi. It was not about condos in Tuscaloosa,” said a developer.
On Fox News today, host John Gibson asked White House spokesperson Dana Perino what the White House will be like “sans Rove.” Perino responded: “You know, there is no doubt that it’s going to be different around the White House. Some things that people don’t know about Karl is that like on Fridays, he started ‘Ice Cream Fridays,’ and he would bring around ice cream to all of the staff.” Watch it:var flvperinoicecream32024015447 = new SWFObject('/wp-content/plugins/flvplayer.swf?file=http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/08/perinoicecream.320.240.flv&autoStart=false', 'em-flvperinoicecream32024015447', '320', '260', '6', '#ffffff'); flvperinoicecream32024015447.addParam('quality', 'high'); flvperinoicecream32024015447.addParam('wmode', 'transparent'); flvperinoicecream32024015447.write('flvperinoicecream32024015447');
Perino added: “And when you’re doing your West Wing tours, he will point to you and say, ‘Dana, you are needed in the West Wing immediately. The President needs your advice on something.’ And it just thrills the tourists. He’s such a fun-loving guy.”
On Your World with Neil Cavuto, Fox displayed a chyron asking: “Karl Rove Leaving: A Loss for Wall Street?” Note to Fox: The financial markets are already in bad shape, due to volatility over sub-prime mortgage loans and other factors. And the departure of a man who helped drive the nation into long-term deficits is the least of the market’s current concerns.
UPDATE: Media Matters reports that “Cavuto frequently purports to identify possible effects on the stock market or the economy of ‘news’ stories, or allows his guests to do so, often in order to attack Democrats and progressives.”
As soon as Karl Rove’s departure from the White House was announced this morning, there was no shortage of talking heads to appear on TV to lavish praise on him. On Fox News, former White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card called Rove “a superstar,” CBS White House Correspondent Bill Plante described him as “the mastermind behind everything,” and on MSNBC, Chris Matthews declared “generally, where there’s brains, there’s Rove.”
While Rove is undoubtedly a skilled campaign tactician, the hyperbolic image of him as a political genius overlooks his record of bungled political predictions, a series of policy failures and the damage he has wrought on America’s political system.
ThinkProgress has put together a highlights reel of the breathless adoration for Rove. Watch it:var flvMediaMixRove32024015439 = new SWFObject('/wp-content/plugins/flvplayer.swf?file=http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/08/MediaMixRove.320.240.flv&autoStart=false', 'em-flvMediaMixRove32024015439', '320', '260', '6', '#ffffff'); flvMediaMixRove32024015439.addParam('quality', 'high'); flvMediaMixRove32024015439.addParam('wmode', 'transparent'); flvMediaMixRove32024015439.write('flvMediaMixRove32024015439');
Conservative blogger Andrew Sullivan argues, “Rove is one of the worst political strategists in recent times. He took a chance to realign the country and to unite it in a war - and threw it away in a binge of hate-filled niche campaigning, polarization and short-term expediency.”
Washington Post’s Dan Froomkin adds, “After years of being lauded as a political genius, Rove nevertheless leaves his party in worse shape than he found it, with his boss profoundly discredited in the eyes of the American people.”
UPDATE: Huffington Post has video of the Boy Genius’s tearful goodbye from this morning.
In a letter released today by VoteVets, twenty veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan write to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, asking him to call on Bush to release documents related to the death of Pat Tillman. “We know that the National Football League is not in the business of partisan politics, nor should it be,” the letter states. “However, in this case…the House committee requests were signed by both the Democratic Chairman and Republican Ranking Member, so this is not a partisan witch-hunt, but merely a quest to get to the truth about the death of Pat Tillman.”
UPDATE: In its press release, VoteVets cites arguments made by ThinkProgress commenters. Check it out here.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman John Conyers (D-MI) released a statement, saying that Rove’s departure does not put an end to the investigation into the attorney firings scandal:
The need for Karl Rove to explain his role in the firing of the U.S. Attorneys does not diminish when he leaves the White House. Our investigation to date has revealed the White House’s contempt for the rule of law and its interest in the politicization of the Department of Justice.
While resignations at DoJ and the White House continue to mount, questions raised by this investigation remain. We will continue to seek answers to these questions and expect full cooperation from Mr. Rove and other officials regardless of whether they are employed by the White House.
Asked recently by Conde Nast’s Matthew Cooper about his time as a classmate’s of President Bush’s at Harvard Business School, Mitt Romney drew a sharp contrast between himself and the president. “I was living in Belmont with a wife and two kids and going home every night to be with them and do my homework,” said Romney. “George was at a different phase in his life.” (HT: Political Wire)
Rangel On Draft: â€˜Itâ€™s Easy To Talk About Supporting A War If Someone Else Is Fighting That Warâ€™
Prior to the invasion of Iraq, Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-NY) introduced legislation to re-implement the military draft, arguing that the cost of war should be borne more broadly.
Donald Rumsfeld said of Rangel’s legislation: “We’re not going to re-implement a draft. There is no need for it at all.” More than four years after the war began, the White House has changed its thinking as it seeks more resources to maintain its escalation. Last Friday, the White House “war czar,” Gen. Doug Lute, suggested that the reinstitution of the military draft is being kept on the table.
Appearing on ABC this weekend, Rangel suggested that the Bush administration would “get out of Iraq so fast if they thought that Middle America had to make any sacrifices.” He added, “Believe me, when a Congress knows you’re talking about their community and their families, you’re reluctant to go to war in Iraq as speedily as we have.”
Rangel went on to explain that there’s already a version of the draft taking place:
It’s easy to talk about supporting a war if someone else is fighting that war. And we already have an economic draft. We’re holding hostage reservists, National Guard. We’re enticing kids that come from the highest unemployment areas with $15 — $20 — $30,000 dollars.
But for the middle class and the kids of the Congress, and the Pentagon, and the White House, they’re not involved. So you find a situation where people support the war, but not my kids.
Watch it:var flvrangeldraft32024015440 = new SWFObject('/wp-content/plugins/flvplayer.swf?file=http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/08/rangeldraft.320.240.flv&autoStart=false', 'em-flvrangeldraft32024015440', '320', '260', '6', '#ffffff'); flvrangeldraft32024015440.addParam('quality', 'high'); flvrangeldraft32024015440.addParam('wmode', 'transparent'); flvrangeldraft32024015440.write('flvrangeldraft32024015440');
Rangel continues to push for a draft, but argues that it should not resemble the one this nation experienced in Vietnam. “Vietnam had a political draft,” he said. “All you had to do is what Cheney did, what Bush did. All you had to do was know a politician and get deferments.” Rangel is calling for a draft with no deferments.
UPDATE: Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) has written a letter to President Bush asking him to clarify his policy with respect to the draft.
The Supreme Court’s most recent term was a difficult one, Justice Stephen Breyer said Saturday, because he found himself on the losing end of several key cases. After the 9/11, attacks, Breyer said: “I began to see that the true division of importance in the world is not between different countries. The important division is between those who are committed to reason, to working out things, to understanding other people, to peaceful resolution of their differences … and those who don’t think that.”
Today, the British Parliament’s Select Committee on Foreign Affairs published “Global Security: The Middle East,” an oversight report issuing 36 recommendations on how the British Government can improve its role in the Middle East region.
We conclude that it is too early to provide a definitive assessment of the US ’surge’ but that it does not look likely to succeed. We believe that the success of this strategy will ultimately ride on whether Iraq’s politicians are able to reach agreement on a number of key issues.
We recommend that, in its response to this Report, the Government set out what actions it is taking to facilitate political reconciliation in Iraq.
The committee also noted the deteriorating reputation of Britain in the Middle East, in part due to its involvement in Iraq, and urged diplomatic measures to rekindle strategic relations in the region:
We are concerned that the damage done to the Government’s reputation in the Arab and Islamic world may affect its ability to influence the political situation in the Middle East.
In April, the British government decided it would no longer use the phrase “war on terror.” In this report, the Committee calls the phrase an “oversimplification” and again pressures the Government to cease using “war on terror” as well as stereotyping Islam as “extremist“:
We conclude that the use by Ministers of phrases such as ‘war on terror’ and ‘arc of extremism’ is unhelpful and that such oversimplifications may lead to dangerous policy implications. We agree with the Minister for the Middle East that these phrases cause unnecessary resentment. We recommend that the Government should not use this or similar language in future.
Karl Rove’s resignation signals the final chapter in the Bush administration’s betrayal of the identity of a covert CIA officer. When this breach of national security occurred, the President promised the American people that anybody in his administration responsible for the leak would be removed. Rove, identified by the prosecutors as one of the leakers, not only was not summarily dismissed, but has been allowed to leave on his own terms, to praise from the President.
This sordid tale of compromising national security to cover-up and distract from the false rationale for the invasion of Iraq will forever remain in history a black mark on the Bush presidency.
A poll conducted by the Pew Research Center showed that more than half of Americans say U.S. news organizations are politically biased, inaccurate, and don’t care about the people they report on. “More than two-thirds of the Web users said they felt that news organizations don’t care about the people they report on; 59 percent said their reporting was inaccurate; and 64 percent they were politically biased.”
When asked whether he was leaving to avoid congressional scrutiny, Karl Rove told the WSJ: “I’m not going to stay or leave based on whether it pleases the mob.” And Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has made clear he’s not going to determine his subpoenas based on whether Rove stays or leaves. Leahy issued the following statement this morning, explaining the Senate Judiciary Committee “will continue its investigation” into Rove:
Earlier this month, Karl Rove failed to comply with the Judiciary Committee’s subpoena to testify about the mass firings of United States Attorneys. Despite evidence that he played a central role in these firings, just as he did in the Libby case involving the outing of an undercover CIA agent and improper political briefings at over 20 government agencies, Mr. Rove acted as if he was above the law. That is wrong. Now that he is leaving the White House while under subpoena, I continue to ask what Mr. Rove and others at the White House are so desperate to hide. Mr. Rove’s apparent attempts to manipulate elections and push out prosecutors citing bogus claims of voter fraud shows corruption of federal law enforcement for partisan political purposes, and the Senate Judiciary Committee will continue its investigation into this serious issue.
The White House and its conservative allies rushed to shower Karl Rove with superlatives this morning, saying that he was the “political genius” who “masterminded” the Bush presidency. White House Deputy Press Secretary Dana Perino said that “it’s a big loss to us” because Rove has “a brilliant mind.”
In an interview with Wall Street Journal editorial page editor Paul Gigot, Rove made a series of rosy predictions about the future of right-wing politics:
“He will move back up in the polls,” says Mr. Rove, who interrupts my reference to Mr. Bush’s 30% approval rating by saying it’s heading close to “40%,” and “higher than Congress.”
Looking ahead, he adds, “Iraq will be in a better place” as the surge continues. Come the autumn, too, “we’ll see in the battle over FISA” — the wiretapping of foreign terrorists — “a fissure in the Democratic Party.” Also in the fall, “the budget fight will have been fought to our advantage,” helping the GOP restore, through a series of presidential vetoes, its brand name on spending restraint and taxes.
As for the Democrats, “They are likely to nominate a tough, tenacious, fatally flawed candidate” by the name of Hillary Rodham Clinton. Holding the White House for a third term is always difficult given the pent-up desire for change, he says, but “I think we’ve got a very good chance to do so.”
Rove’s reputation as a “brilliant” political prognosticator belies his track record of grossly getting it wrong on his major predictions:
1) In 2006, roughly a week before the midterm election, Rove predicted “a Republican Senate and Republican House” by claiming sole access to “THE math.” [NPR, 10/24/06]
2) In November of 2000, Rove claimed the “election will not be close.” Rove predicted Bush will “win enough states to get about 50 more Electoral College votes than he needs to win. Rove also predicted Bush will get about 50 percent of the popular vote, with Gore at about 45 percent.” [Houston Chronicle, 11/6/00]
3) During the 2000 primary campaign, Rove declared: “We’re going to win New Hampshire,” referring to the Republican primary. [USA Today 1/25/00]
In reality, the Democrats swept into Congress in 2006, winning both the House and the Senate. The 2000 presidential election was extremely tight, with Al Gore winning the popular vote. And in the 2000 New Hampshire primary, Sen. John McCain routed Bush by 18 percentage points.
As Media Matters has documented, the political press has consistently “accorded significance” to Rove’s prognostications even though they were nothing more than bluster and deluded self-assurance.
After calling the conservatives’ bluff and postponing the Republican YouTube debate, CNN and YouTube announced that they will hold the primary debate on Wednesday, Nov. 28. “Like the Democratic CNN/YouTube debate, this live two-hour forum will feature video questions submitted to YouTube that will be broadcast and answered by the candidates on CNN. CNN’s Anderson Cooper will moderate,” CNN said in a statement.