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James Moore

James Moore

Posted: June 25, 2008 02:33 PM

The Unbearable Lightness of Being Karl Rove


While people and bodies continue to fall out of the train wreck that is the Bush administration, it is probably instructive to look at the dough-faced boy who was smart enough to get off at the previous station. Karl Rove was either asked to leave the Bound for Ignominy Express or he stepped onto the platform just in time to avoid the full catastrophe. Doesn't really matter if he saw it coming; anyone could have.

Instead of being vilified for what he has done to his country, his party, and his president, Rove finds doors open to him down every hall he walks. The media, which he often had the president refer to as "the filter," is embracing his intellectual dishonesty with both money and fervor. Never mind that Rove hasn't spent an adult day of his life without spitting out the words "reporter" or "media" as though they were so much risen bile. He is now one of the people he had long positioned as an enemy. He writes for Newsweek and The Wall Street Journal, opines on FOX News, and in his spare moments gives speeches at $60,000 a pop while also working on his memoir, which fetched a $1.2 million advance.

Of course, he isn't exactly laboring for media outlets that are without bias. Rove makes no pretense to either objectivity or fairness. His task is to frame everything up to raise doubt about Democrats and rewrite the failures of his president and his party. The questions to be asked aren't as much about Rove as they are about why any part of our culture still takes him seriously.

His latest absurdity is to attack the New York Times for "outing" a CIA agent, one Rove claims worked undercover, even though the newspaper was unable to find any proof the agent was assigned in such a capacity. Does it even need pointing out that Rove and Robert Novak and Scooter Libby were arguing vehemently that there was no crime in outing Valerie Plame because she didn't really work undercover? Rove and his president loved the New York Times when Judy Miller and Michael Gordon were turning the unproved pabulum of Ahmed Chalabi and Donald Rumsfeld's Office of Special Plans into front page narratives about scary Saddam bombs.

Rove, the consummate coward, continues to hide behind Richard Armitage as the leaker of Valerie Plame's identity. Undoubtedly, the plan from the outset was to have Armitage get the info to his (and Rove's) pal Novak and if they got caught, well, it was an inadvertent slip. This was no an accident. These things do not happen accidentally in politics. They are planned. Anyone who thinks that Karl Rove was not involved in a scheme to get this information out so that it could do harm simply has not paid attention to all of the crap he has pulled throughout his shadowy career. He would have seen in Armitage the perfect messenger with State Department credibility, closeness to Defense Secretary Colin Powell, and a neo-con political bent. Rove probably did as he has always done, which is to create a plan and then set it loose in an environment over which he has some control, and then step back and watch it all unfold. He ends up with distance and deniability.

I've labored to ignore this man and distance myself from politics but it aggravates any reasonable person to still see Rove getting a venue for his venom. His latest twist on reality is his attempt to paint Senator Obama as one of the sneering country club Republicans that Rove worked so hard to empower. The archetype Rove honored and argued was best fit to lead is now the one that he denounces by trying to attach it to Obama. Irrespective of the fact that his characterization of Obama is as erroneous and ill-considered as almost everything else Rove has created, how does he get away with people taking his pronouncements seriously?

The best thing to do about Rove is to turn his own tactics against him and vigorously attack him and his credibility. As he would counsel, hit him where he is strongest. To hell with his message, let's get the messenger. Karl Rove is once and forever a pathological liar who manufactures realities and he has become so adept at this he has trouble telling his fantasy world from the real one. History will judge him as one of our nation's more despicable characters. If we had the same courage as our founders, Rove would be standing before a court of justice being required to explain why he should not be convicted of treason. But we seem to have forgotten our founders' principles.

Rove is a kind of mutant hybrid of Aaron Burr and Joe McCarthy and he is in desperate need of psychological care. We should give that to him and see if he is fit to stand trial.

But we should not give him a podium in print and broadcast media.

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