Monday, April 30, 2007

Unhealthy Obsession


As I've said before, the Democrats and liberals have an obsession with taking down Karl Rove, but so far they have been unable to come up with anything even resembling wrongdoing by the "boy genius."

Here Fred Barnes tries to dissect the left's seemingly pathological hatred of one of this centuries greatest political minds.


Hollywood Girls Gone Wild
In which Laurie David and Sheryl Crow harangue Karl Rove.
by Fred Barnes
05/07/2007, Volume 012, Issue 32


The showdown at the White House Correspondents' dinner was more emotional and lasted longer than was first reported. It started when Laurie David introduced herself to Karl Rove. He knew who she was--Hollywood's leading Bush-hater and a producer of An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore's film on global warming. David quickly launched into a harangue. President Bush has done nothing on global warming, she said. Rove answered that Bush has funded more research on the subject than any president. That's worthless, David responded. All the scientific questions have been answered, she insisted. Now's the time for action! Rove cited the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which projects a modest rise in sea level of 7 to 23 inches over the next century. David told Rove he was wrong. We've had the hottest summer and winter ever, she said, plus extreme weather events. The president needs to talk to real global warming experts. Rove said he already does. "Would you like me to give you a list?" he asked. She didn't. You don't have anybody who understands the seriousness of the issue talking to the president, David said. Yes, we do, Rove said, mentioning the president's science adviser, Dr. John Marburger.

That's when the debate got more heated and more physical. Sheryl Crow, the singer, suddenly appeared. Without introducing herself, she demanded that Rove tell her how many corporations were financing Marburger's research. Rove responded that Marburger has a long and distinguished academic record. David said Bush must lead on
global warming and America must emulate China--China!--by signing the Kyoto Protocol. (China indeed signed, but didn't agree to curb greenhouse gases.)

Crow was more insistent, poking Rove in the chest and pinching his arm. She said Rove worked for her. Rove said he worked for the American people. Crow said she and David were the American people. And at that point, Rove turned and sat back down at his table, where he was a guest of the New York Times.

The point of recounting this stunt by two of Hollywood's most prominent limousine liberals--who have accused Rove of rudeness--is to put him in the proper political context. He is the chief target of Democrats, liberals, and the left, and they burn with a desire to see him discredited, fired, and jailed. If all else fails, and it has so far, they'll settle for tainting him as impolite.

A few Democrats have talked of impeaching President Bush, but that idea is a nonstarter. Representative Dennis Kucinich has called for impeaching Vice President Cheney. But with enemies like Kucinich, Cheney doesn't need friends. When the Democratic presidential candidates were polled at a debate in South Carolina last week, they pointedly failed to agree with Kucinich. So that leaves Rove at the top of the Democratic hit list.

Rove is more than a symbol. He is the architect of Bush's election triumphs and an influential player in pushing the president's agenda. He represents Republican success. The Democratic strategy now is to criminalize that success by treating normal political conduct by the Bush administration, spearheaded by Rove, as a series of criminal acts.



In a speech last week, House Democratic Caucus chairman Rahm Emanuel declared that corruption in the Bush White House is worse than that of the Nixon administration in Watergate. "In many ways, what we have seen from this administration is far more extensive than that scandal," he said. The interests of the Republican party have been elevated over the national interest. "This is no accident," Emanuel claimed. "It's all by design."

And the chief designer, in Emanuel's scheme of things, is Rove. In 2000, Rove "often drew an analogy between that election and the election of 1896, in which adviser Mark Hanna joined forces with many of the plutocrats of that Gilded Age and ushered in a 35-year era of Republican dominance," Emanuel said. "Without a trace of reserve, George Bush and Karl Rove set out to re-create that earlier era of one-party rule."

Of course they did. They created a majority center-right coalition (overturned by the 2006 election), just as Hanna put together a Republican coalition of the well-heeled and the working class, and just as FDR created a dominant Democratic majority made up of Northern liberals and Southern segregationists. There's a name for this kind of activity: politics.

So what are Rove's crimes? That's what Democrats, now in control of Congress and armed with subpoena power, are desperately looking for. Their hopes initially rested with special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. When he cleared Rove of wrongdoing in the CIA leak case, their disappointment was palpable.

Now they've turned to congressional fishing expeditions. When Rove's name
turned up peripherally in the controversy over eight fired U.S. attorneys, they salivated. Democrats said he must testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee and not just on the case of the U.S. attorneys, but on everything. "What else was Karl Rove doing when it came to other activities, departments of the government?" asked Senate Democratic whip Dick Durbin.

The White House has refused to send Rove to testify under oath and on the record (with a transcript resulting), suspecting Democrats would set a trap to catch him in some discrepancy with other testimony and generate a criminal case. Without Rove to gang up on, Democrats have tried a backdoor approach by subpoenaing a Rove aide, Sara Taylor.

Two other probes reflect the obsession with Rove. Both are based on the assumption that normal politics as practiced by Rove and Republicans is criminal. One investigation is looking at political briefings for political appointees--not career civil servants--at federal departments. The briefings, a longstanding practice, were delivered by Rove aides.

The other concerns separate Republican National Committee email accounts used by Rove and others. About these, Emanuel said, "I have a simple question and it remains unanswered: Why?" In truth, there's a simple answer, one well-known to Emanuel. The RNC email accounts were set up for political business, which is not supposed to be carried out on government email accounts. If Rove had instead used government email for political messages, Democrats would be after him for that.

Even in Watergate, no single aide in the Nixon White House was pursued as relentlessly as Rove has been. Yet these investigations have uncovered one dry hole after another. And unless beating Democrats by ordinary political means becomes a crime, Rove will remain at large and at work. The best Democrats can hope for is to insult and assault him at a Washington dinner.

Fred Barnes is executive editor of THE WEEKLY STANDARD

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3 comments:

bb said...

Your ability to constantly lump everyone who doesn't think in perfect synchronicity with your party's talking points into a marginalized category you call "Liberals," and the astounding, inexhaustable amount of myopic hate you possess for anyone who dares to think for themselves, questions the actions of this floundering adminstration, and tries to look at our country's decisions from a global point of view will never cease to amaze me, Panda Man.
I really don't know how you keep it up.

Shannonymous said...

He doesn't hate people who think for themselves, he just can't fathom how people can think in ways other than him. He wants everyone to agree with him. I'm the same way; it is called being passionate. Annoying? Frequently. Frustrating? Definitely. But it is way better than being ambivilant or uncaring.

bb said...

Shannonymous -

I agree. And as someone who knows and loves PandaMan, I am glad he is more passionate and less apathetic.
But I'm serious when I say his tendencies honestly amaze me.
I would agree with you that "He doesn't hate people who think for themselves, he just can't fathom how people can think in ways other than him" if PandaMan just ONCE said something outside of a FOX NEWS talking point. If he just ONCE publically disagreed with a Republican pundit or took umbrage with some action taken by the Bush Adminstration.
But - as one who drops on his blog alot, I feel like - he's never expressed a single original thought or take on a political situation, he simply regurgitates. His unwavering loyalty to his party and the pundits not only baffles and astounds me - it makes me question his ability to truly think for himself.
And PandaMan, I say that as someone who - deep down - has got nothin' but love for ya. I just honestly don't get your zealotry.