Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Quiet on the Hill

With all the dust suddenly swirling around Karl Rove (see below), it’s interesting that the normal voices of support on Capitol Hill for anything connected with the Bush administration are strangely quiet. Yes, I know they’re in recess for the Fourth of July holiday (which was last week, by the way), but usually when there’s trouble brewing for the president, you can’t keep the Republicans quiet. Now all you hear? (crickets)

It’s not surprising. The first six months for the House and Senate have been less than stellar: Social Security reform has cratered, Tom DeLay and Duke Cunningham have run into ethics problems, the Terri Schiavo case was an embarrassment, and John Bolton’s nomination to be the UN ambassador ran into opposition from members of his own party. Now they have the looming prospect of filling at least one Supreme Court vacancy, and the 2006 elections are hurtling towards them. So maybe it’s a good thing for them that for the moment all the attention is at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

It can also be that the folks up on Capitol Hill are secretly delighted that Karl Rove is in trouble. He has a vicious reputation as a political hardballer and more than one Republican has been scorched by him for not toeing the party line with Nuremberg-rally-like enthusiasm — just ask John McCain about the South Carolina primary in 2000. I daresay that there’s probably more than a few people in the House and Senate who would be happy to see Mr. Rove sent packing or even doing some time. Payback, as they say, is a bitch.

But fear not: Congress will yet again prove itself worthy of our attention. No one ever went broke underestimating the ability of 535 egomanics gathered in one place to come up with another circus maximus.