Karl Rove is trotting out the Duh, I forgot defense in the Plame case.
Special Counsel Patrick J. Fitzgerald is wrapping up his investigation into White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove’s role in the CIA leak case by weighing this central question:
Did Rove, who was deeply involved in defending President Bush’s use of prewar intelligence about Iraq, lie about a key conversation with a reporter that was aimed at rebutting a tough White House critic?
Fitzgerald, according to sources close to the case, is reviewing testimony from Rove’s five appearances before the grand jury. Bush’s top political strategist has argued that he never intentionally misled the grand jury about his role in leaking information about undercover CIA officer Valerie Plame to Time magazine reporter Matthew Cooper in July 2003. Rove testified that he simply forgot about the conversation when he failed to disclose it to Fitzgerald in his earlier testimony.
Fitzgerald is weighing Rove’s foggy-memory defense against evidence he has acquired over nearly 2 1/2 years that shows Rove was very involved in White House efforts to beat back allegations that Bush twisted U.S. intelligence to justify the Iraq war, according to sources involved in the case.
Sorry, but I’m not buying it. The man who engineered the election of George W. Bush and the bamboozlement of the press, the man who, according to everyone, never forgets a slight or an enemy, simply “forgot” that he told a reporter whom he hardly knew that Valerie Plame was a CIA agent and the husband of the man who had just publicly humiliated his boss and his justification for going to war in Iraq? I don’t think so.
What Mr. Rove is counting on or hoping for is that the public is dumb enough to buy this defense. He’s also counting on the greed, fear, and paranoia to re-elect a Republican majority in the House and Senate; using this combination of tactics and exploitation to convince the Republican base that the worst thing that could happen in America — worse than a terrorist attack like 9/11, worse than $3.50 a gallon gas, worse than bird flu, worse than Mexicans spilling over the border to pick tomatoes, worse than a budget deficit larger than the GNP of Finland, worse than an endless war in Iraq — is that Democrats will win back control of the House and Senate. Horrors!
Oddly enough, that was the motivation behind the Republican sweep in 1994: clean up the mess in Washington and look into what’s really going on in the White House now that it had been taken over by those Arkansas hicks and the McGovernite counterculture commie pinko hippie fags. But this time, any attempt to look into the Bush adminstration and their secret energy policy, the cherry-picking of pre-war intelligence in Iraq and the lack of planning for the war’s aftermath, the warrantless wiretapping by the NSA of Americans, the Dubai Ports deal, is bad for America, and anyone that calls into question the divine leadership of George W. Bush is a flag-burning traitor.
Mr. Rove wants it both ways. He would have you believe that he is just an innocent pawn and a victim of the fevered paranoia of the tin-foil-hat brigade on the Left. If so, then why is he being portrayed — with no apparent demurral — as the mastermind behind the entire GOP mid-term election campaign, ensconced in the safety of the West Wing and micromanaging every race, rallying the Religious Reich, and engineering the astroturf campaigns on the rightie blogs, the letters to the editors, the Swift Boaters, and the little old ladies in tennis shoes from Carp Lake, Michigan, who call in to the Washington Journal on C-SPAN?
Karl Rove isn’t dumb or forgetful, but he’s counting on a lot of other people to be both.