It comes as no surprise whatsoever that Karl Rove’s involvement in the dismissal of the U.S. attorneys during the Bush administration is a lot more than what he said at the time — “Who, me?” His claims sounded hollow when he first insisted that he had nothing to with it, and anyone who has had the slightest bit of understanding of just how the Bush administration worked knew that he was being less than candid. After all, Mr. Rove never made it any secret that he saw his job as being purely about politics and about creating a permanent Republican majority. At the time, he didn’t seem to think it was at all a bad thing for a political operative to be working out of the West Wing; he probably saw it as the normal operating procedure for every administration, and Mr. Rove’s defenders are now saying that “everyone else does it.” He’s probably right. I sincerely doubt that Bill Clinton or Ronald Reagan left the politics in the White House driveway, but there the false equivalency has to stop, because when it comes to politicizing the West Wing, nobody did it as overtly and as crassly as the Bush administration, and seemingly without any sense that they might be skating over the line.
It never ceases to amaze me that people, whether they’re presidents or just a teenager sneaking a bottle of booze out of the house, think they can get away with it. Mr. Rove had to know that e-mails leave trails, that people remember phone conversations, that the attorneys would wonder why they were being dismissed for inconsistent reasons — for instance, in the matter of David Iglesias, the U.S. attorney in Albuquerque, being told he wasn’t doing his job a few months after getting a stellar evaluation — and that history has shown that there is just no way to cover up anything in Washington. But there’s always someone whose ego is larger than their brain and for whatever reason, they think that they are either the one who can pull it off, or, even if they’re caught, it won’t matter. This, more than anything else, is Mr. Rove’s problem… well, aside from the fact that he helped screw people over for political reasons.
Oddly enough, while Mr. Rove may have escaped punishment for his role in the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame, this matter of replacing U.S. attorneys that seemed to be just a matter of political expediency in the operation of the Department of Justice may be the one that finally gets him before a jury.