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April 19, 2006


Why would Rove's move have any impact on any of this?

It won't affect the legal machinations at all. (Well, not much, anyway.)

But if they're expecting the scandals to start hitting closer to home, presumably they're working from a serious defensive posture. How to prevent Mehlman's folks from turning on the cabal? How to prevent more people from going down with Abramoff. How to sacrifice six Congressman or so and then move on.

I frankly don't know what Rove would try to do to prevent the scandals from taking down the party. But I know he'll try. And I know it's serious enough at this point to dedicate himself to full time.

I guess my point being, the election is just a secondary thing to the scandals and legal troubles at this point. If they can't hold back the legal problems, they'll be in trouble beyond this election. (Though is suspect they realize the legal problems will get worse if they do lose the election)

I suspect the Rove move is a sign of political panic. They must think the Democrats have a chance of taking control of the legislative branch. Substantively, I don't see any real change. There has never been any difference between policy and politics in this White House anyway.

If they really wanted to save the party, wouldn't they be better off to all resign right now and turn things over to Denny for the next seven months? Not that I am under-rating Rove's continuing ability to Swiftboat and otherwise help wreck Democratic possibilities, but a "relatively" clean slate in which no Republican has to distance him/herself from an exiled Mister Bush would seem a better overall strategy than toughing it out against the coming tsunami.

But then, they DON'T have the Republican Party's future at heart. All the better for us.

The MSM seems to be giving the impression that it’s surprising to see Karl Rove has been removed from his policy advisor position. Nonetheless, there is little doubt as to the meaning of Rove’s role change. Frankly, given the shambles of a policy plan being run by this administration, together with the unlikelihood that any new legislation of significance can be passed in the run-up to the mid-term election, the calculation was that Rove could better serve the Republican Party in full campaign mode.

Truthfully, why use Rove as a policy advisor when his real talent is as a political strategist (hack). The White House is simply acknowledging this well-known fact. Additionally, Republicans realize that standing on ceremony and titles won’t win the upcoming elections. The change is simply about expediency. While I enjoy thinking he’s getting a bit of a spanking, I don’t buy it.

Bush is trying to demonstrate to Republicans up for reelection that he has their backs and is moving to help get them reelected…and how better to demonstrate that than getting Karl Rove focused on a strategy for the Party. The architect hasn’t been cast aside as a lowly carpenter…he’s being asked to build something out of nothing…and he’s pretty darn good at that.

read more observations here:


I have a secret to tell Karl: Swiftboating only works when more than 36% of the electorate haven't seen the little man behind the curtain. But we have, Blanche, we have. Bush's tiny brain has been exposed, the Republican congress has been revealed as the cesspool of corruption it is and the price of gas is heading out of sight. If Republicans think Karl can save them, they should check what's in their kool-aid.

TalkLeft links to a Think Progress story speculating that Karl may have lost his security clearance.

A little levity. I liked the "bell-bottoms" touch.

From Bloomberg's release: "Presidential adviser Karl Rove is giving up his day-to-day role in the White House policy operation to focus his attention on politics as the Bush administration continues to overhaul its operations."
I think the use of the word "politics" is code for RNC (Republican National Committee) and at a minimum has to do with the perception that Mehlman protects the White House at the cost of Congressional Republicans. Mehlman's sacrificing of Republicans in Congress to protect the WH isn't new, but the timing of this announcement wrt the NH and Ohio scandals certainly supports emptywheel's thesis about Rove "rescue" of Mehlman. The fact that Rove would allow WH to issue statements that he, Bush's Brain, has actually failed at anything, suggests to me, that the Republicans forced the WH to issue the statement about "Karl Rove's" withdrawal from "policy." This provides cover for Congressional Republicans to do the same.

hmmm ... blumenthal claims fitz filing reveals trouble for karl


Always the best analysis at NH. But what I really want to know right this minute is this: Are the generals going to step in and avert an attack on Iran? If not them, who? Fuck Mehlman, the Republican party and Karl Rove. They are all going down, please Godde, sooner rather than later. Right now, I'm keeping my eye on what happens in Iran.

Isn't Melhman the repuglican party chairman ???

what does that tell us ???

gonna see stories about how ken mehlman was indicted, and how DEMOCRATIC PARTY CHAIRMAN Howard Dean was once ticketed for speeding

It's a win-win for the Republicans. Get Rove out of the spotlight and focused on the larger problems - public opinion. However, I find it hard to believe Rove wasn't already trying to manage that. At some point, all those skeletons come back to haunt you - it's beautiful poetry I hope to see soon.

Rove has been a failure at policy (Social Security, anyone?) and he has to be worried about his own skin. It is clear there will be no policy initiatives until, if at all, 2007. And I wouldn't discount the security clearance problem. But I think it is right that Mehlman protects Bush, not the GOP as a whole, and that can't help but rankle. Fundraising is down. Retirements are up.

But, MB, there isn't anyone of the stature of a Goldwater who could tell Bush it is time to resign, and no one tells Cheney anything. He will go out feet first, in chains, or stay until January 2009. The GOP is stuck with Bush/Cheney, and they can't replace Rumsfeld because, as Josh Marshall pointed out, the confirmation hearings would be a bloodbath.

The New Hampshire telephone jamming excuse was it was a campaign so that is why so many calls from the NH Republican organizer of the jamming to his advisor in the administration. The curious detail I did not learn was why the conviction exempted the person in (Virginia) with the actual equipment used to jam, though the NH Republican defendant was convicted in a split decision. I have read Josh Marshall's articles a few times on this, but had no understanding Mehlman actually is involved in ongoing litigation on the matter, nor that the NH prosecution turned to sue the VA equipment maven for interstate telephone mischief at the NH Republican's behest. Got to check into that. If you are interested, here is the prosecution's May 2005 indictment naming names and charges.
I agree with M-Blades, there is so much going on, Rove needs to do it fulltime instead of devising more failed policies; Bolten and his former assistant can oversee design of the hodge-podge which is this administration's policymaking; Rove is probably too obstreperous and subterfuging a presence for genuine policy crafting. I thought Portman had improved the performance of the US Trade Representative's office during his stay there, although the most recent free trade zone of the Americas negotiations were replete with criticism in Rio and Toronto. I am not sure Fitzgerald is going to schedule Rove at Libby's trial; and we know, as of the present moment, Libby's discovery is affording leeway to protect Rove on that narrow matter.

Bellbottoms are alright for haying livestock: they keep the straw from getting in your boots; though they could serve as a socioeconomic statement downtown.

IMO, the failure of Congress to "take the nuclear option off the table," is very significant.
I think any attack on Iran is wrong, first and foremost, because all the intelligence says they are not close to nuclear capability wrt weapons.
Second, any attack against Iran would be a clear violation of the Powell Doctrine (just as the Iraq occupation has been).
From a political standpoint, I could see how the Democrats wouldn't want to take anything else "off the table," besides the nuclear option wrt Iran.
The fact that they have not even done, this, however, is pathetic. Bush has handed the Democrats a wonderful opportunity to isolate him from the middle 33% of the country, just as LBJ did to Goldwater in '64. Dems could have talking points filled with data about radiation poisoning, half-life, and wind patterns that carry nuclear fallout all over the world. This would further force Republicans like Chuck Hegel (who has "lost confidence) in Rumsfeld, to choose.

I've thought the whole deck chairs maneuvering was started as soon as Rove saw the writing on the wall about Fitz' intent -- and now the spokesman is gone (so the press will look mean and ugly if they pile on the new guy, whoever it is), but the team is still intact within the bubble. And Rove's been safely pulled out of any (declared) policy role -- and he could do his political thing from an indicted position, or at least so he may think.
All the other reasons others have cited for Rove's move are good reasons too, and I'm sure they play into the equation -- but I'm thinking more and more that Karl's headed for the frogmarch. Which would explain why Luskin was singing about the INR memos over the weekend, in advance of any possible gag order that might kick in once his client is indicted.
Or this is just wishful thinking (or as I like to think of it, sanity preservation).

Over at FDL, sp[eculation is that Rove was taken out of the job involving security clearance, either because he lost his clearance of Fitz is closing in.

I believe Scottie said that 1) Rove still has his clearance, and 2) he still holds the title of Deputy Chief of Staff. Now, what does Scottie know? He's a short-timer. But if he's telling the truth, then some of the speculation can't be right.

Though I think MK raises an important point--if they can remove Karl from his legal employment before the indictment, he stands a better chance of being able to continue his duties after getting indicted. I'm just not sure that has happened yet.

news spews from the pie-hole of novakula:


Leopold confirms Jeralyn's rumor that Fitz met the GJ yesterday, with on the record quotes from Luskin backtracking on previous claims minimalizing Rove's jeopary and a direct statement that Rove has no made plea deal.


Okay, the Leopold article says:

The grand jury session in federal court in Washington, DC, sources close to the case said, was the first time this year that Fitzgerald told the jurors that he would soon present them with a list of criminal charges he intends to file against Rove in hopes of having the grand jury return a multi-count indictment against Rove.

Of course, I'm dying to believe this, but how could Leopold have this info? Going on the assumption that no one working for Fitz would leak to Leopold or anyone else, who else was in the room? Only the Grand Jurors, right?

Well, all right, later in the article he quotes Luskin directly, so I suppose it's remotely possible for Luskin to have been informed by Fitz and to be willing to go on the record about some things, but not the above quote, and remotely possible that Luskin would want that info out there to "soften the blow" or let the news of the indictment come out gradually, but ...

obsessed, I think your suspicions are well placed. Leaks from Luskin to Leopold could result from several unrelated factors. 1) Rove and Luskin aren't sure if the GJ will indict. 2) Leaking to Leopold allows them to say, "that's old news," if the GJ does indict. If the GJ doesn't indict, Rove and Luskin haven't punked their usual journalists. 3) VandeHei and others may simply be refusing to publish Luskin's leaks anymore.
I certainly hope Jason's reporting turns out to be accurate.

Why wouldn't an attorney working for Fitz leak information to Leopold? --- Well, other ‎than having an intrinsically poor bedside manner that is...

As far as I know, Fitz hasn't leaked anything. All that "secret grand jury testimony," stayed secret under Eliot Ness with a sense of humor.

My sense is that Fitz would send his own grandmother to Attica for multiple consecutive life sentences if she leaked David Wurmser's middle initial.

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