Will's Coffee House

John Dryden, Dramatist, Critic, Poet Laureate, and my ancestor, frequented a coffee house called Will's almost daily, where he would hold forth on sundry subjects with great wit and aplomb. Same deal here, only without the wit or aplomb.

Location: Large Midwestern City, Midwestern State, United States

I am a stranger in a sane land...

Thursday, July 14, 2005


The thing is, why are we acting like Claude Rains in Casablanca, claiming to be "shocked, shocked" that Karl Rove would do such a despicable thing? We've known for years what Karl Rove is--and notice I say "what" and not "who"--he passed the point of humanity a long way back. Rove understands what Nixon understood--that politics is simply about not getting caught--and he who does get caught had better have a back-up plan, like a "Checkers" speech, or a war in Iraq. But Machiavelli already taught us a lesson that these guys never learn--that a leader can have justice, power, foreplanning, intelligence, and everything but the rubber stamp of God on his side, and still lose. It's called "luck," and as any gambler will tell you, you'd better be prepared for it to walk out on you. Rove pulled a little dirty trick--and, in fairness, it really was little--Valerie Plame wasn't suddenly looking down and seeing the red laser-points covering her torso, she just couldn't do her job anymore--and with the aid of a true, unadulterated scumwad, Robert Novak, he sent it out into the world, and it backfired.

Because it didn't shut the critics of the war up, it gave them resolve. Because if the motives for war were so tenuous that one guy's low-level criticism was enough to cause the White House to go after his wife--you know, even the Mob doesn't stoop that low--then there must have been something to hide. Watergate--textbook example of how not to handle a potential PR disaster. Cut loose, disavow--and if that doesn't work, for God's sake, apologize right away. But no. Rove is the proponent of the Nixonian adage of "Apology Concedes Weakness" ideology, so there will be no apology. And Bush won't fire him--why would he? It's not as if his numbers could sink much lower unless he started spending weekends at Neverland Ranch. We've all come to realize in this second term what 9/11 and a phony war (phony except for all those dead and maimed Iraqi citizens and American soldiers) obscured: Bush is a terrible, terrible president. And not a very nice man. He was perfectly willing to play Faust to Rove's Mephistopheles, but now the tune has gotten old, and people are realizing he's a shallow fraud. The Downing Street memo proved the Iraqi lie--again, one thinks of Captain Renault going through the motion of "rounding up the usual suspects" when he's already made up his mind whom to arrest--God but that's a well-written movie. Every week produces a new story from the CIA/FBI/NSA about how this administration doesn't give a rat's ass about "intelligence"--that it's policy that drives decisions, not evidence. And now Rove reveals just how much contempt he and his coven hold for the people who theoretically are busting their butts to prevent the next 9/11--he dumps one because her husband spoke his mind (and told the truth, no less.)

And yet we're going to pretend to be shocked and appalled. But again, why? We knew what he was. We always did. Many of us, blinded by partisan hate, just didn't care--and many of us, blinded by partisan hate, allowed ourselves to be driven into frothing hyperbole about his evil (see my earlier comparison with Mephistopheles as an example). But it's time for both sides to just stand back and reach a compromise: The Republicans have to concede that Rove is scum. The Democrats have to concede that, his scumminess notwithstanding, he ain't goin' nowhere, so just get used to it. But be comforted for now, liberals--Bush's 2nd administration has, thus far, produced nothing in the way of further legislative obscenities. We're no worse off than we were before. (Except for the families/friends of those dead soldiers, whose numbers continue to multiply.) And the Rove thing couldn't have happened at a better time--with his gonads cut off by the scandal, Bush can't try to ram through a total lunatic to the Supreme Court--or, if he does, he'll fail. In many ways, Rove's exposure is very good news indeed. It stops Bush from having the clout to pull his most heinous presidential s***. And for that, we thank you, Karl.

I really would like to see Bob Novak hooked through the jaw and dragged behind a team of horses through the streets of Washington, though. Seems only fair, what with Judith Miller going to jail for doing the same thing he's not doing--Naming The Name. But I don't share much of the public's sympathy for Ms. Miller, because I remember what she wrote about the war--how she shirked her journalistic duty completely in order to join the popular drumbeat of "The Administration Would Never Lie To Us So Let's Go Kick Some Iraqi Ass, Huh?!" Didn't question the adminstration's claims--took 'em at face value and touted them as if they were the stone tablets. She helped create the war. And for that, I'm kinda happy to see her being left to twist by the same people she abetted in this endeavor. Still, between her and Novak--well, let's just say, I don't want to see her hooked through the jaw and dragged behind a team of horses through the streets of Washington.

Rove's "got to go," as Strom Thurmond once said of Ed Meese. But Meese went nowhere. And neither will Karl. Still, the 2nd term quagmire of scandals begins...Grab your popcorn, this is gonna be fun.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

re Judith Miller, it was interesting to hear commentary on NPR about the Rove scandal -- the host asked the guest whether the reporters were so venomous to Scott McClellan because of what Judith Miller was going through (i.e., the injury to one of their own), and the guest said, heck no -- no one in the press corps likes her. they're just upset because the White House lied so *blatantly* about Rove not being involved (a much broader statement than his carefully chosen (hmm . . . Clintonian? delish . . .) words about not having given out her name).


4:04 PM  

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