No Comment — February 26, 2008, 6:05 am

Rove’s Monday Whoppers

He calls himself “Grendel,” “Moby Dick,” and “Lord Voldemort.” He is the man ever behind the scenes, manipulating and driving the events on the surface without being seen. His hand is behind the hiring and firing of U.S. attorneys and his manipulations were a conscious effort to put federal prosecutors to work for partisan political purposes. And his involvement is so sensitive that the White House had adopted a scorched earth policy to thwart all Congressional efforts to probe it. Karl Rove won’t appear before Congress, deliver up his documents showing his communications or dealings with Justice Department matters or raise his hand, swear an oath and testify. But he has no compunction about talking about these matters on Fox News, where he knows he’ll get one fluff ball after the next and never be asked for follow-up. Moreover, he knows that Fox will go to the mat, and will dispense falsehoods to protect him, one of their own. Over the weekend, Karl Rove sent his lawyer Robert Luskin and his spokesman (and former Justice Department spokesman) Mark Corallo to lie for him. Today, he enters the lists, bravely lying for himself. Here’s his appearance on Fox News:

Rove states that he’s never met Jill Simpson, then he backtracks on that, owning up that, well, maybe he did. But “I never asked her to do a darn thing.”

Jill Simpson has said the opposite, and she has given much of her account, naming him, under oath and subject to cross examination. My hunch is that Karl Rove will do anything to avoid speaking under oath. Time for a subpoena? Karl Rove has been in a lot of campaigns in Alabama, and sat in a lot of conference rooms in Montgomery and elsewhere strategizing about them. And indeed, there are quite a few people who were present at these meetings.

But note the slithering here. Fox headlines that Rove has never met Simpson, that CBS never called for his comments, and that Simpson has never before made these statements implicating Rove. Each of these statements is untrue. Rove actually doesn’t offer up nearly so clear-cut a denial of having met Simpson–maybe he did, he says. Rove also now admits that he spoke with CBS, contradicting the statements made on his behalf earlier. He says it was “five months ago,” which is imprecise–the CBS interview with Rove occurred four months ago. He says he “will honor” the discussion being off the record, but of course Rove is the one who wanted it kept off the record, so what he really wants is for CBS to keep his interview secret. CBS should in fact now publish that interview, so we know what Rove said. And, on Fox News (of all places), he says that CBS is the National Enquirer of networks. Such are the thin reeds upon which Karl Rove builds his case.

I think we should hear Karl Rove out on this in some detail. He should be sworn in and testify subject to crossexamination. Then let’s see if he says the same thing he offers up to Fox now.

Rove has a long career as a campaign advisor. Simpson’s allegations are credible because they stack up perfectly with Rove’s record. He has long been the master of “opposition research,” who propels campaigns by smears and inuendo, with a real penchant for lurid sexual pieces (think about the whispering campaign he launched questioning the sexuality of Ann Richards, or the smears he directed at John McCain in South Carolina, relating to his adopted South Asian daughter, to cite just two prominent examples.) And he built his career shuttling between Texas and Alabama with an amazing series of coincidences in which federal prosecutors went after the targets of his political campaigns, turning his campaign into a cake walk. James Moore documented his abuse of the criminal justice system to take down the Texas Agriculture Commissioner shortly after he had been tapped by Republican Rick Perry (now the governor of Texas) to manage a campaign for that office. Read my interview with the author of the leading Karl Rove political biography, James Moore, here and focus on the cases of Mike Moeller and Peter McRae. This is very well documented, and it perfectly parallels what Rove is accused of doing in the Siegelman case. The short of it is simple. Simpson is accusing Rove of engaging in tactics, and of involving her in tactics, that are the hallmarks of the Rove campaign playbook. And that playbook also calls for Rove to aggressively deny accusations, always carefully building clever little escape hatches into his denials.

Rove will attempt to make Simpson into some sort of nutcase, of course, or rather he will have his hatchetmen at Fox and in the rest of his menagerie do it. But the road to the truth here still runs through the legal process. We need a prosecutor who will put Rove under oath, issue subpoenas to him and others to get the background documents, and expose the truth about how successfully masterminded a campaign to take a statehouse–by putting a governor in jail.

Rove Holding Banner Calling for Siegelman’s Release
To top off his antics from yesterday, Rove closed the day holding a “Free Don Siegelman” banner in Los Angeles, and giving a brief interview to Alan Breslauer. Here’s the YouTube:

And you can read the interview at the Brad Blog, here.

Share
Single Page

More from Scott Horton:

Conversation August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm

Lincoln’s Party

Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln

Conversation March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm

Burn Pits

Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.

Context, No Comment August 28, 2015, 12:16 pm

Beltway Secrecy

In five easy lessons

Get access to 167 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

December 2017

Document of Barbarism

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Destroyer of Worlds

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Crossing Guards

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I am Here Only for Working”

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Dear Rose

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Year of The Frog

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Destroyer of Worlds·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

In February 1947, Harper’s Magazine published Henry L. Stimson’s “The Decision to Use the Atomic Bomb.” As secretary of war, Stimson had served as the chief military adviser to President Truman, and recommended the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The terms of his unrepentant apologia, an excerpt of which appears on page 35, are now familiar to us: the risk of a dud made a demonstration too risky; the human cost of a land invasion would be too high; nothing short of the bomb’s awesome lethality would compel Japan to surrender. The bomb was the only option. Seventy years later, we find his reasoning unconvincing. Entirely aside from the destruction of the blasts themselves, the decision thrust the world irrevocably into a high-stakes arms race — in which, as Stimson took care to warn, the technology would proliferate, evolve, and quite possibly lead to the end of modern civilization. The first half of that forecast has long since come to pass, and the second feels as plausible as ever. Increasingly, the atmosphere seems to reflect the anxious days of the Cold War, albeit with more juvenile insults and more colorful threats. Terms once consigned to the history books — “madman theory,” “brinkmanship” — have returned to the news cycle with frightening regularity. In the pages that follow, seven writers and experts survey the current nuclear landscape. Our hope is to call attention to the bomb’s ever-present menace and point our way toward a world in which it finally ceases to exist.

Illustration by Darrel Rees. Source photographs: Kim Jong-un © ITAR-TASS Photo Agency/Alamy Stock Photo; Donald Trump © Yuri Gripas/Reuters/Newscom
Article
Crossing Guards·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Ambassador Bridge arcs over the Detroit River, connecting Detroit to Windsor, Ontario, the southernmost city in Canada. Driving in from the Canadian side, where I grew up, is like viewing a panorama of the Motor City’s rise and fall, visible on either side of the bridge’s turquoise steel stanchions. On the right are the tubular glass towers of the Renaissance Center, headquarters of General Motors, and Michigan Central Station, the rail terminal that closed in 1988. On the left is a rusted industrial corridor — fuel tanks, docks, abandoned warehouses. I have taken this route all my life, but one morning this spring, I crossed for the first time in a truck.

Illustration by Richard Mia
Article
“I am Here Only for Working”·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

But the exercise of labor is the worker’s own life-activity, the manifestation of his own life. . . . He works in order to live. He does not even reckon labor as part of his life, it is rather a sacrifice of his life.

— Karl Marx

Photograph from the United Arab Emirates by the author. This page: Ruwais Mall
Article
The Year of The Frog·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

To look at him, Sweet Macho was a beautiful horse, lean and strong with muscles that twitched beneath his shining black coat. A former racehorse, he carried himself with ceremony, prancing the field behind our house as though it were the winner’s circle. When he approached us that day at the edge of the yard, his eyes shone with what might’ve looked like intelligence but was actually a form of insanity. Not that there was any telling our mother’s boyfriend this — he fancied himself a cowboy.

“Horse 1,” by Nine Francois. Courtesy the artist and AgavePrint, Austin, Texas
Article
Dead Ball Situation·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

What We Think About When We Think About Soccer, by Simon Critchley. Penguin Books. 224 pages. $20.

Begin, as Wallace Stevens didn’t quite say, with the idea of it. I so like the idea of Simon Critchley, whose books offer philosophical takes on a variety of subjects: Stevens, David Bowie, suicide, humor, and now football — or soccer, as the US edition has it. (As a matter of principle I shall refer to this sport throughout as football.) “All of us are mysteriously affected by our names,” decides one of Milan Kundera’s characters in Immortality, and I like Critchley because his name would seem to have put him at a vocational disadvantage compared with Martin Heidegger, Søren Kierkegaard, or even, in the Anglophone world, A. J. Ayer or Richard Rorty. (How different philosophy might look today if someone called Nobby Stiles had been appointed as the Wykeham Professor of Logic.)

Tostão, No. 9, and Pelé, No. 10, celebrate Carlos Alberto’s final goal for Brazil in the World Cup final against Italy on June 21, 1970, Mexico City © Heidtmann/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images

Chances that an American pediatrician has treated a child for a gunshot wound in the last year:

1 in 6

Researchers found that young teens who witness gun violence are more than twice as likely to commit a violent crime themselves.

Brailsford’s lawyer said Shaver was “not a bad person” but that “his actions” had gotten him killed, referring in part to the defendant’s claim that a hand movement of Shaver’s while he was on his knees made it appear as if he might have been reaching for a weapon in the waistband of his basketball shorts, which at that point had fallen down.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Report — From the June 2013 issue

How to Make Your Own AR-15

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

"Gun owners have long been the hypochondriacs of American politics. Over the past twenty years, the gun-rights movement has won just about every battle it has fought; states have passed at least a hundred laws loosening gun restrictions since President Obama took office. Yet the National Rifle Association has continued to insist that government confiscation of privately owned firearms is nigh. The NRA’s alarmism helped maintain an active membership, but the strategy was risky: sooner or later, gun guys might have realized that they’d been had. Then came the shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, followed swiftly by the nightmare the NRA had been promising for decades: a dedicated push at every level of government for new gun laws. The gun-rights movement was now that most insufferable of species: a hypochondriac taken suddenly, seriously ill."

Subscribe Today