Tuesday, July 12, 2005

More Rove Craziness

I just watched an absolutely mind-boggling interview between Wolf Blitzer and RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman on CNN. I wasn't quick enough to get the quotes out as they were coming in, but will get a transcript up very soon. Suffice it to say for now, if the White House and Republican Party are trying to make Karl Rove into a full-blown political scandal, they're doing all the right things.

More on this very soon.

[Update: I'm still trying to get ahold of a good transcript of Mehlman's interview, but would note that the Rove story was the lead on CNN's "Lou Dobbs" at 6 p.m. MSNBC and FoxNews led with different stories. -- 6:01 p.m.]

[Update: The networks led tonight, appropriately, with news from London about the breakthroughs made today into the investigations into Thursday's attacks. -- 6:33 p.m.]

[Update: On CBS, correspondent John Roberts suggested that the White House is going to have to come up with something other than "we're not going to comment on an ongoing investigation" because "for the past two days the press secretary has been hung up on a clothesline and beaten like a dirty rug." No mention of the fact that he was doing some of that beating, of course. On NBC, David Gregory notes McClellan's continued silence, and touted some RNC talking points (released by RawStory) used throughout the afternoon today by Mehlman and others. I'm still waiting for a transcript of Mehlman's interview - it's coming. -- 6:42 p.m.]

[Update: Alright, finally. Transcript is here, the Mehlman bit begins about halfway down. While Mehlman first says he knows Rove is cooperating, and that he's said he's not the leaker, he seems to remember about five questions in that he's not supposed to be commenting, and reverts to that. And then there are the talking points (linked above) literally repeated verbatim about five times apiece. Mehlman calls the Democratic response to this "unprecedented." Has he just forgotten the entire Clinton second term? The whole thing is really quite interesting, but the most amusing moment is when Mehlman literally just stops answering the questions and goes to "I'm not going to comment on a pending investigation."

I really don't understand this. It's getting completely ridiculous. The White House and Republicans seem to have no defense for this except a) we're not commenting on a pending investigation or b) it's the Democrats. They're doing this. Whaaa?

Yes, I think this is all probably a tempest in a teapot in the end, but stonewalling and shifting the blame is hardly going to make it go away. Democrats didn't cause this problem: whoever leaked Valerie Plame's name to Bob Novak caused this problem. Democrats are right to be questioning whether a crime was committed: we all should be. The reactions (calling for resignation, removal of clearances, etc.) are obviously not yet in order, and as I said earlier, I can certainly see why the White House would want to reserve comments on certain aspects of this story. But some of the questions McClellan has been getting could be answered, and the Administration needs to take some disclosure pills, and quickly. The coverup, or the appearance of a coverup caused by overuse of talking points and blame-shifting can blow up into something much bigger than the original incident - and I'm afraid we might be reaching that critical mass in this case.

If the White House seriously wants to get the focus off Rove and back onto real issues, there's a simple way. Throw out the talking points, note the cooperation of the administration with the investigation, say they're waiting for the result before any action is taken, and move on. End of story. Keep provoking the press, they're going to keep circling.*

*Important corollary: If the investigation says Rove is responsible for the leak, keep to the earlier statements, and fire him.

And with that, I'm going to move on to other things. This story makes me crazy. -- 7:28 p.m.]


At 6:05 PM, Blogger BlackOps said...

Well get it up here bra....lets see.

At 6:18 PM, Blogger Heiuan said...

Heh...c'mon Jeremy! We're waiting with bated breath! LOL..

At 8:11 PM, Blogger Walter E. Wallis said...

The White House is giving the dims all the rope they want. Why cut the show short? Let the lemmings run.

At 6:11 PM, Blogger Sam Nicolas said...

Great Insight. Rove is all about political strategy, and using himself to stir up the "tempest" is probably exactly what is going on.

First visit to your site. I'll be back regularly. I'm also a Republican and in the Middle.

Sam Nicolas
blogging from the Middle at
The Daily Belch


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