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The Rovian Era - NYTimes Editorial

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  • binstock@peakpeak.com
    April 1, 2007 The Rovian Era NYTimes Editorial http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/01/opinion/01sun1.html Turn over a scandal in Washington these days and the
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 1, 2007
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      April 1, 2007

      The Rovian Era

      NYTimes Editorial

      Turn over a scandal in Washington these days and the chances are you’ll
      find Karl Rove. His tracks are everywhere: whether it’s helping to purge
      United States attorneys, coaching bureaucrats on how to spend taxpayers’
      money to promote Republican candidates, hijacking the White House Office
      of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives for partisan politics, or helping
      to organize a hit on the character of one of the first people to publicly
      reveal the twisting of intelligence reports on Iraq.

      Whatever the immediate objective, Mr. Rove seems focused on one
      overarching goal: creating a permanent Republican majority, even if that
      means politicizing every aspect of the White House and subverting the
      governmental functions of the executive branch. This is not the Clinton
      administration’s permanent campaign. The Clinton people had difficulty
      distinguishing between the spin cycle of a campaign and the tone of
      governing. That seems quaint compared with the Bush administration’s far
      more menacing failure to distinguish the Republican Party from the
      government, or the state itself.

      This was, perhaps, the inevitable result of taking the chief operative of
      a presidential campaign, one famous for his scorched-earth style, and
      ensconcing him in the White House — not in a political role, but as a key
      player in the formation of policy. Mr. Rove never had to submit to Senate
      confirmation hearings. Yet, from the very start, photographs of cabinet
      meetings showed him in the background, keeping an enforcer’s eye on the
      proceedings. After his re-election in 2004, President Bush formally put
      Mr. Rove in charge of all domestic policy.

      In that position, as David Kirkpatrick and Jim Rutenberg reported in The
      Times, Mr. Rove took a lead role in selecting federal judges and the
      hiring — and firing — of United States attorneys. Mr. Rove’s staff
      maneuvered to fire the prosecutor in Arkansas and replace him with a Rove
      protégé, and also seems to have been involved in the firing of a United
      States attorney in New Mexico who refused to file what he considered to be
      baseless charges of election fraud against Democrats.

      Mr. Rove’s efforts to maintain one-party rule go deep into the government.
      Last week, we learned about a meeting set up by Mr. Rove’s staff with
      officials of the General Services Administration that was wildly
      inappropriate and perhaps illegal. The aim, as outlined by Mr. Rove’s
      deputy, Scott Jennings, seems to have been to take advantage of the
      billions of dollars in contracts put out by the agency every year to
      return Republicans to the majority in Congress in 2008. It included
      PowerPoint slides on vulnerable House and Senate seats.

      This sort of behavior should not be all that surprising. It was not that
      long ago that the Bush White House embraced the priorities of the
      Republican governor of Mississippi and virtually ignored the far greater
      needs of Louisiana’s Democratic governor after Hurricane Katrina.

      Mr. Rove retreated a bit from the public eye in the heat of the Lewis
      Libby trial, but after avoiding indictment, he seems to have regained his
      confidence. Take a look at YouTube to see his bizarre, humor-challenged
      gyrations as “MC Rove” at an annual media dinner in Washington the other

      The investigation of the firings of the United States attorneys seems to
      be closing in on Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who should have been
      fired weeks ago. But Congress should bring equal scrutiny to the more
      powerful Mr. Rove. If it does, especially by forcing him to testify in
      public, it will find that he has been at the vortex of many of the biggest
      issues they are now investigating.


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