So I Went To Hear Karl Rove Last Night

…and he’s hip enough to have an iPhone.

He’s as smart as you’d imagine him to be. And it’s interesting: I had a friend in college who’d bet you when you went shopping that he could tell you the starting and end points of the California highway with the number of the cents in the bill. Rove has that kind of detailed, visceral sense of American geography.

And what comes across is a deep sincerity and love for the country, and respect for the people who elect it’s leaders.

He listed 31 principles of running a Presidential campaign; many of them centered on the fact that over a long and grueling campaign season, you can’t hide who you are or what you believe. I started to take notes on my Treo, but fell hopelessly behind and gave up. But he was smart, funny, self-depricating, and had one of the clearest understandings of the mechanics of American politics that I’ve ever heard expressed.

And the audience – almost 3,000 people at the American Jewish University lecture series, that was equally divided between Democrats and Republicans (or what the guy who introduced Rove explained Rove would call “a clear plurality”). I was primed for outbursts or at minimum boos at the end – there were some gasps in the face of his strong defense of Iraq – but at the end the entire audience broke int owarm applause. He was that good.

The newsworthy part is his statement that Dana Jill Simpson – the woman who links him to the Spiegelman case on 60 Minutes – is flat-out lying.

He says: “She claims to have met with me in 2001 – when I was in the White House. Where are the records of the meeting? I’ve never taken a meeting with that woman. I have no idea who she is.”

He was absolutely certain in saying that.

And it was a brilliant piece of political jujitsu.

Because if you read the account she is sharing, her claim is that she “swears she heard a top G.O.P. operative in the state say that Rove “had spoken with the Department of Justice” about “pursuing” Siegelman, with help from two of Alabama’s U.S. attorneys.”

…so she’s not claiming Rove spoke with her, but with William Canary.

Ouch. Sincerity – once you learn to fake that, you can fake anything, I guess…

47 thoughts on “So I Went To Hear Karl Rove Last Night”

  1. A.L. says:

    Because if you read the account she is sharing…

    Actually, A.L., it’s hard to make such a declarative statement because Dana Jill Simpson has many “accounts”, and they’re each as credible as Crystal Mangum’s ever-changing story was.

    By claiming he’d not met the woman in 2001, Rove wasn’t denying some phantom claim that Simpson hadn’t made, as you imply. He was responding to the new-and-improved set of claims recently proffered by Ms. Simpson. Though I can’t find a transcript of the show, her latest and greatest version of events as aired on 60 Minutes now includes a claim that she met with Rove directly in 2001.

    This WHNT article prints a GOP response to Simpson’s claims, among which is:

    FICTION #3: According to 60 Minutes Reporter Scott Pelley, Dana Jill Simpson says she met with Karl Rove in 2001 and had been asked to do work on his behalf – to gather “intelligence” – many times before. She says this was part of a secret “five year secret campaign to ruin the Governor”. However, 60 Minutes asks and offers ZERO evidence to support such a claim.

    It appears Simpson is the one who’s learned to fake sincerity, even if consistency (which would be much more convincing) eludes her.

  2. It was my dad who pointed out the obvious to me in the wake of my getting screwed by a ‘good friend’. The ability to appear to be a one’s best friend is _THE_ prerequisite to being a good con man. Caveat emptor.

  3. It’s interesting that despite his ‘love & devotion’ to country, he spends so much of his time destroying or avoiding honest debate (for example: faking a bug in his office to turn off a voters before a televised debate), using smear campaigns and outright lies about his opposition. Frankly, he seems to encompass everything our founding fathers hated about political parties.

    I have no doubt that he’s bright. He’s also, as our president would put it, a turd.

  4. I’m not saying they didn’t. They’re as dirty as anyone. But Rove is bad even by Political standards. As far as I know, the Clintons have never accused another democrat of pedophilia. Rove has. As far as I’m concerned, that’s beyond contempt, it’s lower than even most politicians will go.

    But that’s his career. It’s always been about hit jobs over debate. Evasion over substance. He’s certainly not the only one, not by far. But he encompasses everything that I find contemptible about American politics.

  5. So Karl Rove had a five-year plan to destroy a former one-term Alabama governor. Lo and behold, it worked in exactly five years.

    2001: Rove relates secret five-year plan to Dana Jill Simpson.

    2006: Siegelman convicted of bribery, mail fraud, and obstruction of justice. Alongside the corrupt HMO chief who bought a regulatory appointment from him for half a million bucks – damn it, Siegelman should have known it was a trap!

    Exactly five years. My God, it all fits.

  6. Glen: I’m not super-familiar with this issue. However, based on the 60 minutes segment, a government prosecuter married to Seigelmen’s opposition, leaked an investigation early, killing Siegelmen’s initial reelection bid. That trial went belly up on the first day of court (ie thrown out). Only when he tried for reelection did they try again. Oh, and 3 other things:
    1) It was a quarter-million bucks, not half
    2) It went into an election fund, not hu’s personal pocket (very different, hasn’t Bush done this like 12,000 times already?). I admit still morally quesy, but by my understanding legal.
    3) The lead witness was bowing to prosecution pressure to get his sentence lightened. Apparently, the prosecution had him re-wright his testimony 80 TIMES to get the story correct.

    I’m less concerned about Rove’s involvement in this particular case. I’m more concerned that the prosecutor was pursuing the case for ulterior motives.

  7. I’m sure his words are honey, but by his deeds shall ye know him.

    And Karl Rove’s deeds show him to be a vicious, lying snake filled with contempt for the American people and hatred for the American system of checks and balances.

  8. _destroying or avoiding honest debate_
    _smear campaigns and outright lies_
    _everything our founding fathers hated about political parties_
    _a turd_
    _beyond contempt, it’s lower than even most politicians will go_

    _It’s always been about hit jobs over debate._

    Thanks for showing us a better way.

    _Evasion over substance._
    _I’m not super-familiar with this issue._

    Thanks so much.

  9. “I’m sure his words are honey, but by his deeds shall ye know him.

    And Karl Rove’s deeds show him to be a vicious, lying snake filled with contempt for the American people and hatred for the American system of checks and balances.”

    So what does that say about yourself? There appears to be alot of hatred and judgment in that post.

  10. Only someone over 50 would think that having an iPhone automatically makes you “hip”.

    bq. And what comes across is a deep sincerity and love for the country, and respect for the people who elect it’s leaders.

    But, of course, his actions over the course of his entire dirty political career reveal someone who believes exactly the opposite.

    I’m not as impressed by Snake Charmers or Charlatans as you seem to be.

    bq. “She claims to have met with me in 2001 – when I was in the White House. Where are the records of the meeting? I’ve never taken a meeting with that woman. I have no idea who she is.”

    Are you posting this to indicate that you think this is a serious defense??? “Where are the records”…they destroyed them! “I’ve never taken a meeting with that woman”….that doesn’t mean he didn’t speak to her or have a direct role in the smear.

    This is hardly political jujitsu…more like the fine art of using the Strawman from the most talented lying weasel in America.

  11. bq. …and had one of the clearest understandings of the mechanics of American politics that I’ve ever heard expressed.

    Which he has, apparently, employed to basically destroy the modern Republican party….LMAO.

    And to think you called me “delusional” in a prior thread…

  12. I try hard to avoid hatred, because of its corrosive properties. But I have no problem weighing his behavior, making a judgment on its qualities and what it says about his character, and as a result holding him in contempt.

    It’s OK for people to argue strongly and fight hard for what they believe in. But Karl Rove does not merely cross the line. He plays an entirely different game. And that game deeply violates American values, which should be held on both sides of the aisle.

    There are people on both sides who are just as contemptible, but I don’t believe that anyone since Joseph Goebbels has been as skilled at it. It is his combination of vile character with supreme skill that makes him so dangerous.

    Beware of defending him, if it is because you think that you and he are on the same side. I doubt that you are correct.

  13. I for one did not think AL said anything in defence of Karl Rove. Quite the contrary, if anything it was a very subtle ‘hit peice’.

    But, I suppose I shouldn’t be getting in the way of a good rant.

  14. Celebrim, I agree, I withdraw my suggestion of delusional thinking.

    However, the tone is a bit too admiring for my taste. I don’t admire the way Jeffrey Dahmer, e.g., went about his business and would never think to point out the efficiency or “brilliance” of his actions without 1) raising the obvious caveats, and 2) ignoring the strong likelihood that such comments could be interpreted as a tacit endorsement of his methods.

    A few days ago a Crooked Timbers post was roundly slagged here, by AL no less, because they posted some comments on the putative successes of Castro’s Cuba without fully qualifying their remarks. This is the same thing, and it is ironic that it comes so close on the heels of that post.

    Live by the sword, die by the sword.

  15. Alchemist:

    1) It was a quarter-million bucks, not half …

    No, “according to the DoJ”:http://www.usdoj.gov/opa/pr/2006/June/06_crm_409.html it was “a bribery scheme in which Scrushy paid Siegelman $500,000 in laundered funds to obtain a seat on a state regulatory board governing HealthSouth.”

    Not that paying 250,000 for the power to regulate yourself would be a misdemeanor, right?

    The lead witness was bowing to prosecution pressure to get his sentence lightened. Apparently, the prosecution had him re-wright his testimony 80 TIMES to get the story correct.

    Subornation of perjury is also a serious crime, unless your name is Clinton, and I assume that whoever is accusing a US attorney of this has some evidence to back that accusation, and has provided that evidence to federal authorities.

    Otherwise, they’re just playing Dixie with their gastrointestinal bassoon.

  16. Alan, Karl Rove isn’t in the same ballpark, league, or sport as Fidel Castro. I’m impressed by him – but don’t admire him, and I’m sorry that the post was too subtly written for you.

    But regardless, to put the two on a par is ludicrous.

    A.L.

  17. Well so far we’ve seen Rove obliquely compared to Jeffrey Dahmer and Fidel Castro.

    Rove is demonized because he was very good at his job, nothing more. He played hard and played dirty… but so far as any prosecutor has been able to tell he played legally.

    The same can certainly not be said of Sandy Buglar or the Nixon fixers.

  18. Oh – and Alan – Bertram’s post deserved slagging because it was clear that he admires Castro – throat clearings about oppression and murder aside. I don’t admire Rove (although, interestingly it may have been my own misinterpretation of the Alabama doings that was the hook I hung my hat on last night), but he is certainly impressive.

    A.L.

  19. “I try hard to avoid hatred, because of its corrosive properties. But I have no problem weighing his behavior, making a judgment on its qualities and what it says about his character, and as a result holding him in contempt.”

    Like you said recognize one by their deeds. You are judgmental, you direct hatred towards another… so I guess holding you in contempt is the least I can do.

  20. bq. But regardless, to put the two on a par is ludicrous.

    Well, in that case, I see that apologies are due on my part for making a comparison that was also apparently too subtle for you to appreciate (i.e., between Castro and Rove).

  21. Alan, let’s have a basic lesson in writing. Show me, if you will, where in any part of this thread you’ve said anything that might suggest that Bertram’s post and mine are different (hence that one should have a different attitude about Castro than Rove).

    Take a look at the last line in my post for a hint as to what it might look like.

    Being foolish is one thing, but being obstinate, foolish, and verbose is quite another. You’re close to the point that I’ll suggest you get your own blog.

    A.L.

  22. Hey, Blue [#22],

    Do you have a problem with being judgmental? Do you have a problem telling the difference between right and wrong?

    There are tough judgment calls out there, but this isn’t one of them.

    However, you seem to be asking us all to suspend judgment about everything. Do you have trouble being judgmental about Osama bin Laden? I don’t. He’s a criminal on a massive scale. He should be hunted down, captured, tried, judged, and punished according to the laws of our land, which he broke so egregiously. None of this War on Terror nonsense. He’s not a sovereign. He’s just a criminal. Let him feel the slow wheels of judgment.

    I’m making an extreme case here, because you seem to have trouble with judgment as such. What is your problem?

    Should we not judge Karl Rove for the lies he or his proxies spread about John McCain in 2000? How about Max Cleland? Those weren’t the beginning, and they sure weren’t the end. There’s plenty of evidence for judging with. If you think the judgment is wrong, argue the case.

    But don’t try to criticize “being judgmental”.

  23. Have we regained our senses? Have the automatic flame devices been disarmed? This once was a great community for talking with thoughtful people.

    Alan, there are a few choice nuggets of wisdom that have been dispensed to me over the years which I have found to be sound. I would like to pass on one to you. I find that good advice more often comes from children and fools than anywhere else, so you need not feel that I’m patronizing you. That advice is:

    “Think about how you are going to sound before you open your mouth.”

    It is a reliable statement, and I’ve frequently found myself wishing I relied on it better. Stop and use your second thoughts. Or your third thoughts if you have them. If you sound like a fool, or if you could be made to seem foolish if some assumption you are relying on proves false, pause before putting your words out there. Find a different way to say what you want to say.

    Now, as for Karl Rove, I’m not at all a fan. He is a smarter, smoother version of James Carville – a person I loath as earnestly as you seem to loath Rove. Smarter in that I truly think Rove is a genious. Smoother in that he’s done a better job of staying off the camera, and doesn’t have the loud mouth of Carville. I’d happily see Karl Rove removed to some place he can do no further harm, if James Carville goes to that same secure institution.

    Though, in fairness to the two men, for all thier slyness and shenanigans and unethical acts, neither did as much harm to the country as Bill Daley. Which just goes to show you that in a position of power, stupidity is every bit of a vice as dishonesty. Daley had both.

    Incidently, had Gore done a better job of choosing advisors, I probably would have voted for him in 2000, and he likely would have been President as well. It was the dirty tricks that undid him in that case.

  24. Carville equivalent to Rove? Hardly. Has Carville openly defied a Subpoena to appear before Congress? Has he broken laws, as I strongly suspect Rove has done, on many occassions? Is he a chronic liar? They’re not even in the same ballpark, league, or sport, to borrow a phrase from our congenial host.

    Being good at these things certainly does not constitute “genius” in my book, unless you want to qualify it as an “evil genius”, which is just another way of saying “psychopath”.

    I also do not agree that Rove is especially smart. As I said above, many are blaming him for foisting Bush upon us all and tarnishing (to put it mildly) the Republican brand for at least this election cycle and perhaps longer, as it could take several to recover from what most predict will be a bloodbath in the Fall. Why do you think Rove is out there giving the kind of talks he is? He’s clearly out to save his reputation and refute this widespread view in a vain attempt to control or at least soften the negative way his actions will be recorded in history. This is not smart, it is desperate.

  25. Celebrim: I’ve thought that democrats & republicans need a mutual disarmarment. If I could trade carville for Rove, I would do it. But that’s like asking palestine to disarm Hamas… it’s not in the interest of those currently holding power, and they couldn’t stop the farthest extremes even if they tried.

  26. “Celebrim: I’ve thought that democrats & republicans need a mutual disarmarment.”

    Every time I’ve suggested tossing the worst elements of both sides over the side, I’ve gotten empassioned defenses from the left about how thier trash is so far superior to that on our side. That’s the fundamental problem. One man’s ‘terrorist’ or ‘tyrant’ is another leftist’s ‘freedom fighter’ or ‘revolutionary’.

    As we’ve seen, if we were to even suggest things like ‘I’ll get rid of Pinochet, if you get rid of Castro’, we’d have bold defenses of Castro. If I were to suggest that the right take responcibility for ridding the world of Joseph Kony if the left took responcibility for getting rid of Robert Mugabe or Hugo Chavez, I’m sure that someone would be defending the honor of Mugabe or Chavez even to the extent of holding them up as ideal leaders.

    In fairness, in the right environment, I probably could get empassioned defenses of Pat Robinson (or any other person on the right you could name), so its not like the idiotarians are all on the left. It’s just that the idiotarians of the left are somewhat more likely to spend time ranting on the internet.

  27. “He’s as smart as you’d imagine him to be”

    I keep hearing this and every time I ponder the state of the GOP as he and his boss have brought it compared to what they found when they arrived in D.C..

    Rove,Bush and the current party leadership inherited 22 yrs of national politcal dominance(remember when young people thought conservatives were “cool”?),a virtual lock on the W.H.and(slim)majorities in the House and Senate.

    They leave behind a party that is nearly irrelvent,an alienated base and a movement in disarray,loss of House and Senate,a highly probable Dem Prez commited to surrender in the WOT,huge increases in public debt and equally huge and unsustainable trade deficts(now being corrected thru a collapse in the dollar)and a public that will be strongly opposed to anymore foreign adventures and making critical interventions politcally difficult,at best.

    From open borders and amnesty to earmarks,Harriet Miers,welfare state spending and new entitlements or the Dubai ports deal,they have treated their own voters with arrogant,high handed disregard when they weren’t waging holy war against them and then had the had the gall to blame a “disloyal base” for the current situation!

    No,NOT as smart as you’d imagine(unless he’s a closet lefty).

  28. Celebrim:

    I probably could get empassioned defenses of Pat Robinson …

    Where would you get one of those? Because I don’t recall having seen one, ever.

    It would be a rare item, compared to the defense briefs for Castro, Chavez, Ahmadinejad, Hamas and Hisb’allah.

    But Rove was a political advisor, and that’s not a job that makes anybody beloved. The proper comparison would be the amount of hatred leveled at Rove, compared to the hatred leveled at James Carville or Sidney Blumenthal.

  29. _Has Carville openly defied a Subpoena to appear before Congress?_

    I’m not sure, but neither he, nor Rove, are subject to a Congressional Subpoena:

    bq. _It is the longstanding position of the executive branch that “the President and his immediate advisers are absolutely immune from testimonial compulsion by a Congressional committee.” This position is constitutionally based. . . . Accordingly, “[n]ot only can the President invoke executive privilege to protect [his personal staff] from the necessity of answering questions posed by a congressional committee, but he can also direct them not even to appear before the committee.”_

    By, you guessed it, “Janes Reno (1999)”:http://www.usdoj.gov/olc/falnpotus.htm

  30. _”Has Carville openly defied a Subpoena to appear before Congress? “_

    The Republican Congress had enough sense not to grandstand by sending subpoenas that have no legal right or ability to enforce.

    _”Has he broken laws, as I strongly suspect Rove has done, on many occassions?”_

    Oh! Well stop the presses. Alan has some strong suspicions. Should we skip the trial?

    _”Is he a chronic liar?”_

    Pretty much, yeah. He’s a politician and his lips are moving. I seem to remember him referring to one of Clinton’s harassment victims as “Drag $100 bills through trailer parks, there’s no telling what you’ll find.” Charming.

    Face it, these guys are only different in degree, if anything. Rove is a heck of a lot closer to Carville than Castro certainly.

    And for that matter, how many Bush advisors have been convicted of smuggling and destroying protected documents regarding the security of the United States?

  31. And just for fun- Carville ducked a subpeona by a _federal court_ “{link}”:http://www.judicialwatch.org/archive/ois/cases/filegate/carville.htm in 1998.

    _”In light of the entire panoply of facts currently before the court the only logical conclusion this court can reach is that Marsh and Carville sought to mislead this court from the outset and to delay this deposition. There was simply no other explanation as to why Marsh and Carville have not been completely forthcoming with the court from the outset of this unnecessary travail.”_

    Yeah, guy is a saint obsessed with legal niceties.

  32. PD,

    In #36, you’re quoting Janet Reno because you feel she’s generally correct in her legal assessments? Or are you quoting a broken clock that just happens to be right on this one occasion?

  33. WASHINGTON, Aug. 13 — Karl Rove will depart the White House still under subpoena to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee, but his resignation will almost certainly not make his appearance more likely.

    Mr. Rove had been summoned to appear before the Senate panel on Aug. 2 to testify about last year’s dismissals of federal prosecutors and efforts by the Justice Department to favor Bush loyalists for nonpartisan legal jobs.

    Two junior former White House officials, Sara M. Taylor, a former political director, and J. Scott Jennings, a former deputy political director, have testified before the Senate panel. But the White House refused to make Mr. Rove available, just as it has refused to allow testimony by others, including Harriet E. Miers, the former White House counsel, who was subpoenaed by the House Judiciary Committee but did not appear before it.

  34. _In #36, you’re quoting Janet Reno because you feel she’s generally correct in her legal assessments?_

    Yes. I think the executive branch has always taken the position that its not subject to oversight from other branches, going back to at least Jefferson. And if any liberals remember, it was Eisenhower’s refusal to comply with a Congressional subpoena from Joe McCarthy that ended his demagoguery.

    My main point was that Rove (and Bush) were doing what every President that I’m aware of would say they could do.

    It’s also worth pointing out that the Constitution does not say anything about a legislative subpoena. (Nor executive privilege) Most of the court decisions involve criminal subpoenas.

  35. I’m still not getting what Rove is being accused of. Via the seperation of powers Congress has no mandate over him in his job capacity, and this WH has consistantly shown its willingness to defend its turf. If Bush issued an executive order for Nancy Polosi’s aid to appear in his office, she would ignore it as well.

    Thats a bit different than dodging a federal court and pissing off the judge.

  36. Hey, Alan – my challenge in #24 still stands.

    In case you don’t know; I hate the “just kidding” defense when people say stupid things that are obviously not meant as jokes.

    So step up.

    I’ll “abuse” my power as moderator to say that any posts you do until you mount whatever defense you can will be pulled for the next week.

    A.L.

  37. Sure, I’ll play, even though I don’t agree with the framing (i.e., the wording of the challenge) and certainly not the terms.

    bq. Show me, if you will, where in any part of this thread you’ve said anything that might suggest that Bertram’s post and mine are different (hence that one should have a different attitude about Castro than Rove).

    Answer:

    A few days ago a Crooked Timbers post was roundly slagged here, by AL no less, because they posted some comments on the putative successes of Castro’s Cuba without fully qualifying their remarks. This is the same thing, and it is ironic that it comes so close on the heels of that post.

    Now if you’d like to ask me to explain why it is that I didn’t intend this to suggest that Rove’s actions are “on par” with Castro’s (if that’s what your arguing with me about, it’s a little vague), I would be glad to do so. But since that wasn’t your challenge, and I’m just trying to play by the rules that you set out, I’ll hold off until you request it.

  38. Um, Alan let’s go to the question:

    “Show me, if you will, where in any part of this thread you’ve said anything that might suggest that Bertram’s post and mine are different (hence that one should have a different attitude about Castro than Rove).” – correctly cited by you.

    Now can help me understand how what you wrote and cited answers that?

    A.L.

  39. Look, there may be some value in explaining my comment and how it wasn’t meant to make the comparison that you are suggesting, but I clearly misread and misinterpreted your post to begin with so the whole thing is moot. Yes, the Rove rant felt good, but it was misplaced and misdirected. My apologies. Feel free to wipe away all evidence that I even participated into this thread…sorry for wasting your time as well as mine, which is clearly in too short supply to take the time to read everything carefully.

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