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Tilting at Windmills

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July 17, 2010

KARL ROVE'S 'BIGGEST MISTAKE'.... The key to dealing with Karl Rove's presence in American politics is understanding the role he plays. Once one fully appreciates the extent to which he's a poison in our democracy, smearing our institutions with a pernicious venom, it becomes easier to endure his nonsense without developing an antacid addiction.

But once in a while, Rove's pathological tendencies are a little harder to take.

This week, for example, the man affectionately called "Turd Blossom" by his boss, used one of his media perches to highlight his "biggest mistake in the White House." It was a provocative headline, suggesting Rove might actually offer some regret about one of his many damaging missteps, or at least acknowledge an instance in which he was wrong.

What we found, however, was the opposite. Rove's "biggest mistake," he said, was not fighting harder against Democrats who questioned Bush's honesty on the war in Iraq. His column came seven years to the day after Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) concluded that Bush and his team "put a spin on the intelligence and a spin on the truth." It wasn't long before this obvious truth became the standard position of the Democratic mainstream.

Rove, in retrospect, believes the real problem wasn't the Bush White House's deceptions, but rather, the Bush White House's tolerance for those who pointed out those deceptions. (thanks to reader F.B. for the reminder)

At the time, we in the Bush White House discussed responding but decided not to relitigate the past. That was wrong and my mistake: I should have insisted to the president that this was a dagger aimed at his administration's heart. What Democrats started seven years ago left us less united as a nation to confront foreign challenges and overcome America's enemies.

We know President Bush did not intentionally mislead the nation. Saddam Hussein was deposed and eventually hung for his crimes. Iraq is a democracy and an ally instead of an enemy of America. Al Qaeda suffered tremendous blows in the "land between the two rivers." But Democrats lost more than the election in 2004. In telling lie after lie, week after week, many lost their honor and blackened their reputations.

I honestly can think of very few people in American public life who lies as frequently and shamelessly as Karl Rove, making his admonishments as ironic as they are infuriating.

In Rove's bizarro world, it wasn't Bush's spectacular failures that undermined the nation, it was the nerve of Democrats to point out that nearly all of the claims the former president made about a war turned out to be false. In this strange alternate reality, those who lied and failed are the heroes, while those who called out the liars "lost their honor and blackened their reputations."

It's quite literally nauseating.

But as long as Rove's interested in the anniversary of Ted Kennedy's criticism, let's also note what else happened the week of July 15, 2003. The estimable emptywheel reminds us that the day before Kennedy pointed to the Bush administration's falsehoods, a column from Bob Novak ran, outing Valarie Plame as a CIA operative. It was published soon after Karl Rove and his fellow hatchetmen worked the phones, leaking classified information, including an effort to punish and discredit Plame's husband for telling the truth about Saddam Hussein's non-existent nuclear program.

But now Rove would have us believe the White House decided not to respond to critics.

Karl, get help. It's just not healthy to be this far detached from reality.

Postscript: By the way, if you wanted to help remind Rove of what his actual "biggest mistake" might be, feel free to leave suggestions in the comments section.

Steve Benen 11:05 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (40)

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Comments

Rove's mother made the biggest mistake, many decades ago.

Posted by: Tommybones on July 17, 2010 at 11:24 AM | PERMALINK

None of this is true, or, where it is true, is largely irrelevant to the case against Bush:

We know President Bush did not intentionally mislead the nation.

Lie. We know that he wanted to be fed completely misleading information so he could have his war.


Saddam Hussein was deposed and eventually hung for his crimes.

True, but irrelevant. And we killed a VERY rich intelligence target mighty quick, didn't we? I wonder why. Plus, it's "hanged".

Iraq is a democracy and an ally instead of an enemy of America.

Hilariously irrelevant. Iraq was technically an enemy of America, but had literally NO capabilities to do anything about it. They posed no threat. Had no weapons of note. The "democracy" is a transparent puppet regime who now rule over a Balkanized country brimming with mistrust and filled with suicide bombings every day, any one of which would paralyze our self-involved nation. Our "ally's" tenuous grip on political power could vanish at any moment and a destablized Iraq — one MUCH closer to Iran as it is — would be even more dangerous than Hussein's Iraq.

Al Qaeda suffered tremendous blows in the "land between the two rivers."

Since they barely existed there before the war, it's dishonest in the extreme to say we were successful in destroying the splinter group that was only formed because of our war of choice. Plus, the lying sack of shit is once again conflating the Al Queda and Hussein "threats" by implying (post hoc) one of the original lies as to why we went to war in Iraq in the first place. It's a double lie. He should be on trial for war crimes, and I'm not kidding.

But Democrats lost more than the election in 2004. In telling lie after lie, week after week, many lost their honor and blackened their reputations.

This is stupid boilerplate, of course, which is right up Rove's alley. I find this pathetic bullshit irksome, but hardly consequential. He's a lying pig. But we knew that.

It's important never to let the other lies in his piece become "common knowledge". That, like the toxic Lost Cause mythology 19th century Roves injected into the discourse have fatally weakened this country.

Posted by: Jay B. on July 17, 2010 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Too many to list but the Democrats biggest mistake on January 21st 2009 was that this did not happen:

http://www.tinyurl.com/amcnb

Posted by: lib4 on July 17, 2010 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

Too many to list but the Democrats biggest mistake on January 21st 2009 was that this did not happen:


Rove Caught

Posted by: lib4 on July 17, 2010 at 11:27 AM | PERMALINK

Of course, Rove is the muse and template for the approach of the entire Republican Party in recent years.
Simply lie. Then lie again. Keep at it. It becomes truth.
More than enough Americans are ignorant enough that it works. Many people willingly embrace Republican initiatives that go against their interests because the Republicans tell them it is good for them.
Over. And over. And over.
Relax and enjoy some Freedom Fries.

Posted by: Larry Reilly on July 17, 2010 at 11:31 AM | PERMALINK

It is honestly too bad mr.rove can't merely count his blessings he was not indicted on multiple counts of maleficent felonies against this nation during his boss' employment.

It seems obvious to me, Karl Rove suffers from Dr. Krugman's diagnosis! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on July 17, 2010 at 11:34 AM | PERMALINK

It wasn't Rove's mistakes that were so ruinous. It was mainstream Republicans' seeing him as a guarantor of future GOP well-being.
Karl Rove is the painter who covers his shoddy work with a fresh, glistening coat . . . the builder who lays a crumby foundation . . . the real estate hack who sells parcels in
the flood plain.
In a famous January 2002 speech, Rove assured the Republican National Committee that in the midterm congressional elections, candidates could go to the voters on the war on terror because they "trust the Republican Party to do a better job of protecting and strengthening America's military might and thereby protecting America." In other words, run on the coming "war" with Saddam Hussein.
Granted that the immediate return on that strategy was considerable. Republicans made gains that fall, and Bush somehow won a second term two years later.
"Republicans STRONG, Dems WEAK" became the frame, and Rove was credited as the brains behind the GOP's move toward 40 or so years of continuous rule. Such would be Bush and Rove's political legacy. But by Inauguration Day 2005, the voters already were suffering buyers' remorse. Bush's esteem index started plummeting, taking GOP re-election fortunes down with it.
The Iraq occupation came to fit every criteria for quagmire. The "war," fought almost entirely on credit, put the nation perilously in debt, while an ideological foe, the Chinese, hold most of the notes. And congressional Republicans began rushing for the exits -- such is the urge to spend more time with their families. So much for the long-run value of running on the war.
In that light, all Karl Rove is good at is postponing disaster.

Republicans didn't see that until it was too late.

Posted by: Jerry Elsea on July 17, 2010 at 11:37 AM | PERMALINK

OT: For those here who constantly belittle Obama for not taking on the republicans--

Obama casts Republicans as party of the rich
http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/Reuters/PoliticsNews/~3/3Mxh7vAMS5w/idUSTRE66G0LD20100717

Obama Slams GOP for Obstructing Progress
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/07/17/politics/main6687188.shtml

Obama slams Republicans as obstructionists in weekly address
http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2010/07/obama_slams_republicans_as_obs.html

I'm sure your responses will parrot Melissa: "Never Enough"

Posted by: cr on July 17, 2010 at 11:42 AM | PERMALINK

Obama casts Republicans as party of the rich

http://feeds.reuters.com/~r/Reuters/PoliticsNews/~3/3Mxh7vAMS5w/idUSTRE66G0LD20100717

Posted by: cr on July 17, 2010 at 11:44 AM | PERMALINK

Obama Slams GOP for Obstructing Progress

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/07/17/politics/main6687188.shtml

Posted by: cr on July 17, 2010 at 11:45 AM | PERMALINK

Obama slams Republicans as obstructionists in weekly address

http://blogs.suntimes.com/sweet/2010/07/obama_slams_republicans_as_obs.html

Posted by: cr on July 17, 2010 at 11:50 AM | PERMALINK

Tommybones is too polite to say it. But I'm not.
Rove's mothers biggest mistake is that she should have swallowed that particular load, to save the rest of us from this pant load.

Posted by: c u n d gulag on July 17, 2010 at 11:53 AM | PERMALINK

Too many mistakes to single out one. The first eight months of the 2d term, when Rove was working on policy in addition to politics, included a series of one disaster after another--Schiavo, SocSec "reform," pretending Iraq wasn't disintegrating, and then the response to Katrina. It paved the way for the Dems to retake Congress, and for people to give Obama a chance. To me, that is Rove's greatest "accomplishment."

Posted by: John Dillinger on July 17, 2010 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

"Rove's mother made the biggest mistake, many decades ago.
Posted by: Tommybones on July 17, 2010 at 11:24 AM"

"Tommybones is too polite to say it. But I'm not.
Rove's mothers biggest mistake is that she should have swallowed that particular load, to save the rest of us from this pant load.
Posted by: c u n d gulag on July 17, 2010 at 11:53 AM"

My thoughts exactly.

I would say having a bunch of draft dodgers set up and run the war, but that is exactly what they wanted so I guess it isn't a mistake. It's OUR mistake for letting them do it.

I feel really toopid here, but I just can't connect the dots. The lemmings STILL call Clinton a draft-dodger, and the Bush administration members aren't? Hello? The whole administration was a flock of yellow striped chicken poop draft-dodgers and they even made sure that the reserves/national guard wouldn't save anyone from going to their wars like it did during Viet Nam.

Excuse me, I have to puke now.

Posted by: Schtick on July 17, 2010 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

See http://temple3.files.wordpress.com/2007/09/rumsfeld__hussein1.jpg - that's a funny way to treat your enemies.

We've always had lies in politics and absent lie detection technology always will, and his projections of his own failings onto his enemies is frustrating, but Rove's most pernicious evil was to institutionalize the attacking of his opponents' strengths. If people acknowledge the good points of their opponents, then democracy can work. If they attack their opponents' legitimate strengths, then it becomes very hard to have a meaningful national conversation, and it has the potential to start a long slide down a slippery slope to political arrests and perhaps civil war.

Posted by: N.Wells on July 17, 2010 at 12:01 PM | PERMALINK

Republicans have Rove & the rest of America has Stephen Colbert. Neither is honest about how they present themselves, both are making gobs of money from entertaining willing viewers.

But Colbert is almond extract & Rove is cyanide. They have a connection, but as different as bowling balls & severed heads.

Americans that listen to and believe Rove's lies are poisoning our country with their delusions. He doesn't care, but I don't think he believes them any more tham Clobert believe his own schtick.

Posted by: BuzzMon on July 17, 2010 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Both the stories posted by cr have similar unfounded passages:

"Senate Republicans say the country cannot afford more taxpayer-funded government spending, on top of Obama's emergency stimulus package, an argument that taps into public disquiet over a record budget deficit and rising debt."

"Republicans have tapped into the public's anger and concern over that debt, saying they would only support extending benefits if the bill was paid for."

What "public disquiet"? Where's the "public's anger and concern"? These are two sentences written as statements of fact that are not based in reality. Sure, there may be some concern, and a small minority may be angry and concerned, but poll disprove the notion that a large segment of the populace have these sentiments.

Our liberal media hard at work. Not.

Posted by: bdop4 on July 17, 2010 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

Remember also that pivoting to Iraq at perhaps the worst possible time eased the slipping away of Al-Qaeda and made the Afghanistan situation that much worse. Rove is just a turd, not even a blossom of that sort but it's close to a good nickname.

Posted by: neil b on July 17, 2010 at 12:21 PM | PERMALINK

The biggest mistake that occurred was Rove's father not giving up on heterosexuality sooner. He probably would have had a happier life, and so would we.

If I had wanted to satirize Rove at his worst, I doubt I could have dreamed up anything as venial as this column.

Posted by: dogofthesouth on July 17, 2010 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Rove: If I had to to do over again, I would have lied more often and more outrageously.

Posted by: JoeW on July 17, 2010 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, this text actually shows what Rove actually wrote before the WSJ corrected his grammar to 'hanged'

"...Saddam Hussein was deposed and eventually hung for his crimes."

Posted by: Brian on July 17, 2010 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Rove's biggest mistake was--and continues to be--his complete lack of moral integrity.

No, wait, he has two biggest mistakes. The lack of moral integrity and a complete lack of judgment.

Posted by: PTate in MN on July 17, 2010 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

This political "genius" engineered Bush's "election" to the WH in 2000, only because the Gore campaign miscalculated where to look for missing Dem votes in FLA. In 2002, after an attack on the US, he won the House and Senate by polarizing the electorate, depicting the Dems as quasi-traitorous. He eked out a very narrow victory in 2004, again by implying Dem treason. Since then, nothing but failure. Nothing to fear.

Posted by: tom in ma on July 17, 2010 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Karl Rove's & Bush's biggest mistake is Dick Cheney. Bar none. Everything after that is just plain malfeasance.

max
['Ugh.']

Posted by: max on July 17, 2010 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

miscalculated where to look for missing Dem votes in FLA.
Posted by: tom in ma on July 17, 2010

Could you provide a reference or explanation? please.

Posted by: Johnny Canuck on July 17, 2010 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Attempting a partial recount of votes of FL 2002 election total was the wedge used to stop counting . Not getting a recount will haunt the supreme's forever , not just as laughing stocks but in hell as well .
Ha ha ha

Posted by: FRP on July 17, 2010 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

I think his biggest mistake was allowing Cheney to get on-board. I'm sure that wasn't his decision, but he really should have fought against it. I understand the idea of needing a heavyweight to counter-balance Bush's lightweight status, but Cheney was definitely a liability as soon as he got in office.

For as bad as Bush and Rove were (and they were very bad), Cheney was a true cancer on the presidency; infecting everything he touched.

Posted by: Doctor Biobrain on July 17, 2010 at 3:32 PM | PERMALINK


This gutter politician has among his multitude of crimes the crime of murder. He is personally responsible for the murder of Mike Connell, the scene of the crime vote switcher and computer organizer for the repubs. This seldom gets mentioned what with the attorney scandal, Plame and Siegleman frames. This deviant snake almost got the cold war started again all by himself. His trophy for most despicable is the envy of the Cheney family.

Posted by: bjobotts on July 17, 2010 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

The only saving grace is that to his dying day he will always suffer from the thought that his birth drove his father to homosexuality.

Posted by: gregor on July 17, 2010 at 4:29 PM | PERMALINK

Karl, get help. It's just not healthy to be this far detached from reality.

You don't think he actually believes this stuff, do you?

Posted by: Cliff on July 17, 2010 at 4:54 PM | PERMALINK

Karl can jump up and down under a snakes belly.

or so i hear.

Posted by: Kill Bill on July 17, 2010 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

Karl Rove's biggest mistake is to engage in revisionist history attempts as--guess what!!---
it really IS NOT ALL THAT LONG AGO.

Ah, what a fabulous topic.

So...while his protege GWB was in office all these Halliburton crony-enriching years, it was so sad that the American median household income drastically declined as, quite horribly, childhood poverty actually increased--the country's kids literally were "left behind" as Karl's ultimately and terribly uncompassionately conservative government ruled.. the number of Americans without health insurance went WAY UP. Further, the gross U.S. federal debt to GDP ratio increased from 56.4% when Bush entered the White House to 83.4% when GWB and Karl finally left.
And, Karl and George left us with a recession in the final year.
Not to mention, far too many soldiers died in an immoral and illegal war. And the world came to despise our torturous ways. This administration diminished us.

Posted by: Just a gal out east on July 17, 2010 at 7:18 PM | PERMALINK

Shouldn't Karl Rove be penning his op-eds from a high-security prison cell, maybe even one on death row?

He participated in the treasonous outing of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson. The CIA conducted an after-incident investigation, issued an internal report concerning what damage was done (or people killed) due to the outing of Valerie Plame Wilson, a career counter-proliferation CIA officer, but this CIA report has NEVER been released, even in redacted form. Why? A cover-up? People did die?

He also politicized the Hurricane Katrina tragedy, especially after New Orleans flooded. The day the NO levees were breached, a right-wing smear campaign was launched against Gov. Blanco (D-LA), claiming that she hadn't requested federal disaster assistance before Katrina hit. She had, forty-eight hours before Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. Gov. Blanco (D-LA) told a reporter a year or so later that when this smear campaign began, the phones rang off the wall at the FEMA command center in Baton Rouge where she was with the FEMA disaster coordinator sent by the Bush/Cheney administration, making it difficult for her, her staff and the FEMA disaster coordinator to get federal/state disaster aid and personnel into the flooded New Orleans.

Was Karl Rove behind this fallacious smear campaign? And was he also behind the Republican strategy of starting this smear campaign while at the same time blocking federal disaster relief from reaching New Orleans in those fist critical days, to make matters worse on the flooded ground so this political smear campaign against Louisiana Democrats would work better?

Karl Rove has a lot to answer for, but just like so many other top officials in the criminal Bush/Cheney administration, he probably will never be held accountable, even for the deaths he no doubt helped cause in the past and the deaths he will help cause in the future if he, and the culture of corruption, lies and greed Republicans, gain back control of Congress this November, and the White House in 2012.

Posted by: The Oracle on July 17, 2010 at 10:17 PM | PERMALINK

By the way, if you wanted to help remind Rove of what his actual "biggest mistake" might be, feel free to leave suggestions in the comments section.

Breathing.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on July 17, 2010 at 10:28 PM | PERMALINK

"Rove's mother made the biggest mistake, many decades ago."

What Tommybones said at the top of this thread. It's easily the biggest mistake...Rove cursing the world with his existence.

Posted by: LL on July 18, 2010 at 1:27 AM | PERMALINK

BUT BUT BUT Saddam was our man in the middle east I mean seriously he even attacked Iran for us ages ago while using our chemical weapons...

Posted by: matt on July 18, 2010 at 2:07 AM | PERMALINK

If his lips are moving, Karl Rove is lying.

For Rove to write... "we in the Bush White House discussed responding but decided not to relitigate the past. That was wrong and my mistake: I should have insisted to the president that this was a dagger aimed at his administration's heart. What Democrats started seven years ago left us less united as a nation to confront foreign challenges and overcome America's enemies" is ...... hilarious.

Rove's biggest mistake was not "responding"....Really?

Days before the Kennedy speech, Robert Novak faxed to the White House a copy of his "let's undermine Iraq War critic Joe Wilson by saying he got his Niger junket through nepotism, from his CIA wife Valerie Plame" column. Rove didn't have to respond to Kennedy, Rove's earlier discussions were producing the desired results already.

And thanks to Novak's fax, Rove was able to check for typos.

In fact, on the very day before Kennedy's speech Rove complains about today, Rove and company got the chance to see the fruits of their discussions in Novak's Washington Post 'Plame-Wilson' column.

Click here: http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2010/07/15/karl-roves-self-delusions-hit-new-heights/

For Rove to claim his biggest mistake was not fighting back, one might ask, what else could he have done? Rove had already outed the identity of a CIA expert on nuclear proliferation/WMD in the middle east, (a skill set we are told is of high value to US national security). After the Novak article was published, Plame's network was compromised and US assets were subjected to grave danger "if not death." I'm serious. That's what Cheney's CIA briefer testified to under oath at the Scooter Libby trial.

The briefer testified Cheney asked him if the outing of Plame by Novak was a "big deal." His CIA briefer told him... uh, yes it was.

So, the discussions Rove and company had seriously compromised US intelligence and national security, and NOW Rove is saying he didn't fight back hard enough? WTF? Only in the Wall Street Journal.

The dagger was thrust by Rove, Scooter and the VP's office on countless occasions, but especially when they went after Plame and Wilson.

Kennedy's speech was hardly reported on in the press, Rove uses it as a shiny object to distract us. Rove is hoping all of us will forget or be confused. Rove and company went after Plame because her husband exposed the lack of evidence of yellow cake going to Saddam from Niger.

Thus the cause for the Iraq War was a fraud. That was a big concern in the Bush White House, not an under reported speech by Kennedy.

Did Rove and company have the right to attack war critics like Wilson by outing Plame? Yes .... at least that's how the liberal beltway media saw it. As liberal Washington Post columnist Richard Cohen wrote, "what did they (Plame and Wilson) expect?"

Which brings us back to Rove. This type of behavior by Rove is to be expected. Lying about not fighting back hard enough is to be expected.

Posted by: MGDub on July 18, 2010 at 2:53 AM | PERMALINK

Rove's biggest mistake?

Not sending you libs to Gitmo when Bush had the chance. If we had really decided to deal with Political Terrorism that is the Democrat Party, we wouldn't be the mess we are in now.

Posted by: Patrick on July 18, 2010 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

Patrick--we are in the mess we are now BECAUSE of Bush's two unfunded wars, lack of regulation, lack of investment in infrastructure, tax cuts for the rich. Your heros failed to help us eliminate our dependence on foreign oil--they were big oil guys themselves. Instead Bush squandered on his overseas adventures--oh yeah, and he never was interested in securing the borders, and seemed to have ignored warnings that the trade center would be hit by flying planes...

Posted by: opposite view on July 18, 2010 at 3:33 PM | PERMALINK

Patrick - when Bush had a chance? Bush sent everyone he could think of to Gitmo. And the best part about it, the Bushies botched up all the record keeping. We have all these detainees at Gitmo, but the rocket scientists working for Dubya had no real filing system making it almost impossible to prosecute any of them.

During his 8 years in office, Bush did everything he wanted to do, nothing held him back. That's why you and your true believer buddies loved him and still love him sooo much.

War of choice, check. Torture just like Jack Bauer on the teevee show "24", check. Warrantless wiretapping 'cuz we can, check. Renditions of those we deem guilty until proven innocent, check. Employing former Heritage Foundation neocon interns (with no international development experience) to establish a free market utopia in Iraq, check. Two huge tax cuts, mostly for the rich, check.

I love reading the violent taunts of Patrick, he reminds us of how today's conservative republicans rely upon their strong tradition of situational ethics and selective adherence to Christianity. Blessed be the peacemakers, check. But threaten your political opponents with bodily harm, check. Blessed are the poor, check. But expand tax cuts for the rich, check. Put an end to torture and oppression in Iraq in order to spread democracy, check. But threaten your American political adversaries here at home with torture at Gitmo, check.

Send "libs to Gitmo," excellent, just classic. Thanks Patrick. Don't stop now, write another post. This time write about traditional moral values. You are the best! Karl Rove would be so proud of you.

Posted by: MGDub on July 18, 2010 at 6:30 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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