Rovian Atmosphere


Howie Kurtz does the heavy lifting with an update on the goings-on in the Rove-Plame matter. I can only add a couple of things.

One, let's be adult about this, Rove was not "out to get" Joe Wilson or his wife. He was attempting to make the minor, but still valid, rhetorical point that Wilson could not be described as an internal critic of the Bush administration and was not vetted by the White House inner circle for his trip to Niger. Wilson, Rove was signaling in typical obscurant DC fashion, is a CIA guy, a permanent government guy. Not one of us. Not of the body.

That this distinction was, and evidently still is, important to the people at the top of the Bush power pyramid strikes me as the real important story of the matter. Input, cold hard fact, time-of-day, from anyone deemed an outsider simply cannot move this administration and should be ignored by everyone else.

Second, the White House and official GOPdom is fast approaching unsustainable, Clintonian "depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is" territory by insisting that Rove somehow did not "name" Plame. Of course he did. And course Bush should fire Rove or else be judged a hypocrite on his pledge to fire any leakers involved in the matter.

But I think Bush and his closest aides do not want to risk showing any weakness heading into the Supreme Court brawl and, as a result, little thought will be given to letting Rove go unless somehow criminal charges result from the investigation of the matter.