Karl Rove’s Self-Delusions Hit New Heights–Forgets He Outed Valerie Plame

Okay, this is one for the ages.

Karl Rove is out today with what is presumably an excerpt from his book, revealing his biggest mistake. He doesn’t verbalize what that mistake is, really. Rather, he bitches about a list of Democrats.

But the initial complaint appears to be that on July 15, 2003, Ted Kennedy accused George Bush of lying to get us into the Iraq war.

Seven years ago today, in a speech on the Iraq war, Sen. Ted Kennedy fired the first shot in an all-out assault on President George W. Bush’s integrity. “All the evidence points to the conclusion,” Kennedy said, that the Bush administration “put a spin on the intelligence and a spin on the truth.” Later that day Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle told reporters Mr. Bush needed “to be forthcoming” about the absence of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).

Thus began a shameful episode in our political life whose poisonous fruits are still with us.


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.

July 15, 2003 was, of course, the day after Bob Novak–acting on a leak involving Richard Armitage, Scooter Libby, and Karl Rove himself–outed Valerie Plame. Before Ted Kennedy said the first mean thing about Bush, Rove had already leaked to at least Novak and Matt Cooper, and OVP was leaking even more wildly (and it should be said, leaking classified information to the WSJ, where Rove’s piece appears, to make their case).

But now Karl Rove says “the Bush White House discussed responding but decided not to relitigate the past”?!?!?

Aside from the fact that Rove’s op-ed operates on the erroneous foundation that the Administration shared all the intelligence they juiced up with Congress (they didn’t), the entire op-ed is based on an absolutely delusional sense of timing.

And a convenient silence about what the White House had already done, in concert, before Ted Kennedy correctly accused the President of lying us into war.

The Pundits Come Out in Force

picture-127.thumbnail.pngMuch of the news media has, I think, treated Ted Kennedy’s passing with the appropriate respect.

But a significant swath of pundits have leapt–without pause–into issuing projections about how Ted Kennedy’s death will affect the health care debate. They are not, mind you, calling attention to how his passing changes the parliamentary landscape for the health care bill: noting that Dems will no longer have a filibuster-proof majority until such time as Massachusetts sends another Democrat to the Senate in the next five months or so, noting that one or two potentially appropriate replacements for Kennedy–like Ed Markey–would open up holes in key Committees in the House. They aren’t so much noting the things that could change the debate: Obama adopting a different stance towards the HELP bill, for example, or naming the bill after Kennedy (which Senator Byrd has already called to do).

Rather, they are suggesting they know whether Kennedy’s passing will make health care more or less likely; or make a bill with a public option more or less likely.

That pisses me off for a number of reasons.

First, such reflexive punditry–the urge to claim omniscience about politics–arises out of the 24-hour cable world, a need to fill time. Yet to so quickly jump to making pronouncements about whether Ted Kennedy’s death is a "win" for progressive Democrats or conservative Democrats, Republicans, and their corporate backers (which is really what this is about) suggests the cable news channels have exhausted all the things they have to say about Kennedy, the man. Now, Teddy Kennedy’s record of achievement in the Senate is a half-century testimony of all that progressives have brought to this country. And if the cable news can spend a week paying tribute to Michael Jackson’s half-century career in music, then they sure as hell can spend at least one day paying tribute to Ted Kennedy’s half-century leading this nation. To so quickly turn his death into one event in a horse race dishonors the man and slights his great achievements.

But I’m perhaps most pissed about this urge to claim to know what will happen now because of the way I look on death. Today is a day to pay tribute to Ted Kennedy, absolutely. But it’s also a day to reflect on what his life means, and to reflect on how–for those of us who honor that legacy–we can keep his dream alive through our own actions.

Read more

Obama’s Remarks on Kennedy

I wanted to say a few words about passing of extraordinary leader, Senator Edward Kennedy. Call Teddy colleague, counselor, friend. We awaited this day with no small amount of dread. Seen courage with which he battled illness. Let him hear from people in every corner of nation and around world how much he meant to all of us. Blessing of time to say thank you and goodbye. Outpouring of love and gratitude is a testament to the way he touched so many lives. His ideas stamped on so many laws. Seniors who know new dignity, Children who know new promise. Including myself.

Kennedy name is synonymous with Dem Party. Target of campaign attacks. In Senate no one who engendered more affection from both sides of the aisle. Sense of purpose matched by good cheer. Passionately battle others but still maintain warm friendships across party lines. One of the greatest Senators, one of the most accomplished Americans. Extraordinary good that he did. Defender of a dream. Spoke earlier with Vicki, who was, to the end, such a source of strength. Thoughts with her and the entire Kennedy family.

Better than Clearing Brush … Getting HELP from Kennedy?


The AP and Politico have competing stories up speculating that–along with clearing brush this week–Obama might pay Ted Kennedy a visit. The AP, relying entirely on speculation, suggests a visit could be a big boost for Obama’s efforts to pass health care reform, one of Kennedy’s lifelong goals. The Politico, relying on an email from a Kennedy aide, says Obama is not and never was scheduled to visit Kennedy.

But a Kennedy aide said in an e-mail Friday that an Obama-Kennedy visit is not going to happen and was never in the works.

Given Kennedy’s apparent health struggles of late, it may be that he’s not up to meeting with Obama in the first place, and particularly not if Obama comes with press corps in tow.

That said, for the next week, Obama will be one 10 to 15 mile chopper ride away from the man who perhaps unexpectedly bestowed on Obama the Kennedy mantle–and in doing so, had a significant role in getting Obama elected. Obama owes Kennedy, Obama is flailing with legislation Kennedy cares deeply about, and this may be the last time Kennedy can collect on Obama’s debts to him.

Therein may be the problem.

After all, the AP is correct that even reports of an Obama visit to Hyannisport would boost Obama’s fortunes and presumably those of health care legislation. A visit followed by a call to "Do it for Teddy!" might inspire Democrats (and possibly some of Kennedy’s close friends on the other side of the aisle) to pull together to get this done.

But for what bill?

Discussions I’ve seen on a potential visit all focus on Obama’s current trajectory, which appears to be an attempt to pass insurance company reform under the cover of public option kabuki. None of that discussion on a potential Kennedy visit focuses on the HELP bill–Kennedy’s bill, shepherded through by Chris Dodd. One that resembles those passed through the House, including a public option. 

If I were Kennedy, I wouldn’t let Obama set foot in my house unless he promised to ditch the Rahm/Messina plan to follow the Baucus plan. If I were Kennedy, I’d use this opportunity to kick Obama’s ass for embracing that fraudulent kabuki after all the things Kennedy has done to help Obama.

And if I were Obama, I might take that opportunity to pivot. Read more

Like Teddy, Novak Couldn’t Stay Away

cbl posted a link to this Novak piece over on the mother ship.

Reports of strong support within John McCain’s presidential campaign for Independent Democratic Sen. Joseph Lieberman as the Republican candidate for vice president are not a fairy tale. Influential McCain backers, plus McCain himself, would pick the pro-choice liberal from Connecticut if they thought they could get away with it.

But they can’t get away with it — and this has been made clear to McCain by none other than Joe Lieberman himself.

The Iraq War skeptic, Novak, was so amenable to his sources that he even pretended to support Bush’s war.

Actually, Lieberman is a heroic figure among Republicans for having risked his Senate seat to support President George W. Bush’s war policy.

To be honest with you, I’m sort of happy that Novak, who had retired to undergo brain cancer treatment, is still serving his role as a channel of leaks.

And if the urgent leak that drew him out of retirement is that all the Republicans hate Joementum, if Bob Novak, of all people, will prevent Holy Joe from "gracing" our screen for the next two months, then maybe he is starting to work off the bad karma of outing Valerie Plame.

SJC Mukasey Hearing

I haven’t liveblogged in a while, so what the heck. Watch along here or here.


Leahy starts by highlighting civil liberties violations, naming Bradbury.

We join together to press for accountability and that led to a change in leadership. Today we continue our efforts to restore DOJ.

[Leahy mentions the torture tapes, but focuses on the CIA’s unwillingness to tell the 9/11 Commission.]

Today we will get some kind of indication whether the AG will restore checks and balances. It is not enough to say that waterboarding is not currently authorized. Torture has no place in America. Tragically, this Administration has so twisted our values that top officers are instructed by the WH not to say that torture is illegal.

[Lists the people we’ve prosecuted for waterboarding.]

That is not America.

Arlen "Scottish Haggis" Specter [incidentally, the first person I ran into when I walked into Congress on Monday was Specter, just coming off the floor having voted against cloture. I contemplated thanking him for his no vote. But then I doubted that "Scottish Haggis, I appreciate that you finally voted your conscience" would go over very well.]

Scottish Haggis agrees that Bush has pushed Article II. Discussion torture, still focusing on Article II powers.

Leahy swears Mukasey in.

Mukasey’s statement. Suggests Bush’s stonewalling just a sign of how well the Constitution works. [Remind me to tell you about Schumer’s comment on Mukasey, an attempt to justify his picking him.]

"Committed to review CIA interrogation program. Carefully reviewed limited set of methods authorized, concluded they are lawful. Aware that you address specifically address waterboarding. I have been authorized to say waterboarding is not among techniques currently used. Passing on its legality is not among the scope of what I promised to review."


CIA Director would have to ask to use waterboarding, would have to outline its use, the issue would have to go the President.

Leahy: First question, brings up Ridge’s and McConnell’s comments that waterboarding is torture. Mukasey dodges, says he can’t say anything because he’s AG.

MM: I know that if I address a complex legal question without having concrete circumstances before me, yadda yadda yadda.

Leahy: I think the failure to say something puts some of our people in more danger.

Mukasey: Our military won’t be affect by what I say. They’re legal soldiers.

[Mukasey’s logic here is that we’re allowed to torture people who are illegal combatants.] Read more