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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Is Karl Rove Securing the Crime Scene?

The nation was treated to quite a postmodern political spectacle the other day.

A national television program invited former Bush strategist Karl Rove to critique President-Elect Barack Obama's plans for the U.S. Justice Department.

That's a little like asking Charles Manson for his thoughts on Martin Luther King and the nonviolence movement.

But there was Matt Lauer, of NBC's Today Show, asking with a straight face for Rove's thoughts on Obama's nomination of Eric Holder as attorney general.

Seems King Karl considers Holder to be a "controversial" nominee. That's interesting coming from a guy who is under investigation by a special prosecutor for allegedly manipulating the Justice Department for political reasons.

Republicans apparently have chosen Rove to lead the opposition on Holder, which provides more evidence that the GOP is morally bankrupt.

We know that Rove could not possibly be concerned about what's best for the nation, so what is he really up to? Scott Horton, of Harper's, provides the answer in a piece titled "Securing the Crime Scene."

No one should be surprised that "Turd Blossom" Rove is trying to save his own skin. Writes Horton:

There’s something fouler afoot here, I think. Karl Rove has his own agenda at Justice. The Senate Judiciary Committee’s report on the U.S. Attorneys scandal identified the individual whose manipulations produced the firings of eight of the country’s best U.S. Attorneys so they could be replaced with partisan hacks: Karl Rove. The Justice Department’s Inspector General hints at just the same conclusion, but notes that it was thwarted from completing its study by the refusal of Karl Rove and those who worked for him to cooperate with the probe. When the House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed Rove to testify on these same issues, and his nefarious role in the prosecution of Alabama Governor Don E. Siegelman, Rove failed to appear, choosing instead to vacation with post-Soviet Mafiosi at a Crimean resort favored by Stalin. Now a special prosecutor is looking closely into Rove’s dealings and speculation that he may face criminal charges mounts.

Horton notes that Rove has had other brushes with the law and narrowly escaped an indictment in the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame:

And in all of these dealings, Rove has held an ace in the hole—political appointees at the Justice Department have undermined the inquiries into him and furnished him with highly improbable cover to avoid answering to Congress. Thus no one in Washington faces greater exposure as a result of the changing of the guard at the Justice Department than Karl Rove.

Thus it appears Rove has two objectives in taking on Holder. The first is to delay the turnover in the attorney general’s office as long as he can, providing more time in which his misconduct can enjoy the cloak of nefarious secret opinions of the Office of Legal Counsel and the attorney general’s own wink-and-nod. The second is to tar Holder as a political player, so that if charges are brought against Rove in the coming administration—as appears increasingly likely, unless Rove gets the pardon he wants for Christmas—Rove can bellow charges of “politics.”

If Karl Rove is concerned about the Holder nomination, that makes me think Obama made a good choice.

Do Republicans have reason to fear Eric Holder? This diary at Daily Kos suggests the answer is yes.

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