Karl Rove will visit Alabama to give a speech in August. Nothing surprising about that. Rove made his national name in Alabama by joining with Bill Canary and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to essentially buy state-court seats for "pro business" judges.
Rove visits our fair state regularly, usually in one of the prime population centers--Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile, or Huntsville. In August, however, the former White House strategist and current Fox News and Wall Street Journal contributor will visit a relative backwater. The location of Rove's upcoming speech should raise eyebrows for anyone who has followed the Don Siegelman case.
"An Evening With Karl Rove" will be August 18 at the civic center in Enterprise, Alabama. Sounds enticing, doesn't it? The evening begins with a reception at 5:30 and dinner at 6:30, followed by remarks from Rove. For those who can't wait, ticket information is available at (334) 494-2427 and RSVPs must be received by August 8.
Enterprise, to be sure, is a bit off the beaten path. A town of about 26,000 hardy souls, it is in Coffee County in southeast Alabama, just above the Florida line.
Why would one of the biggest names in Republican politics pay a visit to such an out-of-the-way place? Perhaps we should note that the event is sponsored by the Coffee County Republican Committee and follow up with these questions: Who used to be Coffee County's representative on the GOP's executive committee? Who used to be the elected district attorney for Coffee County before moving on to greener pastures during the George W. Bush administration?
The answer to both of those questions is Mark Fuller, now chief U.S. judge for the Middle District of Alabama. Fuller has served in that position since Bush appointed him in 2002--while Rove served as chief White House adviser.
And for what is Mark Fuller best known? Why, he was the judge who handled the case against former Democratic governor Don Siegelman, perhaps the most notorious political prosecution in American history. According to the sworn testimony of Alabama whistleblower and attorney Jill Simpson, that case was driven by GOP political operatives in Alabama, with assistance from Rove in Washington, D.C.
Why, exactly, is Karl Rove coming to Enterprise, Alabama? The answer is not clear at the moment. But to a reasonable observer, it looks like payback to a corrupt federal judge who helped make sure that Republicans would take over the governor's office for the foreseeable future.