Is Karl Rove a hero? — That is the subject of this evening's "Talking Points Memo". My colleague John Gibson thinks Rove was heroic in exposing the political agenda of Ambassador Joseph Wilson, who wrote an article slamming the Bush administration's pre-Iraq War strategy.
Wilson's wife, CIA operative Valerie Plame, had ties to the Democrats, which Rove wanted exposed.
Now Gibson's a smart guy, but I disagree with him on this. Karl Rove wasn't doing anything heroic when he dished to reporters about Wilson. He was protecting his boss, President Bush.
But it's amusing to see the hue and cry coming from the Democrats over this. I mean, Howard Dean is outraged? Mr. Smear is offended? Dean is the ultimate payback guy.
During the Clinton years, there was a guy in the White House named Sidney Blumenthal (search), whose primary job was to throw dirt on anyone who criticized his boss. Blumenthal was a notorious hatchet man.
In fact, most politicians employ guys like this, guys who attack the attackers. The Karl Rove story is a media-driven partisan display. Most Americans don't care. And trying a case in the paper, on the radio, or on TV is simply foolish.
It's very simple. If the grand jury indicts Rove, he should be fired and tried in a court of law. If the grand jury does not indict him, Rove will stay on. Mr. Bush will not fire a man who has been loyal to him.
Now back to John Gibson. The reason Karl Rove should not be praised is because there are ways to counter policy attacks that are above board.
If the Bush White House felt that Wilson's assessment of Saddam's African yellow cake policy was politically motivated, just say that publicly. Let the folks see the evidence, let them decide. That's always the best policy.
From the get go, "Talking Points" has said Karl Rove should tell everybody what he did and why he did it. He's already told the grand jury his story. And he should tell us as well. If the prosecutor has a problem with Rove speaking, the prosecutor should state that.
Again, our government should be as transparent as possible. What you should know is that 90 percent of all the reporting on Rove is politically driven. The pro-Bush people are sticking up for Rove. The anti-Bush people are condemning the man. It's just boring.
The grand jury will decide soon if Karl Rove broke the law. Until then, he is neither a hero, nor a villain. He's just a political guy doing what most of these guys do — attacking the opposition. And that's "The Memo."
The Most Ridiculous Item of the Day
I'd like to acknowledge the L.A. Times for recognizing the unfairness of its description of me in an article I helped them out with.
As you may know, I no longer talk to the print press, because it's a no-win situation. For every fair assessment of me and this broadcast, there are 10 unfair ones. Why fight the odds?
Anyway, as I reported in a "Ridiculous Item" a few weeks ago, The L.A. Times broke its promise not to put a subjective description, in my case, "ultraconservative," in front of my name when using my comments about Bono, a man who does good things in the world.
The L.A. Times admitted it did what I said it did. They didn't apologize for anything, but at least they admitted it. Maybe progress is being made, which is never ridiculous.