On Oct. 21, James Moore, the author of Bush's Brain (Wiley, 2003) and Rove Exposed (Wiley, 2005), wrote: "The son of a New York doorman [i.e. Patrick Fitzgerald, the special counsel investigating the CIA leak] probably has in his hands, in many ways, the fate of the republic." -- On Oct. 30, he commented in the Financial Times of London on the Oct. 28 indictment of Vice President Dick Cheney's top aide, fellow neoconservative, and Iraq war planner I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby on five counts of perjury, obstruction of justice, and making false statements to FBI agents, but not of Karl Rove. -- Moore is obviously disappointed. -- But not very surprised: Rove has always been good at covering his tracks. -- James Moore observes: Fitzgerald's failure to indict Rove "does not close questions of whether Mr. Rove was involved in the leak . . . he has always been good at managing his assets." -- But James Moore thinks Karl Rove is more significant as a symptom than as a cause: "Mr. Rove is not the disease. He is, however, a symptom. American democracy has been run by hired guns for too long. Influence and power are in the wrong hands. Voters elect consultants, not Congress. And most consultants rarely even open the rule book. Their game is played to win and not to serve anyone beyond their clients. The U.S. electorate has surrendered its government to men in $2,000 suits with platinum credit cards. And while we wait in silence for brave voices to tell them to go away, our democracy continues to shrivel." ...
AMERICAN DEMOCRACY IS IN THE HANDS OF HIRED GUNS
By James Moore
Financial Times (UK)
October 30, 2005
http://news.ft.com/cms/s/1290381c-4970-11da-8686-0000779e2340.html (subscribers only)
--"Right is still right even if nobody's doing it. And wrong is still wrong even if everybody's doing it" -- Texas Ranger credo
American democracy has acquired some odd conventions. Candidates and office holders appear no longer to formulate independent thought. Advisers keep them on-message and guide their policies. President George W. Bush famously brags that he does not need a poll to tell him how to think. And he does not. He has Karl Rove, a political savant who runs nightly surveys and deconstructs the results to find helpful issues and opinions. And then the president knows how to think.
All presidents, of course, have essential counsellors and confidants. Michael Deaver managed the stagecraft of Ronald Reagan; James Baker acted as the big brain for George H.W. Bush; and Bill Clinton's ascent was given wings by James Carville and Paul Begala. Mr. Rove, however, is an evolutionary step beyond those accomplished political professionals. President Bush is, in many respects, Mr Rove's creation. They seem as two heads on the same body. In fact, five years before Mr. Bush was even to run for governor of Texas, Mr. Rove told a friend he could turn "a president's son into a president." Mr. Bush had the family name, financial connections, charm, and looks, while Mr. Rove had the sharp mind loaded with ideas and outsized ambition.
There is danger in this co-dependency. Generally, political advisers do not move into the White House after their candidate is elected. Mr. Rove, though, has an office in the west wing and prepares his recipe of policy and politics in the same pot. Inevitably, a moment arrives when what best serves the nation is not ideal for the political future of the president. Mr. Rove's record indicates he would be inclined to choose his client over his country when confronted with that choice. Re-election of the office holder and advancement of the party is the primary business. Campaigns never end.
Mr. Rove appears empowered beyond the bounds of what is traditional for most political counsels. Without him, the eldest Bush son may be little more than a man searching unsuccessfully for oil in west Texas. Mr. Rove makes plans and protects his most valuable asset, however. The president is the product and Mr. Rove is his marketer.
What is Mr. Rove capable of doing with this power? His record is instructive. He is known to have leaked information that undermined the candidacy of a female Hispanic candidate for state office in Texas. Pamphlets sent to voters in West Virginia claiming Democrats would ban the Bible and allow gay marriage were never connected to Mr. Rove, although he used a very similar document in a campaign in Texas. About 20 years ago, reporters were summoned to his office to hear his claims that the Democratic opposition had planted a bug on his wall. No one believed him. But everyone wrote the story and his candidate won.
Judging from his behavior before and during investigations into whether he was directly involved in the leaking of a Central Intelligence Agency agent's name, it is clear he is driven by the need to serve and protect his president. Having never been publicly called to account for previous political manoeuvres, he seems comfortable with his skills and generally content to let others execute his plans.
The indictment on Friday of Lewis "Scooter" Libby, the vice-president's chief of staff, does not close questions of whether Mr. Rove was involved in the leak. Mr. Libby was reportedly fixated on Joseph Wilson, the ambassador, and his report that Iraq had made no effort to buy yellowcake uranium from Niger. Mr. Rove must have known this; and he has always been good at managing his assets. Of course, if he is ever accused, Mr Rove will get his chance to answer any charges.
Mr. Rove is not the disease. He is, however, a symptom. American democracy has been run by hired guns for too long. Influence and power are in the wrong hands. Voters elect consultants, not Congress. And most consultants rarely even open the rule book. Their game is played to win and not to serve anyone beyond their clients. The U.S. electorate has surrendered its government to men in $2,000 suits with platinum credit cards. And while we wait in silence for brave voices to tell them to go away, our democracy continues to shrivel.
--The writer is an author, most recently, of Rove Exposed: How Bush's Brain Fooled America (John Wiley & Sons).