'Intelligent discontent is the mainspring of civilization.' -- Eugene V. Debs

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Karl Rove Sings "Daisy" 

It looks to me like Karl Rove and Andrew Card are at war with each other.

A Times story today alleges that the knives are out for Card because he "oversaw the administration's response to Hurricane Katrina" and "personally managed the selection of Harriet E. Miers". I have nothing much to say about Card's culpability for the (lack of) response to the catastrophe in New Orleans, but I do have a strong opinion regarding the insinuation that Karl Rove had nothing to do with the selection of Harriet Miers: I don't buy it.

The initial wave of stories arguing against Rove's involvement were cut from the Bush-has-lost-his-mojo cookie cutter that was all the rage two weeks ago. The idea was that, since Bush's brain is busy kissing up to Patrick Fitzgerald, the Miers selection gave us a rare opportunity to witness a Bush decision actually made by Bush. Representative of the genre is the Newsweek piece in which Howard Fineman went crazy wacky-metaphor-style:

[T]he selection of Miers reminds me of the scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey. As the astronauts unplug the memory chips in the brain of Hal the Computer, the machine returns to its roots, so to speak, plaintively singing the first song it was taught, "Daisy Bell." Miers is Bush singing "Daisy Bell."

Here is an alternative theory. It looks to many White House observers as if Bush was operating pretty much alone on this pick.

The Hal 9000 bit is funny, yes, but unfortunately Fineman's assertion is directly contradicted by Republican insiders who are on record discussing Rove's involvement in picking Miers. The Washington Times quoted GOP strategist Charlie Black as saying Rove was "very involved" in selecting Miers and Black listed Rove, as well as Card, among Bush's four primary advisors on the decision, for example.

Unlike Fineman's amusing speculation, today's Times piece on Card cites unnamed Rove flunkies as the source of the Karl-had-nothing-to-do-with-Miers rumor:

The Miers nomination has touched off the most vitriol. Some conservatives and Rove allies say Mr. Card kept Mr. Rove in the dark about the seriousness of Mr. Bush's intentions until very late in the process, thus sidestepping the adviser who would have been best able to anticipate dissent among Republicans.

So, in other words, via surrogates, Karl Rove is planting anti-Andy stories in the press. If you know anything about Card and Rove, the allegation I'm making shouldn't be too surprising. They have been sparring with each other since the day Rove was promoted; see for example, this exchange from a Post-hosted chat with Dan Froomkin last winter:

Alexandria, Va.: How will Andy Card handle the promotion of Rove to Deputy Chief of Staff? Can Andy use his Jedi Memory Trick on Rove to reel him in? Or is Rove more like a bucking bronco: hard to control and strong-willed?

Dan Froomkin: That's one of the big questions here. There's some speculation that Rove is getting ready to take over from Card, if Card should leave.

Card obviously must have gone along with this, but willingly?

Remember what Card said when Karen Hughes announced she was leaving. Let me find it.

Here. This is from Ron Suskind's piece in Esquire in 2003:

"[L]ast spring, when I spoke to White House chief of staff Andrew Card, he sounded an alarm about the unfettered rise of Rove in the wake of senior adviser Karen Hughes's resignation: 'I'll need designees, people trusted by the president that I can elevate for various needs to balance against Karl. . . . They are going to have to really step up, but it won't be easy. Karl is a formidable adversary.'"

You know, maybe it's like when HAL 9000 had those memory chips ripped out ... Karl's backed into a corner and has reverted to his Rovian larval essence orchestrating a stealth slime campaign in a zombielike Daisy-singing manner despite the fact that his target is one of their own.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?