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September 16, 2005

Reconstruction Czar Rove

Sometimes it genuinely feels like Bush sits in a back room and makes decisions based on what would piss off Democrats the most. Bolton fit that category, and making Rove special reconstruction head does as well:

Republicans said Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff and Mr. Bush's chief political adviser, was in charge of the reconstruction effort, which reaches across many agencies of government and includes the direct involvement of Alphonso R. Jackson, secretary of housing and urban development.

Josh, blood pressure rising and steam beginning to pool in his eardrums, says this proves that the reconstruction will be a wholly inefficient and politically-run effort.

Well, yes, but only because this administrations' DNA happens to be a double helix with one strand inefficient and the other being blatantly political. But I don't think they're making a special effort here. If they were, Karl Rove would from behind the scenes while Rudy, Colin, Clinton, Rice, Zinni, someone who makes polls tick in the right direction would storm around the Sunday shows talking big dreams and promising bigger things.

But they're not. And you know why?

Because they care anymore. The White House has senioritis. I don't know how much more obvious they can make this one. Bush got reelected. He's a two-termer. He beat the Democrats. He's got a cowed congressional majority. Cheney's not running to succeed him. So this administration, at this point, could frankly give a shit. Bush will amble on stage, have a Wall Street Journal writer pen him a speech full of big government plaudits neither of them believe, stroll back into the office, ask who wants the reconstruction job, Rove will lazily raise his hand, and Bush is in bed by 10.

What's next?

Will this be a mess of patronage and pork and money to political allies? Probably. But what this won't be is political. If they were running this on political considerations, they would've appointed some sort of czar the country would've responded to, someone who would've said lots of nice things about Bush, convincing us of his compassion when his actions have spent the last two weeks proving otherwise. And this czar could still be subject to the White House's demands, would still be subject to the White House's demands. No change in the pork, no change in the cronyism, no change at all.

They were just too lazy, too uninterested.

There's another option, I guess, one that occurred to me while writing. They don't want to share the credit. They don't want to cede the spotlight. Bush doesn't want to be outshined. Maybe so. I'd still think that'd leave them appointing Rice or Ashcroft or someone -- a low wattage apparatchik who people liked but Russert wouldn't thirst for. Appointing Rove is dangerous -- Dems hate him and the special prosecutor could call anyday. But screw it -- who cares? Republicans won't impeach.

Here's a question. When Bush leaves office, if Karl's been indicted -- does he get a pardon?

September 16, 2005 | Permalink

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» Whoa... from ProgressNow.org Weblog
.. guess I thought this was a joke ... so, felonious Plame-burner promoted to chief Gulf Coast pork-processor ... Many on the left are outraged at the appointment of strategist deluxe Karl Rove to lead the reconstruction effort. "Shouldn't that... [Read More]

Tracked on Sep 16, 2005 6:35:47 PM

Comments

I thought the reason was maybe to have him out of town when subpoenas arrive. Or else to try to rehabilitate him, if not as a true "savior of New Orleans," then at least to set up the "You want to indict the man when he's busy saving lives? How blatantly partisan can you be?" play.

Posted by: Kagro X | Sep 16, 2005 11:06:41 AM

Of course he'll get a pardon, along with anyone else who needs one.

Posted by: merlallen | Sep 16, 2005 11:22:22 AM

Of course it is political. But Bush is President for about 20-30% of the American people. You could say his base is about 35%, but I don't think they care about less-than-rich Republicans in Orange County or Massachusetts. They need a solid South, and will lock it into place. Coburn was complaining about the deficit, I am sure OK could use a hurricane center.

They are brazen beyond belief. I am starting to get scared. Rove is unlikely to get indicted;if indicted instantly pardoned and kept in place. You will believe it when you see it.

Posted by: bob mcmanus | Sep 16, 2005 11:34:14 AM

You're assuming that when they say Karl Rove is in charge of the reconstruction effort this is mutually incompatible with them appointing someone as a figurehead. What's to stop them from appointing someone more sympathetic and having Rove pull the strings? After all, Rove is really in charge of the Iraq war, but technically Rumsfeld is running things.

Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Sep 16, 2005 11:48:29 AM

One can understand BushCo's 'don't give a shit' attitude towards 'appearances' and 'results', but it is hard to understand the Republican sheeple in the Congress going along with Rove directly or indirectly calling the reconstruction shots.

Unless...they have a mostly foolproof way of obtaining electoral success in 06 and 08 even with well less than 50% support in swingable districts and states. Diebold? Other vote fraud? More money for elections than god has? Another war in their pocket? Martial law for long enough to get rid of opponents - the Hamdi rule?

Or have they just lost their minds - again?

Posted by: JimPortlandOR | Sep 16, 2005 11:56:11 AM

You're joking, right? I assume the pardon's in the top drawer of Bush's desk, has been for some time. Some things they prepare for.....

Posted by: sglover | Sep 16, 2005 11:58:46 AM

Ah, I get it. It will be a sympathetic pardon. They won't attack Fitzgerald, Bush will just get up there and say "Karl told me he's sorry and I believe he's sincere. Because he's doing such a fine job reconstructing New Orleans and his irreplaceable services are still needed there, I'm issuing him a full pardon. Thanks for your hard work Karl, the nation needs you."

Query whether one can pardon someone before they've been convicted.

Posted by: Ugh | Sep 16, 2005 12:28:18 PM

What do you mean "When Bush leaves office...does [Rove] get a pardon?" Bush won't wait until he leaves office. Rove'll receive the pardon before the sun goes down on the day he is convicted.

Posted by: pfc | Sep 16, 2005 12:28:50 PM

I understand Rove has bigger things to worry about with Fitzgerald hinting that the indictments aren't too far away, but shouldn't he be worrying about his reputation as political consultant with Bush numbers taking a dive? I mean, if in 2008 he's not busy making license plates, he's going to want more business. Who's going to want to be associated with Rove then?

Okay, let me rephrase that: besides wingers, who's going to want to be associated with Rove?

Posted by: backspace | Sep 16, 2005 12:58:47 PM

Here's the cart...and there's the horse. I would put them in proper order if I were you. I would also add that even Clinton deserved (and got from me) the benefit of the doubt until physical evidence surfaced to show he was a lying bastard. That is our system. As with Clinton, I am forced to allow the justice system to do it's job and wait for some outcome in the future. Until then, all the bullshit in this post is moot.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Sep 16, 2005 1:38:23 PM

Yes, you can pardon someone before they're convicted - that's what Ford did for Nixon. In fact, I believe the Nixon pardon covered any criminial charges that might potentially arise from activities during the period of Nixon's presidency.

Posted by: wvmcl | Sep 16, 2005 1:38:54 PM

Who knew Fred was such a coward? Hel, big fella, I was calling Clinton 'Slick Willie" when he was just one of a pack of contenders for the nomination. I know the authoritarian personality type respects authority figures, but come on -- if I could call Clinton names as a far-left loony in 1992, surely you can call Rove and Bush names now that they're busy crushing every hope the far right ever nominally held dear.

Wuss.

PS -- sorry for the flame, folks, but I'm sick today and my defenses are down.

Posted by: wcw | Sep 16, 2005 1:47:02 PM

I'm beginning to wonder if Bush has some sort of variant of Factitious (or Munchausen) by Proxy disorder. He does stuff to specifically harm the country - or when something happens outside of his control he makes it worse - in order to have opportunities to appear as if he is "making it better."

I'm mainly being facetious here, but really, I'm running out of ways to explain the absurdity of this administration.

Posted by: Stephen | Sep 16, 2005 1:52:38 PM

I don't get the basic contention here that Rove won't do a good job.

I think most people will admit Rove is smart (some of you may think he is evil, but I doubt many think he is stupid.) He certainly also understands government and seems good at running an organization. Heck, if he can get out those talking points to bloggers every morning rebuilding New Orleans should be easy.

Then their is the notion that they don't really care if they succeed or not. Even if you buy into the concept that Bush doesn't care, Rove is on the record of hoping to create a realignment that will last a generation. New Orleans is a create opportunity to further that goal. Many of the poor, black and democratic voters in New Orleans seem annecdotally at least to be putting at least as much blame on Democrats Nagin and Blanco as they do on Bush.

Assume that as of right now, they are at least open minded in blaming Democrats more then Republicans for the problems in New Orleans. Imagine then a very successful rebuilding of New Orleans by the Republican Federal Government.

Imagine Lousianna moving from a purple state to a deep red state.

Imagine further, a substantial inroads amoung blacks in New Orleans for the Republican party. Imagine the possible effect of that transition on the black community on other areas, where their is already some tension between religiously conservative blacks and other groups in the democratic party.

Imagine Democrats not winning a national election for a generation.

Rove has, I guarantee, imagined all of those things.

If I were a Democrat, I wouldn't worry about Rove failing to rebuild New Orleans, I would worry about him succeeding.

Posted by: Dave Justus | Sep 16, 2005 2:00:38 PM

Sometimes it genuinely feels like Bush sits in a back room and makes decisions based on what would piss off Democrats the most? Are you kidding? This is almost exactly what he does, only he doesn't just target pissing off Dems, he targets pissing off anyone and everyone who doesn't agree with him.

I have commented on other sites and in other threads that all of Bush's decisions include a calculus on sticking a knife into the guts of ALL people who don't want what he wants them to want. From his selection for UN ambassador to his picks for judicial vacancies, including and in particular the Supreme Court, Bush selects the path of most outrage.

It is by design and intent. It is what immature sociopathic narcissists DO.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates | Sep 16, 2005 4:04:40 PM

...Bush selects the path of most outrage.

More accurately, you are not used to a president that leads without regard to the ineffective attempts of those not in power to have influence.

Want power? Win an election.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Sep 16, 2005 4:49:26 PM

a substantial inroads amoung blacks in New Orleans for the Republican party.

Thankfully, I had already finished my drink before reading this, and my laughter thus did not ruin my keyboard. Even I thought that the Republican party might have a shot at improving its share of votes among blacks-- in 2004, this seemed to start happening. After Katrina, that fantasy disappeared in a puff of smoke.

Want power? Win an election.

The presidency isn't about power. It's about governing.

Posted by: Constantine | Sep 17, 2005 1:35:52 AM

The presidency isn't about power. It's about governing.

Well, Susan, great on platitudes, but short on substance.

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