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March 24, 2007

Comments

Hmm, my understanding has been that Rove was looking for someone to work for, and shopped around the governor of Texas, with his almost presidential name, to the powers that be. I don't think Bush fils really wanted to be president until he was told he wanted to be president. and my hunch is that if he had it to do over again, he'd opt out.

But no, it doesn't surprise me that someone cut from the same cloth as Lee Atwater would want to plant a bent US Attorney in the home state of the candidate he most wants to undermine. Josh Marshall has had the goods on Rove forever. Just SOP for these guys.

It was wrong when Nixon Clinton launched IRS audits of people he decided were his "enemies".

I don’t know hilzoy – I think you are stretching a bit here. Rove is done. After 8 years in the WH where is he going from here? Do you think the next R candidate/nominee is going to take him on? He is poison at this point. I’d say that except for a tell-all book in 10 years he will fade into obscurity.

And BTW – you know you will spend $20 for that book… :)

The Three Big Lies:

1. Karl Rove is used up.
2. Ann Coulter doesn't speak for the Republican Party.
3. I won't co . . . well, you get the idea.

OCS, while Rove might have to sit out 2008, he'll spend the next 2 years on the lecture circuit, charging up the base, and will have shed whatever tarnish he's got by the 2010 midterms.

He and his dishonorable ways will be with us for as long as dishonor is tolerated.

On pure speculation, I bet Rove is like Hoover in the respect that he will stay around forever. Given his current posistion he undoubtably has dirt on every republican canidate as well and will threaten to bring the next canidate who doesn't take him on.

Such things happen when you have people who care more about power than good governence running the country. Being in government should be seen as a responcibility not as a privlage, until we have people in office who view it that way we will always have problems.

"Is this explanation true? I don't have any evidence of it. I suspect that if it were true, there would not be any evidence. But it makes sense..."

In other words, you have no evidentiary basis for your belief and probably never will even if it were true. Now I have no love for Bush and Co and would love to see them impeached (even though its politically impossible) but isn't that an unfair argument? There's no way anyone could argue for or against that.

Rove will always have clients, because his brand of Bizzarro World political smears is successful, and will remain so for as long as the MSM and voters have their collective heads up their collective arses.

Rove is a Patriotic American who loves liberty and freedom.

And the Republicans who hire him have those same values.

isn't that an unfair argument?

I think that depends on what the argument is doing. If it is used to convict Rove and company for 20 years of hard labor, it is unfair. But if it is to show what is really at stake here and underline why we should demand neutral attorneys, and why we should continue to pursue this, it seems appropriate.

In other words, you have no evidentiary basis for your belief and probably never will even if it were true.

Hilzoy is floating a theory.

Any good theory is parsimonious, consistent with what has been observed, and saves the present phenomenon.

This one does.

"Is this explanation true? I don't have any evidence of it. I suspect that if it were true, there would not be any evidence. But it makes sense..."

In other words, you have no evidentiary basis for your belief and probably never will even if it were true. Now I have no love for Bush and Co and would love to see them impeached (even though its politically impossible) but isn't that an unfair argument? There's no way anyone could argue for or against that because its unprovable or disprovable.

Now admittedly the fact that these people are criminals who lie all the time with zero credibility does make these suspicions reasonable. But if you have a situation where there's no way to prove whether something happened or not then its mostly just pointless speculation.

"Is this explanation true? I don't have any evidence of it. I suspect that if it were true, there would not be any evidence. But it makes sense..."

In other words, you have no evidentiary basis for your belief and probably never will even if it were true. Now I have no love for Bush and Co and would love to see them impeached (even though its politically impossible) but isn't that an unfair argument? There's no way anyone could argue for or against that because its unprovable or disprovable.

Now admittedly the fact that these people are criminals who lie all the time with zero credibility does make these suspicions reasonable. But if you have a situation where there's no way to prove whether something happened or not then its mostly just pointless speculation.

Now admittedly the fact that these people are criminals who lie all the time with zero credibility does make these suspicions reasonable. But if you have a situation where there's no way to prove whether something happened or not then its mostly just pointless speculation.

Let's say that you have a lot of money in the stock of a particular company. And you see a lot of circumstantial evidence that the president of the company is liquidating as much cash value as he can get and siphoning it out, and his intention is to get as much as he possibly can and then skip out, perhaps taking his money to someplace where it's hard to extradite him.

There's no possible way in the short run to prove that those are his intentions. Now here are 3 possible actions you can take:

1. Try hard to get more information about what he's actually doing, perhaps with an eye to stopping him.

2. Sell your stock for what you can get.

3. Argue with other stockholders that there's no proof his intentions are bad and there can never be any proof that he had bad intentions even if the company collapses and the former president becomes incredibly rich. So argue that with no proof we should all sit back and do nothing, and we certainly should not discuss the possibility that there might be something wrong.

Joseph,

While I think the speculative nature of the hypothesis warrants caution, to say it is "mostly just pointless" is way off the mark.

That Rove would place a mudslinger to go after Clinton is an excellent conjecture. Until reading this idea, I couldn't fathom from the outset why a Rovian operative was placed as US Attorney in Arkansas. The change of attorneys there now makes sense and, by making its rationale explicit, we may have an empirical chance at countering its consequences.

"It was wrong when Nixon Clinton launched IRS audits of people he decided were his "enemies"."

Yup, Nixon threatened that in one of his rants. Clinton actually did it. Best to keep that straight.

Anyway, it's a strong theory; A US attorney could have as much fun digging up dirt on the opposition as, say, a former bouncer with access to the opposition's FBI records. Shall we use the same standard of evidence in both cases?

Shall we use the same standard of evidence in both cases?

Sorting the difference out, isn't that the purpose of a confirmation hearing?

Digby has a relevant post, built around the McClatchy story that reports on this:

Last April, while the Justice Department and the White House were planning the firings, Rove gave a speech in Washington to the Republican National Lawyers Association. He ticked off 11 states that he said could be pivotal in 2008. Bush has appointed new U.S. attorneys in nine of them since 2005: Florida, Colorado, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Arkansas, Michigan, Nevada and New Mexico. U.S. attorneys in the latter four were among those fired.

Digby also relates another of the many, many Rove election-throwing stories, from the same Atlantic article hilzoy cited.

Yup, Nixon threatened that in one of his rants. Clinton actually did it. Best to keep that straight.

Before keeping it straight, one should be sure that it's actually true... and history begs to differ.

Anarch: Don't bother. It's very obvious that Clinton has to be as bad or WORSE than Bush, because to argue otherwise is to indulge in the worst sort of partisanship.

Besides, that Clinton was a corrupt President who abused his power over and over and over has been repeated so often it's factesque.

So, of course Clinton sicced the IRS on his enemies. In fact, I look forward to learning about the time Clinton personally killed hobos -- I mean, he's got to keep ahead of Bush on the "worstest President ever" chart.

The mere fact that he left office with a 60%+ approval rating -- a level Bush only achieved after exploiting a national tragedy -- isn't a real fact.

Well Mr. Bellmore, what's the deal?

Were you simply misinformed? Or part of the misinformation project?

But Charles Johnson said....

I'm guessing just misinformed. I like to give the benefit of the doubt and all.

But feel free to correct me if necessary.

No doubt Clinton was blackmailing Ken Starr, which is why he never uncovered all of this egregious wrongdoing. It's disgraceful how little investigation the man did -- not like the thorough examination of the administration that we've had during the past six years.

I guess I've said this before, but as with von, now with Joseph. Folks, you cannot take the same approach to unmediated conflicts as you do to mediated ones. Well, okay, you can. Provided you're eager to be eaten by your adversaries. "Fairness," as lj points out, can have multiple meanings.

Americans (mostly) tend to assume that they have some recourse to the law, and that however imperfect said law (or "gummint," or "entities who monopolize the use of force," or "mediation process," or whatever), it is largely impartial. We assume, since most of us have never seen tyranny up close and personal, that enforcement and adjudication mechanisms, once established, persist.

They do not. They decay. If they are not actively rebuilt and repaired they eventually collapse.

The approach advocated by Joseph (and von and others) is a perfectly good one for mediated confrontations. The problem is that in the current confrontation, one of the parties is not subject to the enforcement mechanisms upon which the other parties could ordinarily rely.

I've had this argument before, so I know that the next [substantive] thing that's going to happen here is that somebody is going to tell me that such confrontations are mediated by the courts -- by the judicial, rather than the exec -- and that therefore I'm totally wet. Unfortunately, even to the very restricted extent to which it's true (i.e. aside from various questions of "standing"), it applies only to adjudication, not to enforcement. It's the exec that enforces the findings of the judicial, remember? Quis custodiet ipso custodes, Jackson and Marshall, Little Rock Central High, etc...

So, in a nutshell, no. If this were a mediated conflict, then hilzoy's speculation would be mostly, though certainly not entirely, pointless. However, this is not a mediated conflict, except to the extent that popular and legislative branch outrage will have to function as an enforcement mechanism. What hilzoy describes is, in all likelihood, what actually happened -- keeping quiet about it is not compatible with invoking the only enforcement mechanism available.

And assuming that this administration might do anything that resembles "taking care that the laws are faithfuly executed," after all that's happened... Aw heck, just picture me shaking my head sadly.

OCSteve: I don't know of evidence that Clinton used the IRS against his opponents, and I do know of evidence -- in the form of the report Anarch linked to (note that it's a report of a Congressional committee chaired by Republicans.) If you can provide some, however, I'll gladly update the post.

(Unnecessary note after a cursory look at Google: Ann Coulter and Newsmax do not count as credible sources, to my mind.)

And Joseph: the reason I noted that I had no evidence was to make it clear that I was speculating. On the other hand, I think it's not what you might call "mere" speculation (like, say, my speculation on what color pajamas Bush wears, which would be a blind guess.) It fits Rove's procedures; it explains hitherto unexplained facts (e.g., why insert the provision in the Patriot Act? Why so secretly? Why the focus on getting this one guy into a US Attorney's job in Arkansas?); it also predicts a somewhat odd chain of events which actually occurred.

The reason I wrote about it, which I don't normally do with my speculations, is that it was useful to me in understanding this, and I hoped it might be useful to others who wanted to make sense of it. That said, it did matter to me to make it clear that it was, in fact, speculation.

Personally, I don't think that in a democracy, it's useless to try to help citizens understand what their government might be doing, and providing possible explanations for governmental actions, when the evidence for them isn't overstated and they're not presented as fact, is a way of doing that.

It's also interesting to me since while the explanation I offer is plainly wholly corrupt, it's not obvious to me that it's illegal. (Though I imagine it would be illegal for Griffin or anyone else to investigate someone without enough evidence of wrongdoing to justify an investigation.)

Anarch and Hilzoy – I stand corrected. One of those rightwing memes engraved in my memory I guess.

Ann Coulter and Newsmax do not count as credible sources

really?

cause Newsmax has a big BREAKING NEWS item up right now about a hard-hitting investigative book about "The Boy President". that's Clinton, not Bush. it includes such juicy items as:

* The true story of Secret Service agents who work for Hillary and why they "detest" her and their true feelings about Bill.

* The Clinton curse: Why both Clintons' friends and enemies seem to suffer so much.

* Terry McAuliffe's recollections about he boy President after he left the White House: Clinton did not know how to use an ATM card.

* "The Chop Suey Connection:" The Clintons' ties to China and why it portends such dangers if Hillary ever becomes President.

frankly, i can't wait to learn : "Why the Clintons have become 'the two most exaggerated figures in modern American political history' " !

Well you take away Ann Coulter and Newsmax what am I left with? I have to take my toys and go home.

Oh well, there is always FNC…

Anarch and Hilzoy – I stand corrected. One of those rightwing memes engraved in my memory I guess. -OCSteve
Which is why people continue to read your comments. A completely sincere and non-condescending thank you for having intellectual honesty.

God the Republicans are so good at blowing smoke. They want to investigate Gonzalez et al. because they may have gone after prosecutors for not targeting political opponents, and yet they manage to call the congressional investigation a show trial, as if THAT were the real threat to our liberty.

No, no, no, the people whose liberty we have to protect is the liberty of the people in power! It's Gonzalez's liberty we are trampling on here! Not the liberty of those that they might be targetting with the powers of law enforcement.

And all that's on the boobtube news is obscure discussions of the scope of executive privilege, rather than just how dangerous and unamerican these people are.

Just think what fun an opposition researcher with subpoena power could have in Arkansas.

Just think what fun a opposition researcher with subpoena power could have had in Arkansas, six years ago. Enough fun to last close to a decade, I suspect.

But you're right, it's much better to subpoena just before an election, if there really isn't any dirt to find, so I tend to agree that this looks a little fishy. Or maybe red-tide-level fishy.

Hmmm...very interesting theory. I wouldn't be surprised if there were some Clinton discussions along the way, but I think the most likely reason why the Admin was "making room" for Griffin in Arkansas was because he was born there.

One of those rightwing memes engraved in my memory I guess

I thought about this more overnight – very weird. I remember the allegations as clear as day – but I honestly don’t remember that investigation or report on the validity. It’s amazing how those filters work.

OCSteve, you're certainly not alone in that kind of experience. I find I have to keep clearing out things that it turns out I remembered wrongly or (more usually) incompletely.

The difference: OCSteve and Bellmore both got something wrong. They were rapidly corrected. OCSteve admits he was wrong - and thus retains the respect of everyone else, despite political differences. Bellmore just vanishes, presumably to appear again on another thread later - and thus everyone thinks he's a prat.

It was wrong when Hoover kept files on his opponents.

That reminds me, what safeguards have been put in to keep that from happening again?

Is there somebody who looks over all the FBI activity to make sure they aren't collecting blackmail material on congressmen etc? If so, is there some reason to discourage these overseers from participating in the blackmail?

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