Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Is This A Demotion For Rove?

It was announced today that Scott McClellan, the White House press secretary, has resigned and Karl Rove, who was named deputy chief of staff for policy after Bush's reelection, is having his duties and responsibilities scaled back. Rove will no longer be in charge of policy and will go back to solely running policitcal strategy/dirty tricks out of the White House men's room or basement or wherever the fuck he performs his evil magic.

So, is today's announcement a demotion for Rove? And if so, does the demotion have anything to do with what's going on in the CIA leak case?

A lot of people think Tom Delay decided to step down from Congres in June so that he could be an ex-congressman by the time the Abramoff indictment hammer comes down on him. Is it too far a stretch to wonder if this move today is easing Rove out the White House door so that when the CIA leak case indictment comes, Rove's an ex-member of the preznit's staff?

Kinda the way David Safavian, the former White House procurement officer, resigned four days before he was arrested on corruption charges and Claude Allen, the preznit's domestic policy adviser, resigned his post to "spend more time with his family" a month before he was arrested on felony theft charges.

Just wondering.

POSTSCRIPT: Howard Fineman of Newsweek and MSNBC notes that even with all this reshuffling of staff in the White House, due to circumstances, stubborness and/or pathology, the Bush policies aren't going to change any. He also noted how so far not one person from outside the administration has been brought in. In related news, Josh Marshall thinks the reason the White House hasn't brought anybody from outside into the White House or the administration is because they can't find anybody crazy enough to take the job.

There may be something to that.

Fineman, btw, reads the Rove move today as new White House chief of staff Josh Bolten ripping a star off General Rove's uniform and demoting him back to political guru.

Tweety Bird Matthews, on the other hand, speaking on MSNBC this morning, spun the Rove demotion as a positive thing for the Republican party, saying essentially that Republicans are worried about losing both the House and the Senate this November, but shifting Rove back to political strategy from policy might be a way for the political genius to pull victory out of the jaws of defeat in the midterm elections.

Tweety never did note that it was partly Rove's policy decisions that have helped bring the preznit to this low point in his presidency (a WSJ/Harris poll was released today showing Bush at 35% approval.)

But from the things Tweety was saying about Rove, it sounded like he had just gotten off the phone with him and was desperately trying to repeat the talking points Rove had dictated to him before they were drowned out by the rest of the noise in Tweety's head.

Wonder if they'll yank Rove's clearance in response to the "side-motion"? Damn well should--down from Top-Secret "Oh-my-god" to "not fit to disclose children's storybooks".
Seems to be along the lines of Bullwinkle - "Hey Rocky, watch me pull a rabbit out of the hat..."
Looking for logic in the current situation is surely a fruitless task.
Still, except for those scary foreign adventures, the Bush Administration is the most entertaining diversion on the planet.
I wish I found them more entertaining and less frightening.

What are our chances for taking back the House or the Senate in 06, RBE?
kvatch, unfortunately I get the feeling that Rove still has the power to yank other people's clearances, not the other way around.

cartledge, I like the bullwinkle analogy, except I don't think Bushie's pulling the policy rabbits out of his hat, I think he's pulling them out of his ass. And goddamn, it shows.

nyc educator, I wish I felt really confident about November, but a couple of things give me pause:

1. Diebold - the election shenanigins in 2000 and 2004 may very well be duplicated in select districts around the nation where polls show Dems up going into the election, but then Republicans wind up ahead on election night. I hate to sound cynical, but I think Rove/Bush/Cheney are desperate to keep subpoena power out of the hands of the Dems and they will cheat, steal, and murder to get their way on election night.

2. As good as the general poll numbers are (most polls show Dems with a 11-16 point lead in a generic ballot for Congress) some of these districts are so goddamned gerrymandered that it seems even Herman Goerring could get elected if he ran on the GOP line. As an example, for Francine Busby to win the special election runoff for Duke Cunningham's seat seems near impossible because the district is so conservative that more than 50% of the voters don't seem to care how badly the country is faring, they're going to pull the lever for the GOP just like they always do anyway.

3. Dems have to hold onto a lot of seats in the Senate that could go Republican (Minnesota seems the hardest for them to hold on to, but GOP pollster Rasmussen says Tom Kean Jr. is now ahead of Bob Menendez in NJ and Maryland may still be a fight)

4. Dems also have to take 6 Republican seats, which is not going to be easy. Montana seems like an easy pick-up, for instance, but what happens if Conrad Burns pulls out? Any other Republican will hold that seat for the GOP. Can Harold Ford Jr. win the Frist seat? Maybe, but it's not going to be easy. What about knocking Talent off in Missouri? Lots of pronosticators think there has to be the perfect storm for McCaskill to win. And Santorum, as despicable and disgusting a human being as ever disgraced the halls of the Senate, has a shitload of money and plans on unloading gobs negative ads against Bob Casey Jr.

So to make a long comment even longer, I'm not sure what's going to happen in November. I'm hoping, of course, and things do look awfully good as of today. But what happens if Rove decides this year's October surprise is a Iran attack right around Halloween? That sure will fuck with things. How about if the administration claims they got Bin Laden, Zawahri, etc? They don't even need to show a body, they just need to SAY they got him. Then, after the election, they say "Oops!" Or how about if Bush declares victory and pulls half the troops out of Iraq? Sure, security in Iraq will continue to deteriorate, but the GOP gets to claim victory anyway.

Too many variable and I still remember election night, 2004, when we all thought Kerry had already won and then, suddenly, Rove had Bush call in the press to the White House to tell them it he was going to win. And sure enough...
Well, that's not what I wanted to hear. But a left-leaning commenter on my site said much the same.

In NJ, which has been up and down, they've got to associate Kean with Bush.
I'm a little dubious about the Rasmussen poll showing Kean up over Menendez actually. Rasmussen is a Republican pollster, which doesn't make him automatically suspect, but sometimes his numbers skewer to the right. When all the other major polls show Bush in the 35% - 39% approval range, Rasmussen had Bush at 45% approval. Seems like Rasmussen's poll is the outlier there. I think the Kean/Menendez poll may also be inaccurate. Other polls taken in NJ show Menendez with a slight lead, not Kean moving ahead.

Even so, you are right about associating Kean w/ Bush. Tom Kean Jr. is not his father, although he is running on his father's name and apparently a good third of those polled actually think Kean Jr. IS his father, which is kinda scary.

But that's what advertisements are for. You don't have to go slimy on Kean to associate him w/ Bush. You just have to say a Rubber Stamp Congress has passed nearly all of the preznit's agenda and Tom Kean wants to go to Washington to continue to pass the preznit's agenda.
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