Bush’s Brain. Opens Mouth.

Opens mouth… inserts foot? So Karl Rove finally opens his own mouth and speaks his mind, not bothering to write a script for Someone Else, letting the chips fall where they may. Has he lost his mind? Did W let him off the leash? These questions and more are being asked fairly quietly by calmer pundits not actively engaged in the current round of name-calling. Why has Rove suddenly decided to step out from behind the curtain and make himself a target?

Wish we could provide an answer but all we can do is make an intelligent guess.

We can rule out some of the possibilities very easily. Karl certainly was not told by W to make those comments. Karl may have told W that he was going to do it, but it would not have been a matter of asking for permission, either.

roveWe can rule out a sudden temper tantrum too, because Karl Rove doesn’t work that way. We do know that it was a formal speech, prepared in advance to be presented at a banquet in Karl’s honor. The full text of the speech has been released by the White House. And the White House’s defense of Rove and the actual words used was a little too prompt in response to calls for a Rove apology.

If you missed it, or believe the White House’s claims that the remarks were misunderstood or taken out of context, you can read the whole text here.

Rove’s apparent intent was nothing more than stirring up more dust and noise, and reinforcing the polarization of Washington politics.

Bush is really in trouble on several fronts, and anything that serves as a distraction will buy him time to get his act together again. Looking at just two of the issues, Rove’s implications that liberals are soft on terrorism (which has already been defined as unpatriotic) makes it just a little tougher to criticize (much less vote against) the flag-burning amendment. And it is just a little trickier to criticize the treatment of the detainees at Guantanamo.

That it was Rove who made the inflammatory statements, and not Cheney, or W himself, is a strategic move by an unelected spokesperson who can lay it out there with very little risk. The only risk is that enough people will see through the smoke and mirrors and turn it into a backfire.
Bush’s back-room boys have long since proved that they are prepared to say and do absolutely anything to get their way. If there’s any justice, we are approaching a point where there isn’t anything they can say or do.

–SG

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