Profiles in Karl (Another Karl Rove Adventure)
I was really flattered when my friend and sometime boss Karl Rove asked me to help him ghostwrite a book. We were sitting in his pumpkin-colored office. Fox news was covering the Anna Nicole Smith autopsy on one ceiling-mounted monitor. CNN and MSNBC were covering the US Attorney firings and the Pat Tillman report on the others.
KR: Isn’t that great about Tillman, no finding of negligent homicide?
CL: He was still shot by his own troops and they still found that nine different officers either lied about or covered up what happened.
KR: But the headline’s going to read “No finding of murder in Tillman case.” It’s the headline that matters.
Karl points to his own head for emphasis.
CL: Better yet, the bigger headline is going to read “No murder in Anna Nicole case.” In 38DD point type.
Karl touches the tip of his nose with his finger.
KR: You know JFK was the first president to watch the tv news on a regular basis.
CL: Karl, I didn’t know that you studied Democrats too.
KR: There’s a lot the spin machine doesn’t give JFK credit for. You know he voted against the Civil Rights Act when he was in the senate.
CL: But Nixon voted for it. It was the reason Jackie Robinson campaigned for him.
KR: (Karl wipes away a tear) I just wish Dick’s judgment had been a little better sometimes. Had he not started pandering to the voters with his “Secret plan to end the war”, we’d still be in Vietnam. We never would have cut and run.
CL: But we never would have had “Miss Saigon” on Broadway either and we still got a few years of secret bombings in Cambodia.
KR: Back to your question CL. I admire the fact that JFK and his Dad were smart politicians. You know I studied Cook County very carefully that whole Thanksgiving weekend back in 2000 when the fate of our nation came down to Clarence Thomas.
There’s no President from the modern era who got more out of his legacy from less than JFK. So now that the boss is just two years from leaving office, I think about JFK a lot.
CL: Oh my God, Karl! Why would you think I’d have anything to do with something like that?
KR: Things like what?
CL: Well, you know, the grassy knoll, the magic bullet, CIA operatives mysteriously popping up all over the place. Didn’t you read the Howard Hunt article in the Rolling Stone?
KR: Hold on CL. Even if we could do it, it would be wrong. For one, even if we wanted to do something like that, the CIA’s mad at me. I told the wife not to drop them from our Christmas card list.
CL: Karl, I’m not sure I would plame it on that if I were you.
KR: CL, that name sounds familiar, but I assure you I’ve never heard of the woman or spoken to any reporters about her before Lewis Libby did. Besides, how can they convict someone for a cover up, if they can’t convict anyone for the crime that was being covered up.
CL: You do realize that makes absolutely no sense. Sometimes you prosecute for the cover up, because that person destroyed the underlying evidence.
KR: Who cares if it makes sense, it worked with some of those idiots we send talking points too. You know the type. Now they’re saying they don’t like the idea of independent prosecutors having all this power, but Ken Starr was some sort of super-patriot to them. You tell these folk anything and they’ll repeat it. Most of them even think that Ann Coulter is some sort of victim.
When it comes to politics CL, you kind of have a little mind sometimes.
CL: Well, if you mean being bound by logic, truth, and the Constitution, yeah, I guess it’s on the small side.
KR: What do you take me for anyway? Just because I’d let 3,200 American soldiers and maybe hundreds of thousands of Iraqis die to win a couple elections, I’d certainly never consider letting anyone kill the President. I’m no ogre. Would an ogre pretend to rap in front of hundreds of laughing journalists?
CL: Karl, I’m truly sorry I even thought that. It was honestly just a misunderstanding.
KR: No sweat CL, happens all the time. I’m just a terribly misunderstood guy, which is why I hired you in the first place.
CL: So what’s this got to do with my writing a book.
KR: Well, think about how JFK got to be president.
CL: There was PT 109, but I think you’re a little past enlistment age yourself and you know I still feel bad about helping you make the President’s Air National Guard service sound all that courageous. I mean “He can prove that he got all his pay warrants and that letter couldn’t have been an original,” really don’t compare that well to “He pulled me out of the river in the face of enemy fire.”
KR: But it worked.
CL: If you’re so good at spin, why don’t you spin yourself out of this U.S. Attorney mess?
KR: CL, you know you’re the only one who talks to me like this.
CL: Well, maybe it has something to do with your firing anyone else who was remotely critical of you or the administration. I do, however, appreciate your getting me health benefits outside the VA system though.
KR: Sure thing, CL. Those who serve this administration deserve the best. I couldn’t imagine sending you to the VA, no one deserves to be treated like that. You know the President did apologize for all those people who screwed up there without his knowledge or explicit approval. When there’s blame to assign elsewhere, he’s very good at that sort of thing.
CL: I have to agree with that one.
KR: No, CL. Think Pulitzer Prize.
CL: You’re talking about Profiles in Courage. Karl, I can’t even get my own stuff published. How do you expect me to help you write a Pulitzer Prize winning book about you and this administration that’s favorable?
KR: Ted Sorensen did it and he didn’t have the benefit of working for me for two years. Besides, times are different now. Joe Kennedy had to call in favors. We have Regnery, Fox, Chris Matthews, all of the major networks news divisions. You don’t have to write all that well or even make sense to get on every talk show imaginable. In fact, it helps if you don’t.
CL: Thanks, I think.
KR: I have it from the President himself that he has complete confidence in you and that he’s 100 percent behind you.
CL: Didn’t he say that about the Attorney General last week and didn’t the man immediately call Don Rumsfeld to ask him about real estate agents?
KR: True, but you never lied to Congress. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
(the below manuscript was found on a Hard Drive recovered in the year 2147. It is not certain whether it is an allegory, an actual piece of historical writing, or some now unrecognized form of humor writing. Clearly, the author was not an especially skilled writer, but legal anthropogists have confirmed that America once indeed had a concept known as “the rule of law.”
It is also said that this came from a time when people had enough energy to cool their homes in summer, open space, and the earth’s average temperature was as low as 15 degrees centigrade. The book The Handmaid’s Tale was even thought to be satire or dystopia rather than prophecy.)
Profiles in Karl
At the turn of the twenty first century, America was not yet a monarchy and deputy chiefs of staff had not been granted their full powers as a matter of civil rights law. Since the Watergate scandal in the mid-late 20th century, two entire generations of Americans had been tragically confused about issues like separation of powers, the significance of party allegiance over a more diffuse nominal patriotism, habeas corpus, freedom of the press, laws against treason (as if any member of the administration could ever be guilty of treason), and Saint Bill O’reilly’s taste in lufas. It is hard to believe today but as late as 2007, many Americans actually believed in something called the “Rule of Law”.
During this legal Dark Age, members of the executive branch who wanted to use their powers to carry out such necessary duties as tapping telephones of American citizens, using law enforcement as an extension of the Republican National Committee, and raising money by coincidentally easing unnecessary Federal regulations for key contributors did so at the risk of prosecution or,in some ways worse, the politically motivated and illegitimate oversight by Congress. Only one man stood between the chaos of participatory democracy and America’s Imperial destiny, Karl Rove.
Looking back, it’s hard to believe that a matter as trivial as replacing a few U.S. Attorneys would have started a Constitutional crisis. It is even harder to believe today that so many Americans actually took the side of the Constitution. The incident had its roots in the 1970’s, an even more primitive time, when President Nixon had tried to stop an investigation into crimes committed in the Oval Office by firing his own special prosecutor who had the temerity to subpoena the President himself. Many believe this was the beginning of the end in the constitutional tragedy of Richard Nixon, a president who simply had the misfortune of being far ahead of his time.
After the 2006 midterm elections when the Democratic party was allowed to mislead the voting public with multiple stories of Republican corruption and the media’s failure to report the good news about the early stages of the hundred year long war in Iraq, the party lost control of both houses of Congress. Karl Rove, alone, understood that U.S. attorneys who serve at the will of the President, could play a key political role in ensuring American security by keeping the Federal Government under Republican control. In particular, it was U.S. attorneys who made the decision to prosecute for election fraud and political corruption. If the wrong individual had this power, a renegade U.S. Attorney might try to apply the law equally to members of both parties.
Anticipating this possible crisis, Rove alertly and at great risk to himself, called on the Department of Justice to identify potentially disloyal U.S. Attorneys who might be replaced with more trustworthy individuals. It is a measure of Rove’s non-partisanship that the U.S. Attorneys identified for removal were all loyal Republicans. Sadly, the Democratically controlled congress chose to turn this into a show trial. Many members of the justice department were forced to resign their jobs and even the great Attorney General, Alberto Gonzales, was subjected to tremendous political pressure during the investigation. In the meantime, insufficiently loyal but competent prosecutors like H.E. Cummins and David Iglesias were publicly celebrated.
Despite being interviewed by yet another partisan special prosecutor, thirteen times, Rove was not indicted or convicted for almost a year. It was not until Congress found out that Rove had used secret e-mail accounts as a way to avoid the red tape involved with the bureaucratic nightmare then known as the Executive Records Act that the politically motivated persecution of Rove was completed with his conviction in October of 2008. He was rightfully pardoned by President Bush the very next day so never had to suffer the indignity of being sent to prison for his loyalty to the Republican Party and the incipient monarchy.
Both Karl Rove and President Bush were extraordinarily unpopular because they took the principled stance that the President should be able to do whatever he/she wants without interference from Congress. It is virtually impossible today to understand or appreciate Rove’s incredible courage and dedication to what were then deeply unpopular principles.
Sixty years earlier, Senator Robert Taft had opposed the Nuremberg trials on the U.S. Constitutional Ground that the trials violated ex post facto. Part of the price of Taft’s principled stand was that he never became President (once chronicled in the now banned book Profiles in Courage). In 2006, a Republican President took the principled stand that the Constitution does not apply to American actions outside the Continental United States. He would never have been able to have redefined America with this unprecedented act had it not been for the courage and dedication of his Deputy Chief of Staff, Karl Rove, a man who put politics above country.
This book is dedicated to the man who taught America that politics must sometimes trump competence and that the rule of law is just for whiners. He was not honored in his own time, but we cherish his legacy in Profiles in Karl.
Editors note: Children’s Book Writer and Texas Senator, chosen by the Texas state legislature in 2028, Jenna Bush authored Profiles in Karl in 2030. It was awarded a Fox News Book of Merit in 2031 and served as the platform for her successful coronation in 2036. There are rumors that St. Karl himself may have both come up with the idea and even done most of the research for the book through a staff of ghostwriters. St. Karl repeatedly denied them throughout the rest of his life. There is a story that a blogger from California (once part of the United States) claimed to have written the first chapters of Profiles in Karl, but the source was always considered highly unreliable. The one excerpt from Profiles in Karl found on his alleged blog, was so different from the rest of his writings that even if real this short period of lucidity was more the exception than the rule.
Karl Rove adventures