Finally responsibility for something has been laid at feet other than those of Karl Rove. When it was announced that Amber Frey’s daughter was proven by DNA to have been fathered by someone other than the poor schnook who has been paying child support for four years, we all held our breath. But no, Karl is not the father; that honor goes to a Mr. Funch. Still, whatever else might be wrong in American society is putatively the work of that rascally Rasputin with the Machiavellian machinations: “The Architect.”
Indeed the Washington Post has received a leak on the subject of Mr. Rove. Previous Post leaks have led to Plumbers, and since then we monitor them carefully. In this case, some drip in the White House leaks that staffers there are fretful that Rove may soon be indicted. Indicted for …what? Not indicated. And so we are left with a leak without a source about a vague feeling about a specific event occurring to a specific person for a vague reason. There should be a special Pulitzer awarded for this kind of journalism but the winner should be unannounced and the presentation done at an undisclosed location.
This is hardly a leak, more like condensation. Oh, the humidity!
THE FACT IS that this sort of reporting is deleterious and should be deleted. There has been no hint anywhere in the real world that Rove might have committed a crime. To our knowledge, no reporter has testified that Karl was their first source about Valerie Plame’s identity as a CIA operative. Additionally, the law against outing an active agent applies only when that agent is in the field on a covert assignment, which was not the case with Ms. Plame. The law also has language which requires intent to harm the agent; at worst, Rove was trying to discredit her husband, not her.
But there has been an infelicitous series of concomitant events that has served to create an artificial mood. A fellow named Safavian from the Procurement Office has been charged with accepting gifts from someone who had pending business with his office. (The charges are outlined in detail by Matthew Continetti in a recent issue of the Weekly Standard; they strike me as very thin and I predict a not-guilty verdict unless new evidence surfaces.) One of Cheney’s gophers turned out to be a Philippine spy (which would be tragic were it not hilarious). Tom DeLay had to step down as Majority Leader because a trigger-happy prosecutor in Texas threw together a phony baloney indictment for conspiracy.
All of this together constitutes a vibe. What a Supreme Court Justice might call a penumbra. What Martha Stewart might call a pinch. What Janet Jackson might call a glimmer. What Giorgio Armani might call a scent. What John Zogby might call a trend. Just the sort of thing that makes White Houses look off-color.
Add to this some residue of dissatisfaction from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Harriet, and what have you — and what have you? You have a moody feeling in the White House. You and I are smart enough to know that without the Washington Post getting secret messages from a new leaker (let’s call him Deep Threat). Sometimes in any organization a moody pessimism overtakes. Everything is going wrong: what’s coming next down the pike?
THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY for an Administration to counter this force of gravity pulling it down (now we get gravitas?). There has to be a palpable air of cheer and optimism emanating from the White House. Dust off the Ronald Reagan handbook and get busy. Smile until your cheeks ache. Visit happy places. Attend uplifting events. Give out medals for heroism. Hand out awards for achievement. Tell jokes, dammit. Doesn’t anyone remember how to tell a good tasteful joke?
Which reminds me of the one about the blonde who needed cash, so she decided to kidnap a child from the playground. She grabbed a kid at random and pinned a note to his shirt, saying that she had kidnapped him and was demanding that the mother leave ten thousand dollars in cash on a park bench. Then she sent the kid home with the note. Sure enough, her plan worked. The next day there was ten thousand dollars in a bag on the bench, with this note: “How could you do this to a fellow blonde?” In other words, the Post cannot flood the Administration with its teeny trickle of leakage unless the White House blinks and sinks itself.
Somehow we seem to have arrived back at Amber Frey and her own original little blonde joke. Her attorney, Gloria Allred (a rare leftist who proclaims it in her last name), says that Amber collected the child support these past four years “in good faith.” Couple that with the good faith of the Post leaker and we have a regular faith-based initiative: can good works be far behind?
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