Just last month Senate Democrats prided themselves on signing an anti-lynching resolution. John Kerry even said it was a crying shame the statement didn’t have 100 co-sponsors. Liberal coverage of the resolution was universally supportive. So what happened? First opportunity these pure at heart forces had they set off to lynch Karl Rove, all because he supposedly had directed his gaze at one of their women, a hot Vanity Fair-certified blonde bombshell.
Washington never seems clearer than from a healthy distance. I’ve just spent two weeks as far away from it as climate and culture would allow without requiring that I leave the continental U.S. Where I was it was coastal cool and dry, perfect conditions in which to feel embarrassed about what was transpiring in these perspiring redoubts. For one thing, no one outside Washington was paying any mind to Operation Overrove. On the west coast it was even hard to get anyone to care about Major League Baseball’s All-Star Game. In the sports pizza parlor where I caught a few innings on a big screen, exactly two other Americanos bothered to pay attention to what was going on. And this was during the happy hour.
I owe Slate‘s Timothy Noah a big thank you — it was enough to read his snippy entries to know that there was nothing to the attacks on Rove other than humidity- and heat-induced hysteria and all the usual anti-Bush related hatreds. Like other members of Lynchers United, he was going to get the creep, one way or another, come hell or madness or whatever other excuse for illogic he could draw on. He was suffering from what one might term “conjecturitis.”
In one paragraph alone last week, he penned an indictment based on nothing more than guesswork. I’ve boldfaced some of his mad progress:
It’s possible (though pretty unlikely, I think) that in his e-mail Cooper garbled slightly what Rove told him. He was passing along a tip for Time‘s CIA reporter to pursue — not suggesting that this fact be published in the magazine without checking its accuracy. It’s also possible (and somewhat more likely) that Rove told Cooper he’d heard that Plame authorized sending Wilson, but that he wasn’t certain he had the details right. Most likely of all, I think, is that Rove stated as fact that Plame authorized the trip, either knowing that it was untrue or not especially caring whether it was true. (Bullshitting, I have noted, is the Bush administration’s characteristic style of rhetoric.) If this last scenario is the correct one, then Cooper was getting ready to go to jail to protect a source who fed him incorrect information! Cooper’s a friend of mine, but even if he weren’t, I’d be very glad he didn’t take the fall for Rove.
Say, again, Mr. Noah: whose style of rhetoric is characterized by b.s.-ing? At this stage he didn’t even know it was Cooper who had called Rove. Some friend he’s turned out to be.
Unfazed, Noah has since compiled three additional indictments, under what some might consider a ghoulish title, “Rove Death Watch,” Parts 1-3. His method, shall we say, hasn’t changed one bit. For all his concocted scenarios, half-baked guesswork, and bloodthirsty partisanship, he’s not exactly John Le Carre. The moral of the story: Noah can’t stand the heat. He should get out of the D.C. kitchen and visit someplace calmer. London say. It would perhaps restore some perspective.
Indeed, the most disappointing thing is that the mad crusade against Rove commenced right after 7/7. Instead of knocking some sense into Bush’s political opposition it merely redoubled its determination to bring him and his down even faster. Press and liberal pols alike hastened their demise last week, like sheep running to a cliff and jumping off. Lucky are those who have nothing to do with this madding crowd.