Democrats still aim to push out Rove

The Washington Times Weekly - - National - By Jon Ward

The flap over the fir­ing of eight fed­eral prose­cu­tors last year may be the Democrats’ best chance to get White House po­lit­i­cal ad­viser Karl Rove out of their way be­fore the 2008 elec­tions.

“Karl Rove has been a neme­sis to lib­eral Democrats not just for the last six years, but for a life­time,” said Rep. Joe Bar­ton, Texas Repub­li­can. “They don’t need a flap over U.S. at­tor­neys to want his hide nailed to a fence post, but it is con­ve­nient.”

“He beats Democrats, and they hate it. He out­thinks them, out­flanks them and out­works them,” said Mr. Bar­ton, who once was a client of Mr. Rove’s di­rect-mail com­pany back in Texas dur­ing the 1980s.

Democrats beg to dif­fer. In their view, Mr. Rove suc­ceeded in the 2000, 2002 and 2004 elec­tions by dirty tricks along with smart tac­tics, and has con­tin­ued to ig­nore ethics, and even some­times the law, by over­politi­ciz­ing the fed­eral gov­ern­ment un­der Pres­i­dent Bush.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel, in a speech last month, de­scribed how Mr. Rove talked in 2000 of re-cre­at­ing “a 35-year era of Repub­li­can dom­i­nance, dom­i­nance that did not end un­til the elec­tion of Franklin De­lano Roo­sevelt.”

“With­out a trace of re­serve, Ge­orge Bush and Karl Rove set out to re-cre­ate an ear­lier era of oneparty rule, and they pur­sued their goal by in­vert­ing, in my view, the very pur­pose of gov­ern­ment,” said Mr. Emanuel, Illi­nois Demo­crat, a for­mer top ad­viser to Pres­i­dent Clin­ton who is now the fourth-high­est rank­ing House Demo­crat.

Mr. Rove has in fact done much to lay the ground­work for long-term Repub­li­can dom­i­na­tion, and set­backs in the 2006 midterm elec­tion have not de­terred him from plan­ning to re­cap­ture Congress in 2008.

A 28-page memo is­sued by Mr. Rove’s of­fice of po­lit­i­cal af­fairs on Jan. 26 de­clared that the Demo­cratic vic­tory last fall was “more about re­ject­ing Repub­li­can con­duct than about sup­port­ing Demo­crat ide­ol­ogy.”

“Democrats have a pre­car­i­ous hold on power,” said the doc­u­ment, which iden­ti­fied Repub­li­cans in Congress who need to be de­fended in 2008, and Democrats who are vul­ner­a­ble.

Democrats are in­ves­ti­gat­ing whether pre­sen­ta­tions of this doc­u­ment to nu­mer­ous gov­ern­ment agen­cies by Mr. Rove’s deputies may have vi­o­lated the Hatch Act, which for­bids po­lit­i­cal ac­tiv­ity by per­sons act­ing in their of­fi­cial gov­ern­ment ca­pac­i­ties.

It is not known whether Mr. Rove will play any role in help­ing the even­tual Repub­li­can can­di­date for pres­i­dent in 2008, but his plan­ning for con­gres­sional elec­tions is all the more mo­ti­va­tion for Democrats to at­tack him.

Mr. Rove’s name has been men­tioned fre­quently dur­ing the nu­mer­ous hear­ings and press con­fer­ences re­lated to Demo­cratic in­ves­ti­ga­tions. “The Democrats have al­ways con­sid­ered Karl to be pub­lic en­emy No. 1,” said a White House source who spoke on the con­di­tion of anonymity.

Mr. Rove de­clined to be in­ter­viewed for this ar­ti­cle.

Demo­crat-con­trolled com­mit­tees are cur­rently in­ves­ti­gat­ing, among other things, why the Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion fired eight fed­eral prose­cu­tors last year, why it gave Mr. Rove’s po­lit­i­cal pre­sen­ta­tions to fed­eral agen­cies, and why it has lost e-mails sent by top aides.

Mr. Rove’s name was men­tioned 26 times dur­ing a five-hour Se­nate hear­ing in which At­tor­ney Gen­eral Al­berto R. Gon­za­les tes­ti­fied. His name came up 41 times dur­ing a seven-hour hear­ing with Mr. Gon­za­les’ for­mer chief of staff, D. Kyle Samp­son. By con­trast, Pres­i­dent Bush was men­tioned three times dur­ing this same hear­ing.

As­so­ci­ated Press

Man they love to hate: White House ad­viser Karl Rove, a long­time “neme­sis” of lib­eral Democrats, is on their hit list.

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