Sunday, July 17, 2005

The Long and Winding Smear

That's what Howard Fineman's latest article in Newsweek should be called. I thought Fineman was above hit pieces of this sort. Without even going through the motions of displaying the pretense of objectivity, Fineman paints this portrait of Rove:
In the World According to Karl Rove, you take the offensive, and stay there. You create a narrative that glosses over complex, mitigating facts to divide the world into friends and enemies, light and darkness, good and bad, Bush versus Saddam. You are loyal to a fault to your friends, merciless to your enemies. You keep your candidate's public rhetoric sunny and uplifting, finding others to do the attacking. You study the details, and learn more about your foes than they know about themselves. You use the jujitsu of media flow to flip the energy of your enemies against them. The Boss never discusses political mechanics in public. But in fact everything is political - and everyone is fair game.
Is that the World According to Karl Rove, though, or politics as it is played in Washington? Don't the Democrats also paint a cartoonish portrait of Bush? Isn't Roe v. Wade used as a 'black or white' wedge issue? That's just the smart way to play the game these days...the only thing that distinguishes Rove in this regard is that he's exceptionally good at his job.

Fineman gives away the whole game:
...this isn't just about the Facts, it's about what Rove's foes regard as a higher Truth: that he is a one-man epicenter of a narrative of Evil.
Exactly right...the facts, at least the ones that are known, support the theory that Rove is innocent of wrongdoing...but that won't stop his enemies from screaming his guilt.

If you're looking for new details in the Fineman piece, you won't find many. He paints a plausible narrative of the circumstances leading up to the Rove-Novak conversation, but the pieces are just about in place my mind, there are only five remaining questions:
  1. Who was Novak's first source?
  2. Who was Judith Miller's source?
  3. Who was the media figure(s) Rove heard the story from first?
  4. Who told that media figure(s)?
  5. Did Rove perjure himself before the grand jury?
Fineman offers no answers, but he takes plenty of cheap shots on the road to nowhere...

No comments: