Excellent Questions

This excellent question was "directed at John Moody, executive vice president, news editorial, at Fox News, who was part of a Fox News political panel that included Rove, Chris Wallace, and Howard Wolfson, newly hired as Democratic 'balance' to Rove."

Q. It's a little unusual to have Mr. Rove here, frankly, when I think Congress would rather be talking to you. Mr. Moody, does it undercut your credibility a little bit on your station when you have somebody with so much political baggage and is under subpoena?

Moody's answer: [more ...]

"No. Mr. Rove is a certified authority on the electoral process, on politics, his track record speaks for itself. You know, his current difference of opinion with Congress is between him and Congress, and we consider ourselves very fortunate to have him here working for us."

There is no doubt that Rove is an authority ("certified" or not) on manipulating and undermining the electoral process. Nor is there doubt that Rove's track record (which as an election analyst is less than stellar) speaks for itself. Rove's track record in the White House speaks to his credibility. That's the point.

Rove, probably irritated by Moody's failure to stay on script, denied having a difference of opinion with Congress. Rove expressly asserted a claim of executive privilege. Emphasizing that he had not exercised any personal privilege not to testify (i.e., the Fifth Amendment), Rove submitted that he is merely an obedient servant, under orders from his president to keep silent about anything he may have seen or heard or said or done in the course of his executive branch employment. Including, presumably, any crimes that he witnessed or might know about.

Congressional Democrats have been slow to test the administration's extraordinarily broad interpretation of executive privilege in court, but it gives Fox cover on the subpoena question. On the question of political baggage, neither Moody nor Rove had much to say.

Wolfson filled that gap with his assurance "that [Rove] has an enormous amount to offer this audience." An enormous amount of what, exactly? Truth? From a man who refuses to testify under oath? Rove is a stranger to the truth.

Another excellent question:

Will Rove soon be conducting his political analysis from jail?

Soon, no. Maybe never, if the president pardons the entire administration on his way out the door.

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    Is there some reason why (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 09:05:25 PM EST
    you decided to take a shot at Howard Wolfson?

    I believe no Democrat should be on Fox News, but I am curious why you chose to attack Wolfson in this post? Did he say something you object to? If so, what?

    A shot? (5.00 / 3) (#2)
    by TChris on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 09:10:43 PM EST
    I don't think it's a shot at Wolfson.  My point is simply that his praise of Rove is, in my view, unjustified.

    Au contraire (5.00 / 2) (#10)
    by coolit on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 09:39:09 PM EST
    How is "Howard Wolfson, newly hired as Democratic 'balance' to Rove," not a shot?

    If it wasn't a shot, why did you put quotes around balance?  And why did you pretend it wasn't when Armando just asked you the direct question?


    Look at the quotation marks. (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by TChris on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:00:56 PM EST
    The quotation begins before the word "directed" and it ends at the completion of the sentenced, as indicated by the quotation marks.  Those are the words of the linked story, not mine.  Nor were the quotation marks around "balance" mine.

    Punctuationally (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:45:00 PM EST
    it's clear, TChris.  Visually, not so much.

    Just sayin'.


    I suspect (none / 0) (#11)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 09:40:57 PM EST
    it is because no one in their right mind thinks of Wolfson as the Democratic equivalent of Rove.

    Is that because (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 09:42:49 PM EST
    Axlrod is the Democratic equivalent to Rove?

    Maybe! (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 09:46:26 PM EST
    But hey, Axelrod is just a slimy campaigner.  Rove's slimy campaign tactics are just the tip of the iceberg.

    What's the worst thing Axelrod has done?  Portray Bill Clinton as a racist?  Okay, what's the worst thing Rove has done?  Expose the identity of a covert CIA operative investigating Iran's WMD program?  Kind of puts him in a league of his own.


    What's the worst thing (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:01:38 PM EST
    Pat Buchanan has done? Joe Scarborough? Mike Barnicle? Keith Olbermann?

    Rove is unquestionably an expert at politics which is what he talks about on Fox.

    TChris criticizes Wolfson's statement which I find to be unquestionable frankly.

    I believe Rove was the best political operative of the last 15 years for sure.


    I think he does more than criticize (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:16:16 PM EST
    Wolfson filled that gap with his assurance "that [Rove] has an enormous amount to offer this audience." An enormous amount of what, exactly? Truth? From a man who refuses to testify under oath? Rove is a stranger to the truth.

    I think it's an attempt to smear.

    One can only respond by saying.  "Gosh no, TChris, Wolfson was not praising Rove for speaking the truth."

    One might feel compelled to point that out.


    DO NOT minimize (5.00 / 2) (#49)
    by oldpro on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 01:06:24 AM EST
    what Axelrod and the Obama campaign did in calling Bill and Hillary Clinton racists.

    I cannot think of a worse thing for one Democrat to do to another.  It is unforgiveable.

    But it was 'necessary,' for there was no other way to beat the Clintons...no other way to sever the connection between them and the AA community and maneuver those votes into another candidate's column...an AA candidate's column.  No other would do.

    Now, who is the candidate who will 'do anything to win?'

    Pretty Rovian if you ask me.


    Hmm (none / 0) (#56)
    by Steve M on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 08:15:14 AM EST
    Well, in saying that it's not as bad as exposing a covert CIA operative for political revenge, I don't really feel I'm minimizing it.  I stand by that statement.

    What is the basis (none / 0) (#61)
    by oldpro on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 10:42:07 AM EST
    of your scale of "from bad to worse to worst?"

    Is Rove's outing of Valerie Plame worse in your view because...it destroyed her career (which it did) or because it undermined national security and therefore is tantamount to treason? (arguably true)or....something else?

    I'm trying to understand the relative values in your argument.  Help me out, here.


    Well, yeah (none / 0) (#62)
    by Steve M on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 01:31:36 PM EST
    the treason thing is a pretty big deal in my book.

    Agree. (none / 0) (#63)
    by oldpro on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 05:59:55 PM EST
    Pretty big thing in anybody's book.

    Bigger than tolerating racism...bigger than dishonestly tagging others with racism...bigger than'reverse racism?'  Hmmm.

    I have no doubt that a 'good German' would agree with that.

    Most Jews would not...certainly not a holocaust survivor.

    It's perspective, you see.  A slippery slope begins somewhere.  Recognizing where is the trick.


    Axelrod's (5.00 / 1) (#54)
    by tek on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 07:58:21 AM EST
    Man isn't in the WH yet, so we don't know the worst he can do.  HIs behavior during the primaries doesn't bode well, however. and when are people who call themselves Democrats going to get through their heads that calling Bill Clinton a racist is as serious as anything Rove has done.  Bill Clinton is the only president since FDR who has created a really democratic society in this country.  Destroying him to get an opportunist like Obama in office is tantamount to treason.

    Anyone who thinks Barack Obama is going to come close to Bill Clinton is delusional.  


    oh yea, there is that. good point n/t (none / 0) (#25)
    by DandyTIger on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:02:07 PM EST
    Er, Axelrod (none / 0) (#38)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:43:03 PM EST
    hasn't been in the White House and had any actual power yet.  Give him a chance, Steve M.

    Well, Axelrod's candidate isn't in the WH yet (none / 0) (#47)
    by Valhalla on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 01:03:30 AM EST
    He still has time to catch up!

    bingo! give that man a cookie :-) n/t (none / 0) (#15)
    by DandyTIger on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 09:44:30 PM EST
    Oh sorry (none / 0) (#14)
    by coolit on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 09:44:29 PM EST
    Now I see that the other person who wrote your post actually put the quote around balance.  But it is a little confusing when your whole post is a quote and then you indent 'your' post with another person's post.

    Praise? (none / 0) (#8)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 09:33:26 PM EST
    Oh man.

    Maybe irony is dead.


    I think (none / 0) (#31)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:22:33 PM EST
    "praise" was a poor choice of words.  "Defend" might be more accurate.

    Praise (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by TChris on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:52:35 PM EST
    More of Wolfson's response, from the linked article:

    "I think there are very few people in politics who know as much about politics as Karl Rove. I don't agree with much of his politics. I'm probably not going to agree with a lot of his analysis, but I respect enormously his accomplishments in the field of politics, and I think that he brings an awful lot to Fox."

    It was such a glowing endorsement, Rove was ready to pantomime public payoff for humorous effect: "Do you take Euros or dollars?"

    Praise is a fair word to use given the full context of his remarks.


    I don't see the word truth in there (none / 0) (#36)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:14:14 PM EST
    Do you?

    Even then (none / 0) (#32)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:24:08 PM EST
    Irony would be dead.

    Would I be defending you if I said you had a lot to offer FNC viewers?


    Yes (none / 0) (#33)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:29:55 PM EST
    and furthermore, it would be the best defense I've had all day.

    I guess we disagree then (none / 0) (#34)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:34:23 PM EST
    If someone told me I had a lot to offer FNC viewers,..... honestly,.... I'd have to know more about who it was who was saying and in what context.

    But mostly I'd take that as an insult.


    Actually (none / 0) (#55)
    by tek on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 08:03:22 AM EST
    that audience has changed.  Most Bush fans now say they were deceived.  Fox News has some commentators who liked Hillary.  They generated a following for Hillary among Republicans, especially women.  The Democrats were stupid to push her out.

    My mistake then (none / 0) (#16)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 09:45:29 PM EST
    i have asked the same question (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by TimNCGuy on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 09:30:50 PM EST
    in the past as to why any station continues to invite Tom Delay on as a pundit/expert.

    Delay is just (none / 0) (#45)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 12:00:07 AM EST
    a moron who is extraordinarily ruthless. He has nothing of interest to offer.  Rove, I have to say, is usually interesting, and was particularly so during the Dem. primaries, when he didn't have a dog in the fight.  Now that it's down to Obama and McCain, his partisan distortions are wincingly obvious.

    Personally, I have no problem with Fox or anybody else signing him up-- unless or until he's actually indicted.  Even the Fox people treat him with kid gloves at a bit of a distance, interestingly.  He's not a very cuddly guy.


    Let's be serious (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by andgarden on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 09:35:20 PM EST
    there are no reasonable limits that I can think of on who should be allowed on a talk show panel. Honestly, this is not serious discourse, it's a TV talk show. There are no standards.

    there should be a dance number (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by DandyTIger on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 09:42:09 PM EST
    at the start of all of these cable (and network) shows to make it clear they're just entertainment. What a joke they all are. I love the certified part though.

    Fox (5.00 / 3) (#18)
    by StevenT on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 09:47:30 PM EST
    When Obama appeared in Fox news and prasing Wallace, nobody were even bothered at all. In fact, many on the left thought that i was a good move, post-partisan, some strategy etc. But when Hillary appeared on OReilly, the outrage was phenomenal. Not to say she argued with O'Reilly to emphasize our progressive principles from universal healthcare, to environment to economics. And not even a single praise to support her. The hypocrisy on the left is truly making me wonder how fast will it take the democrats to be as corrupt as the republicans. The republicans took 8 years to achieve what the democrats took over 20 years. Now with the democrats gaining back the lead, i'm starting to see the 'greed is good' principles again.

    Well said (4.75 / 4) (#41)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:49:32 PM EST
    I think her O'Reilly appearance did great credit to both of them-- and I mostly HATE O'Reilly.  But it was, IMHO, so far the best politician interview I've seen in a long time.

    To Whom it May Concern (5.00 / 4) (#19)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 09:53:51 PM EST
    I think TChris has an enormous amount to offer this audience.

    Agreed (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:01:04 PM EST
    I've really been enjoying his politics posts and hope he keeps them up. (Of course I really like his law posts too.)

    Do you think (none / 0) (#26)
    by Edgar08 on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:03:34 PM EST
    Wolfson was praising Rove?

    You weren't asking me (none / 0) (#42)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:52:22 PM EST
    but I think Wolfson had to have thought through whether he could be comfortable in the same outfit as Rove, and having decided for whatever reason that he could, he chose the word he could live with, "respect," to describe him.

    Any Democrat who doesn't "respect" Rove's political skills is a fool, IMHO, so I have no problem with Wolfson saying that.


    Perhaps innocent until proven guilty (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Cream City on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 01:04:22 AM EST
    guides Wolfson?  Shall we really have public shunnings?

    I think Rove has done horrible things and undermined the democratic process and more -- but note that this sentence starts with "I think."  Of course, because I think so, I also hope that it is proven that Rove did so, and probably more that we ought to know about (ala Watergate investigations).  But until then, I'm just hoping for change in his status.

    Just saying.  This being a legal blog and all.


    I think money (none / 0) (#59)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 09:23:30 AM EST
    guides Wolfson, and a desire to stay in the game now that his candidate is out of it.  He knows pefectly well what Rove is, and what Fox is.  I dunno if I would have made the same decision to join Fox if I were him, Rove or no Rove, because I don't have the level of cynicism about politics you have to have to be a major player.

    Out of curiosity (none / 0) (#46)
    by Edgar08 on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 12:08:30 AM EST
    What would you think if your comment there appeared somewhere else on the internet like this in the following context:

    gyrfalcon filled that gap with his assurance "Any Democrat who doesn't 'respect' Rove... is a fool."   Respect what, exactly? Rove's courage to tell the Truth? From a man who refuses to testify under oath? Rove is a stranger to the truth.


    I would be annoyed (none / 0) (#58)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 09:20:27 AM EST
    that the meaning of my comment was distorted, of course.  Karl Rove is evil slime, but so are a high percentage of the members of the Bush administration.  But his political savvy is awesome.

    Lighten up (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by Slado on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 07:32:51 AM EST
    Controversial democrats and republicans are all over the airways for all of the major networks.

    Your "shots" at Rove only make you look like a partisan.  Rove won two presidential elections and held the house together for 6 years with an incunbent in office.   He is an authority.  Your acusations of some wrong doing is a political opinion not a fact.

    If I have to watch Howard Dean, Donna Brazil and other Democratic hacks who can't even win elections give their two cents on the other networks and even occasionally on Fox News then having Rove give his opinion seems only fair.

    This is just a bitter partisan post.   I thought people where innocent till proven guilty on this site?

    Slado (5.00 / 2) (#53)
    by tek on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 07:54:43 AM EST
    totally agree with your post.  As I keep saying, once you give up the ethical high ground, as Obama has done, you just look ignorant attacking anyone else's ethics.

    Rove (5.00 / 1) (#52)
    by tek on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 07:52:48 AM EST
    told the press there's no problem with his political ties and his media role.  End of story.

    Really, I think liberals need to stop beating these dead horses and start trying to explain to Americans how it is that Obama, a person who showed a total disregard for ethics during his primary run, will make a good president.

    "this audience" says it all. (none / 0) (#3)
    by Fabian on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 09:11:15 PM EST
    We are talking FOX News, after all.

    I find the whole thing preposterous.... (none / 0) (#4)
    by Maria Garcia on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 09:16:30 PM EST
    ...how'd it be if OJ Simpson was hired to do Monday Night Football? He's fully qualified. And he was acquitted. I can't believe how these "disgraced" Republicans don't even skip a beat in their careers. I'm sure Scooter Libby is lurking somewhere ready to offer his pearls of wisdom on national security.

    Scooter Libby was (none / 0) (#40)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:47:46 PM EST
    convicted.  Rove hasn't been-- yet.

    I would pay to see (none / 0) (#5)
    by Cream City on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 09:29:07 PM EST
    Rove on CNN taking on Donna Brazile.  And vice versa.  They're a pair.

    Btw, powerful writing, TChris.  I gather that you, also, are not getting over it.  It being election 2000.

    I realize now that the older we get, the longer our list gets of things not to get over.  Get that? :-)

    I want front row seats if that ever happened! (none / 0) (#50)
    by DeborahNC on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 02:17:31 AM EST
    If Rove said anything critical of Obama, I think Donna B. could take Karl. Who would your money be on?

    Moody Murphy (none / 0) (#7)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 09:32:30 PM EST
    TChris, did you call Moody Murphy or is there a Murphy too in the story? If it's just Moody, you can delete this when you change it.

    good catch (none / 0) (#28)
    by TChris on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:06:36 PM EST
    thanks Jeralyn, I corrected it

    Question? (none / 0) (#20)
    by CoralGables on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 09:54:34 PM EST

    "Maybe never, if the president pardons the entire administration on his way out the door."

    Can you pardon someone that hasn't been charged?

    Yes (5.00 / 2) (#21)
    by Steve M on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 09:55:47 PM EST
    Nixon was never charged with anything.

    Yes you can, and this week's (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Anne on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:05:47 PM EST
    Newsweek with yet another Obama cover and another rhapsodic article about his spirituality...argh), has a column by Stuart Taylor, who suggests that if we eveer want to know the truth about torture, that is exactly what Bush should:

    In fact, President George W. Bush ought to pardon any official from cabinet secretary on down who might plausibly face prosecution for interrogation methods approved by administration lawyers. (It would be unseemly for Bush to pardon Vice President Dick Cheney or himself, but the next president wouldn't allow them to be prosecuted anyway--galling as that may be to critics.) The reason for pardons is simple: what this country needs most is a full and true accounting of what took place. The incoming president should convene a truth commission, with subpoena power, to explore every possible misdeed and derive lessons from it. But this should not be a criminal investigation, which would only force officials to hire lawyers and batten down the hatches.

    Pardons would further a truth commission's most important goals: to uncover all important facts, identify innocent victims to be compensated, foster a serious conversation about what U.S. interrogation rules should be, recommend legal reforms, pave the way for appropriate apologies and restore America's good name. The goals should not include wrecking the lives of men and women who made grievous mistakes while doing dirty work--work they had been advised by administration lawyers was legal, and which they believed was necessary to prevent terrorist mass murder.

    I could hardly read it all I was so disgusted.

    This just slayed me:

    A criminal investigation would only hinder efforts to determine the truth, and preclude any apologies. It would spur those who know the most to take the Fifth. Any prosecutions would also touch off years of partisan warfare. The lesson for occupants of the toughest government jobs--if the next administration could find people willing to fill them--would be that saving innocent lives is less important than covering their posteriors. Any hope of a civil conversation about lessons we need to learn would be dead.

    Yes, because we really need to have civil conversations about torture.

    [Sorry, this veered a little OT, but I thought it relevant to the prospect of mass pre-emptive pardons]


    He's wrong (none / 0) (#43)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:54:13 PM EST
    What we need more than anything else is accountability and punishment.  We already know what they've done.  Taylor's a screaming right-winger.  This is just a rationalization.

    My god (none / 0) (#60)
    by lilburro on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 09:24:54 AM EST
    I can't believe this inane and sunny perspective gets any credence whatsoever.  Does our justice system not mean anything anymore?  How can we find out the truth by suspending consequences, by presenting no risk to the actors?  What a stupid precedent.  Does anyone really think they'll be more motivated to tell the truth if we suspend the justice system for them?  They will laugh in our faces.

    Justice is required.  Not truthiness.  Sorry, I'm OT too.


    Just looking at him (none / 0) (#30)
    by weltec2 on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 10:19:00 PM EST
    makes me angry.

    "Including, presumably, any crimes that he witnessed or might know about."

    ...or is guilty of.

    i kind of wait for this (none / 0) (#37)
    by cpinva on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:27:18 PM EST
    newspaper headline:

    "Karl Rove, infamous Republican political strategist, smacked in the face by irked citizen!"

    oh well, one can hope.

    Heh (none / 0) (#44)
    by gyrfalcon on Tue Jul 15, 2008 at 11:55:42 PM EST
    Similar to Monica Lewinsky's train station "encounter" with Victoria Toensing a while back.

    Keep talking, Karl (none / 0) (#57)
    by ding7777 on Wed Jul 16, 2008 at 09:16:40 AM EST
    The more Rove talks on FOX, the greater the chance he will say something incriminating.