[[P O L I T I C S]] * So much for George W. Bush’s promise to “restore honor and integrity to the White House.” There’s already talk about who should replace deputy chief of staff Karl Rove, if he’s indicted next week by Patrick Fitzgerald, the special prosecutor in the CIA leak scandal. (Early betting favors Ken Mehlman, the obfuscating chairman of the Republican National Committee, despite the dramatic failure of his campaign earlier this year to attract more African Americans to the GOP.) Joining Rove for the “perp walk” could be I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, whose association with recently jailed New York Times reporter Judith Miller has come back to bite him in the ass. And rumors are rife that Dick Cheney, whose office appears to have become a focus of the investigation into who leaked CIA undercover agent Valerie Plame’s name to the press, may be compelled to leap upon his own sword to save Bush, clearing the way for the prez to replace him with Condoleeza Rice--a most problematic move, given Rice’s “mildly pro-choice” stance on abortion. Now comes the news that Bush knew Rove had been instrumental in disseminating Plame’s identity, way back in 2003, even though he claimed he didn’t know, and would fire anyone who was found to have been involved.
No wonder William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, is saying that “the mood is pretty bleak in the White House.”
The supreme irony here, as Bob Geiger so helpfully points out at his Yellow Dog Blog, is that this just happens to be the Bush-proclaimed National Character Counts Week. Considering that the Republican administration is under investigation for conspiracy and possible acts of treason; an arrest warrant has been issued against House Majority Leader Tom DeLay; and Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist is being probed for evidence of insider stock trading, it seems that nobody was listening when the prez announced this week’s theme, telling Americans “to make good choices in life, set high standards, and serve as leaders.”
READ MORE: “From a Sinking Ship” (FireDogLake); “No Surprises,” by Gene Lyons (Arkansas Democrat Gazette); “Second Cheney Aide Cooperating in Leak Probe,” by Jason Leopold and Larisa Alexandrovna (The Raw Story); “Case Against Cheney,” by John Nichols (The Nation); “Right-Wing Myths About the Leak Investigation” (Think Progress); “Illiberal Prosecution: Why Democrats Should Take No Comfort in the Plame Case,” by Jacob Weisberg (Slate); “‘Rule of Law’? That’s So ’90s,” by E.J. Dionne (The Washington Post); “What is the ‘Character’ of Bush Administration?” by Robert Steinback (The Miami Herald); “The Iraq War Runs Through It,” by Sydney H. Schanberg (The Village Voice); “Crash Test: How Bush Has Taken Conservatives for a Ride,” by Jonathan Chiat (The New Republic); “The Illusion of Normality,” by Ernest Partridge (The Crisis Papers).