If Bush and the White House Won't or Can't Fight Back, Maybe It's Time Karl Rove Should Leave
Something is seriously out of whack when Democrats and the Left Loonies throw wave after wave of "Bush Lied/Kids Died" attacks for days on end and the Bush administration responds with .... an "ethics refresher course" for White House staff.
If the 3,000 or so people who make up the Executive Office of the President staff need to be reminded how to be ethical, particularly when handling classified materials, you are conceding the truth of the opposition's basic meme - your administration is dishonest.
Put another way, what this story tells us is the White House has been rocked back on its heels and now seems hardly capable of mounting even a minimally coherent defense even in the face of attacks that are transparent nonsense.
There are other indicators in recent days of a White House adrift, especially in lost opportunities to mount effective counter-attacks. The Muslim youth riots in France, for example, are in their second week and are spreading beyond the suburbs to Paris and other French cities.
But thanks to the media's politically correct blinders, it's almost impossible to find a news story explaining the rioters' theological motivations. Why isn't the Bush White House demanding the media report all the facts about the Paris riots, including the evidence that they are anything but spontaneous, and pointing out the links to the War on Terror?
Similarly, democracy is moving strongly forward in Iraq and so is that nation's economy. In fact, the latter is booming. And the number of insurgent attacks in Bagdhad and elsewhere are declining drastically as the Iraqi security forces become more proficient and confident through U.S. training.
But we hear almost nothing about those facts from either the mainstream media or the Bush White House. The administration seems to have given up making its case for the success of the war in Iraq and the revolutionary impact of planting a genuine democracy in the heart of the Middle East.
This silence even extends to domestic politics. For the past two weeks, Congress has been roiled by a conservative revolt demanding that billions of dollars worth of pork barrel projects approved in the transportation appropriations bill earlier this year instead be used to pay for hurricane recovery on the Gulf coast.
Senate votes forced by Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, and public attention generated by the Porkbusters campaign in the Blogosphere have exposed the hypocrisy of Congress and its putting Members' selfish political interests ahead of the national and humanitarian interests.
That exposure creates a giant opportunity for the President to seize the political high ground and effectively challenge Congress to get back on track enacting needed reforms, starting with getting federal spending under control and making storm recovery a vivid national demonstration project of the power of individual choice.
But it's an opportunity not taken. Instead, the White House goes on with mixed messages, a defensive crouch and hardly even a peep of protest when Senate Democrats manhandle the GOP "majority" into delaying Judge Alito's Supreme Court confirmation hearing to next year.
It seems clear now that Karl Rove is indeed preoccupied with defending himself in the Plamegate scandal and avoiding indictment by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald. That means Rove can't do what he has always done - keep Bush and the administration focused and moving forward on the basis of a coherent, aggressive political strategy.
In other words, the administration is rudderless. That means it's time for Rove to step aside and the President, for better or worse, to find a new chief political strategist. Before it's too late.