Welcome, Karl Rove!
Bush’s brain brings unique legal ‘perspective’ to Sacramento
On a bright, sparkling afternoon in 2003, a friend of mine was sitting in the Starbucks at 19th and J streets, gazing out the plate-glass window at passersby, when a large and imposing figure suddenly blotted out the sun. There was something oddly familiar about the bald, corpulent man, who resembled nothing more than that brain bug from Starship Troopers stuffed into a suit and tie. Then it dawned on my friend.
It was none other than infamous White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, the man universally known as Bush’s brain, the ruthless political operative despised by liberals everywhere, including my friend. The effort to recall Gov. Gray Davis was in full swing; Arnold Schwarzenegger was leading the pack, and my friend instantly—and as it turned out, correctly—surmised the situation: Rove was pulling Arnold’s strings.
Knowing how my friend felt about Rove, I asked him why he hadn’t strangled the bastard right there on the sidewalk, or sucked his brains out through a straw, or pounded his fat, amorphous head into a bloody puddle of mush and bone fragments. He answered that he’s thought about his failure to act often in the intervening years, it was the low point of his life, and if he was ever granted a second chance, he’d do things differently.
Now, thanks to the Sacramento Metro Chamber, he’ll get that second chance when Rove appears as one of the invited guests at the chamber’s annual public affairs forum, Perspectives. The event will be held at the Sacramento Convention Center on Friday, September 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Note to Rep. John Conyers: If you really want Rove to obey that congressional subpoena and testify before the House Judiciary Committee, offer him a $40,000 speaking fee.
That’s Rove’s going rate, ponied up in this case by Perspective’s co-sponsors, which include Bank of America, PG&E, Raley’s, Comcast and The Sacramento Bee. True, other speakers will be present, most notably Deepak Chopra, the international master of mind-body medicine. But make no mistake, Rove is the primary attraction here, for both the chamber’s cognitively challenged Republicans and the local activist community, who are sure to turn up en masse at the Sacramento Convention Center on Friday, September 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The reader should by no means infer from the fact that I’ve now listed the location, date and time of the Perspectives event twice in the same column that I’m somehow inciting locals to riot against Rove’s appearance. Rove is a hands-on guy; like everything else, he does his own inciting. He’s been dogged by epithet-spewing protesters everywhere he’s gone since stepping down from his White House post last year.
Besides, even if I was inciting a riot, which I’m not, it’s no longer clear if inciting a riot, or strangling some bastard on the sidewalk, or sucking his brains out through a straw, or pounding his fat, amorphous head into a bloody puddle of mush and bone fragments remains a crime in the United States. You can thank Rove for leading us to this promised land, where nothing is true and everything is permitted.
This is Rove’s genius: a willingness to push legal and ethical boundaries where no man has gone before. Need to find evidence connecting Saddam Hussein to 9/11? Form the White House Iraq Group to disseminate false information through your pliable media contacts. When the husband of a CIA agent exposes some of the false information you’ve disseminated, reveal his wife’s secret identity to those very same pliable media contacts. Sure, it’s treason. Or at least it used to be. Nowadays, who knows?
When it comes to the publicly stated goals of the Bush administration, I’m inclined to agree with contrarian pundit Alexander Cockburn, who noted that when Rove stepped down from his White House post last year, virtually none of the administration’s major second-term policy initiatives had been accomplished. Democrats, Cockburn predicted, would miss Rove more than Republicans, since they’d no longer have anyone to blame for their own failed policies.
Still, Rove may be gone, but his influence on the judicial system will not be soon forgotten. For all I know about where things stand today, it just might be legal for a journalist to incite a riot. Heck, you can probably even strangle someone on the sidewalk, or suck their brains out through a straw, or pound their fat, amorphous head into a bloody puddle of mush and bone fragments. I’m not 100 percent certain about this, and I’m by no means suggesting that anyone break the law, whatever that is.
Instead, however you see fit, I encourage you to welcome Karl Rove to the Sacramento Convention Center on Friday, September 19, from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. In the land where nothing is true and everything is permitted, it appears your options are limitless.