Ironically, Bush could salvage a lot of dignity by firing Rove today and holding him accountable for anything he may have illegally or unethically done. But I'm not counting on that happening.
By most indications, certainly more than can be readily countered or refuted, it was Rove who blew the cover of CIA agent Valerie Plame in order to "get even" with Plame's husband Joe Wilson for crossing the Bush cabal. Per this administration's own definitions, this should be considered a case of wartime treason. Bush himself promised dire consequences for whoever was responsible. There should be an earnestly dire attempt to get to the bottom of the matter by everyone - and I mean everyone concerned. Instead the Bush White House is either stonewalling or blank-faced denying that Rove did anything wrong while continuing to support him, no questions asked. And instead of scrutinizing their own house, they are attacking the sources of the allegations: Wilson, Plame, Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper who is supposed to be testifying this week to the grand jury looking into the matter, anyone else who's now daring to question this administration. Wilson is now being branded a "liar" while Rove's lawyer says that Rove didn't really name Plame as being undercover... meaning that "Wilson was bad so we admit attacking his wife." Yesterday Rove's lawyer accused Cooper of "burning" Rove... ummmm yeah attack the guy who is probably going to testify against you anyway before a grand jury. Like we used to say on the basketball court: "Smooth move Ex-Lax."
I don't know if this is really legit or not, but Raw Story just posted the Republican "talking points" on how to discuss the issue. And so far the Republicans are following their cues to the letter.
All of this makes me sadly shake my head. It wasn't all that long ago that something along very similar lines - but involving a lot less than wartime betrayal - was happening in Washington. And back then it was the Democrats defending Bill Clinton: committing baseless character assassinations against anyone thought to be "the opposition", disseminating "talking points", trying to rally the faithful (I can't believe that MoveOn.org is still around), etc. And it was the Republicans on the offensive. I know, I was there: I was watching Free Republic during the Clinton impeachment (back when it was still an intellectually engaging website, before it became a cage full of Bush-obsessed howler monkeys) and the Republicans were out for blood. I thought they had a very good case to press. The Democrats sounded desperate and shrill: some of them genuinely made my ears hurt after listening to them screaming against the "right-wing conspiracy" on the cable talk shows.
Well, it's seven years later and the tables have turned a full 180 degrees. The Bush administration is now as suspect as Clinton's ever was... if not more so. The offensive team is now scrambling for higher ground.
In short: what the Democrats were under Clinton, is precisely what the Republicans have become under Bush. The Republicans is literally a faction that was so obsessed with the enemy, that it became the enemy.
I should feel a bit of smug satisfaction at this turn of events: this administration is finally having its just desserts after five years of unprecedented pride and arrogance and everything evil that comes with them. Instead I feel regret at what has become of America. This is no longer a country where elected officials are the acme of common virtues. Instead those officials have become like much of the rest of America: a nation of bullies. Things like honor and truth now play second-fiddle to "smart" political maneuvering and "getting away" with it. Not one or the other of the two major parties is solely to blame: they are both at fault. Along with a lazy media that's grown soft from corporate ownership and a complacent people that would rather tune in to see if Michael Jackson is found guilty than pay attention to how it is that evil men are stealing their children's national birthright.
Am I expecting "justice" out of the Rove/Plame affair? No, of course not. I never expected justice out of the Clinton/Lewinsky thing. But that doesn't mean I'm compelled to celebrate such back-handed chicanery either.