The Moose anticipates the Rove counter-attack.
We will soon learn the fate of Mr. Rove. But what we already know is what his reaction will be if he or anyone else in the White House are indicted - he will unleash the dogs of war against Mr. Fitzgerald. Rove undoubtedly has his operatives in place and prepared to respond if the indictment comes down. The plan of attack has been signed, sealed and ready for delivery at a Fox News outlet in your neighborhood.
While the President has praised the Republican special counsel, that will not influence the Republican attack machine. If the GOP is so dissatisfied with Fitzgerald, why wasn't he fired? Or why was he hired in the first place?
No, if he indicts, nothing else will matter to the GOP smear team than sullying the reputation of the special counsel. Hopefully, he has no unpaid parking tickets, has never jaywalked or removed a label from a mattress. If he has committed these misdeeds, we will see them advertised as a screaming headline on Drudge. They will do a "South Carolina" number on Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald will become the anti-Ken Starr to the right. He will be characterized as a zealous out of control prosecutor. The ACLU will be enlisted by the Norquist crowd to defend their brave persecuted leader, Mr. Rove. The right will wail that they are the victims of modern Palmer Raids with innocent leaders such as DeLay and Rove being swept out of power by a Vast Left Wing Conspiracy. Wasn't Fitzgerald seen at Blockbuster furtively renting a Michael Moore video and surfing Moveon.org?
All of the pack that relentlessly pursued Clinton will kvetch about the "criminalization of politics." They will see no irony or hypocrisy in their complaint because this is a fight about preserving power not maintaining consistency. The conservative standard is clear - when a Democratic President is the target it is about the "rule of law" and when the "victim" is a Republican it is about the "criminalization of politics." It is particularly rich that Tom DeLay, the relentless pursuer of Clinton, is making this claim. One wonders whether he agonized over this injustice with Casino Jack Abramoff and Righteous Ralph Reed as they jetted over the Atlantic on the way to their golfing outing in Scotland.
The Moose has never been thrilled about "special counsels" with virtually unlimited purview and discretion. That is one of the reasons why he opposed Clinton's impeachment. And conservatives do indeed have a point about the pursuit of political gains through criminal prosecution. However, it is a bit late and self-serving for them to have this "come to Jesus" moment. And there is the notable fact that Starr was a Republican investigating Democratic wrong doing while Fitzgerald is a Republican inquiring about possible GOP misdeeds.
If indictments come, the right will cast Special Counsel Fitzgerald as a modern day Inspector Javert hounding his poor victim Rove who will emerge as the conservatives' Jean Valjean. Expect The Washington Post Style Section to report that Karl Valjean has been sighted driving his Jaguar down exclusive Foxhall Road on his way to his attorney blaring tunes from Les Miserables on his CD player.
Next step for Jean Rove will be a high profile come to Jesus moment with Chuck Colson. This will be followed by teary-eyed appearances on the 700 Club and Dr. Dobson's Focus on the Family where he will express himself by speaking in toungue. Rove is being crucified by Pontius Fitzgerald!
Of course, our modern Hanna may escape indictment. And please remember that one is innocent until proven guilty. --