Killing Zarqawi was the official kick-off of the Republican's 2006 midterm election campaign, as designed by Karl Rove.
If I'm right, if Patrick Fitzgerald isn't going to indict Karl Rove (or anybody else in the Bush administration), Rove found out about it before last week. And more likely even before that. Like a few weeks ago. And the decision to locate and kill Zarqawi, convene a photo op of Bush's cabinet, stage it all at Camp David, came out of Karl Rove's office, as his strategy for Republicans winning the midterm elections this November.
What do you do when your candidate is losing in the polls, when he's hemorrhaging, when he's BLEEDING OUT before everybody's eyes? You have to do something that will change the subject. Something drastic, dramatic, that will pre-empt regular programming.
Since you're not willing to change the policies that are causing your numbers to dive, you're going to have to create a diversion, shock and awe, CHANGE THE SUBJECT by doing your job dramatically. Kill Zarqawi.
Lend all the stagecraft that you can to the event. Pull out all the stops. You don't want people looking too closely, asking questions, like "How is it that you were able to do it now when you've only been after Zarqawi for years?" or,
"Two 500-lb. bombs that pulverized concrete and rebar, incinerated the other people in the house, and yet Zarqawi's body survived intact (he was alive for an hour beyond the blast), in good shape, and recognizable....how is that possible?"
No, you don't want those types of questions lingering in the public discourse, so you'll have to keep up a brisk, tight schedule of events after the killing. And keep the visuals coming:
A gold-framed blow-up photograph of the dead Zarqawi (suitable for Sotheby's),
[Physical Scientist Kristi Oberbroeckling carries a bag containing three boxes of biological samples believed to be from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi or his associates in to the FBI Lab in Quantico, Va., on Thursday evening, June 8, 2006. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf, pool)]
Ship DNA samples back to U.S. government labs (and have a pool photographer standing by to photograph the delivery); fly in to Iraq two of the top U.S. Defense Department forensic pathologists to perform the autopsies on Zarqawi, Rahman and a third man, keep the raids coming, kill more of them "terr'ists," release autopsy results (but not the documentation).
Stall the tough stuff, like, "Where and how did the FBI find a different DNA sample from al-Zarqawi for comparison?" and "Who gets Zarqawi's body for burial?" - put them off, change the subject before people begin to realize that these aren't difficult questions to answer, or state secrets..... just KEEP EVERYTHING and EVERYBODY MOVING!
Change the stage, move the location of the action. From the battlefields of Iraq to the White House, and fill the schedule with activities. Stage a PRODUCTION: A Presidential War Council, using all of the trappings of the office of the Presidency to make the candidate look *PRESIDENTIAL*. It's Rove as Busby Berkley, directing a Mickey Rooney-Judy Garland show-stopping *extravaganza*: "Let's put on a show, AT CAMP DAVID!"
Surround Bush with his entire Cabinet and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs. No substance to the headlines this would generate, just photo ops against a beautiful summer back-drop "Bush and His War Council at Camp David", after the killing of Zarqawi. It's back to politics-as-usual. Show biz, Republican-style. In fact, everything that this Republican party does is political show biz:
George W. Bush, surrounded by members of his Cabinet and his national security team during the first day of a two-day meeting on Iraq. Among those attending the war council summit at Camp David were Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Peter Pace, Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns, National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley, Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez, National Security Director John Negroponte, Energy Secretary Sam Bodman.
Too bad it's only a short armored SUV drive or a Marine 1 helicopter hop to Camp David, because if there was ever a job for Air Force 1, this was it. If Rove could have figured out a way to fit in the ultimate "chick magnet" (Air Force 1), he would have.
If you don't believe that the killing of Zarqawi, the rallying of Bush's cabinet at a "war council summit" at Camp David was planned weeks ago, that it was all politically calculated by Rove to jumpstart the Republicans bid to hold onto power through the fall elections, you just haven't been paying attention.
Karl Rove on manipulating the media:
In 1986, Rove was managing Bill Clements in the Texas gubenatorial campaign against incumbent Mark White. Clements was steadily losing what had been a 35-point lead in the polls. Clements was not unlike George W. Bush and Dan Quayle - ignorant and inarticulate. It had been widely assumed and reported in the media that Governor White was going to wipe the floor with Clements in the debates and easily overtake Clements in the polls after the first debate. Anticipating the next day's headlines ("Governor Wipes the Floor with Rove's Candidate Clements"), Rove was said to have been desperate to keep the Texas press corps away from the first debate.
In the hours before the debate was set to begin, Rove notified the press that:
....a listening device [was] allegedly found in Rove's office by a private security firm a few days before a televised debate. The case made headlines around the state. It was investigated by Rove's friend, FBI agent Greg Rampton, who never found the alleged perpetrator.
According to James Moore and Wayne Slater in "Bush's Brain," the announcement by Rove that a bugging device had been found in his office brought the Texas press corps to his office and kept them there, away from the debate site (two hours away). Rove spun the story that his office had been bugged. No proof. But the insinuation that White's people had carried out the bugging was reported by the media. The press corps didn't cover the debate, and Rove's candidate was spared their excoriation in print the following day. It changed the momentum of the race and is recognized as the turning point in the campaign. Rove's candidate Clements defeated Governor White. It served as the blueprint for the campaign that Rove ran for Bush in 1992 against Governor Ann Richards.
In the movie made from the book "Bush's Brain," John Weaver, vice-chair of the Clements campaign, says that he was initially “euphoric,” but then “It began to look fishy to us.” An FBI report said that judging by its battery use, the bug had been in the wall just 15 minutes when it was “discovered” (by Karl Rove). According to Rove's statement to investigators and his appointment book, he had been working in his office for several hours, never leaving, before he "discovered" the device. That would mean that the perpetrator planted the listening device with Rove present in the room.
John Weaver now says he doesn’t think White had anything to do with it.
Glenn Smith, a journalist with the Houston Post and probably Rove’s harshest critic in the film, comments:
“I like to say I play hardball, but I would never consider planting a bug in my own office and blaming it on my opponent.”
That's because Glenn Smith doesn't understand that what Rove does isn't hardball; it's CRIMINAL. Somewhere in the last 35 years, Republicans have gotten away with cloaking illegal acts in benign gaming terms.
Molly Ivins, April 2006:
"In 1991, Rove was undergoing state Senate confirmation hearings for an appointment to the East Texas State University board of regents. Sen. Bob Glasgow was questioning Rove about his work for Gov. Bill Clements in the 1986 campaign against Gov. Mark White":
Glasgow: "Ah, Mr. Rove, would you now tell us publicly who bugged your office that you blamed upon Mark White publicly and the press statewide?"
Rove: "Ah, first of all, I did not blame it on Mark White. If, ah, if you'll recall I specifically said at the time that we disclosed the bugging that we did not know who did it, but we knew who might benefit from it. And no, I do not know. ..."
Glasgow: "And are you now satisfied that Mark White and the Democratic Party did not bug your office as you -- as you released, ah, to the newspapers?"
Rove: "Senator, I never said Mark White bugged my office, I'm not certain he has an electronic background. I never said the Democratic Party bugged it either. ... As to who bugged it, Senator, I do not know -- and the FBI does not know. ..."
Glasgow: "How long have you known an FBI agent by the name of Greg (Rampton)?"
Rove: "Ah, Senator, it depends -- would you define 'know' for me?"
Glasgow: "What is your relationship with him?"
Rove: "Ah, I know, I would not recognize Greg (Rampton) if he walked in the door. We have talked on the phone a var- -- a number of times. Ah, and he has visited in my office once or twice, but we do not have a social or personal relationship whatsoever. ..."
Glasgow: "During the Rick Perry campaign (against Jim Hightower), did you have any conversations with FBI agent Rampton about the course and conduct of that campaign?"
Rove: "Yes, I did, two or three times. ..."
Glasgow: "Did you issue a press release in Washington, at a fund-raiser, about information you'd received from the FBI implicating -- implicating, ah, Hightower?"
Rove: "We did not issue a press release. ... We did not issue a news release. I talked to a member of the press ..."
Glasgow: "I'm gonna let you expound on anything you want to. Ah, involved in campaigns that you've been involved in, do you know why agent Rampton conducted a criminal investigation of Garry Mauro at the time you were involved in that campaign, pulled the finance records of Bob Bullock at the time you were involved in that campaign, pulled the campaign records of Jim Hightower at the time you were involved in that campaign?"
Rove: "Well, Senator, first of all, as I said before, I was not involved in either Bob Bullock or Garry Mauro's campaigns or the campaigns of their Republican opponent. I'd be hard pressed to tell you who Garry Mauro's opponent was in 1986. Ah, and I'd -- think I'd be hard pressed even to remember who Bob Bullock's opponent was in 1986. So I can't answer that part of the question. I do know that I became involved in Rick Perry's campaign in November of 1989. At that point there was already an investigation ongoing of the Texas Department of Agriculture, prompted by stories which had appeared in August and September, I believe, in The Dallas Morning News regarding the use of Texas Department of Agriculture funds."
Glasgow shifts to the Board for International Broadcasting appointment: "And in answering a question for that perspective (sic) federal appointment, did you make a claim in there that you were involved in the Hightower investigation at the request of special agent Rampton of the Federal Bureau of Investigation?"
Rove: "No, sir."
Glasgow: "You did not make that statement in response ..."
Rove: "I did not, and I was ..."
Glasgow: "Let me finish my question. Did you make that statement in response to a written questionnaire?"
Rove: "Ah, Senator, ah, no, I did not make that statement, but I ..."
Glasgow: "Thank you very much."
Rampton, who was subsequently involved with the FBI operation at Ruby Ridge, said that he had not talked to Rove about the Hightower case. Told that Rove had so claimed in his federal questionnaire, Rampton said:
"Let me think. I couldn't recall talking to him on that particular case at all. My memory, if there was a conversation we had on that case, well, I can't recall it. He was not an integral part of that case. I don't even remember bouncing anything off him as somebody who was familiar with politics in Austin."
I sure hope I'm wrong.
[*Explained in a future post.]
Filed under: Bush, Camp David, Republicans, war council, Rove, Bush's Brain, Governor White, Bill Clements, Zarqawi, James Moore, Wayne Slater, Greg Rampton, James Weaver, Ann Richards, Iraq, Radio Shack, bugging device, Jim Hightower