Jewish World Review Oct. 3, 2003 /7 Tishrei, 5764
Is there a witch doctor in the house?
White House Special Advisor Karl Rove is in
need of an exorcist. Perhaps a witch doctor will suffice. Whatever choice is
made, I advise that the president get a master of the occult over to Rove's
White House office immediately, and before another day of CNN broadcasts
alarm the nation.
Anyone listening to CNN or reading the liberal press knows that
something diabolical has happened to Rove. Thanks to columnist Robert Novak,
a former American diplomat who goes by the swank name of Joseph C. Wilson IV
and the extreme left-wing Nation magazine, Rove is being victimized by
another Washington Black Cat News Story. A Black Cat News Story is a bizarre
phenomenon known only to national news reporting, usually in Washington. It
is an ominous, catastrophic story that, like a black cat, leaps across a
public figure's path -- and, all of a sudden, that public figure's luck
He is abandoned by friends. On his way to a photo-op with Kofi
Annan, the zipper on his pants breaks. During a reception in the White House
Rose Garden, an overhead bird evacuates on his new tie. The phone rings, and
it is Arianna Huffington announcing that she will be his weekend
houseguest -- and she is bringing her new boyfriend, the one with the
ponytail who wears sandals.
You think I am kidding? These Black Cat News Stories can do a
lot of damage. There was one years back that Vice President Dan Quayle had a
girlfriend, a girlfriend in common with half the Republicans on Capitol
Hill. There was another one that President George Bush I had a girlfriend.
These Black Cat News Stories caused little damage in career terms, but they
did tarnish reputations hitherto unsullied. Most such stories lack substance
and usually die after a terrific media pothering.
The administration of Bush II has already suffered the Enron
Black Cat News Story and the Sixteen Words Black Cat News Story. Yet
sometimes the story really sends its victim into oblivion. There was the
Black Cat News Story about White House Chief Of Staff John Sununu using
government transportation to pursue his stamp collection. That was the end
of Sununu. Is Rove headed for retirement and a weekend with Arianna?
The story supposedly hexing him is that in a July 14 column
Novak wrote that "senior administrative officials" told him that Wilson had
been recommended to serve on a CIA mission to Niger to investigate uranium
transfers to Iraqi agents by his wife, Valerie Plame, whom Novak identified
as a CIA "operative." Precisely what the term "operative" meant remains a
mystery. However, two days later Novak's identification of Plame roused
indignation from an unlikely source, the left-wing Nation, an otherwise
anti-CIA publication that had never minded this sort of outing in the past.
Soon Plame's husband jumped in. He had suffered the inspiration
that Novak's "two senior administration officials" were actually one
official, the unsuspecting Rove. And he was even angrier than the Nation.
Wilson announced that he would like "to see whether or not we can get Karl
Rove frog-marched out of the White House in handcuffs." Revealing the
identity of an undercover CIA agent is a crime. By the way, Wilson is a
writer as well as a diplomat. In March, a very critical essay of the Bush
foreign policy appeared under his name in the extreme left-wing Nation.
Wilson believes that his criticism of the Bush administration
motivated Rove to expose his wife. Now Rove has been a brilliant political
strategist for three decades, but the plot that Wilson attributes to Rove is
so fanciful I cannot imagine it ever even being adopted for a prime-time
The White House denies that Rove was Novak's source, and for his
part Wilson seems to have backed off a bit on his accusation, saying he has
no evidence Rove was involved. Thus my guess is that if the White House
hangs in there, this story, too, will die. Rove is too much the pro to have
been involved in such a thing.
The only matter that troubles me about the episode is that the
CIA would employ a man as left-wing as Wilson to go to Niger unless they
planned to leave him there. Unfortunately, he has returned.
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© 2001, Creators Syndicate