Rove, unleashed again

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Political guru Karl Rove has escaped indictment, and the hallelujah choir at the White House is singing his praises and rejoicing over the decision of the special prosecutor.

For what? It demonstrates only that he won't face a criminal trial or potential jail time or fine. Perhaps that is good news compared with the alternative.

Of course, the drumbeat by Republican cheerleaders is that Democrats should apologize for calling for the investigation into Rove's activities in this smarmy episode of revealing the name of a CIA operative.

No Democrat needs to apologize. Rove testified five times before the grand jury with a resourceful lawyer in frequent touch with the prosecutor. Lesser mortals would not have had five opportunities to explain their conduct.

There is no question Rove was a leaker. And the president has often spoken of his anger about leakers. But Rove is apparently immune from that standard of Bush's ethics.

The bottom line is that Rove is off the hook because the prosecutor apparently lacked the necessary evidence to go forward. That's it–period.

Within hours of learning he could breathe a sigh of relief, Rove was in New Hampshire telling a GOP audience that Democrats were cut-and-runners on the war issue. This nasty charge comes from a man who has never seen combat and has never fired or heard a shot fired in anger. He has no shame.

Predictably, the Wall Street Journal editorial page jumped on Rove's critics, saying it was a partisan case that had vanished into thin air. The right-wingers at the WSJ even had the temerity to say the case had narrowed to one individual–Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's top aide—on a perjury indictment.

If a similar case had erupted in the Clinton years and Al Gore's top aide had been indicted, the WSJ cave-dwellers would have been hollering "impeach him" on the editorial page.

Rove is free to carry on his brand of politics for the November elections. Democrats should be aware that he'll do or say anything.