In the pitiful performance by Attorney General Alberto Gonzales in an attempt to save his job, the undercurrent of Karl Rove's role is obvious.
Rove has been behind about every act of political chicanery in President Bush's tenure and while Bush was governor of Texas.
How else can you explainRove's missing E-mails that you can bet were incriminating to his part in the firings of eight federal prosecutors? Rove's fingerprints are all over this sorry episode.
He has orchestrated attacks on Democrats opposed to the war in Iraq. His message seems to be: Don't say they are unpatriotic but give strong hints of it. He has made no secret of his master plan tokeep the GOP majority in placewith whatever it takes.
That scheme took a nose dive last November, and this war could shatter Rove's dream for a long time.
Politics ain't beanbag, as one wag put it long ago. Some Democratic consultants can play hardball too. But Rove likes to go beyond the rough stuff.
Go back to Rove's early days in judgeship races in Alabama. One opponent said Rovewasn't just satisfied with your defeat. He wanted to destroy you in the process.
In the book Bush's Brain, two Texas journalists documented Rove's methods. Not a pretty picture.
When Bush defeated Democratic Gov. Ann Richards in Texas, the whispering around the state was that Richards was a lesbian. She wasn't, but the smear probably worked. Rove denied any part in it.
In the presidential campaign of 2000, the primary race of John McCain was derailed in South Carolina afterRepublicans smeared him and his wife. (It is still difficult to understand how McCain can ever speak to Bush again.)
Where was Rove in all this? I have my suspicions.
Sen. John Kerry's war record was maligned by the Swift Boat ads run against him by wealthy Texans. This attack on Kerry's heroism in combat in Vietnam was disgusting. Again, I have my hunch that Rove knew about it all along.
Throughout Bush's tenure in Washington, Rove has been at the periphery with his brand of political magic.The president has been behind him all the way.
Karl Rove will likely keep his job until Bush leaves office in January 2009. Rove is likely to have moved on before then to ply his trade with another Republican hopeful.
If any Republican wants a consultant and strategist without a conscience, I've got your man.