Hollywood Girls Gone Wild
In which Laurie David and Sheryl Crow harangue Karl Rove.
May 7, 2007, Vol. 12, No. 32 • By FRED BARNES
The showdown at the White House Correspondents' dinner was more emotional and lasted longer than was first reported. It started when Laurie David introduced herself to Karl Rove. He knew who she was--Hollywood's leading Bush-hater and a producer of An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore's film on global warming. David quickly launched into a harangue. President Bush has done nothing on global warming, she said. Rove answered that Bush has funded more research on the subject than any president. That's worthless, David responded. All the scientific questions have been answered, she insisted. Now's the time for action! Rove cited the recent report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which projects a modest rise in sea level of 7 to 23 inches over the next century. David told Rove he was wrong. We've had the hottest summer and winter ever, she said, plus extreme weather events. The president needs to talk to real global warming experts. Rove said he already does. "Would you like me to give you a list?" he asked. She didn't. You don't have anybody who understands the seriousness of the issue talking to the president, David said. Yes, we do, Rove said, mentioning the president's science adviser, Dr. John Marburger.
That's when the debate got more heated and more physical. Sheryl Crow, the singer, suddenly appeared. Without introducing herself, she demanded that Rove tell her how many corporations were financing Marburger's research. Rove responded that Marburger has a long and distinguished academic record. David said Bush must lead on global warming and America must emulate China--China!--by signing the Kyoto Protocol. (China indeed signed, but didn't agree to curb greenhouse gases.)
Crow was more insistent, poking Rove in the chest and pinching his arm. She said Rove worked for her. Rove said he worked for the American people. Crow said she and David were the American people. And at that point, Rove turned and sat back down at his table, where he was a guest of the New York Times.
The point of recounting this stunt by two of Hollywood's most prominent limousine liberals--who have accused Rove of rudeness--is to put him in the proper political context. He is the chief target of Democrats, liberals, and the left, and they burn with a desire to see him discredited, fired, and jailed. If all else fails, and it has so far, they'll settle for tainting him as impolite.
A few Democrats have talked of impeaching President Bush, but that idea is a nonstarter. Representative Dennis Kucinich has called for impeaching Vice President Cheney. But with enemies like Kucinich, Cheney doesn't need friends. When the Democratic presidential candidates were polled at a debate in South Carolina last week, they pointedly failed to agree with Kucinich. So that leaves Rove at the top of the Democratic hit list.
Rove is more than a symbol. He is the architect of Bush's election triumphs and an influential player in pushing the president's agenda. He represents Republican success. The Democratic strategy now is to criminalize that success by treating normal political conduct by the Bush administration, spearheaded by Rove, as a series of criminal acts.
In a speech last week, House Democratic Caucus chairman Rahm Emanuel declared that corruption in the Bush White House is worse than that of the Nixon administration in Watergate. "In many ways, what we have seen from this administration is far more extensive than that scandal," he said. The interests of the Republican party have been elevated over the national interest. "This is no accident," Emanuel claimed. "It's all by design."
And the chief designer, in Emanuel's scheme of things, is Rove. In 2000, Rove "often drew an analogy between that election and the election of 1896, in which adviser Mark Hanna joined forces with many of the plutocrats of that Gilded Age and ushered in a 35-year era of Republican dominance," Emanuel said. "Without a trace of reserve, George Bush and Karl Rove set out to re-create that earlier era of one-party rule."
Of course they did. They created a majority center-right coalition (overturned by the 2006 election), just as Hanna put together a Republican coalition of the well-heeled and the working class, and just as FDR created a dominant Democratic majority made up of Northern liberals and Southern segregationists. There's a name for this kind of activity: politics.
So what are Rove's crimes? That's what Democrats, now in control of Congress and armed with subpoena power, are desperately looking for. Their hopes initially rested with special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald. When he cleared Rove of wrongdoing in the CIA leak case, their disappointment was palpable.