Karl Rove is a subject so repellent that this entry will be short. At least twenty students at Washington, DC's American University also find him objectionable, so much so that after Rove addressed a group of College Republicans on campus Tuesday night, the protestors pelted his exiting car with debris and lay down in the roadway to impede its movement. The Secret Service dealt with the protest quickly, however, and within a few minutes life for the offical White House "senior political advisor" was back to normal.
It is easy to understand why the students took to the streets. Under Rove's tutelage, President George W. Bush has lied the nation into war in Iraq; spied illegally on American citizens; and promoted acts of torture. Apparently at Rove's behest, the identity of an undercover CIA agent specializing in nuclear non-proliferation was revealed for political reasons and her career ended. On the economic front, the administration has implemented policies that ensure that the American worker receives ever-less of the national GDP in wages, in spite of the president's 2000 promise to "make the pie higher" for everyone. The latest affront to the nation, of course, is the revelation that the White House hired and fired US Attorneys on the basis of their political usefulness, not their ability to administer justice.
So, with Rove playing a central role in the most damaging presidential regime in living memory, what is the worst aspect of this infamous partisan hatchet man? That he is on the public payroll! That Rove is a cynical sadist is one thing; that American taxpayers are forced to pay his salary is outrageous. Why does an essentially private Republican operative have an office in a public building, the White House? Why does he have taxpayer-financed Secret Service protection? Why does his salary -- $261,000 in 2005 -- come from the public treasury?
It's no wonder the Democrats don't cry foul: they want to put their own partisan hacks on the nation's payroll should they ever re-take the White House. But why has the press said nothing? While we try to ascertain the answer to that question, any of America's youth mapping out their own career path to power should note that "Bush's Brain" is a college dropout. On second thought, perhaps Rove's current job was the only one he could get.
Heterodox Views on Politics and Public Policy from Michael Blaine