Liberals hoping for an indictment for White House aide Karl Rove in the CIA leak scandal found coal in their Fitzmas stockings. Elsewhere, bloggers are examining the political motives of President Bush's surprise visit to Iraq and the possibility that Ann Coulter plagiarized part of her newest polemic.
Roving free: Political mastermind Karl Rove's lawyer has announced that his client will not be indicted in the CIA leak scandal. Liberal bloggers have long been hoping that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald would charge Rove in connection with the leak of agent Valerie Plame's identity. Today, conservative bloggers are saying, "I told you so."
"So one of the silliest news stories of modern times is stumbling toward a conclusion with the trial of former Cheney aide Scooter Libby," writesPower Line's John Hinderaker, a prominent righty blogger. Fellow conservative TigerHawk thinks that this bodes well for the approval-challenged Bush. "Adding this to the victory in California and the huge roll-up of al Qaeda in Iraq, you have to say it has been a good stretch for the White House politically," he crows.
On the liberal DailyKos, commentator Yellowdog dryly notes, "I find it amusing that the biggest story of the day is that a member of the Bush administration is NOT being indicted."
But some are hoping that more indictments may still come. On The Next Hurrah, an optimistic emptywheel posits that Vice President Dick Cheney may still be indicted as "the architect of this smear." Duncan Black, the master of Atrios and a leader of the left-wing bloggers, follows this line of thinking. "It's quite likely Rove has cut a deal of some sort," he supposes. The Immoral Minority's Gryphen hopes that that deal would involve turning over Cheney or Bush to Fitzgerald.
But liberal bloggers are particularly distressed because a month ago, writer Jason Leopold claimed on TruthOut that Rove had already been indicted. "[R]eveal your sources and correct the record," The Rovian Conspiracy's St. Wendeler taunts Leopold.
Read more about Karl Rove. Slate's John Dickerson wrote about Karl Rove's new role in the White House in April and reacts to the news that Rove won't be charged here. Jack Shafer predicted that Plamegate would be the next big scandal in 2003.
Baghdad surprise: Bush made an unexpected visit to Iraq on Tuesday to talk to troops and meet with new Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki. Bloggers are waging a verbal war over whether the gesture is a sign of bravery or a well-planned photo op.
Professor Stephen Bainbridge, a UCLA law professor and a conservative, notes that "More than two dozen people died in insurgent attacks the day before Bush arrived. Indeed, the intense security surrounding Bush's visit to the heavily fortified Green Zone itself demonstrates just how bad the security problem remains."
On The Politburo Diktat, conservative blogger Ace is bemoaning how his liberal counterparts are deriding the trip. "If Bush does not visit Iraq, we are subjected to 'it's too dangerous … chickenhawk … shows how bad things really are …' etc. When he does go, it's 'Operation Photo Op'," he complains. Indeed, readers of Daily Kos are split between thinking that the trip is "meaningful" and that it's just "the air craft carrier and Thanksgiving all over."
On Outside the Beltway, Bush supporter James Joyner finds common ground, calling the visit "smart symbolism." He adds, "this trip will send an important message to the Iraqi people: so long as George Bush is President, the United States will not abandon you." But Esoterically's Len, a liberal, rejects the notion that this trip will buoy Iraqis. "[A]n important message to the Iraqi people would have been spending a few days in country with several visits to open-air markets in downtown Baghdad," he counters. But The Bos'un Locker's namesake commentator is thanking the president for his trip and sees it as a sign that the war is going well.
Read more about Bush's visit to Iraq.
Coulter copies? Some murky allegations have surfaced, suggesting that conservative firebrand Ann Coulter might have plagiarized part of her newest book, Godless: The Church of Liberalism.
The Rude Pundit, a liberal Democrat and blogger, began the firestorm by finding some passages in the book's first chapter that closely resembled previously published works. He cautions, though, that even he isn't sure that this is going to be a major scandal. "Right now, we're at Defcon Britney - the kid's not wearing a seatbelt. Hopefully, later today or this week, we'll be at Defcon Jacko - dangling the kid over the balcony. And maybe soon, fingers crossed, we'll get to Defcon Mommie Dearest."
But media blog Gawker has posted another potential case of plagiarism and sighs, "You can accuse the media of cynicism all you want, but the fact that plagiarism is considered a bigger sin than unsubstantiated vituperation says something about the rest of us." The Last Chance Democracy Café's Steven C. Day, a Kansas attorney, wonders, "[W]hat self-respecting writer would ever come forward to prosecute a plagiarism lawsuit against Coulter, thereby claiming credit for her words?"
Read more about the Coulter accusations.