There are a few stories Karl Rove should go out of his way to avoid, if for no other reason, to steer clear of embarrassment. Use of a personal email account to conduct official business is near the top of this list.
And yet, there was the Republican strategist, using his Wall Street Journal column yesterday to call attention to the email-server management issue dogging Hillary Clinton.
On Tuesday Hillary Clinton finally admitted to ABC World News Tonight anchor David Muir that using a private server for her emails as secretary of state “was a mistake.” The rest of us have known that since the story broke in March.
Rove, in high dudgeon, noted that Clinton “says a private server was ‘allowed’ – but by whom?”
The answer, of course, is by the State Department. We’ve known this for quite a while: “When she took office in 2009, with ever more people doing government business through email, the State Department allowed the use of home computers.”
But that’s not the interesting part. What’s striking about this is Rove’s perception that he’s a credible voice on the subject. He’s really not.
The issue isn’t just that the Secretary of State in the Bush/Cheney administration also used a personal email account – though that’s exactly what happened – but more important is the fact that Rove was at the center of a major controversy involving … wait for it … missing emails from his own personal account.
This piece from Media Matters’ Eric Boehlert comes to mind.
Even for a Republican White House that was badly stumbling through George W. Bush’s sixth year in office, the revelation on April 12, 2007 was shocking. Responding to congressional demands for emails in connection with its investigation into the partisan firing of eight U.S. attorneys, the White House announced that as many as five million emails, covering a two-year span, had been lost.The emails had been run through private accounts controlled by the Republican National Committee and were only supposed to be used for dealing with non-administration political campaign work to avoid violating ethics laws. Yet congressional investigators already had evidence private emails had been used for government business, including to discuss the firing of one of the U.S. attorneys. The RNC accounts were used by 22 White House staffers, including then-Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove, who reportedly used his RNC email for 95 percent of his communications.As the Washington Post reported, “Under federal law, the White House is required to maintain records, including e-mails, involving presidential decision- making and deliberations.” But suddenly millions of the private RNC emails had gone missing; emails that were seen as potentially crucial evidence by Congressional investigators.
It’s against this backdrop that Rove, of all people, wants to whine publicly about Hillary Clinton’s email use? Seriously?
I’m at a loss to understand why the Clinton email story continues to be a source of fascination for so many – the “scandal” remains elusive and the “controversy” has run its course – but just as relevant is Karl Rove’s unsettling habit of failing tests of self-awareness.
* Rove, for example, whose boss left his successor with violence in the Middle East, has said Obama might leave his successor with violence in the Middle East.
* Rove has tried to buy elections for Republicans, so he accuses Democrats of trying to buy elections.
* Rove embraced the idea of “permanent campaign,” so he accuses the Obama White House of embracing a “permanent campaign.”
* Rove relied on pre-packaged, organized, controlled, scripted political events, so he accuses the president of relying on “pre-packaged, organized, controlled, scripted” political events.
* Rove snubbed news outlets that he considered partisan, so he blasts Obama for snubbing news outlets that he considers partisan.
* Rove had a habit of burying bad news by releasing it late on Friday afternoons, so he accuses Democrats of burying bad news by releasing it late on Friday afternoons.
* Rove complains about Obama attending political fundraisers in the midst of foreign crises, despite the fact that George W. Bush, at Rove’s behest, attended political fundraisers in the midst of foreign crises.
And now Rove, at the center of a controversy involving his private email account, now wants to complain about a Democrat who used a private email account.
The irony is rich.