Lost in the fracas over Karl Rove's attempt to dance at the Radio and TV Correspondents' Dinner last week was a peculiar comment he made beforehand. After being called on stage by the comedians emceeing the event and being asked to give his name, Rove responded: "Peter Fitzgerald." He then corrected himself to say: "Patrick Fitzgerald."
Patrick Fitzgerald, of course, is the special prosecutor who led the investigation into the leaked identity of covert CIA agent Valerie Plame Wilson. (Peter Fitzgerald is a former Republican senator from Illinois.)
During the proceedings, Patrick Fitzgerald called Rove to testify several times before a grand jury. Some Democrats, at the time, were salivating over the possible indictment of Bush's top adviser.
Comedian Brad Sherwood continued the act: "We just want to ask you some questions about, uh--"
Rove replied: "Lot's of people want to ask me questions."
There's no doubt about it: Rove was taunting the opposition. There's a power struggle looming in Washington, in which Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee are threatening to subpoena Bush's trusted consigliere as well as former White House Counsel Harriet Miers. The White House has refused to permit either of them to testify under oath, citing executive privilege.
"Turn over a scandal in Washington these days, and the chances are you'll find Karl Rove," began a New York Times in an editorial in Sunday's paper.
Karl Rove has survived more than one political hit in his career, and judging by that bit of theatrics, he doesn't seem to be concerned about any storm on the horizon. Meanwhile, for the always-calculating adviser, the decision to detract from his flash of hubris with his own peculiar version of the Republican mating-dance ritual was probably wise.
By Chris Wilson