Rove: the government’s boogieman

By Jenna Staul

KENT, Ohio – Children are prone to experience a number of unfounded fears and phobias created by their imaginative young minds – the boogieman, the monster under the bed or the ghost lurking in the dark, for example, wreak terror in the minds of impressionable youths. Typically, the ghoulish alarm brought about by these figments of their imagination dissipates with age.

But unfortunately for me, it seems that at the relatively ripe old age of 19 I have developed a similar, yet very real, phobia. The phantom in question makes me cringe with uneasiness at the very mention of his name and sends chills down my spine.

I’m frightened of Karl Rove.

For those not in the know, Rove is the White House Deputy Chief of Staff and right-hand man to another ghastly, cringe-inspiring figure, President George W. Bush. Rove is often credited with manning the helm of W’s 2004 re-election campaign. A prominent member of the Elephant party since Richard Nixon’s Watergate scandal several decades ago, Rove often functions as a political consultant for numerous Republican candidates.

I suppose my admittedly partisan dread toward all things Karl Rove may have a thing or two to do with my leftist political beliefs. But in my mind, Rove is comparable to the man behind the curtain in the Wizard of Oz, standing silently behind the scenes and pulling many of the strings that make things happen. But unlike President Bush, Dick Cheney or even Condoleezza Rice, Rove’s role has largely been shrouded in secrecy, out of the glare of Capitol Hill’s spotlight.

But recently, Rove has found himself fodder for news outlets and political pundits as his often-controversial role in the Bush administration is regularly up for heated debate on editorial pages and among talking heads.

It appears the White House has its dirty fingerprints on a number of items of national interest (including a certain war in Iraq you may have heard about), and as Bush’s number one crony, Rove is in the midst of it all.

Now, in the Congressional probe into the mysterious firings of a handful of federal prosecutors, Rove is keeping mum.

Bush has invoked an executive privilege that Rove and others are citing as reason not to be forthcoming about any information they may have regarding the case. The whole situation brings to mind the time-tested cliche, “Those who have nothing to hide, hide nothing.”

CNN quoted Vermont Sen. Patrick Leahy as saying he believes the White House is protecting Rove from testifying before Congress to cover up his role in the firings. Political bickering aside, it is always disconcerting when a member of government refuses to be publicly accountable for his actions. Even if Rove is not an elected official, the substantial role he plays in the White House makes him answerable to Congress and the American public in general – executive privilege or not.

So what tantalizing information does Rove have on the lips he is keeping so tightly sealed? Perhaps we will never know.

If the unknown is what we fear the most, perhaps Rove is the boogieman of our day.