Pilfered Political Playbooks

Posted: Apr 07, 2007 12:00 AM
Pilfered Political Playbooks

Earlier this year, the revelation of campaign strategy memos two Republican camps caused a media uproar. The year is still young, but the epidemic of purloined opposition documents continues to spread. And this time, it's not through loss or theft, but thanks subpoenas served up fresh by Rep. Henry Waxman's House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Before Democrats get busy undoing the last six years of the Bush Administration, they must first investigate it. Every bit of it. We have House committees defending the honor of one Valerie Plame – even after a D.C. jury effectively ended the matter by convicting Scooter Libby. Left-wing wish fulfillment runs so deep in the cavernous hearing rooms of the Rayburn Building that I'm having trouble just keeping all the investigations straight.

For six years, the Left has wanted nothing more than to get into Karl Rove's head, to learn the secrets of the dark master and anticipate his every move.

Even after their victory last fall, Democrats haven't come up with a master strategist to match. But Waxman has stumbled upon a convenient way to steal the GOP playbook – subpoena it.

In just the last few weeks, Waxman has requested the e-mails of the Republican National Committee. He has discovered that political appointees occasionally talk to political appointees about politics, uncovering a White House PowerPoint delivered to political appointees at the General Services Administration with tantalizing headlines like "2008 House GOP Defense" and "Battle for the Senate, 2008."

What is the underlying offense that led to these shocking revelations? Apparently, it's the fact that the White House doesn't much like the Pelosi-Murtha-Waxman Congress, and would like to see it replaced in 2008. Opposing the Democrat Congress and wanting it replaced with a Republican one is now grounds for investigation.

When Republicans lorded over all three branches of Government with supposedly unchecked power, there must have been some attempt to crack into Democrat election strategy, or to make the Democratic National Committee and the Kerry 2004 campaign surrender all its internal communications relating to, say, voter fraud. Right?


Could you imagine the outcry had the White House ever done anything of the kind? The headlines would have been damning and swift, filled with words like "intimidation", "crushing dissent", "silencing the opposition" and the like. It would have made the current U.S. Attorneys maelstrom look like a tea party.

All of this is being done under the guise of investigating the "politicization" of the Federal Government – even though no civil servants were involved and great care was taken to separate the official from the political. Indeed, the protective measures taken (like moving emails used for political activity off-site) are themselves now the object of investigation.

The White House and Congress are political entities, filled with political people. As we speak, people from the House Speaker's office are coordinating their message with people from the Democrat Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) and the DNC – on the taxpayer's dime, using their government e-mail accounts and offices.

That is perfectly ethical and proper. And I don't see anyone investigating it, not should they.

The bigger issue is that the U.S. Congress is now in the business of investigating political opposition to itself. I won't throw around the word "Stalinist" here, but this most definitely doesn't sound like America.

With troops fighting overseas, the focus on investigations rather than leadership seems not a little bit misplaced. Dead issues aren't exempt from the dragnet, from Valerie Plame to the 2006 elections, both of which ended in victories for the Democrats if I recall correctly.

Add to this an entirely new dimension of using Congress to investigate the political opposition and dig up Republican strategy memos and e-mails. Make no mistake: none of this is being done simply to give the White House a headache, but to gain access to the playbook and targeting plans (such as they are right now) that will be used to remove Democrats from power.

As a substantive matter, what the White House did is a yawner. I'm shocked (shocked!) that there is politics going on this establishment.

The ultimate issue is that opposing the Democrat Congress is now enough to get you brought in for questioning. You'd better watch out before putting that Republican yard sign in your lawn, lest you be dragged before Henry Waxman's committee.