On The West Wing, when President Bartlet discovered there was a leaker among his staff, he found out who it was, called him on the carpet and had him physically removed from the White House. It was great television, but it was also great leadership and great government.
What does President Bush do when he finds out there's a leak in the White House? If we take him at his word, he works side-by-side with the man who did the leaking for two years, never once asking him if he did it, never discussing it with him, and continues to do so to this day.
Of course, I don't take him at his word. I think that's ludicrous. At some point in two years Bush turns to Rove and says something like, "Did you do this?"
If Rove said, "No!" then Bush would have fired him when it came out that was a lie, right?
So clearly, Rove said something like "Yes" or "Trust me, you don't want me to answer that question" or "Jesus, George, you were there, don't you remember?"
Which means Bush has been covering for Rove since that day. Which makes Bush guilty of quite a few crimes himself.
Of course, it's possible that Bush didn't ask Rove if he did it, just as he didn't know where Harriet Miers stood on abortion. Consider the following:
October 4, Rose Garden Press Conference
THE PRESIDENT: I have no litmus test. It's also something I've consistently said: There is not [sic] litmus test. What matters to me is her judicial philosophy; what does she believe the role -- the proper role of the judiciary is, relative to the legislative and the executive branch. And she'll be asked all kinds of questions up there, but the most important thing for me is what kind of judge will she be? And so there's no litmus tests.
Q Sir, you've already said there was no litmus test --
THE PRESIDENT: Correct. And I'll say it again: There is no litmus test.
Q But she is not someone you interviewed for the job that you didn't know. You've known her a long time. Have you never discussed abortion with her?
THE PRESIDENT: In my interviews with any judge, I never ask their personal opinion on the subject of abortion.
Q In your friendship with her, you've never discussed abortion?
THE PRESIDENT: Not to my recollection have I ever sat down with her -- what I have done is understand the type of person she is and the type of judge she will be.
October 12, Focus on the Family Chairman James C. Dobson Radio Program
Karl Rove had shared with me her judicial philosophy which was consistent with the promises that President Bush had made when he was campaigning....Karl had told me something that I probably shouldn't know. And you know, it really wasnt all that tantalizing, but I still couldn't talk about it. And what I was referring to is the fact that on Saturday, the day before the President made his decision, I knew that Harrier [sic] Miers was at the top of the short list of names under consideration. And as you know, that information hadnt been released yet, and everyone in Washington and many people around the country wanted to know about it and the fact that he had shared with me is not something I wanted to reveal...
What did Karl Rove say to me that I knew on Monday that I couldnt reveal? Well, its what we all know now, that Harriet Miers is an Evangelical Christian, that she is from a very conservative church, which is almost universally pro-life, that she had taken on the American Bar Association on the issue of abortion and fought for a policy that would not be supportive of abortion, that she had been a member of the Texas Right to Life. In other words, there is a characterization of her that was given to me before the President had actually made this decision. I could not talk about that on Monday. I couldnt talk about it on Tuesday. In fact, Brit Hume said, What church does she go to? And I said, I dont think its up to me to reveal that. Do you remember my saying that?
October 18, Scott McClellan Press Briefing
McCLELLAN: During the vetting process, the President was informed of the views she had expressed as a candidate for public office back in the late 80s. He did not discuss with her or anyone else whether or not those were still her views because he believes there should be no litmus test, and that the views of a nominee on such a topic should not play a role in how he or she would decide a case as a judge.
The President does not discuss with a potential nominee his or her views on specific issues that could come before the court. He does make sure they are committed to strictly interpreting our Constitution and laws, not imposing their personal views or legislating from the bench.
So, Rove knew that Miers was anti-abortion, and he told Bush, who had never discussed it with her himself, and Rove called Dobson to reassure him that she still felt that way, but didn't tell Bush because Bush wouldn't want to know how she feels now, and Rove knew he was the leak, but didn't tell Bush, who didn't ask him because he didn't want to know because he wanted to be able to say he didn't know.
And that, believe it or not, is their version of what happened!
Bartlet for President.