Endangered species: Karl Rove shares a photo-op embrace with the Bushes yesterday before heading to Texas to shoot some animals with his shotgun, which I've graciously placed in his hand.
Karl Rove's not really changing jobs. Instead of mowing down doves from the White House with his BlackBerry, he'll be killing doves in the Texas countryside with his $2,073 Beretta Silver Pigeon II Over-and-Under 20-gauge shotgun.
The gun (shown above) was a gift, according to Rove's 2005 financial disclosure report, from a small group of people including lobbyist Katharine Armstrong, owner of the property on which Dick Cheney blasted one of his own cronies in early 2006.
The gun-totin' Rove got his start in national politics by devising "Generation of Peace" bumper stickers for Richard Nixon in the 1972 campaign — in the middle of the Vietnam debacle. He still believes in peace, sort of. Now that he's out of the White House, you won't see him pack up his shotgun and head to Iraq.
No, he's going to Texas, where the animals are unarmed.
To get the full flavor of Rove's blood lust, go back to his February 17, 2005, speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference. The speech was covered, but the transcript is no longer freely available. I did, however, save a copy of it. Introduced by National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre, Rove told the crowd:
It is great to be introduced by Wayne. He has done so much to protect the constitutional rights of the American people for so long, and he is a great man.
You may also not know this. Wayne has a caring, generous, compassionate heart. He invited me originally to speak tomorrow, and I said — I accepted. And then I had something come up, and I called him up and I said, "I've got an important seminar that I need to go to; is there any chance that I could speak on Thursday?"
And he said, "Sure, what's the seminar you're going to?"
And I said, "It's a seminar on the practical application of essential protections of the Bill of Rights and their impact on the happiness of organized family activity."
He said, "You're taking your boy hunting, isn't that right?"
I said, "Yes, sir, I am."
So tomorrow I'll be in Kennedy County, Texas, hunting the wily South Texas quail with my 20-gauge over-and-under Silver Pigeon Beretta. I'd invite you to join me but there aren't enough birds for the two of us.
God, the guy just loves the Constitution, doesn't he?
Rove's forced exit from the White House — don't think for a minute that it was anything but that — is so mordantly funny that it even evoked a sense of humor from the hardliners at PETA.
As the Washington Post's Mary Ann Akers reports this morning, PETA president Ingrid Newkirk fired off a letter to Rove after learning that he planned to go dove hunting over the Labor Day weekend. Akers tells the rest of the story:
"Dear Mr. Rove," began the letter from President Ingrid E. Newkirk. "From your frequent hunting trips to your bizarre little rap
at the Radio and Television Correspondents' Association dinner ("I like to go home, get a drink, and tear the tops off of small animals"), it is clear that you lack the ability to empathize with other living beings. You consistently prove that you care less about animal welfare than Alberto Gonzales
cares about habeas corpus."
And if that isn't enough to make you think Ingrid needs to spend some time in anger management, wait 'til you hear the rest.
Newkirk notes that the first thing Rove plans to do upon leaving the White House at the end of his month is "go dove hunting, i.e., kill little birds who are the international symbol of peace. You will leave politics to spend more time with your family only to destroy the families of other species."
Her last line could well set off alarm bells at the Secret Service: "I have just one suggestion: Please take Dick Cheney along on your hunting trips."
And plenty of beer and bourbon.