Only about 50 people showed up at Rove's book signing, according to The Birmingham News, with protesters almost outnumbering book buyers. Maybe people are wising up, even in Alabama.
Glynn Wilson, of the Locust Fork News-Journal, says the News was being generous to Rove. Wilson said only about 20 people showed up for the book signing. And one of those was federal appellate judge William Pryor, long a Rove/Bush ally.
Wilson has an excellent first-person account, featuring plenty of photos. Writes Wilson:
The most prominent person to show up for a signed copy was none other than William "Bill" Pryor, the former Alabama attorney general who first started trying to investigate then-Governor Don Siegelman in 1998.
As a political payoff, Bush appointed Pryor to a judgeship on the Eleventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta in 2004 while Congress was in recess, although he was later confirmed by the Senate after a deal was negotiated by Senator John McCain's "Gang of 14."
Yes, that's the same Bill Pryor Rove tried to deny knowing before the House Judiciary Committee, although Rove's political consulting company ran his campaign for attorney general in 1998. When Pryor walked up and Rove saw him, he smiled real big and said, "Hey, Bud!"
Rove appeared on private property at two locations--a shopping-mall bookstore and a snazzy dining club--so it's hard to know how much protesters' voices were heard. But two prominent Alabama progressives, both targets of the Bush administration, made sure their voices were heard in the hours leading up to Rove's stop in Birmingham.
Former Democratic Governor Don Siegelman and former GOP operative Jill Simpson spoke out about the irony of Courage and Consequence, the title of Rove's new book. In a report by Andrew Kreig at OpEd News, Siegelman and Simpson say Rove is low on "courage"--and he has not been forced to face the "consequences" for his unlawful actions. Reports Kreig:
"Rove is a pathological liar," Siegelman wrote me in response to Rove's denial that he helped frame Siegelman on federal corruption charges in 2006. Siegelman, Simpson and others have cited evidence that the White House ruined Siegelman's re-election campaign as part of a nationwide plan to rely on what a DOJ chief of staff in 2005 called "loyal Bushies" as prosecutors.
Siegelman was tough also on watchdog institutions.
"By failing to investigate Karl Rove's subversion of our constitutional rights, abuse of power and the use of the DOJ as a political weapon," he wrote, "Congress and the mainstream media will be held in contempt by history."
Rove denies in Courage that he had anything to do with Siegelman's prosecution on corruption problems. And he denies that he or other leading Republicans even knew Simpson, who became a key whistleblower in the case. Simpson has a ready reply for that one:
In response to Rove's claims, Simpson disclosed for the first time publicly that her late father and sister met both future Bush presidents in Texas beginning three decades ago. She said her sister worked at a Bush-affiliated bank in Texas on investor relations involving the oil business.
Simpson says her father occasionally met members of the Bush family on business dealings related to oil leases for his accounting clients, and she showed me photos illustrating that she and her son were invited to the White House in 2001.
"Karl Rove knows perfectly well what the truth is," says Simpson. An attorney, Simpson points out that a Democratic staffer cut her off during her 2007 House Judiciary Committee closed-door testimony when she started to respond to a question about her political experience by mentioning her family's connections to the Bush family. "It's right there in the transcript," she says, noting the bottom of page seven.
Simpson goes on to discuss the personal price she has paid for speaking out about Rove and his Alabama cohorts, led by Bill Canary, president of the Business Council of Alabama and husband of Siegelman prosecutor Leura Canary. Reports Kreig:
Simpson says she's received more than 100 requests for TV interviews but has granted only three: To CBS immediately after her closed-door congressional testimony so that public could see something tangible, and to MSNBC five months later on Feb. 25 after CBS sat on the footage until the day before the MSNBC program. The other was to a local reporter who spotted her at a meeting and put a microphone in front of her.
This rings true. Last June, she drove from Alabama to Washington to watch a path-breaking conference that I organized at the National Press Club to focus on prosecutorial abuse in political cases. But she declined my invitation to speak to the nationwide audience on C-SPAN.