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November 11, 2005
He's Ba-aaaaack ....

SCENE 157. A graveyard at dusk.

Slo-mo with handheld. Howard DEAN walks through the gates of a cemetery, a handful of posies in his hand. He looks nervously to either side of the fog-shrouded graveyard, seeing no one. He continues until he stops at a headstone, where wreaths of fog clear away enough for the audience to read KARL ROVE, 1999-2005. Shaking his head, DEAN places the posies on the grave just in front of the headstone --


when a gray hand shoots out of the fresh earth and grips DEAN'S arm. A panicking DEAN cannot get any air to scream and cannot pull away. His efforts only seem to assist the corpse from its grave as more of the arm breaks clear of the surface. Just when it looks like the head must appear, DEAN finally screams --

SCENE 158: DEAN'S Bedroom.




What is it, Howard. Howard? HOWARD?

Camera pulls back as we see MRS DEAN shaking DEAN, who keeps repeating "Yeee-aaaaaaaargh!" as we ... FADE TO BLACK.

Unseen by the camera in this clip is the Anne Kornblut report on Karl Rove's appearance at the Federalist Society and his emergence back at the White House as political coordinator par excellence. Now appearing unhindered by any legal complications, Rove reportedly has dived back into GOP strategic planning at a time when the White House has never seemed more adrift:

Hunkered down for almost all of October while a grand jury considered his fate, Karl Rove has rebounded as a visible presence at the White House over the last two weeks, according to administration officials and Republican colleagues. He is running meetings and pursuing candidates for the 2006 elections - and, associates say, devising long-term political plans that suggest he does not believe he will face future legal trouble despite the C.I.A. leak investigation in which he has been involved. ...

"I've noticed a big difference," said one Republican in regular contact with Mr. Rove who declined to speak for attribution because the White House did not authorize it. "There's a spring in his step, more focus, more - something. Some sort of weight off his shoulders."

White House officials have insisted that the legal complications did not subtract from Mr. Rove's ability to do his job in recent weeks - disputing, among other things, that the botched response to Hurricane Katrina and the Harriet E. Miers nomination resulted from the political director's distractions. Nonetheless, Republican officials are now relieved to be able to demonstrate how engaged Mr. Rove is. Several have gone so far as to suggest that Mr. Rove's recovery is a harbinger of brighter days for the administration.

"I think he's focused on a lot of things - working to help people at the White House and talking to people on the Hill about the agenda next year, and he's certainly focused on the '06 elections," said Ken Mehlman, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, who filled in for Mr. Rove at the Oct. 15 event for Jerry Kilgore, Virginia's attorney general.

With the squishes in Congress abandoning ANWR and unable to pass even a slight spending restriction, as well as a White House which said, "Harriet Miers? Why not?", Rove's fully engaged presence has never been more valuable. Expect better times ahead? Perhaps, but at least we will see a better-organized response to adversity with Rove focused on his job. Second terms have always been rocky affairs for every president since Eisenhower, the last one to have a more or less free ride on the second pass. It takes talent and skill and a cohesive vision to get through it, and Rove brings all of that to the Bush administration.

I may not expect better times, but I do expect more Dean screams, and that will be enough for now.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 11, 2005 6:50 AM

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(Actually, I think their names are Dick and Karl, but at least he's listening to somebody smart again.) G W Bush, 11/11/2004:... One of the hallmarks of a free society and what makes our country strong is that our political [Read More]

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