About 50 protesters gathered outside the event, a small but respectable showing for an urban area that produced the largest antiwar demonstration in the world in March, 2006—though much smaller demonstrations in places like New York and Rome received far more media attention.
One of the demonstrators said: "We wanted to make sure Mr. Rove had a proper Northwest greeting." And so he did. No arrests were reported.
About 200 Republican attended, paying the relatively modest sum of $40-60 for finger food and the chance to hear a relentlessly upbeat speech in which Rove predicted that his party would get up "off the mat" and win the election in 2008. He declined to answer questions from the media about the mysterious disappearance of four years' worth of his emails .
One question: how could the Washington County Republicans make any money from this appearance? The event raised a mere $10,000, which is presumably far less than the cost of delivering Mr. Rove to PDX and paying his expenses. Maybe the party is willing to take a financial hit in order to rally the GOP loyalists in Oregon's second largest county, which has been tilting toward Democrats lately.
Meanwhile, the lost Rove emails are certain to be a topic of some interest when Attorney General Gonzales testifies before the Senate Judiciary Cmmittee next Tuesday. Some of those emails might be relevant to the investigation of last fall's purge of eight U.S. Attorneys, and a 1978 law requires the White House "to keep documents that relate to presidential actions, decisions and deliberations." Rove has dodged the bullet, so far, in the Valerie Plame/Scooter Libby and other investigations, but maybe his Teflon armor is finally wearing thin.
If they can "lose" thousands of emails that they're required to preserve, you have to wonder how scrupulous Rove and the White House staff have been in making sure that taxpayer money isn't used for partisan junkets like the one to Oregon.
Meanwhile, the administration gave Congress another 2,400 pages of requested information on Friday, including documents showing that the purged USA's were evaluated on political grounds. For example, one spreadsheet assessed their "political activism" and whether they were members of the right-wing Federalist Society (see the footnote on this subject in our posting for April 9th).
As for Gonzales, you can stick a fork in him—he's done.
For earlier postings on the Justice Department scandals, visit here and here and here.
PHOTO: Rove and his boss in happier times for the GOP.
[For a truly disturbing video (on many levels) of Rove at play, take a look at his performance during this year's Radio-Television Correspondents' Association dinner.]