I must confess to being at a loss over the whole Valerie Plame leak affair, which strikes me as mostly a political battleground between the two parties, so I have not really tried to figure it out.
However, one thing struck me reading a story about it the other day: The only thing that was clear to me was that folks on the left seem to envision an ultimate goal of bringing down either Karl Rove or Dick Cheney. From a short-term political standpoint, I suppose this might be satisfying. From a longer-term view, say out to 2008, it seems stupid to me.
Let's take Karl Rove first. I have to take the left's word for it that he is an evil political genius. But if so, why would you want the guy out on the street. Right now he is wasting his talents on a lame-duck president who can't run in 2008, and neither can his VP. Why do you want to put this powerful piece of electioneering artillery out on the street, available to a Republican candidate several years in advance of 2008?
The backfire from bringing down Cheney seems even worse. As I pointed out a year ago, 2008 will be the first election in 50+ years where there is no incumbent VP or president running for either party. There is nothing Republicans would love to do more than have a VP spot they could fill with a 2008 candidate. The GOP Party apparatus would love it, because both Parties secretly long for a return to the day of smoke-filled rooms (rather than primaries) for selecting their candidates, and this would give Party leaders more control of the outcome. There is nothing either party hates more than having Iowa select its candidates from an open slate - being able to choose a new VP would allow the GOP to effectively choose a front-runner. The GOP would benefit no matter who is put in the position, because the suddenly have an incumbent running, with the advantages of being an incumbent, in 2008. Does anyone doubt that the VP would suddenly get extra visibility over the next few years, as Clinton did for Gore? Finally, Bush would love it, because it would give him another Miers-type opportunity to reward a friend (or crony, as your perspective may dictate) such as Condoleeza Rice.