Monday, August 13, 2007

Karl Rove is resigning

Karl Rove told Paul Gigot that he will return to Texas as of August 31. He says that he was going to resign earlier but stayed on for the fights over the Iraq surge and immigration.

This will be a bombshell fo those who hate and those who like this president since Rove has been by his side throughout his political career and was both the strategist and tactician who engineered the 2000 and 2004 election victories. As such he's been demonized into this satanic figure who uses some special dark powers to win elections. That has always been ridiculous. (If you are interested in why Rove has been such a skilled political operator, read The Way to Win by Mark Halperin and John Harris. They do a good job of de-mythologizing Rove's contributions.)

Rove maintains that he will be out of politics for now. It might be that his very name is such political dynamite that no candidate would risk taking him on in this environment or he'd be termed just a Bush clone. That's a shame since the man has undoubted political skills that would be valuable. However, even without the various scandals that have touched or been propagated by his enemies to try to touch him, recent years have cast doubt on his political finesse. I don't know if he could have done anything to stave off the 2006 results - he blames the election on corruption, but spending as well as Iraq undoubtedly played a role. He might not have been able to do anything about the situation in Iraq from his position as political advisor, but he should have been able to advise the President on the need to regain the Republican image as fighting spending and government waste. And the immigration issue showed that he totally misunderstood the public's need to see the border tightened up before tackling a comprehensive immigration plan.

Rove says he has no plans other than writing a book. It's hard to see someone who has breathed politics so intensely for all his life just kicking back and working on his memoirs or teaching a course at the local university. Boy, can you imagine the student protests his hiring would engender? The man is just 56 (and, at five years his junior, that doesn't seem the age of retirement just yet to me). Maybe he'll rebuild his state level campaign business.

I feel safe with one prediction. He won't, like Dick Morris, make a career of bashing his former employer in books and TV.