Dance in the streets!! Toast your neighbor!! Use exclamation marks with reckless abandon!! Seven years of ire and whining directed at Karl Rove finally paid off today as Bush's top political aide--the man credited as the brain behind every Republican victory in the past seven years (and blamed for the notable rout in the 2006 mid-term election)--announced his resignation at the end of the month. A favorite target of bloggers and liberal media outlets, "The Phoenix" contributed its share of anti-Rove sentiments over the years with dozens of articles paying tribute to the ruthless mind of the "Boy Genius" and "The Architect" as Bush has ordained him. In March, "The Phoenix" indicted Rove for choreographing the firing of eight U.S. attorneys for seemingly partisan reasons in "Rove's Footprints." And "Phoenix" political writer Adam Reilly expressed grudging admiration (the sort only expressed toward evil nemesis) of Rove here.
As for the impetus behind Rove's resignation, he told The Wall Street Journal that he wanted to spend more time with his family: "As much as I'd like to be here [the White House], I've got to do this for the sake of my family." He claimed that he has contemplated leaving for over a year and this decision is completely unrelated to the attorney firing scandal currently embroiling him. "I'm not going to stay or leave based on whether it pleases the mob," he added.
Rove's denial of the scandal's impact in his decision is more than a little questionable. As the pressure continues to mount against the previously invincible Wormtongue character, he likely opted to step down under his own terms rather than risk a less dignified removal. I expect the investigation will continue, but only half-heartedly, since Rove ousted himself and will still enjoy a degree of executive privilege protection from Bush and the White House.
Rove's optimism and ability to deny the elephant in the room even while it was standing on his feet was remarkable over the past seven years. In "The Wall Street Journal" interview, he declared that conditions in Iraq would improve, predicted Bush's approval ratings would recover and remained confident that Republicans will retain the White House in 2008. He also launched a parting shot at Hillary Clinton, whom he expects to win the Democratic primary, describing her as "a tough, tenacious, fatally flawed candidate."
For wielding influential clout as an advisor, Rove stands unmatched in American history, and his departure leaves a gaping hole unlikely to be filled in the next 15 months. Where will political bloggers aim our smarmy comments now? He will be missed, if only because of the tiresomeness of Cheney jokes and the difficulty in excerpting material from Bush that elicits more than a shake of the head and an imploring look at the calendar.
But before waxing sentimental about the "Rove Years," watch this video of Karl dancing and rapping as "MC Rove" at the Radio-Television Correspondents' Association Dinner. Then remember why we we're thrilled that he's back in Texas where his damage will be limited to the shrewd strategy guide he bequeathes to the GOP and to the book he plans to write about his years in the White House with "the Boss."--David Mashburn