Karl Rove resigns
What are the true reasons of him stepping out of the White House?
On August 14, another controversial happening marked the Bush era, which already nears its end. Karl Rove, called by many Bush’s “brain,” the man behind almost every good and bad deed (more bad than good, actually) in Bush’s administration, from the Iraq war to the Plame affair, announced that he is leaving the White House “for the sake of his family.”
But the truth is that even though his family might actually miss him, it’s really hard to believe that the reason behind his resignation is to sit at the family table at six for dinner every day. Rove has been under deep political scrutiny for a while (especially after the Plame affair), and as he steps out of the Office of Strategic Initiatives, he faces suspicion from democrats, republicans and the people in general, while being investigated for violating the Presidential Records Act (or the email scandal), firing US attorneys for political reasons and illegally campaigning within Governmental offices to have their employees carry the republican flag and help the party.
He is also suspected of having set up a political trial for former Democrat Governor of Alabama Don Spiegelman, who was convicted of bribery, among other accusations. Coincidentally, Spiegelman was considered Republican candidate Bob Riley’s main adversary on the last governmental elections.
So, considering that President Bush is facing a particularly grim moment in his term and that there’s really nothing he could do right now to recover his reputation in little more than a year, leaving office is not much of a bad decision for Rove, as it’s not much of a shock for the Bush administration or Bush’s decision-making process. He could be Bush’s brain, but his leave doesn’t mean the White House will simply stop “thinking,” or working.
As of now, Rove plans to go back to Texas, stay out of politics and maybe write a book. But that’s also hard to believe. After all, it’s hard to measure the true distance between these key players in the Bush administration and the White House, especially after they leave. Donald Rumsfeld and Condolezza Rice, for example, can be said to have fallen basically as escape goats for the Iraqi failure – but not Rove. His scope within the Bush administration is much bigger than that, so was his influence, as he was associated with all spheres of Bush’s decision-making routine. Rice, for example, was never really associated with the Iraq agenda, while Rumsfeld wasn’t that influent on other spheres of the Government outside the Iraqi campaign.
Meanwhile, the judicial moves against Rove are still on. The “architect,” as he is called by the president, has managed to escape several subpoenas and hearings by using his executive privilege, but investigations haven’t stopped. The problem is that, as usual with such high-profile cases, the political aspect of it is vital for its success. That is, these accusations need to keep their political value so that attorneys and politicians keep caring about them, since an eventual conviction would take a heavy toll on the administration.
But as Rove leaves office and politics (for now), the importance of these investigations, in the political spectrum, diminishes drastically – Rove just isn’t the big fish anymore.
And he’s definitely counting on this to have the political pressure on him reduced, and face a lighter justice as the political ammunition aimed at him is spent with someone more important and still in the White House.
The Democrats, though, are not willing to give Rove this benefit. The judiciary committees of both the House and the Senate, offices now dominated by democrats, have vowed to keep the pursuit on Rove. As John Conyers, head of the House judicial committee, said, “the need for Karl Rove to explain his role in the firing of the US attorneys does not diminish when he leaves the White House.'' However, Rove claims his executive privilege even as he leaves the White House, based on the fact that, at the time of the events that led to the investigations and the subpoenas, he was a member of the Bush administration and had such privilege. He defended himself by saying: "Anybody who suggests the investigations had something to do with getting me out is putting Congress in the position of being the rooster that believes that crowing loudly brings the sun to come up," he said.
Even though leaving office on the wake of being brought to court sounds enticing enough, the reason behind Rove’s leave might be yet another one, less incriminating but still too controversial for him to admit it: Maybe he just doesn’t want to be associated with Bush anymore. After all, as the Bush era nears its end, it gets clearer that the president has become nothing more than a bad example, and that his career as a top politician (the kind that runs for president, for example) needs a miracle. Rove, in turn, still has a career ahead of him; so it just might be that he wants to be remembered as “the architect” and not “Bush’s architect.”
The Bush years were more than good for him, in terms of advertising his name as a genius strategist who knows where to focus his campaigns and how to build a larger-than-life personality for his candidates, one that outweighs their political skills and turns them into a sort of myth, strengthened by the polarization of voters, something that Rove also proved to master. But he, just like other key members of Bush’s entourage, couldn’t afford to let himself become closely associated with Bush’s name (as Dick Cheney is, for example) and sink with him. That’s what may have motivated Colin Powell and Condolezza Rice, for example, to step out – and the fact that their political careers were not affected in a major way may have influenced Rove to do the same. By leaving the (sinking) ship early enough, Rove saves his reputation and gets further away from Bush, paving the way for future campaigns with other candidates.
Now, what is left for the media and the voters is to wonder who will become the next Karl Rove next year. The pool of candidates is composed by David Axelrod, Barack Obama’s right-hand man, Patti Solis Doyle on Hilary Clinton’s side, Tony Carbonetti, top adviser for Rudolph Giuliani and Rick Davis representing John McCain. Surprisingly, it seems that the advisor who’s closer to Rove on her way of handling politics is Clinton’s aide, Patti Doyle. Former White House communications director Nicole Wallace said it herself: "She has almost operationalized the whole idea of turning your weakness into strength, message discipline that is almost pathological -- she does not get off message for any reason -- and never skipping an opportunity to exploit her opponent's weaknesses."
Coincidence or not, Hilary has been rising consistently on polls, threatening Obama’s post as the main democrat in the race, as she beats John McCain by 3 percent and ties (technically) with Giuliani and Fred Thompson. Obama still leads the way, as he easily beats McCain and Thompson (the first by 6 percent and the second by 7) and ties (also technically) with Giuliani. But as the Republican party collects defeats (ties, at best) with all possible candidates, it should consider hiring someone more like Rove… and it must be really sorry that the architect doesn’t want to get involved with next year’s bout.
Politics. Karl Rove