Tuesday, August 14, 2007 at 10:36 AM
But as you hear talking heads either fawning over or fulminating against what Rove did for (or to) America, be mindful that the truth about his record of public service lies somewhere in between…good and bad.
After all, he deserves credit for accomplishing the extraordinary architectural feat of building fellow Texan George W Bush up from a prodigal drunk into a two-term governor of their home state and a two-term president of the United States.
Yet he deserves criticism for promising to position the Republican Party to rule America for generations to come, but succeeded only in orchestrating its historic demise – with Republicans having lost both houses of Congress and now doing all they can to disassociate themselves from their de facto leader, the lame duck and contagiously-unpopular President Bush.
Moreover, to the extent it will even be recorded, history will not be kind to Rove’s legacy as Bush’s chief policy advisor. Because it will be distinguished by his failures on immigration reform, social security reform, the mother of all failures, the selling of the Iraq war.
But Rove probably deserves a little pity for becoming a victim of the unseemly bipartisan sport of criminalizing political gamesmanship. Because, even though a special prosecutor could not even indict (let alone convict) him for any wrongdoing, he has been tarred and feathered for allegedly leaking the name of CIA agent Valerie Plame to discredit her husband and participating in a conspiracy to fire eight US attorneys who refused to carry out orders from the White House to prosecute political rivals.
(Alas, lingering suspicions about these firings have left Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, the last surviving member of the Texas posse that rode into Washington in 2001, now serving as little more than Bush’s political foil or, more precisely, the Democrats’ political piñata.)
But, despite all of the Sturm und Drang about his resignation, which takes effect on 31 August, the premature epitaph I wrote on his political career two years ago holds true today:
…predictions that the indictment [i.e. loss] of Karl Rove will plunge Bush’s presidency into complete disarray and fecklessness are not only exaggerated, but also belated. Moreover, like countless others before him, Rove will soon be relegated to the dustbin of Washington history.
Therefore, take everything you hear about Rove over the next few days with a grain of salt – especially unsustainable threats by Democrats to compel him, under subpoena, to spill the beans about his political shenanigans at the White House.
Although, I was genuinely touched by the public display of affection Bush and Rove demonstrated towards each other today as they said their public goodbyes….
NOTE: No doubt all of the swooning about Rove’s brilliance (eg. “he’s a voracious reader” “an autodidact”) is a patently-gratuitous attempt to compensate for the fact that he’s a college drop-out. But who cares?! So is Bill Gates, for chrissake!