Tuesday, August 14, 2007


And it's got me pretty excited, too. Rove, with his brutal, scorched-earth, take-no-prisoners style of politics has probably done more than any one individual in American history to destroy the public discourse on which democracy desperately depends. He's total scum. I'm glad he's out. But why's he going? He says he's leaving to spend more time with his family, but then that's what Jeff Skilling said, too, just a few weeks before Enron went belly-up.

What's the real reason?

Most people's first reaction, myself included, is spelled out in this Washington Post article, courtesy of

Democrats Continue to Seek Testimony From Rove

Rove's retirement announcement came 11 days after he refused to testify before the Judiciary Committee. While his actions figure in two other investigations on Capitol Hill, the Senate panel is the only committee that has subpoenaed Rove.

Aides to Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) said he is considering whether to assert that a White House claim of immunity is not valid, which could lead to a committee vote next month holding Rove in contempt of Congress.


Like Skilling and Enron, Rove may very well be getting out before the heat gets turned up, either to protect himself somehow, or to keep from further embarrassing the White House. And it may not even be about any looming disaster of which we are aware. Maybe some shit we've never even heard about is about to hit the fan.

Or maybe not.

Monday morning's
Democracy Now! offers a much more sober and rational understanding of Rove's skedaddle than any I've heard so far:

"The Media Dissector" Danny Schechter on Karl Rove's Resignation

I mean, this is rats deserting a ship. You know, the ship is sinking, clearly. His comment -- President Bush's comment the other day -- he doesn't speak English -- is indicative of an administration that doesn't know what it's doing or where it’s going. Bush's top adviser leaving is certainly not going to make it any easier for him. We're going to see more and more crises.

here to watch, listen to, or read the rest.

In other words, despite his undeniably effective campaign work, Rove's tenure in the White House, in terms of advancing successful policy, has been a spectacular failure. The best guess here is that he's expecting things to get even worse, and is getting the hell out before that happens, maybe salvaging his reputation, maybe ducking some hardcore mud.

Still, this abrupt departure fuels the conspiracy theorist in many, I'm sure. Like with this guy over at AlterNet:

Rove's off White House Payroll -- Will
That Free Him to Play Even Dirtier Tricks?

The smart money says Rove is quitting ahead of one or more indictments, and here's hoping. There is, however, precedent for speculating that he's not really "leaving" at all.

The precedent, as is so often in this administration, is Nixonian. In the Nixon Library's newly released tape of the President's phone conversations shortly before, on, and after Election Day 1972, the longest is Nixon and Chuck Colson riffing out their second term plans -- most especially for a new "information and counterattack capacity in the White House" that would be more durable, and better deniable, than the one that got them in trouble with Watergate.

The idea is for Charles Colson to leave the White House with great fanfare, as if riding off into the sunset after a job well done. He will establish a law firm that will actually be a political front working for Nixon: "I wouldn't call it 'Colson,' something like that," Nixon says; "I would just say, "Washington Associates," or something..a good, high-sounding name." It would serve as a base the usual Nixonian work of manipulating and intimidating the media; and, intriguingly, a new idea, establishing a new polling firm, scrubbed of its origins in the White House: "I mean, the point is, let's just get the polling done our way."

here for more.

As far as conspiracy theories go, this one isn't all that bad. I mean, the Nixon/Bush parallels have been just inescapable for years now, and Rove is probably the most Nixonian of the whole gang of thugs occupying the White House--okay, Cheney comes pretty close himself to being "most Nixonian," but Rove is supreme in terms of "dirty tricks," which is why I give the nod to him.

At any rate, even though Rove is going to be out of the spotlight for a while, his influence will most definitely be felt for years to come, as this New York Times hatchet piece, courtesy of AlterNet, observes:

Legacy Laden With Protégés

Whatever history makes of Karl Rove’s role in the White House, his legacy as a political strategist can be measured in a presidential campaign that has already begun without him. A look at the roster of every Republican presidential candidate finds people who have worked with him, and they have brought some of his methods to this race.

here for the rest.

I'm sure we'll know more about what's really going on here soon.