Monday, August 13, 2007


The thing that makes a boomerang distinctive, aside from its shape, is its unique function: to be thrown out and, because of the aerodynamics of said shape, eventually return to its point of origin.

But there's another application of the boomerang: you can toss it in a direction far from its intented target, and it will circle around and clop them from behind when they're least expecting it.

It is that second application that I think best applies to the announcement by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl "The Great" Rove that he is stepping down at the end of this month:

Mr. Rove, who has held a senior post in the White House since President Bush took office in January 2001, told Mr. Gigot he first floated the idea of leaving a year ago. But he delayed his departure as, first, Democrats took Congress, and then as the White House tackled debates on immigration and Iraq, he said. He said he decided to leave after White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten told senior aides that if they stayed past Labor Day they would be obliged to remain through the end of the president's term in January 2009.

"I just think it's time," Mr. Rove said in the interview. "There's always something that can keep you here, and as much as I'd like to be here, I've got to do this for the sake of my family." Mr. Rove and his wife have a home in Ingram, Texas, and a son who attends college in nearby San Antonio. ...
First things first: I agree with the Admiral that Rove's "I want to spend more time with my family" assertion is not the standard pink slip fig leaf. President Bush is all about loyalty, and Rove has been with him from his first run for governor of Texas. If he hasn't thrown Alberto Gonzales under the Donk bus over a few months of smears and harassment over the U.S. attorney firing non-scandal, what would make anybody believe he'd heave Karl The Great overboard after six-plus YEARS of savaging? To say nothing of why Dubya would have waited until now to do it.

That timing is awfully intriguing. Clearly at this late date of the Bush presidency there's not a whole lot more for a virtuoso strategist like Rove to do. The illegal immigration "shamnesty" was the White House's last big domestic policy hurrah; Bush can't run for a third term. Other than trying to keep the Democrats from pulling the war plug, the Bushies are pretty much in "garbage time" playing out the string. Dubya certainly doesn't need Rove to stick around for that.

But look forward, as Double-H is and fully believes Karl The Great is doing as well, and the view becomes very appetite-whetting indeed:

Democrats have to be worried that when Karl Rive exits the White House in August, he'll take a month off and end up at the virtual elbow of Mayor Giuliani, Governor Romney, or Senator Thompson. They should be worried. Of course that's what he (and Ken Mehlman) will be doing. All-stars whose franchise can't play for the title often show up in the heat of the hunt. Politics is like sports in many ways. And Rove is the Tiger Woods of politics. (That would almost make Bob Shrum Greg Norman, but Norman won two majors. I need a better analogy for Shrum.)

Rove is five for six in the big elections he has skippered, and despite more attacks than any presidential aide in history, he is strolling out of the White House with a smile on his face and the admiration of nearly everyone in the GOP. If he gets bored, there will be pleny of opportunities for him to return to the thing he does best - beating Democrats in November. When he does return, Dems will panic again....

Whether it is Rudy, Romney or Thompson, the GOP's standard-bearer would be crazy not to consult with Rove between now and the showdown with Hillary. And Rove's calls to the president aren't going to end. The Dems were going to worry about October surprises anyway, now they have another bit of their paranoid theory of politics in place: The Rove Go-Between.
Think this through. Rove takes six months off to write his memoirs, unwind, and otherwise get away from it all. That would bring us to when? The end of Feburary 2008, or right before Super Tuesday. If the Republican nominee isn't already determined by that point, he soon will be. Rumors start flying around about "conversations between Karl Rove and [Fred's/Mitt's/Rudy's] people". Paranoia about a Rove comeback runs rampant on the Left. Then, maybe right before the GOP convention, Fred/Mitt/Rudy announces his running mate: Karl Rove!

Or maybe he just announces that Rove will run the general campaign. Or that Rove will be "consulting". Or maybe he doesn't tap Rove at all. But even then the Bushophobia of the fever swamps will keep the spectre of Karl The Great hovering vaporously over the 2008 race, not unlike the pall Bill Clinton will cast on the other side.

And if our nominee DOES bring Rove in in some capacity...well, it IS all about winning, and the Republicans haven't had a hardball-playing svengali of his calibre since Lee Atwater died. Given the desperate, uphill struggle it will take to keep the reins of power out of Hillary Clinton's hooves, Fred/Mitt/Rudy would be negligent to not utilize every resource possible. How much moreso to neglect the best?

UPDATE: NRO has lots more here, here, and here, and Brother Meringoff weighs in here. Common thread? Rove did the best anybody could have with the cards he had to play. He wasn't a miracle-worker but was an ass-kicker willing to slug it out with the Donks, and most of the time he triumphed. Which is why the Dems hated him so much - they want their 'Pubbies nice and quiet and docile and deferential, like in the pre-Goldwater/Reagan/Gingrich days when the GOP didn't actually try to win national elections and take power away from them.

The Dems want all Republicans to be RINOs. "The Architect" didn't fit the description. If Pachyderms want to get back the power they lost a year ago, they'll follow his example.