Third Party & Independents Archives

August 13, 2007

Rove Signals End of Bush Presidency

Karl Rove’s resignation signals the lamest of lame duck presidents in many, many decades. President Bush’s presidency is dead. Having followed Rove’s divisive tactics, the President must now serve out his time without even the support of a huge part of his own party base. Farewell to dreams of a positive legacy.

Karl Rove, helped Gov. Bush get elected with the campaign promise to be a "Uniter, not a divider". But, after 9/11, Rove's advice to the President on both politics and policy was to divide the electorate. His advice even devolved to advising Bush to divide their own party's constituents on the Immigration Bill in order to get it passed. It failed, miserably. And therein lies the downfall of Rove's Republican Party.

Dividing and conquering can be an effective strategy for the politics of elections. But, it is doomed to fail if applied to governance in a multi party democratic form of government. President Bush now resides over a divided Republican Party and a divided country. President Bush has no hope of moving any part of his agenda forward, precisely because there is no solid coalition amongst the people or the Congress, nor even amongst Republicans now distancing themselves from their having supported this Presidency. All thanks to Rove's divide and conquer strategic and tactical advice to the President.

The Architect of the plan to create an enduring one party Republican regime, died with the Immigration Bill he advised the President to back in Congress. Pres. Bush had other nicknames for Rove, some which are not printable for G rated audiences. And that too, speaks to the character of this President and his Chief adviser on political and policy issues. Rove's brilliance lied in his ability to divide and elect. His blind spot, and the President's, was a failure to recognize that effective governance in a democracy requires unity of consensus.

Karl Rove was asked to leave, or volunteered to leave, as a result of the Republican Congressional leadership forcing light on Rove's blind spot to good governance, which has so divided the nation, and the Republican Party. The sinking of John McCain in the polls after hitching his election bid to Bush's and Rove's Immigration and Iraq War policy, was a foreshadowing of what was to become of the rest of Bush's lame duck presidency.

Karl Rove blundered immensely with his involvement in the firing of U.S. Attorneys which once learned of, smacked of political motivation for the firings, and political interference with the U.S. Justice Department, a fundamental bedrock of American Constitutional Rule of Law which Republican congressional leaders like Sen. Arlen Specter and Sen. Jeff Sessions found themselves alienated by. It was a violation of core Republican philosophy and faith in law and order, free of political coercion by any political party. It was a step too far, and the hammering on the White House by Republican Congressional leaders, no doubt played an important part in Rove's leaving.

Karl Rove was a brilliant political strategist. He was an appalling Presidential policy adviser, which the American public began to feel in Bush's policies following his 2004 reelection. President Bush failed to recognize the destructive consequences of Rove's policy advice, until now. This fact speaks volumes of the ability and capacity of this President, who rode that personal loyalty horse with Rove and Gonzalez till it dropped dead beneath him. That loyalty over good judgment left Pres. Bush and the country on foot in the wilderness of Iraq, enormous debt and tax cuts, and a corruption of the U.S. Department of Justice.

There are presidents who have the capacity to lead the country forward, and there are presidents who must rely on the advice of others as to how to lead the country forward. President Bush was the latter type of President. As has become abundantly clear, President Bush lacked the ability to discriminate between political advisers and policy advisers, which caused him to put political loyalists at the heads of policy implementing departments of government.

There were exceptions, perhaps luck, perhaps coincidence in finding loyalty and competence in the same person as in moving Condoleeza Rice to the State Department. But, "Brownie" at the head of FEMA when Katrina hit was a disaster upon disaster. Other examples were Gonzalez at the head of the Justice Department who advised it was legal to torture and rendition was OK, and Meyers as nominee for the Supreme Court. All disastrous choices based on political loyalty instead of competence in policy and governance.

No doubt, President Bush is sad to see his friend of 34 years have to step down. No doubt the 29% of Republicans who still can find no fault with the Bush Presidency will cry foul. But, the rest of America will likely hear a faint voice in the back of their head whispering these words of relief: "Thank goodness". But, Karl Rove is but one of many who must yet leave this divisive governance in the White House before the American people can openly sigh, "It's finally over, this lamest of ducks has flown away."

Posted by David R. Remer at August 13, 2007 12:40 PM
Comment #229243

David, sometimes when it sounds to good to be true it’s because it is to good to be true. I hope your right and this signals the end of the neo con era/error in our Country as well as this Administration.

Posted by: j2t2 at August 13, 2007 02:58 PM
Comment #229247


I just don’t see Rove’s resignation as that big of a deal. Rove or no Rove, the question remains: how much damage can Bush do in the next 17 months?

I fear the answer is, quite a lot.

Posted by: KansasDem at August 13, 2007 03:09 PM
Comment #229248

j2t2, with only 31% of Americans calling themselves Republicans, I don’t see how the Republican Party can avoid taking the Bush/Rove lesson to heart and avoiding it like the plague. It did cost them and the country immensely!

I think after they lose the White House in ‘08, a consensus will be reached by the RNC leadership that returning to basic Republican principles mixed with an immense, and even at times overriding, dose of pragmatism in solving problems facing the nation, is their only ticket back from the wilderness Bush/Rove left them in.

Of course, my underlying assumption is that the RNC leadership will recognize for decades the difference between politics and governance. A lesson bitterly available for their learning if they can stand to swallow the cure. There are a host of very intelligent and nation/Constitution loving Republicans. If the RNC is smart, they will place these at the head of their organization, and select candidates of equal caliber.

Reliance on a specialist for jobs outside their area of expertise (Rove) is a lesson I am very confident Republicans will have learned after ‘08 and taken to heart. It remains to be seen if Democrats will heed the same lesson in ‘08 and check Hillary’s love of wealthy special interest money and our corrupt political bribery and blackmail campaign finance system.

Hillary would do well to govern in the right direction over these system’s reform, and let others tend to the money raising according to her presidentially signed reforms. One can only hope, remain cynically vigilant, and vocal as hell with legislators, at the same time.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 13, 2007 03:16 PM
Comment #229251

Kansas Dem, I am not quite as worried now. Rove’s resignation is tantamount in many Republican’s eyes, as an awakening and acceptance of failure in leadership. Bush does still have the military, but, he does not have Congress and he no longer has unified support amongst Republicans in Congress or on the Presidential campaign trail, not to mention the lost Republicans who have left the party.

Yes, he can still wield executive power, but, he is a president who has always depended upon the advice of others as he depends upon the Generals in Iraq to decide as CIC. I have a reasonable hope that his counsel will be anti-Rovian from this point forward. Else why, dismiss or accept Rove’s resignation?

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 13, 2007 03:28 PM
Comment #229268

Rove is still the right hand guy, it’s just getting a little to hot for him in the Whitehouse. He will continue his work in another location.

Posted by: jlw at August 13, 2007 05:45 PM
Comment #229303

jlw….I agree. Just because he isn’t down the hall, doesn’t mean he can’t continue to call the shots.
Bush has relied for so long on a number of others to do the brainwork lfor him(and for good reasons), that there’s no way he could take over at this point.
I just have a nagging feeling that there is something more to this than we know about.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at August 13, 2007 10:25 PM
Comment #229313

Sandra and jlw, there is no reason to be paranoid when reason is open and obvious. Ed Gillespie is taking over as the President’s advisor. Ed Gillespie is a ‘reach across the aisle to govern’ Republican. Rove’s leaving is exactly what it appears to be. A failed counsel making way for one who can and will work to partially right the harm done to Bush’s record, legacy, lame duck remainder of time, in what must now feel more like an onerous obligation than an historic opportunity now squandered.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 13, 2007 11:29 PM
Comment #229321

So Rove resigned. All that means is Bush will get himself another advisor. And this one might be a complete idiot instead of a half baked one.
There’s no doubt that Rove has cost Bush and the Republicans. If I was a Republican I’d have been calling for his head 6 years ago instead of waiting until now. But I reckon party loyalty is more important than having someone in an influential position that isn’t divisive and incompetent.
But then history might be kinder to Rove and Bush than we are. Then again it might be harsher.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 14, 2007 12:07 AM
Comment #229326

Ron Brown, MSNBC is reporting Ed Gillespie will be replacing Rove as policy adviser. Ed Gillespie is not an idiot, and Ed Gillespie has a record of capacity to work bi-partisanly with Democrats when there is something to be gained.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 14, 2007 12:25 AM
Comment #229338

From a recent article:

Aside from guiding Bush on politics, Rove was one of Bush’s closest friends in the White House. Among other things, they competed in contests to see who could read more books. In meetings, Bush called him by his nickname, “Turd Blossom.”

I didn’t know that. Hard to believe Bush and myself call this man by the same nickname indepently…

Posted by: Max at August 14, 2007 01:30 AM
Comment #229350

The choice of Gillespie I think is one that was foisted upon Dubya by the rest of the party as a vain attempt to bolster the party’s image, and thus the chances of the Republican candidates for ‘08. Republicans have long been divisive, and they need to show themselves in a different light. Kinda like putting a fresh coat of paint on a falling down house. ;-)

David, I have to go with jlw and Sandra on this one. Rove is far too much of an insider to just fade away. The less we hear about him between now and next November the more I will worry. Snakes like to hide in the grass and strike all sneaky-like.


Posted by: leatherankh at August 14, 2007 09:46 AM
Comment #229374

Good to hear that Bush is finally gonna get something right. Maybe all the dumbassed things he’s pulled has been because of Rove’s influence. Only time will tell though.
I hope that Gillespie will be able to get some positive things done working with the Democrats.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 14, 2007 12:12 PM
Comment #229394

David….MSNBC has reported that Gillespie is a possible one of MANY that will step into “Turds” shoes. So, looks like, if nothing else, we will eventually learn just how many pots he had his fingers in…..
Call it all paranoia if you wish, I just can’t shake the feeling that there is far more to this decision than “Turd” wants to spend time with his family.

Posted by: Sandra Davidson at August 14, 2007 04:25 PM
Comment #229399

Sandra, leatherankh, and jlw, I don’t think I left the impression that Rove was leaving the arena of politics altogether, nor, that Rove would not continue to advise from behind the scenes on political election strategy and tactics. It is very possible, even likely, that he will.

But, there is nothing to be gained by any Republicans in consulting with Rove on policy matters. His record of supporting Bush’s policies by marketing and advertising them politically have proven to be an albatross around the Republican Party’s neck and most Republicans are acutely aware of this, as they contemplate how to recover from their losses in the future.

Rove is not a pariah in the Republican Party, not by a long shot. But, the Party’s members have no choice but to acknowledge his limitations. And Republicans like Detective Callaghan who said in the movie: “A man’s got to know his limitations”. Rove’s have been uncovered for Rove and the rest of the nation to see. Such a discovery requires a hiatus to reflect and reshape one’s capacities accordingly. And Bush could use some distance from this lightning rod of Democrats in the Congress.

It was a decision best for all concerned. Nothing more nor less, according to the evidence now available. But, I think it is unhealthy and self-defeating to read nefarious and conspiratorial plots into events without evidence. Such action does not champion one’s own ability to effectively relate to, and deal with, reality issues.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 14, 2007 05:04 PM
Comment #229423

Maybe just maybe W will set a precedent and replace Rove with someone better. That would be a first for this Administration. Sadly its to little to late to make much of a difference.

Posted by: j2t2 at August 14, 2007 09:11 PM
Comment #229441

I somehow don’t think it really matters who Bush replaces Rove with. The Democrats hate Bush so much that they aint about to work with no one from the White House even if Bush appointed Ted Kennedy to replace him.
And with the elections are just over a year away, I don’t see the Democrats doing anything that might upset their chances to get the White House.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 14, 2007 11:53 PM
Comment #229481

Ron Brown said: “I don’t see the Democrats doing anything that might upset their chances to get the White House.”

I am surprised to see you underestimate Democrats in this manner. Hillary’s welcome of wealthy special interest bribes and blackmail would seem to contradict your view, Ron.

Posted by: David R. Remer at August 15, 2007 10:05 AM
Comment #229495


Hillary’s welcome of wealthy special interest bribes and blackmail would seem to contradict your view,

Ain’t that just business as usual?
What I was talking about is their working with Bush and the Republicans and doing anything in that area that just might make Bush and the Republicans look good.

Posted by: Ron Brown at August 15, 2007 12:25 PM
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