Wrath of the math: Why did Karl Rove quit?

By Martin Bosworth

That’s the question on everyone’s lips since the porcine political player announced he would be stepping down at the end of August. Of course, the excuse that he wants to spend more time with his family is horse puckey and we all know it–so what’s really going on? Is this yet another Machiavellian move by the man the press has lovingly adored the “architect of Bush’s vision?” Is he trying to give Bush political cover if he gets ensnared in one of the many investigations that keep leading back to his turd-blossomed behind?

Marcy Wheeler provided a very thorough list of possible motives for Rove’s sudden move, and my fellow rogues Mike and Jim tend to think he may be gearing up to pad his wallet by working for another Republican’s campaign–possibly Fred Dalton Thompson, who to Rove would seem like the perfect wax-dummy zombie revival of Reagan needed to placate the GOP’s nativist, xenophobic base–and the possible aid of Rove protege, former U.S. attorney, and voter fraud master Tim Griffin to Thompson seems to bear that out.

It’s worth noting that Rove chose to disclose his resignation in a sycophantic softball interview with the Wall Street Journal (A harbinger of what the paper’s going to be like under Murdoch for sure, but I digress), rather than on Faux News, in the pages of the Washington Times, or other more credibly right-wing base rags. It may be due to the fact that even a frothing-rabid GOP outlet like Fox might have asked of Rove questions he wouldn’t be ready to answer, whereas here he gets to come off like he’s writing his memoirs.

It could also be that Rove is taking a page from the Nixon playbook, as he has so many other times, and (as Rick Perlstein astutely notes) may be setting up an outside shop to help the GOP while being insulated from direct contact to them. Rove is a master of a particularly nasty form of politics that involves dirty pool at every level, and it would surprise me not a whit if he was going to be up to his robo-calling, black-vote-suppressing, classified-information-disclosing ways for some innocuous-sounding LLC firm in no time.

But here’s the thing–the thing that people forget about Rove. Rove has failed far more often than he succeeded. Bush’s two victories were barely squeaked through with help in the first case from an extremely pliant Supreme Court. Under Rove’s reign, Bush’s push to privatize Social Security failed. Rove was tasked to oversee the Katrina relief effort (Remember that? No one else does), and that soon came to a dismal end. Rove’s belief that he had THE MATH when it came to the 2006 election cost the Republicans both house of Congress in devastating fashion. And when he architected the passage of the Chamber Of Commerce’s Bush’s immigration bill, that flopped too–and succeeded in alienating the very base Bush plays to in the process.

It could very well be that we’re overlooking the simplest reason of all: Just as Rumsfeld was forced to fall on his sword for Bush as a casualty of the election losses, Rove may simply have outlived his usefulness to the Decider. Bush has proven time and again that he will demonstrate unswerving (even absurd) loyalty to underlings as long as they remain useful to him. Rove’s continual failures at “the math” may simply have proven too costly for Bush to keep around, so better to toss him to the wolves and let him engage in consulting to pay his potential legal bills–as opposed to keeping him around and letting the many scandals he is tainted by reach all the way to the top.

Remember this, too, about Karl Rove: This was a man who spent the last seven years drawing a government paycheck specifically to ensure the GOP and its allies held total dominance of the government and the country. Your tax dollars went to keeping this pig fucker fed, clothed, and healthy enough to lie, cheat, and swindle victories for his allies. And even then, on the government dole, he still failed more often than he succeeded.

If you’re a Republican presidential candidate right now, you’re probably asking yourself if that’s the kind of math you want on your side. As for the rest of the country, we’ve had seven years of Karl Rove’s math, and it’s added up to disaster on every level. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

10 replies »

  1. Rove, who learned by watching the likes of Lee Atwater and Roger Ailes, will now go on to make tons of money with cushy consulting jobs – and likely escape without any real jail time.

    Meanwhile, his boy Scooter is certainly wishing he’d have taken an early exit and gotten the deal Karl is likely to get….

    Which raises the question – why don’t the real bad guys ever go to jail…?

  2. Nicely done, Martin.

    A little tiny point: The WSJ interview does not necessarily herald what the Murdoch era would be like. It was done by Paul Gigot, editor of the editorial page. The news department and the editorial page are worlds apart ideologically and journalistically.

  3. Denny,

    That was kinda my point–the WSJ’s editorial page is pretty much what we can expect the rest of it to look like post-Murdoch. I should have been clearer about that. 🙂


    If there’s any justice in this world, Rove will get his share and then some. But it’s hard to stay optimistic when you see him gallivanting away like he is.

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  6. “my fellow rogues Mike and Jim tend to think he may be gearing up to pad his wallet by working for another Republican