Can Bush function without his brain?

The resignation of Karl Rove, architect of President George W. Bush’s election triumphs and a crucial behind-the-scenes policy guru, is the latest sign of the White House’s diminished agenda and shattered dreams of a Republican super-majority, analysts said.

Rove, the last and most prominent of Bush’s inner circle of Texas advisers to quit the administration, leaves a lame-duck president suffering from low approval ratings, an unpopular war in Iraq and public rejection in the 2006 elections.

With Democrats in control of Congress and brimming with optimism about the 2008 White House race, Rove’s talk of a lasting and historic shift to Republican dominance seems long ago.

“This closes the chapter where George Bush and Karl Rove thought they were building a new Republican majority that would last a generation. That is clearly off the table,” said Cal Jillson, a political analyst at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Bush’s top domestic priorities — overhauls of Social Security and immigration — are dead in Congress, leaving the administration scrambling in its final 17 months to save his first-term tax cuts, blunt Democratic spending priorities and salvage the war in Iraq.

“At this point all they are trying to do is save some of the signature items from their first term and hand off the war in Iraq to the next guy in better shape than it looks today,” Jillson said.

Rove, known as “Bush’s brain” by foes but nicknamed “boy genius” by the president, said on Monday he will leave the White House at the end of the month to return to Texas with his family.

His departure leaves a huge void in a White House where his influence was matched only by Vice President Dick Cheney, and where since the 2004 election he had filled multiple policy roles as deputy chief of staff.

“Rove is the guy who wove all the policy and political threads through the needle. Now you’re talking about a small committee to just duplicate the expertise and perspective he brought,” said Bruce Buchanan, a political analyst at the University of Texas.


He said Rove’s departure, along with the recent resignation of adviser and longtime Bush aide Dan Bartlett, would leave Bush increasingly isolated in the White House.

“There is nobody left with that kind of relationship with Bush and that closeness,” he said, adding that might explain a recent increase in Bush’s visits with his father, the former president.

But White House spokesman Tony Snow said Rove’s resignation was not a sign the administration was starting to count down the days to the end on January 20, 2009.

“If you take a look, the president’s got a pretty aggressive domestic agenda and there’s a lot of stuff to be done on foreign policy,” Snow said. “As the president has said many times, he’s going to sprint to the tape.”

Analysts said Bush’s declining political fortunes and the Democratic win in 2006 had proved the flaws in Rove’s political strategy, implemented after the September 11 attacks, of focusing on pleasing the Republican Party’s conservative base.

“The idea you could govern by appealing to the Republican base was simply wrong,” Jillson said. “The independents drifted away until all they had was the base.”

Rove told reporters traveling to Texas with the president he viewed November’s election results as a temporary setback for Republicans. He said he would not take an “official” role with any 2008 Republican presidential campaign, but left the door open for an unofficial consulting position.

Democrats, happy to see Rove go, condemned him for increasing political partisanship and divisiveness in Washington.

“Goodbye, good riddance,” Democratic presidential contender John Edwards said in a statement.


  1. Charlie Couser

    A lot has been said about Karl Rove’s ability to engineer a political campaign — after all, he did manage to get the Dumya elected twice! However, I would liken the Dumya’s term in office to 9-1-1, the illegal war in Iraq, the failed Medicare drug program, Harriet Myers, Valerie Plame, CAFTA (and all other free-trade agreements engineered by this administration), the hurricane Katrina/Rita response fiasco, not enforcing immigration and border/port security laws already on the books, the “No Child Left Behind” diaster, profiteering by big business — especially big oil, the national debt and the lack of health care for children and the poor — ALL MAJOR DIASTERS!!

    Yes, Karl Rove should be proud of his legacy! He enigeered a NIGHTMARE!!

    PS: You don’t really think Mr. Rove is going away, do you? He just conveneintly jumped ship before the indictments catch up to him…

    Charlie Couser

  2. Sandra Price

    Rove was hired to do exactly what he has done. This whole Bush agenda was planned years ago. CRF (Council of Foreign Relations) has been at world control for many years and I think, found a bozo in the Bush family to bring it all out in the opnen.

    Bush 41 was the opening act to a war in the Middle East and Bush 43 pulled off the the whole mess. It worked like a charm and we, the American voters, fell into the plan to put America into a very precarious position including a debt so vast that it could destroy our economy.

    Have we learned anything from watching Bush/Rove/Cheney turn the White House into a fascist group of underhanded greedy group who will destroy our American values?

    Apparently the GOP will try to survive this deceit and due to a group of Democratic Candidates who haven’t a clue about American Values and will promote more federal laws on all of us, the GOP could survive in 2008.

    Americans are used to secrecy from the government and want more Big Daddy to oversee everything we do. Even Reader Rant is full of potential new laws to remove our individual choices.

    We all see the horror and flaws in the GOP but we may be in the minority. Never forget Bush and the Republican Party still have the Moral Majority and Christian Coalition behind them.

    The brainwashing has destroyed our freedoms and there isn’t a level of media who will even try to expose what Bush has done to America. In order to do this, the Democratic Party needs some stronger candidates instead of the cowards who have presented themselves as the “great fix.”

  3. Rick Fuller

    Karl Rove is a dangerous and evil little man who cannot be trusted in any way, shape or form. His actions are Machiavellian, his politics harkens back to the Third Reich, and his gamesmanship is reminiscent of a winner-take-all, the-fix-is-in cheater.

  4. mojibyrd

    Rove retire, right!

    Rove will probably get an office right next to the retired donald rumsfeld….sure he will retire, more like hide behind the “Bush’s” like he always has done.

    Impeach Bush and this whole corrupt Whitehouse/Senate/Congress and start over.

  5. surgethis

    This way Rove is free to fix the 2008 election and not be hampered by using the White House phones and emails. He can come and go as he pleases with almost no record of his actions.

    He is basically being moved on the chess board that’s all. What I don’t understand is why the media and Washington seems so clueless. Not a word to the contrary as if this is all exactly as it seems. Weird.

  6. erika morgan

    My impression: maggot goes underground. There may be something to this more influence of George Sr., he personally fired Karl at one point from his own campaign. Also, I have it on good authority that the extra aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf aimed at Iran are now on their way home, USS Nimets has passed Guam and should make landfall in Hawaii before Labor Day, and on to its home port by Patreus’s date with Congress. I wonder about the deal for warrant-less ease-dropping, for buy-buy Rove?

  7. GaryFromOshkosh

    It is glaringly obvious to me that Rove is not ‘going home to spend more time with his family’, but is merely beginning the transition which will culminate in him being hired by one of the ’08 Republican candidates to run their (dirty tricks) campaign. Which candidate is it?

  8. SEAL

    I don’t believe Rove was booted out, but I also believe Bush wanted him gone. Ever since the mid term elections their relationship has been strained. Bush feels like Rove failed him. Rove has been spouting nonsense like the republicans are going to retake everything in 2008 to get back in good graces. But no one believes that.

    What bothers me the most is junior has been spending a lot of time with daddy. Something is cooking. Senior is a very dangerous and powerful man.

    Today I took my youngest son out in the boondocks to finish his education of survival. His natural instincts are excellent. Also, he’s a very good shot. He could qualify as a marksman on any military range right now. He could quietly provide for himself with the knowledge and equipment he has. A couple more trips and he will be ready, knowing what is edible and what is not. The two older boys already know. So, we are ready for what I fear may come.

    All this talk about Bush running to a ranch in Paraguay is kind of silly, I think. He would be less safe there. I wonder if he would have the secret service protection down there? There are plenty of people who hate him enough to go after him and down there would be easier and safer than up here. There are plenty of snipers that can hit the target at half a mile or more. Regardless I see no reason for Bush to have to have to run. He will just walk away like all the others.