My Guesses on Why Rove Resigned

By now you’ve heard the news: Rove is stepping down. So here’s my treatment of possible reasons why he’s leaving, in reverse order of their likelihood:

Time with the Family

As he said to the WSJ, he wants to spend more time with this family. Of course, this is a load of horse puckey–if he had wanted to spend time with his family, he surely would have done it before his son went to college.

Republicans Think He’s a Loser

The Republicans have finally realized he’s a loser. Mahablog links to a well-timed Atlantic article that lays out Rove’s failures:

  • Social Security
  • Faith-based wingnut welfare
  • Katrina
  • The 2006 elections

It is quite likely that Republicans have finally realized that if you want support from voters, you need to actually deliver on policies, not just promise to. But to change the previous "create our own reality" approach to governance, you’d have to get rid of Rove, because that’s all Rove does. With one exception.

Republicans Think He’s a Loser, Nativist Edition

I said there was one exception to the rule that Rove simply "creates his own reality" and makes policy promises without delivering on those promises. The exception was supposed to be Latino voters. That is, Rove really did want to court the Latino vote, rather than just claiming Republicans had Latino support. The reason is obvious: if Republicans don’t get Latino voters, they’re sunk.

Of course, this conflicts (and has, in noticeable ways) with the nativist instincts of the base of the Republican party. About the only thing, at this point, that could mobilize the Republican base (and save some Congressional seats, if not the White House) is to give in to these nativist instincts, and start attacking brown people with gusto. But I doubt Rove would stick around for that–he knows the numbers too well. So it’s possible that Rove is out so the Republicans can turn into the full-fledged racist party they’ve always been.

Update: Athenae goes to Freepi-land, so I (and you) don’t have to. And sure enough, they’re thrilled to see Rove and his Latino-friendly ways gone.

The Sheriff Is Coming

Several times in the WSJ coverage of Rove’s resignation, it notes that, Rove was thinking of leaving a year ago:

"I just think it’s time," he says, adding that he first floated theidea of leaving to Mr. Bush a year ago. His friends confirm he had beentalking about it with others even earlier.

Of course, it wasn’t exactly a year ago. It was more like 15 months ago, when it looked likely that Rove would be indicted in the Plame investigation. So it’s quite possible that Rove is leaving just three steps ahead of one of the many sheriffs that have him in their sites sights. These include:

  1. Jodi says:


    I think you are just giving self serving reasons. But that is nothing unusual. It is the usual business of political pundits to be self serving though they always claim to be serving the greater good.

    By leaving now, Mr Rove is actually putting himself at more risk.

    Personally I think that he is just tired of putting up with all the bad press and its effect on his life and family.

    Look at Mr Rumsfeld. Life is very quiet and very good now for him. It is an example I believe Karl took to heart.

  2. Anonymous says:

    bill kristol calls rove’s resignation ”odd,” imho, a tremendous understatement… here’s what a commenter at the wapo had to say…
    For one of the most powerful men in the world to walk away from this position in such short order, a mere 18 days, means that there truly is something coming on down the pike. There is about to occur an event or action, which even Rove won’t be a party to. Such a sudden departure, when Bush has such little time left to serve, has President Cheney’s stench all about it. Reading the President’s under-reported directive on establishing martial law and suspending the Constitution; in light of the strengthened Patriot Act and increased domestic surveillance legislation; and the several completed military plans enabling a military take-over of state and local government makes for an alarming future. Why would all this exist if not to be used? All it takes is one incident to make the country willing to trade the Constitution for security. Maybe, this either goes too far for Rove or he’s an impediment to Cheney. This is not a simple resignation.
    i would tend to agree with the thought that something big is coming down the pike, but i wouldn’t venture to speculate on what it might be…

  3. Elsie says:

    Nonsense, Jodi. Up until this point, I’ve seen little credible evidence that Rove ever had such an organ. He has no one but himself to blame for all the ’bad press’, and if he cared about his family, he wouldn’t have disgraced it with all his political hijinks. Do you think his son, who’s now headed off to college, will appreciate his ’sacrifice’ of his office in order to ’spend more time with his family’?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Jodi: What risk?

    Really, what risk?

    Bush will pardon Rove, you know that.

    Republicans like to say that theirs is the Party of Personal Responsibility, but you know perfectly well that Bush will pardon him.

  5. Nola Sue says:

    My first reaction was surprise that they’re spinning off Rove before Abu. I’d have been sure that Rove was a firewall-within-a-Gonzo-firewall.

    Gives more strength to the Iglesias scenario, IMHO.

  6. FreddyMoraca says:

    ”…one of the many sheriffs that have him in their sites.”

    I love this typo: our kind of sherriff uses websites, not gunsights!

  7. Sally says:

    Interesting that Rove attacked Senator Clinton in the WSJ article as being ”fatally flawed.” Yep, his sights will be on bringing her down while he’s lying low trying to avoid the Democrats’ assault on his evil deeds.

  8. p_lukasiak says:

    What intrigues me about this is how vulnerable it makes Rove to a congressional supoena — and the use of congress’ power of inherent contempt.

    I was hoping that Miers would be cited for inherent contempt, but realize that the visuals of this sweet little old lady being held in jail by Congress would suck. But Rove being arrested by the seargeant at arms and frog marched to the basement of the Congress building? That would not bother anyone…

  9. Boo Radley says:

    Thanks emptywheel, great analysis, as per usual. I hope you, Jane Hamsher, Digby, Atrios, Kos, Christy Smith, and many others take very legitimate pride in this. If you get a chance, I am interested if you think the Republicans on the HJC told Bush that they could no longer protect Rove?

  10. Mary says:

    It’s interesting that he picks ”after my son leaves for college” to go spend more time with him.


    Guess Rove’s boy isn’t going to go fight his daddy’s war, is he?

    I held out hope on Abramoff for a bit (Zeidenburg was working on Abramoff as well as Plame) but these days I’m pretty much in the, ”law, what law?” camp. Our DOJ hasn’t had the heart or will or integrity to survive Bush.

  11. 4jkb4ia says:

    Another possibility: Rove will go to work for one of the Republican pygmies, because they will need all the help they can get.

  12. radiofreewill says:

    A RICO squeeze is still a possibility.

    If (and it’s a big ’if’) sealed vs sealed were Fitz v Gonzo over Unlawful Political Influence for pocketing the Rove Indictment (making Leopold’s indictment piece right all along,) then one might expect the first sign of a ruling for Fitz on sealed vs sealed would be action against Rove.

    Which would then suggest that Gonzo is the next dominoe.

  13. MayBee says:

    Maybe he’s going to work on someone else’s campaign, or for the Republicans in general.

  14. Sally says:

    So none of us believe Rove’s version of why he is leaving. But the media fools are pretending they do.

  15. Lisa says:

    I always wondered…if Rove is so damn brilliant a strategist and is interested in nothing but a permanent Republican control, what was his post-2004 plan (considering their dreadful showing in 06 and the weakness of the 08 field)? This resignation scares me-I worry that he’s leaving Bush on cruise control for the next 18 months to go and work on the ’08 elections.

  16. joejoejoe says:

    It can be all of your reasons at once. My guesstimate of causality:

    Time with the Family – 15% (even Rove is probably sick of Bush at this point)
    Republicans Think He’s a Loser – 0% (always room to recycle losers in politics)
    Republicans Think He’s a Loser, Nativist Edition – 30% (GOP hates teh brown)
    The Sheriff Is Coming – 55%
    (see breakdown below)
    a) The Abramoff Investigation – 80% Sheriff (following money is easy for prosecutors)
    b) The OSC Investigation – 5% (I don’t see traction)
    c) The Iglesias Investigation – 15% (see above + 10% EW bonus, she is smarter than me and probably right)

  17. Anonymous says:


    You can take my extra 10% off the family claim–for a long time, Rove’s marriage has been reputed to be just a front for dalliances with others from both sex, and really, the whole son at college thing kind of dminishes the time with family excuse.

  18. Anonymous says:

    It figures. They rousted the minder out of bed early to wait and squat on this post.

    Jodi, prove that Rummy doesn’t have access to DOD or a desk there yet, or security clearance. And all Rove ever had to do to keep the press from keeping tabs on him (hah, that’s a joke) is act within the bounds of the law. Simple. Works for most Americans.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Ah…now perhaps that really is the truth. What if Rove needed more time at home to divvy up marital assets with the spouse, now that the boy is off to college? That’s one way to protect them after all, file for divorce after putting a big chunk in the wife’s name.

  20. John B. says:

    MT Wheel says: â€â€¦Rove’s marriage has been reputed to be just a front for dalliances with others from both sex.â€

    Hmmm….so, why was â€Jeff Guckert/Gannon†in the White House at odd hours and at non-press conference times?

    Enquiring minds want to know…

  21. pontificator says:

    I’ll add one more possible reason. I wonder if perhaps some reporter has finally gotten his hands on the Rove grand jury transcripts, and the WH knows they are about to be released. Rove testified on at least five occassions (as opposed to Libby, who only testified twice), and it can be expected that there are lots and lots of embarassing tidbits to be revealed.

  22. Boo Radley says:

    In the corporate board rooms â€more time with the family†is the euphemism for â€fired.†I’m sure Rove will consult with a lot of the GOP campaigns, but I think this confirms Bobo’s point about how radioactive both he and Bush are in the GOP. Karl could not find anyone he thought was high profile enough who would hire†him. That suggests to me that this situation moved faster than Karl could control.

  23. BlueStateRedhead says:

    EW say Republicans are the â€full-fledged racist party they’ve always been.â€

    Have you written off Lincoln and Reconstruction?

    Not snark, really curious if so.

  24. Anonymous says:


    I think there’s nothing embarrassing there. The contents of it–except for the precisely bogus explanation of the missing email–has alreadybeen released, and the media just ho-hummed there way to Karl’s good graces.


    Fair enough point. I was thinking of the current GOP, which has operated on racism since LBJ.

  25. Boo Radley says:

    With all due respect to Lincoln, white supremacy was legal in the north and south until the Dems passed the the civil rights legislation in the 60’s.

  26. loisjohanna says:

    I wouldn’t make too much of this. He’s just leaving to help elect the most corrupt Republican Presidential candidate. Which one is the big question.

  27. greenhouse says:

    They were even more racist in Lincoln’s era. He may have freed the slaves but I’m sure he endorsed separate but equal.

  28. joejoejoe says:

    EW – I thought your spend â€time with family†was a polite euphemism for Rove leaving to â€get his freak onâ€.

  29. William Ockham says:

    I’ll posit one other possibility. Even though he’s denying it, I think it is possible he’s leaving to run another Presidential campaign.

  30. pontificator says:

    EW — yes, but having hard copies of the transcripts themselves will lend a whole new level of scrutiny to Rove’s activities. Plus, there are likely to be many new revelations unrelated to the central focus of the investigation, but that shed light on how the WH actually worked. I’m thinking, of, for example, the revelation from Libby’s GJ trancript that they used Tim Russert to get their story out, since he was an easy mark. So, I think the release of the transcripts themselves will be a major event, even though we already know the most important parts of it relating to the investigation itself.

  31. loisjohanna says:

    I wouldn’t make too much of this. He’s just leaving to help elect the most corrupt Republican Presidential candidate. Which one is the big question.

  32. Boo Radley says:

    You’re absolutely correct greenhouse. Lincoln was a moral giant, but afaik, most of the abolitionists were in favor of segregation.

  33. chrisc says:

    Well, let’s suppose Congress gets some balls and goes for inherent contempt as a prelude to impeachmnet inquiry. Wouldn’t it be a lot harder to round up characters that are not in DC?

  34. Anonymous says:

    One other possible argument for the â€more time with his family†scenario is that he really *could* be burned out after having to clean up after Dick & Dubya full-time for the last seven years. It must be grueling.

    I don’t personally think that’s the reason – I think it’s almost certainly because someone’s breathing down his neck.

    One other possibility, since someone mentioned Cheney, is that Rove knows an attack on Iran would be the final nail in the GOP’s coffin, and he sees Cheney’s view prevailing.

    Still gotta go with the investigation scenario, and the USA/Iglesias one is the one that’s currently the most active.

  35. Anonymous says:

    I was told by somebody who might, but probably does not, have an accurate clue that Rove told whomever (georgedick) that Gonzo HAD to go, go soon, and be replaced with a recess appointment, and was told â€no way†by georgedick, so decided the ship was indeed sinking, and bailed. This is a completely unsubstantiated rumor, but interesting.

  36. Anonymous says:


    That’s possible (and interesting). But I’ve always thought Rove’s partialness to the departure of Gonzales was self-preservation. And it may be too late for that anyway.

  37. aquart says:

    I would love to have Karl Rove work for the next GOP presidential candidate. The ads write themselves: Vote For X and Bush’s Brain: Get more of the same.

    Any politician who hires him is begging for the destruction of the Republican party.

    I wonder who gave them a head’s up on what’s coming.

  38. chrisc says:

    Are more resignations due? Bolten’s -If you stay past Labor Day- then stay til the end-sounds like an attept to open the door and sweep away some problems.

    I’ve often wondered about possible tension between Dick and Karl. Never heard much about it, but can a man serve 2 masters? Wonder if Karl didn’t go for something, like, say, bombing Iran and Big Dick said – this town not big enough for both of us – or something like that. Time is running out and there is a lot left to do on Big Dick’s list.

  39. Cynic says:

    Marcy, I’ll bet in the next two months, your gonna find that someone has cracked wide open….and given testimoney that’ll hang a number of people by the ba**. And that not one bus is beginning to roll, but several. Bush and Chaney might get out unscathed, but I think a lot of other people are going under those wheels.


  40. Boo Radley says:

    FWIW, I think a lot of Republicans are understandably afraid of talking to Karl without a tape recorder.

  41. Anonymous says:

    I also think it seems likely that Rove is trying to get out of the White House before something happens…

    which makes me ask about the status of his passport… presumably, it is in his possession, and what is to keep him from using it now? Perhaps, he’ll be writing that book in Paraguay?

  42. BlueStateRedhead says:

    Thanks EW

    and btw, its BLUEstate

    but its such a banner day for our ROVE-ing reporter, that typos and misnomers are just a sign of your busy-ness.

    as always, in gratitude.

    Fair enough point. I was thinking of the current GOP, which has operated on racism since LBJ.

  43. Cynic says:

    One more thing, if someone didn’t go for something. Everyone is acting as if the United States can do anything it wants. But everyone seems to forget that in addition to our broken army, Iran has allies, and one of them is Mother. Mother Russia, that is. And she has the potential to be one mean mother….Rucker…..and let’s not forget, that as much as I hate Condi, she’s a pretty knowledgeable expert on Mother. That was her PhD. I’m willing to bet that the cabal said, let’s bomb em, and Condi said, sure, if you want to see WW 3.

  44. Anonymous says:


    signing statements
    a flaccid MSM
    a much more flaccid Democratic congressional opposition
    executive orders
    a group of Supremes even more radically conservative than the lot behind the 2001 coup d’etat
    ..and other travesties ad nauseum

    I’m inclined to agree with profmarcus – this does appear to have Cheney’s stench all about it.

    Whether it’s an attack on Iran, or the 2007 edition of Operation Northwoods, I think we’re all in a heap o’ hurt.

  45. Anonymous says:

    â€Thanks EW

    and btw, its BLUEstate

    but its such a banner day for our ROVE-ing reporter, that typos and misnomers are just a sign of your busy-ness.â€

    Posted by: BlueStateRedhead | August 13, 2007 at 10:30

    EW just went by the alias you are signed in with BG,RS, so it is your error, not hers…:) Your friend Scotian

  46. Anonymous says:


    The Republicans didn’t start out as the party associated with racism and disenfranchisement. They got there due to their reaction to the Civil Rights movement, and their intentional courting of Southern whites, especially during the 1960s. The keyword here is Southern Strategy.

  47. readerOfTeaLeaves says:

    Well, NPR report of Rove’s resignation got this week off to a smashing start. And seeing Jodi as the very first commenter on this thread made me laugh out loud — the idjo has always seemed to have a specifically Rovian stench (chuckle, chuckle

    joejoejoe, I’ll see you and I’ll raise you. But my tea leaves line up thus for the moment:

    Time with the Family – 0% (Rove wouldn’t willingly give up power even if his liver was being eaten away by cancer)
    Republicans Think He’s a Loser – 0% (watch Romney toss $$ around; a few are still clueless)
    Republicans Think He’s a Loser, Nativist Edition – 15% (GOP still has a few True Believers, more panicked by the day)
    The Sheriff Is Coming – 85% (nothing but terror would compel The Rovian Shitflinger to weaken his grasp on power)

    (see breakdown below)
    a) The Abramoff Investigation – 50% Sheriff (following money is easy for prosecutors)
    b) The OSC Investigation – 5% (I don’t see traction)
    c) The Iglesias Investigation – 15% (see above + 10% EW bonus, she is smarter than me and probably right)
    d) ADDING — the Seligman investigation – 30% (no doubt about Rove’s role here, and it’s looking like an easy-to-follow thriller in which people won’t even have to pay full attention to grasp the storyline)

    And then there is the ominous background hummmmm noted by one commenter about suspension of the Constitution; however, I don’t think Rove would leave for that reason, as he hasn’t given a sh*t about it in the past 30 years, anyway.

    EW, at the risk of sounding like a broken record, might I simply say once again that you are a national treasure and I am enormously grateful to you and commenters. Ralston must have made a misstep, and someone(s) else must have gotten pissed at Kkkarl for throwing them under the bus and started chatting with the HJC…? Very jolly ;-))

  48. ecoast says:

    EW – while you go all high and stuff, I go low and am sticking with Larry Flynt camp. Remember Flynt is putting his final touches on his list for a september release. (You don’t launch a new marketing campaign in August, you know). I strongly suspect Flynt has netted Rove. He took full page ad in Wapo offering upto $1M for info on illicit sexual affairs. He later said that he is working from a list of about 30 DC insiders, mostly repubs.
    Jeff Gannon or his equivalent took the money and gave up Rove to Flynt.

    In his interview w/ Paul Gigot, he pretty much hints the above. Talking about 2006 election losss, Gigot writes:

    His biggest error, Mr. Rove says, was in not working soon enough to replace Republicans tainted by scandal.

  49. radiofreewill says:

    EW – I hope you’ll ice down a few cold ones and enjoy Rover’s demise.

    Considering that your analysis on every point (Every Point!) of substance has shown BushCo to be in the Wrong – despite protestations to the contrary by the Magpies of the Right (nyuk, nyuk) – I wouldn’t be surprised if history ends up showing that your analysis moved the investigatory/prosecutorial ball forward on more than one occasion in these critical days testing the robustness of our democracy.

    In some way or other, I have no doubt that your work helped trap the little wiggly bastard under the glass of legal scrutiny – and, today, I am breathing a whole lot easier because I, once again, have faith that the forces for good are prevailing.

    Thank you, so much!

  50. Jodi says:

    Ha, ha,

    in a month, you will be missing Karl. One less target to talk about. Just like Rummy! (â€Who?†you ask?) Rumsfeld.

    Blog readership/contributions will go way down.

    … and you won’t even remember me.

    : )

  51. Anonymous says:

    That gave me a chuckle. I already had forgotten about you. I’ll bet I am not the only one.

    Freepatriot: Wherever you are, I hope the skies are clear and the wind at your back; and for your mother also.

  52. Boo Radley says:

    IMVHO and fwiw, Jodi at 8:45 sounds like Jodi. I have my doubts about the author of Jodi at 11:39.

    FWIW, I think retirement was forced pretty quickly on Karl. No way he leaves of his own accord without a better excuse than â€more time with my family.â€

  53. wilderwood says:

    EW (who deserves all the thanks of all of us) says, â€With all due respect to Lincoln, white supremacy was legal in the north and south until the Dems passed the the civil rights legislation in the 60’s. AND loisjohanna writes that â€Lincoln] . . . may have freed the slaves but I’m sure he endorsed separate but equal.â€

    Actually, segregation by law didn’t come until the end of the 19th century–a backlash against the equal opportunity all the way doctrine of Lincoln and the Reconstruction Republicans. Democrats, sorry to say, were indeed–in those days–the party of white supremacy.

    And if that has any bearing on the present distress, it might be this–that racism can revive–like Phoenix from the ashes– in almost any political environment (maybe doesn’t have to, but, left unchecked, will).

    Thanks to Bluestateredhead for keeping the perspective in focus.

  54. Anonymous says:

    Lincoln wasn’t alive to see the Reconstruction, when many Republican carpetbaggers and blacks assumed positions of power. After a few years, displaced white Democrats forced them out of office and created Jim Crow separation laws thoughout the South. These extremely racist laws kept blacks from voting, staying in a hotel, eating in a restaurant, owning property, having equal access to education, or credit. Pretty much locked them out of any economic progress until 1964 and the Civil Rights movement. It’s a wonder that we have as much black middle class as we do–thanks to equal opportunity hiring and university quotas.

    Dixie Democrats enforced the Jim Crow laws until Goldwater Conservatives and then Reaganites began shifting to the GOP. The Dixiecrats weren’t comfortable with Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. Johnson truly remade the Democratic Party in his image.

    Interesting, isn’t it, that FDR doesn’t enter into this narrative.

  55. Boo Radley says:

    â€Jim Crow separation laws thoughout the Southâ€

    FWIW, Jim Crow, aka white supremacy, laws were also prevalent in the north which had a far smaller percentage of African Americans.

    Also, Northern industries profited greatly from slavery prior to 1865.

    Relatively speaking, judged against his peers, FDR was pretty good on civil rights.

  56. Anonymous says:

    first off–EW– let me add my thanks to radiofreewill’s. I have been reading you attentively since the Plame affair began & have valued your work more than a bunch of compliments can express. At times, your take on things has stoked my anger, at times calmed it. In both cases, you have helped me to see more clearly… and less emotionally. You really are a national treasure.

    The wheels of justice grind very slowly (and not necessarily inexorably) and the wheels of Congress even more slowly than that. Larry Flynt’s wheels turn a little faster, but what the hell, they’re well greased. It does sound like a tipping point may have been reached at last. OTOH, so many of these slimey little bastards have escaped justice & exposure (almost equally important) that one hesitates.

    Still, my guess would be, the Seligman affair. I bet that’s the pimple about to burst– and it’s a good one, easy to understand, and with a high office at stake.

  57. Anonymous says:

    Another interesting rumor I picked up (again from a person who MIGHT know, but probably doesn’t) is that the Rove departure is the beginning of an agressive effort by Fielding to â€get in front of†the various DoJ scandals, and that Gonzo well be gone, unwillingly, as soon as they have a nominee for AG that is both completely, scrupulously honest, AND completely in the bag, and they got that last night (with no indication of who this walking dichotomy is) and Fielding launched his plan with Rove’s announced departure (also rumored to be part of the new AG designee’s price). This plan was described to me in primarily military language (getting the innitiative and keeping it, singleminded persuit of a specific goal (no indictments until after Bush’s last, pardon-drenched moments in office) which may give a hint to it’s proponant’s identities. Both rumors I report today were given probably in the hopes of dissemination, and so deserve suspicion. But they are fun to kick around.

  58. Neil says:

    I agree with Jodi, Rove’s departure puts HIM at more risk and insulates OTHERS – the folks he worked with. They’ll blame it on Rove and plan a defense strategy to cover their own asses.

    I hope Helen or any WH press corps journalist asks Bush, â€Will you take a pledge to not pardon or commute Rove’s sentence if he is indicted or convicted in a court of law?â€

    I’m shocked to hear Jodi use the phrase â€the greater good.†I wondered if her fingers combusted spontaneously as she typed it.

    Rove has worked on three Republican elections during his employ at the WH. There’s no reason to believe he left in order to work on his fourth.

    We’ll see if Republicans raise $4 million for the Karl Rove legal defense fund, ha ha. The ratf*cker gets ratf*cked. Here’s to hoping there’s a measure of justice for the least ethical man in government. I’m not holding my breath.

  59. JGabriel says:

    ecoast: â€Jeff Gannon or his equivalent took the money and gave up Rove to Flynt.â€

    You might be right, ecoast. Maybe it wasn’t Gannon but someone else who gave up Rove to Flynt.

    I confess, the scenarios that imagine Rove leaving over investigations closing in on him all appear, to me, to have a fatal flaw: Rove’s WH immunity claims are *much* stronger while he remains at the White House.

    The idea, suggested by some above, that Rove is leaving because the BushCheney cabal is planning something that even Rove couldn’t stomach also seems unlikely. I don’t think there is anything that Rove couldn’t stomache. I mean, look at it, his stomache is huge. (That’s not just a fat joke, it’s a metaphor for all the bad-for-the-country shit Rove’s pushed for and gotten away with.)

    An unannounced indictment, like Sealed v. Sealed, is another possibility, but a remote one — why wouldn’t it be announced?

    That leaves three more options I can think of, in increasing order of likelihood:

    1) The PoppyBaker clique finally convinced Junior that Rove is ruining the Republican party and it was time to cut him loose. Seems unlikely though — there’s little doubt that they’ve tried it before, with no success. Why would it work now?

    2) Rove objected to a planned initiative (Iran, retaining Gonzalez, whatever) and got fired for it, or for leaking about it.

    3) A sex scandal, as ecoast suggested.

    Of course, if Flynt is involved, and promised Rove to keep mum if Rove left quietly, we might never hear about it. On the other hand, Flynt may have nothing — remember how, after he outted Livingstone, Flynt played coy, suggested he had more names to follow, but never came though with anything?

    Out of all the above, a sex scandal (or the need to attend to an impending divorce) seems the more likely reason for Rove’s departure.

  60. JGabriel says:

    SarahJane46: â€Dixie Democrats enforced the Jim Crow laws until Goldwater Conservatives and then Reaganites began shifting to the GOP. The Dixiecrats weren’t comfortable with Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty. Johnson truly remade the Democratic Party in his image. Interesting, isn’t it, that FDR doesn’t enter into this narrative.â€

    Perhaps, but Truman’s desegregation of the Army surely should. And I suspect that FDR’s social policies to help the poor also helped blacks.

    I don’t want to go too far out on a limb here, but Truman’s desegregation order didn’t come from nowhere. The shift against racism in the Democratic party must have begun earlier, and I suspect it was under FDR, though I don’t know enough about the history of that era to point to specific laws or policies from FDR that would confirm that.

  61. randiego says:

    Self serving? What a joke. Jodi the Pot calls the Kettle black.

    In other news, the sun came up today.

    Karen M. – Paraguay can have him, and the sooner the better.

  62. PrchrLady says:

    I think the real reason he is leaving is to help his son get the leadership position of the Young College Republicons. With Rover as his dad, should do a fine job replacing the last one…

  63. Boo Radley says:

    Don’t know the answer, but iirc, lynchings decreased dramatically after about 1920. The fight against legalized white supremacy is very dynamic, but not well known by most Americans. Again, iirc, people like Strom Thurmond, who were verystrong on segregation (and chain gangs…), tried to hold the line on large numbers of their constituents who wanted Strom to â€look the other way†when they lynched an African American.

  64. Anonymous says:

    JGabriel: Flynt probably does have something.
    Furthermore, the only reason Flynt hasn’t died in an airplane accident, or suffered a massive heart attack, is because he probably has explicit instructions to be carried out in the unfortunate event of his untimely demise.

  65. Zhtwn says:

    Just for completeness, here’s tinfoil hat reason #37:

    Rove has been given a job to do that needs to be done in complete isolation from the administration, for perfect deniability.

  66. Anonymous says:

    bummer. i tried to put xml-esque â€tinfoil hat†descriptors around my text. It was there when I previewed the text, but magically disappeared from the post.

  67. hug the moon says:

    bsrh wrote â€That was her PhD. I’m willing to bet that the cabal said, let’s bomb em, and Condi said, sure, if you want to see WW 3.â€

    With respect, We are already witnessing the beginning of WW3. Genies out of the bottle. Leaving Iraq will be much different than leaving Vietnam. Oil. World markets, etc. Again, WW3 is happening and in real time. We need to fight the enemies here before we have more out there.

    With respect and kindness.

  68. earlofhuntingdon says:

    I suspect, too, that Rove will not represent national clients in ’08. Like the German Army just before the end of the First World War, Rove wants to be able to deny that the final debacle was his doing. But giving up his public employee status allows him to do many things he could not (legally) do from the WH. I also suspect Pappy Bush hates Rove, so I’d be surprised to see Rove represent Jeb in 2012.

    I suspect, too, that Rove is running from the law and will do so with every ounce of EP that Shrub can muster. He’s also out to make an eight-figure income as quickly as possible, presumably by resurrecting the GOP after its decimation in ’08. Unless indicted, Rove will probably also become the chief reviewer of the Shrub papers bound for the black hole called the Bush Library.

    Several Shrub advsers â€left†the WH while continuing to work with Shrub. That will certainly be true of Rove. Shrub has never spent a political day in his life without KKKarl. As his administration implodes, that’s not likely to start now. The final question, of course, asked by many, is what will Big Dick do now?

  69. rxbusa says:

    While I much prefer EW’s latter guesses, I think I agree more with WO that he is off to work on the 2008 Presidential election. Note the statement in the WSJ article:

    â€Holding the White House for a third term is always difficult given the pent-up desire for change, he says, but ’I think we’ve got a very good chance to do so.’â€

    I know it’s enough to gag a maggot, but it’s going to be harder to hijack a third election, so he better get started early.

  70. JGabriel says:

    notKeith: â€Flynt probably does have something.â€

    I think he probably does, too. I just don’t think we can count on it as a sure thing.

  71. earlofhuntingdon says:

    So what’s KKKarl’s plan? He never operates without one, and Shrub has never operated without KKKarl. So let’s look at what’s in store for Shrub, first, because he has always been KKKarl’s top client. The tail end of Shrub’s administration will be full of revelations, even greater incompetence and the occasional indictment. Lots of money, goodwill and blood will be lost. Cheney may expand his war; among the dire consequences of doing that, will be the virtual destruction of the GOP.

    Post WH, Shrub will become a caricature of Reagan (himself a caricature). He will join the neocon billionaire’s rubber chicken circuit. Book deals will pay for real cattle at the Faux Crawford Ranch or a seaside retreat – possibly in a country with no extradition treaty with the US. His speeches will be many, but even less interesting and truthful if he doesn’t get to keep the micro-earphone once he leaves the WH. Except for investigations and indictments and fights over access to his â€presidential†papers, Shrub will quickly slip into derisive irrelevancy.

    KKKarl’s career, more than most, is all about KKKarl. He hasn’t much personal courage and no inclination to be self-sacrificing; he recognizes the political utility of such things, but has always been wily enough to make someone else fall on their sword. So, KKKarl’s departure is to protect KKKarl. He’ll continue to support Shrub – just his leaving must make George feel littler – but give himself political distance from the apocalyptic fall in store for him and the GOP. Shrub will sit out ’08 and arise, Phoenix-like thereafter. Except for the indictments, of course. Which is why Congress and the next president must quickly undo Shrub’s gutting of the presidential records law, and strengthen the public’s rights in those papers.

  72. Anonymous says:

    Knowing Rove’s hand in selective declassification (Plame), I wonder whether the this step is in anticipation of revelation of whatever it was that Comey et al were prepared to resign from Government over:

    Selective declassification of the TSP portion of warrantless wiretapping was a political move to hide the Bad Things. The entire administration bought into this strategy, and Gonzo’s word parsing was deliberately designed to evade discussion of the controversy.

    I wonder whether we are on the verge of discovering warrantless domestic wiretapping, and that rove somehow had a hand in crafting the cover-up or potentially in using domestic wiretapping for political purposes.
    The latter question is wacky conspiracy territory, but I still wonder why now….
    One really big event in the past month has been the calls for Gonzales special prosecutor for lying, and the ones calling for it are focused on the NSA issue.

    I wonder

  73. Mr.Murder says:

    Cummins was ousted to promote Rove’s opposition research man Griffin against Democrats in Arkansas to cover for Mike Corruptabee and to background faux outrage sacandals against Clinton.

    In Little Rock, Diebold subsidiary Sequioa was being charged with voter fraud, and the plea deal let the man doing the kicback scheme walk, who went on to ES&S a company that counts paper ballots in states such as Cali.

    The voter fraud software sourced from Dallas, Dubya’s front yard.

    Cummins also was about to prosecute a man who is a cross burner, a person previously convicted of hate crimes, a person Cummins knew of and was familiar in prosecuting.

    Heavens forbid we let bad news about racism oppose the Karl Rove narrative against ACORN in that election cycle.


    That’s where you look first. Hate crimes and vote fraud.

  74. Anonymous says:

    drat – Heh. You can quit wondering. At a minimum, that is a significant portion of this; only question is how sizable the percentage is.

  75. Anonymous says:

    If correct, this would obviously be a high percentage. He survived Abramoff, Plame and DOJ firings. His parting shot was the FISA update, which he essentially acknowledges in the WSJ article should embroil Democrats in an intra-party dispute.

    He said he expects Democrats to be divided this fall in the battle over warrantless wiretapping, while the budget battle — and a series of presidential vetoes — should help Republicans gain an edge on spending restraint and taxes.

    He is banking on dems to focus on Foreign-Domestic Spying and miss the boat on the true Comey issue. However those calling for Gonzales Special Prosecutor:
    Schumer (Comey’s benefactor)
    Feinstein, Feingold, and Whitehouse- all on both SJC and SSCI.

    I think these guys know about the Domestic-domestic issue, and I hope Rove does too.
    How dramatic would it be to find out that during Primary season, 2004, Comey at DOJ found out that some NSA technician acting â€on his own†was evaluating the call records or content of the Kerry Campaign?

  76. Anonymous says:

    Rove wouldn’t sign on to President Cheney’s imminent attack on Iran because it’s too much of a political pig for even Turd Blossom to slather with lipstick. Sez Cheney, â€You’re too tight with that wimp Dubya to keep around here. Take a hike!â€

    Now watch as Cheney takes the Kamikaze Administration into its final fiery dive, sans political parachute.

  77. Zhtwn says:

    Hmmm…I was mostly kidding about reason #37 – but it turns out there is Nixonian precedent for insiders officially leaving an administration to do insidious jobs for the administration.

    How likely is this with Rove?

  78. Lou says:

    Since when does a father needs to quit his job in order to help his son with college? Is his son such a retard and so lazy that he doesn’t want to do his college work by himself?

  79. Dismayed says:

    I’m banking on Gannon!!!

    There’s never been any doubt in my mind that there was a rump-ranger in the WH somewhere, and I always figured it to be Rove or Bush.

    Flynnt has his ass. That’s not to say the other stuff isn’t coming down the pipe, but once Flynnt came on the scene I never figured the Gannon stink would quit fermenting.

    That said – You can be damn sure he’s leaving to be yet another firewall. what ever is about to hit the fan will come in a couple of weeks. Rove will refuse to testify – and yes, the pardon will come.

    And I don’t want to hear any crap about the term rump-ranger. I’m just joking. And my gay friends won’t mind.

  80. clbrune says:

    Because Karl and Company politicize everything, I think it’s safe to say this decision is political in every respect that they can control.

    The bottom line is that Rove is now more liability than benefit.
    Either Congress, the Law, or Larry Flynt is coming.

    While I don’t buy that Cheney is forcing Rove out, this move definitely adds to Cheney’s power. This alone makes me think something bad (for Rove…and Iran, but for different reasons) is coming down the pike.

  81. Anonymous says:

    Since when did Rove balk at anything, much less nuking Iran?

    He’s survived so much, why’s he gotta go now?

    Nobody previously minded that there was a turd in the White House punchbowl.

    Thus, this turd must be new.

    This turd must be eallly special.

    Fresh, huge, steaming, well-placed, everybody-outta-the-pool.

  82. me says:

    He’s leaving because he can see that his career and reputation will be all downhill from now on.

  83. USNA says:

    as much as I abhor george dubya shrub, I am forced to concede that the one thing he has gotten right -the ONLY THING- is karl marx rove’s nickname … â€TURDBLOSSOMâ€

  84. me says:

    Still, Rove is right about one thing: There’s a greater than 50% chance that the Democrats will self-destruct, and the fastest way for them to do that will be to nominate another insider like Loser Kerry. For the Dems to have any chance at all of making the improvements we need to make, they can’t nominate Clinton, or Obama, or Biden.

  85. za says:

    boo radley:

    Gulliani would hire Rove in a New York minute. In fact, he’s probably already called him. But, I think Rove is going to go make sure that this vote caging scheme continues unabated. He’s a disenfranchiser, first and foremost.

  86. freepatriot says:

    uhm, one note about Lincoln

    Lincoln didn’t free the slaves because Lincoln was dedicated to abolition

    Lincoln freed the slaves as a punitive action against the confederacy

    Lincoln wasn’t as dedicated to abolishing slavery

    Lincoln was dedicated to preserving the Union

    If a compromise could have been reached that would have stopped the expansion of slave territory, Lincoln would have been satisfied to leave the slaves where they were

    Lincoln was sort of a â€Free Market†abolitionist. He was convinced that slavery would eventually die because of the economic weakness slavery causes

  87. USNA says:

    Hey, people: What exactly is the â€Seligman affair†??? I thought I was fairly well informed [and almost anyone would say opinionated … ;o} …], but this is one I am not familiar with and I am kind of personally interested.

  88. Jacques says:

    Bush won’t be able to pardon rove if they nail him to the wall after 2008 election. That is, assuming that they haven’t already fixed the next election too. They have to start doing to these politicos what they are starting to do to CEOs who abuse the system.

  89. lysias says:

    If Bush abuses the pardon power as most of us expect he will do, that will cry out for a limitation on the president’s pardoning power through constitutional amendment.

    As long as we’re talking about a constitutional amendment, why not include a reversal of any abusive pardons by Bush?

  90. space says:

    Another data point: Rove’s departure comes on the heels of Bush meeting with his father and Sarkozy up at Kennebunkport. Not that father and son don’t speak by phone, but was Bush 41 more candid in his criticisms of Rove in person?

    I actually lean against the Poppy/Baker theory, but I thought the recency of the meeting was notable.

    My theory is that Rove has been looking for an exit strategy from Bush and is simply a rat leaving a sinking ship. Why now? Depressingly I think it is because â€The Sherriff Isn’t Coming.â€

    Fitzmas is over. Libby has been pardoned. And the FISA capitulation by the Dems may have convinced Rove that there will be no impeachment of Gonzales by Congress. In short, he’s leaving now — and exposing himself to additional legal jeopordy — precisely because he feels that he can run out the clock.

    Naturally, I hope that I am wrong. But I just can’t see Bush pushing Rove out pre-indictment. It isn’t something he did with Libby. And it smacks of an admission of wrong-doing. Something neither Bush nor Rove have been known to do.

    If Rove were to be indicted from the OSC investigation, Rove’s playbook would call for Bush to refuse comment about an active investigation while his minions scatter to the cable shows to pooh-pooh the â€criminalization of politics.â€

  91. annex says:

    what does it mean to â€resign†anyway? he can keep on doing what he’s been doing, being bush’s â€best friendâ€. also, since there are some amusing posts here, let me remind you of the passage from the profile of rove that appeared in the new yorker a few years ago…it jumped off the page at me, and i found it on the web…decades after meeting bush for the first time, rove reminisces fondly about bush’s rear end and his awesome charisma.
    but they’re not gay, don’t you know…

    â€[Rove, recalling his first meeting with George W. Bush, said] I can literally remember what he [Bush] was wearing: an Air National Guard flight jacket, cowboy boots, bulletins, complete with the–in Texas you see it a lot–one of the back pockets will have a circle worn in the pocket from where you carry your tin of snuff, your tin of tobacco. He was exuding more charisma than any one individual should be allowed to have.â€

    maybe it’s just that the thrill is gone.

    and by the way, rove’s wife looks just like him!

  92. Midwest Meg says:

    I’m with everyone else. Leaving makes Rove more vulnerable to investigations. I think it’s a gay sex scandal—it’s the only thing that shamese these people. I mean, mass death, lying the country into war, torture, dead people floating in the water, looting the treasury—-none of that bothers the Repubs a bit. But gay sex!!!!! Ohmygod!

    And the beauty of the gay sex scandal is that it doesn’t preclude Rove also going down on all the multiple counts that are far more substantial!

  93. endofworld says:

    â€If it comes to it, Rove may admit to having Iglesias fired in an attempt to politicize the entire judiciary to hide the fact that–in this specific case, at least–â€but†was involved in that process, too.â€
    Should not it read â€Bush†instead of â€butâ€.

  94. AnotherDemocraticVeteran says:

    chrisc wrote: â€â€¦ – I think it’s almost certainly because someone’s breathing down his neck.â€

    You mean Jeff Gannon?

  95. andy phx says:

    Maybe he’s got his eencie weencie tiny nubbin of a baby penis tangled up in the DC Madam scandal. With a man of course.

  96. HarlandSanders says:

    Interesting to read all the conspiracy-ish theories but I think I agree with Space a few posts back — Rove’s just a rat leaving a sinking ship. I don’t think Cheney fired him — I could even believe Bush would side with Rove before Cheney. Rove most certainly did not quit because he didn’t have the stomach for something about to happen, this sounds absurd. And I find it hard to believe the Dems have the muscle (big enough majority) or will to really legally pursue anyone — if they haven’t been able to force that clown Gonzales to retire yet, they certainly won’t be able to corner Rove. The whole sex scandal idea seems unlikely too — how would resigning a few weeks in advance of the story hitting provide any insulation for Bush? Unless Flynt or whoever agreed to keep quiet on the condition that Rove resigned but what would be the motivation? Last, Rove should be able to still do pretty much what he does whether he is in DC or not.

  97. sj says:

    I think its the Larry Flynt factor. I remember discussing what on earth could possibly â€surprise†Larry Flynt. I think Rove is about to be outted as on the DC Madams list of clients. The suprise for Larry is that (in this case anyway) that it was with a woman. I think Larry was expecting Rove’s homosexual activity to bring him down. That he (also) sleeps with women would be rather suprising for Larry with his â€inside†knowledge.

    However, there is the Gannon/Guckert factor after all. Larry is threatening to out another cast of characters and he has that million up for the taking. I also notice that Gannon/Guckert has a book apparently coming out soon that he is supposed to vilify the â€so-called Liberal Media†types he rubbed elbows with. Gannon/Guckert will have to explain how he managed to get a ticket into the Press Corp…and perhaps Rove is collateral damage there. I am wondering why anyone would even give Gannon/Guckert a book deal…at this point who cares what he has to say. Perhaps Larry â€arranged†a book deal with the arrangement of such as having the opportunity to trash the media’s so called liberal slant was the only way Gannon/Guckert would spill the beans because he seems to think that it will insulate him from the backlash he would receive from those on the Right for outting Karl. In other words, if he spoon feeds them â€liberal media types†they won’t hate him for outting Karl Rove and he can collect the â€bountyâ€.

  98. Mary says:

    What Space said:

    In short, he’s leaving now — and exposing himself to additional legal jeopordy — precisely because he feels that he can run out the clock.

  99. radiofreewill says:

    Mueller is looking like the Frodo of this story. He’s the only one, so far, in BushWorld that can be trusted to carry the Ring of Power, but not use it for himself.

    Nobody punks the FBI.

    That means you, Karl.

  100. scanner says:

    Karl Rove has left the Bush White House to direct Newt Gingrich ’s run for the Presidency.

  101. Squiddy says:

    Emptywheel, you’re my politico/intellectual superior on this, so I yield if you think this is hooey. But Rove does not capitulate, ever.

    With him by Bush’s side, though he’s proven politically bulletproof for them so far, nor are they acheiving anything with him either. His name crops up in every investigation, and it’s beginning to ’look’ bad in conversations around the easy-bake ovens of America.

    The Loyal Royal Bushies COULD just take their pay, sit on their asses and run out the clock. (The Dems’ investigations, noble though they may be, don’t appear strong enough to resist executive obstructionism) So failing any other grander purpose, there’s no clear point in ANYONE leaving, especially Rove.

    So for BushCo, it’s the appearance of sacrificing the queen. But they wouldn’t do this unless it served other purposes.

    I have to assume he’s off to do what he does best: either getting other unqualified billionaire runt prima-donnas elected, (by way of political assasinations from Florida) or more likely to take his neo-McKinley ’realignment’ doctrine underground for the time being.
    The latter option could be for the near-term with whatever Cheney’s got planned after the next â€Chertoff’s-gut-confirmed†terrorist hit, or down the road for future GOP need, whichever comes first.

    The GOP doesn’t care if he’s an asshole. He’s a hit-man first and foremost. To them he’s lethally effective, even more dangerous off the radar, and they will continue to keep him VERY close in the loop at all times.

  102. SunnyNobility says:

    So many possibilities, but I’m betting Fielding made the call. Urgently needed him distanced from Shrub for insulation. He’s now a fall guy walking.

    He can use this time well, dealing with RNC e-mails, data re: vote mechanics, etc, etc… Careful as he’s been, surely plenty to be cleansed/undone/revised/disappeared in anticipation of control shift (or investigation). He well knows what can’t be delegated and there must be a ton of it.

  103. patience says:

    Hey Marcy,

    Rove’s sudden departure looks a lot like Rumsfeld’s sudden departure post election. Is it possible that Rove’s departure was part of the FISA bill negotiations. ie, We’ll give you the full business for six months, (to get us through the August break, so that you can’t use your scary terror rumors for political gain), so long as you can assure us that the wiretapping won’t be misused, by kicking out and cutting off Rove and his shop, entirely.

    It doesn’t matter that Rove’s in till the end of August because everyone who matters won’t be there, and so can take precautions to prevent providing the temptation of misuse during the overlap.

    The alternative for Bush is to bring the whole ugly thing to a head pre-break, rather than backing off and leaving open the possibility of a power sharing agreement down the line.

    What say you?

  104. republicanSScareme says:

    Let’s hope he’s resigning because of a sex scandal and not because he knows Cheney is about to attack Iran with nuclear weapons and it upsets his sense of morality.

  105. Anonymous says:

    Wouldn’t it be interesting if Rover were about to be named in the Anthrax Hatfill leak case?

  106. moondancer says:

    Lance is right. He’s out cuz Fielding told him to get out. Dont know what the bomb is, but its too close to shrub. But depending on what the bomb is, there probably be no way to insulate shrub. With the exception of the sex thing(s), noone will buy anything being done by Karl w/out intimate knowledge by lil georgie.

  107. Neil says:

    This thread: NEXT HURRAH: My Guesses on Why Rove Resigned,
    linked to from THE BLOG REPORT:

    Several times in the WSJ coverage of Rove’s resignation, it notes that, Rove was thinking of leaving a year ago… Of course, it wasn’t exactly a year ago. It was more like 15 months ago, when it looked likely that Rove would be indicted in the Plame investigation. So it’s quite possible that Rove is leaving just three steps ahead of one of the many sheriffs that have him in their sights. These include: The Abramoff Investigation, The OSC Investigation, The Iglesias Investigation.

    Posted on: Mon, Aug 13 2007 9:16 AM