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Toxic Failure

Britney Spears’ Toxic — seemed like the perfect toxic combo with a discussion of Karl Rove…

Mr. ReddHedd and I were talking about the Rove resignation over coffee this morning.  I was ticking down the list of all the scandals in which Rove has had an active hand — many of which are still under active investigation — and Mr. ReddHedd hit an Occam’s Razor point that is worth a mention:  Rove is such a toxic figure that the GOP does not want him anywhere near them, publicly anyway, as they gear up for the 2008 election. 

Note the “Bolten forcing his hand” subtext of this NYTimes piece, for example.  And in this WaPo piece — all keying off assertions Rove himself made in the Gigot WSJ piece.  Pushing that particular meme immediately raises my inner cynic.  I think that his toxicity could be one plausible rationale for playing “hide the Turdblossom.”  But only one part.

Especially if said investigations into wrongdoing have some serious bite to them, and the GOP hierarchy knows it is only a matter of a ticking time bomb that we all find out just how much bite.  (And I do hear a rumor through the legal grapevine that Susan Ralston may be learning how to sing.)  “Out of sight, out of mind” only goes so far, though, but the traditional August downtime is a good time to try it out, I suppose.  But the fact that Rove gave multiple political briefings to the political types at the DOJ has absolutely nothing to do with it.

Justice Department officials attended at least a dozen political briefings at the White House since 2001, including some meetings led by Karl Rove, President Bush’s chief political adviser, and others that were focused on election trends prior to the 2006 midterm contest, according to documents released yesterday.  (emphasis mine)

Nope.  Uh uh.  (Hello, Hatch Act hotline?)  What’s a little voter suppression chatter between friends?  Perhaps it was just a series of tutorials on “the math?” 

As reader WB noted to me, Rove gave a scant 18 days notice on his resignation — something certainly seems hinky about this one, doesn’t it?  Especially given all the outstanding questions surrounding Rove’s multiple grand jury appearances in the Fitzgerald investigation and his habitual end-run of the Presidential Records Act with his RNC-enabled Blackberry and e-mail account activity.  That’s quite a paper trail for some enterprising reporter to eventually get their hands on and make public, isn’t it?  Hmmmm…

Mahablog has several excerpts up from an Atlantic Monthly article about Rove’s influence in the Bush WH, and his ultimate failures because of a wholesale lack of political vision for doing the hard work of governing.  The upcoming budget battles and veto threats, which are undoubtedly a by-product of Rove’s colossal ego piggy-backing on the egos of Bush and Cheney demanding their way or nothing is a perfect illustration of these short-sighted, politicially driven failure tactics. 

Rove’s failures are the GOP writ large, frankly, and may explain why they see Rove as such a toxic figure — because he is the embodiment of the myriad of failures of the Republican party crashing down around them, all rolled into one toxic grubworm of a political operative.  To wit:

Green writes that Rove has vanity and hubris on an oceanic scale. In Rove’s World, his knowledge is infallible, his ideas are the only true ideas, and he demands deference even from senior members of Congress….

Most of all, Rove never seems to have figured out that at some point the White House had to put aside campaigning and start governing.

…”I think the larger, deeper problem was that they never fully appreciated that long-term success depended on making sure your policies worked.

And, of course …

Rove has no antecedent in modern American politics, because no president before Bush thought it wise to give a political adviser so much influence. Rove wouldn’t be Rove, in other words, were Bush not Bush. That Vice President Cheney also hit a historic high-water mark for influence says a lot about how the actual president sees fit to govern. All rhetoric about “leadership” aside, Bush will be viewed as a weak executive who ceded far too much authority. Rove’s failures are ultimately his.  (emphasis mine)

Slink off to Texas, Karl. There is much more dirt to come…and my big question today: what is going to sneak out in the news cycle under cover of your ample shadow?  One thing is certain, the WH is going to have to amend their all-purpose press release.  (H/T to Maha — good one!)

As Will Bunch points out (H/T to Atrios for the link), Rover has been telegraphing his latest attempts at strategery to all and sundry the last few weeks.  A little reputation rehab never hurts, I suppose, but it is telling that he feels like he needs it.  Would that the folks inside the Beltway would have paid more attention in advance.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com