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The Monday morning bombshell is Karl Rove’s announcement that he will shortly leave the service of President Bush. Here’s the AP account:
Karl Rove, President Bush’s close friend and chief political strategist, plans to leave the White House at the end of August, joining a lengthening line of senior officials heading for the exits in the final 1 1/2 years of the administration. On board with Bush since the beginning of his political career in Texas, Rove was nicknamed “the architect” and “boy genius” by the president for designing the strategy that twice won him the White House. Critics call Rove “Bush’s brain.”
A criminal investigation put Rove under scrutiny for months during the investigation into the leak of a CIA operative’s name but he was never charged with any crime. In a more recent controversy, Rove, citing executive privilege, has refused to testify before Congress about the firing of U.S. attorneys. Bush was expected to make a statement Monday with Rove. Later Monday, Rove, his wife and their son were to accompany Bush on Air Force One when the president flies to Texas for his vacation.
The Associated Press devotes the balance of the article to a recounting of Rove’s role in the Valerie Plame investigation, including an appearance before the grand jury at which he gave false evidence—which he subsequently “corrected.” Do they know something we don’t?
A few stray thoughts:
in the Bush White House, as with predecessors in the past, the resignation of a key staffer frequently means that trouble is just around the corner. An indictment? Another criminal investigation? Documents in the hands of Congressional investigators which are likely to explode on the public stage? Each of these is a possibility.
the fact that Rove will no longer be at the White House and no longer in Government service erodes, but does not entirely eliminate the claim of Executive Privilege with respect to his testimony and his documents.
Karl Rove has been termed “Bush’s Brain” and his “co-president,” a man who was always careful to understate his influence on Bush personally, but who was undeniably the most influential man in the White House. His departure will clearly mark a major turn in the Bush presidency.
It might even be that, as Rove claims, he is leaving to spend more time with his family. That, of course, is the standard line used in Washington, and it doesn’t sound much in character for Karl Rove.
NPR is reporting that the White House had told staff that if they stayed beyond Labor Day, they would have to make a commitment to the end. Most presidencies hemorrage talent in their last year, as this is the prime period during which a staffer can most easily land a good job on the outside.
More from Scott Horton:
Conversation — August 5, 2016, 12:08 pm
Sidney Blumenthal on the origins of the Republican Party, the fallout from Clinton’s emails, and his new biography of Abraham Lincoln
Conversation — March 30, 2016, 3:44 pm
Joseph Hickman discusses his new book, The Burn Pits, which tells the story of thousands of U.S. soldiers who, after returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, have developed rare cancers and respiratory diseases.
Years ago, I lived in Montana, a land of purple sunsets, clear streams, and snowflakes the size of silver dollars drifting through the cold air. There were no speed limits and you could legally drive drunk. My small apartment in Missoula had little privacy. In order to write, I rented an off-season fishing cabin on Rock Creek, a one-room place with a bed and a bureau. I lacked the budget for a desk. My idea was to remove a sliding door from a closet in my apartment and place it over a couple of hastily cobbled-together sawhorses.
Amount by which a typical good-looking U.S. worker will out-earn a typical ugly one over a lifetime:
A Japanese inventor unveiled a new invisibility cloak that uses a material made of thousands of tiny beads called “retro-reflectum.”
A couple at a Cracker Barrel restaurant in Greenville, South Carolina, left their waitress a note telling her “the woman’s place is in the home,” in lieu of a tip.
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"She never thanked me, never looked at me—melted away into the miserable night, in the strangest manner I ever saw. I have seen many strange things, but not one that has left a deeper impression on my memory than the dull impassive way in which that worn-out heap of misery took that piece of money, and was lost."