New Rove Position Bound to Roil Libs

February 9, 2005

President Bush has announced that Karl Rove will assume the role of Deputy Chief of Staff. In his new role, Rove will be involved in policy and not just politics, according to reports.

Rove has been scapegoated as some Machiavellian mastermind by the Left, I think because they believe — and have believed for a long time — that President Bush is too stupid and incompetent to have been elected absent some miraculous handiwork by a political artist without parallel — somebody who could transform this incompetent into an electable figure.

With all respect to the incredibly gifted Rove, I think there has been way too much hype and demonization. The Old Media now realizes, to its great disappointment, that President Bush is quite formidable in his own right. But they can’t go back and undo the fantasies they’ve manufactured about Rove’s superhuman deviousness.

All that said, they still cannot stand Rove, who they blame for both of Bush’s elections — and there are few comparably serious crimes from their point of view. And this little news item will provide them an opportunity to extract a little rhetorical revenge. While I’m not at all sure about this, it wouldn’t surprise me if they depict this lateral move as an unprecedented politicization of the Oval Office. They’ll say that Rove’s appointment represents a blatant effort to convert the White House into an extension of Karl Rove’s political machinations. Instead of policy decisions being made in the best interests of the nation now they will be made completely with a view to what’s best for President Bush and the GOP.

Don’t get me wrong. The libs already believe that President Bush operates this way — subordinating the nation’s interest to his political interests. (That is decidedly untrue. That’s how Clinton operated and we’re just seeing more projection here by Dems.) But this move will provide Dems a news hook to make the claim. And it will give them ammo for as long as Rove remains in the position. Henceforth, they’ll be able to blame all kinds of policy decisions on Rove. I’m awaiting Harry Reid’s pronouncement on it as we speak — or, as I speak.

P.S. I do not mean to understate the talent or indispensibility of Mr. Rove. And by referring to this move as “lateral” I mean only to suggest that his contribution to the president’s election campaigns is as important as any policy contributions he will make in his new position. Plus, I believe this appointment is merely a formalization of Rove’s already existing role as an informal adviser to his longtime friend President Bush.