He was the alter ego of George Bush II. His shadow. The brain behind his political strategy. The man most vehemently protected by the White House in wake of the countless scandals and dirty odd jobs he did for them. He was portly but that didn't matter. He was the aide-de-camp to the most doltishly powerful man in the world. The Prez hugged him tight, last night, as he bade good-bye to a great friend. White house interns in their pink polka-dotted dresses must have sobbed, at least, a few of them. There goes the electrifying line. The Axis. The incredible colleague. I am happy, another conspirator exits.
Karl Rove is the third to leave. After Wolfowitz and Rummy. Ah, old boy Wolf was a sheer disgrace at the World Bank. He tried to give an out-of-turn raise to his Muslim girlfriend, and was done for. As for Rumsfeld – who often used to confuse journalists with his vocab peddling – he is busy denying things that he always knew and endorsed. Last heard, a week back, he denied a cover-up and rejected personal blame -- in the public deceptions that followed Army Ranger Pat Tillman's friendly-fire death in Afghanistan in 2004 – before questioning by a House committee.
Coming back to Karl -- the dancer who surprised the media with an impromptu jig to a hip hop tune at the annual dinner for TV and radio correspondents in Washington this year: He was some performer. His closeness to George Bush II was famed. Always an inner circle guy, an influential electoral strategist, he brought the Republican party lasting dominance by bringing Protestant evangelicals and Hispanic Catholics together under the amorphous banner of "moral values" through their shared antipathy to – stuff like -- abortion, as Guardian puts it.
Then came the tumble. The downfall was swift and disgraceful. Rove was in complete know and perhaps hand to the sacking of eight federal prosecutors by the attorney general, Alberto Gonzales, a move seen largely as politically motivated. Mr Gonzales admitted he had had conversations on at least two occasions with Mr Rove about the sacking of a prosecutor in New Mexico. Rove could have been hauled but Bush used his executive privilege to prevent his man Friday from testifying at investigative hearings on the Capitol Hill. They grill you bad there, Bush knows.
Like a true wily old Republican, Rove went on to slyly reveal the identity of CIA operative, Valerie Plame, to a journalist Robert Novak. Rove had long insisted he was not responsible -- for the leaking of the identity of Plame, an undercover CIA spy – an act that was unlawful and could have landed him in some serious trouble. What followed was a three-year investigation, a 30-month jail sentence for the vice-presidential aide Lewis "Scooter" Libby and a huge embarrassment to the Bush establishment. Rove, by then, the all-important in charge of White House policy, got off.
As a young rookie, age 22, hired by George Bush Sr, Rove was first assigned the rather petty job of handing over car keys to Bush Jr whenever he went to Washington. After a lifetime -- 35 years -- in servitude to a once-alcoholic, twice-stupid Prez, Rove finally found himself completely out of key.