‘The White House dodged a bullet’ is the single stupidest bit of nonstop echo punditry we’ve heard this weekend. Karl Rove not getting indicted presents the White House with a worse problem than an indictment would have. The problem being—Rove is going to go to work Monday morning at the White House with TV cameras following his every move and with 47% of the public believing he did something wrong, according to today’s Washington Post poll. What the White House desperately needed on Friday was Rove’s resignation. As long as he keeps his White House pass, Rove is a cancer on the presidency.
The Washington Post poll shows that the best outcome for the Democrats would be Rove staying in the White House till Bush’s last day. The Post reports, “Barely a third of Americans -- 34 percent -- think Bush is doing a good job ensuring high ethics in government, which is slightly lower than President Bill Clinton's standing on this issue when he left office.” Keeping Rove on the job will keep that number where it is today.
The pundit world, having spent years in awe of Karl Rove, will never understand how bad he is at his White House job. His second term agenda destroyed this presidency long before Patrick Fitzgerald’s press conference. Rove sent his president on a political death march on Social Security reform with the most hopeless legislative idea since the Clinton health care bill. That showed Congress how powerless the second-term Bush would be. Without the Social Security collapse—which I predicted on day one of the Social Security crusade—Senate Republicans and the right wing would not have dared defy their president on a Rove-managed Supreme Court nomination. And Rove obviously had no feel for the politics of Katrina which pulled Bush poll numbers to record lows.
As long as Karl Rove stays in the White House doing the terrible job he is doing and bringing the stench of scandal with him every time he walks in the door, the Bush presidency will remain a powerless gang that couldn’t shoot straight. And the ‘dodge the bullet’ chorus will never understand that.