Take Rove at his word?

August 14, 2007, 1:03 PM UTC


Sometimes you come across a raft of spin so dense, so firmly packed, those of us in business have to hoist our hats high and say, “Excuse me?”

The comment in question came from the Editor of the Wall Street Journal‘s editorial page. That bastion of conservative thought has for as long as I can remember been at odds with the rest of the newspaper, which maintains its status as a towering edifice of dispassionate, apolitical, slightly quirky, disconcertingly vicious probity. The editorial page, for its part, is the front page of that the vast and well-organized think tank that Bill and Hillary Clinton complained about. More power to it! It has run the media discourse for a long time. And one trembles to contemplate the number of rumors, spins and stories that Karl Rove has lovingly placed there for the last several decades. The last time our civilization produced a mind like Mr. Rove’s was in Italy, in the 15th Century.

As you know, Mr. Rove has resigned from his position at Mr. Bush’s side at this time because, ostensibly, he knows that if he stays past Labor Day he’ll have to hang in there at the White House through ’09, and that he and his family have decided they would rather do other things.

Now, if a corporate executive offered this explanation for a resignation from a troubled senior management team, the Wall Street Journal would pillory him. Four reporters would be assigned to suss out the real reason. In the end, and I am speculating here, this is only my conjecture based on reading of the Journal for 20 years, the paper would offer the following alternative explanations, sourced by many disinterested individuals both named and close to the situation:

> Mr. Rove was fired because in the wake of many failures, the chief executive had to make an offering to the gods of destruction, as he did with several key lieutenants in the recent past;

> Mr. Rove deserted a sinking ship, because he has other fish to fry in addition to his decision to spend more time with his family;

> We don’t know why yet. But nobody’s buying the whole “spend more time with my family” stuff;

> More to come. We’re on it.

Most of the people I know are wondering what the real reason is that Karl Rove is leaving the office of the best friend, boss and protege he ever had in the world, the man, in a sense, that he created, and that created him, leaving the lonely, embattled warrior alone to define the last days of his Presidency.

That’s why I sat bolt upright and nearly spit out my soup when I clicked on this interview with the editor of the Journal‘s editorial page. This is what he said: “I’m going to take him at his word.” He said it twice, while repeating the whole drill about how Mr. Rove and his family were looking forward to doing other things. What other things? And why now?

After that, I find myself even more interested in the whole situation. Why the spin? What really happened? Honestly, I don’t know. It seems weird, though. Either Mr. Rove has been dispatched by his ultra-senior management to another, more productive gig in this crucial political year… or there’s something else. Some rift between old friends. Something… painful.

That should keep our minds off Brad and Angelina for a while.

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