Rove’s Glory Days

Slate’s take on the master of spin.

This morning, the op-ed page of the Wall Street Journal broke the news that Karl Rove, President Bush’s longtime adviser and campaign “architect,” is leaving the White House—and politics. Slate has long covered Rove’s shifting roles within the Bush administration. In 2006, when Rove was removed from daily White House operations to focus exclusively on political strategizing, John Dickerson observed that the move wouldn’t help Bush’s image. Before the 2006 midterm elections, Jacob Weisberg was skeptical that Rove could work his usual campaign wonders “in less propitious circumstances and without a blundering Democratic opponent.” After the Republicans’ resounding defeat, Dickerson explained why Republicans refused to blame it on Rove.

During the Valerie Plame leak investigation in 2005, Timothy Noah began a Karl Rove Death Watch. (At the time it seemed futile—now we see it was just premature.) Weisberg explained that Rove was already stumbling before the CIA leak, having directed Bush too far to the right. And in April of this year, John Dickerson called Rove and Bush on their changing stories about Rove’s role in the Plame affair.