By now you've heard the news: Rove is stepping down. So here's my treatment of possible reasons why he's leaving, in reverse order of their likelihood:
Time with the Family
As he said to the WSJ, he wants to spend more time with this family. Of course, this is a load of horse puckey--if he had wanted to spend time with his family, he surely would have done it before his son went to college.
Republicans Think He's a Loser
- Social Security
- Faith-based wingnut welfare
- The 2006 elections
It is quite likely that Republicans have finally realized that if you want support from voters, you need to actually deliver on policies, not just promise to. But to change the previous "create our own reality" approach to governance, you'd have to get rid of Rove, because that's all Rove does. With one exception.
Republicans Think He's a Loser, Nativist Edition
I said there was one exception to the rule that Rove simply "creates his own reality" and makes policy promises without delivering on those promises. The exception was supposed to be Latino voters. That is, Rove really did want to court the Latino vote, rather than just claiming Republicans had Latino support. The reason is obvious: if Republicans don't get Latino voters, they're sunk.
Of course, this conflicts (and has, in noticeable ways) with the nativist instincts of the base of the Republican party. About the only thing, at this point, that could mobilize the Republican base (and save some Congressional seats, if not the White House) is to give in to these nativist instincts, and start attacking brown people with gusto. But I doubt Rove would stick around for that--he knows the numbers too well. So it's possible that Rove is out so the Republicans can turn into the full-fledged racist party they've always been.
Update: Athenae goes to Freepi-land, so I (and you) don't have to. And sure enough, they're thrilled to see Rove and his Latino-friendly ways gone.
The Sheriff Is Coming
Several times in the WSJ coverage of Rove's resignation, it notes that, Rove was thinking of leaving a year ago:
"I just think it's time," he says, adding that he first floated the idea of leaving to Mr. Bush a year ago. His friends confirm he had been talking about it with others even earlier.
Of course, it wasn't exactly a year ago. It was more like 15 months ago, when it looked likely that Rove would be indicted in the Plame investigation. So it's quite possible that Rove is leaving just three steps ahead of one of the many sheriffs that have him in their
sites sights. These include:
The Abramoff Investigation
We know Rove is tied in with everyone tied in with the Abramoff inevstigattion. We know that Susan Ralston, Rove's Assistant was closely involved--and it appears that she has been refused immunity, even though some of her testimony about Abramoff appears to be quite interesting. Novak, at least, thinks Ralston would get to Rove. So it's possible that Rove is one of the ultimate targets of the Abramoff investigation.
The OSC Investigation
This is easy. We know Rove is a target of the OSC investigation into the politicization of anything and everything in the entire government. We know he did, in fact, politicize anything and everything. The ultimate outcome of an OSC investigation would consist of Scott Bloch explaining that Rove did politicize anything and everything and recommending that Bush should fire him, but then to have Bush sit on that recommendation as he has with Lurita Doan. But perhaps Rove is leaving anyway, in an attempt to prevent us all from learning how closely our government resembles that of a one-party state, like maybe the old Soviet Union.
The Iglesias Investigation
But I'm most interested in the possibility that Rove is rushing out just two steps ahead of the Iglesias investigation. HJC is collecting a great deal of evidence that DOJ employees covered up the real reasons for the Iglesias firing ... and that the real reason for the firing had everything to do with politicizing the judiciary. It not only has evidence that Will Moschella, Paul McNulty, and Alberto Gonzales lied about the reasons for Iglesias' firing, it appears that Moschella, at least, is getting downright cooperative (and note, McNulty is going to be out of DOJ at almost the same time as Rove will be out of the WH).
If this is the reason Rove is quitting, it's not just that BushCo wants him out before he's officially indicted. After all, it's not just Rove--but Bush, too--who was involved in firing Iglesias. So Rove may be leaving as part of a firewall approach in an attempt to save Bush. If it comes to it, Rove may admit to having Iglesias fired in an attempt to politicize the entire judiciary to hide the fact that--in this specific case, at least--Bush
but was involved in that process, too. [Aw jeebus, how many of you had to tell me about that last typo before I could find it??]