"So paste a tail upon my nose and point me toward the grass.
I'm going back to Texas to be one more horse's ass."
-- Shel Siverstein
When an army withdraws from a battlefield, it doesn't just turn and run. It slips away one or two units at a time, leaving other units in place to cover the exit. It's called strategic withdrawal.
Like Rove's, Gonzales' departure from Washington should be seen as part of the greater Bush administration strategic withdrawal from Washington. He is, in Shel Siverstein's words, "Going back to Texas to be one more horse's ass."
Better a strategic withdrawal now than a wholesale retreat in January of 2009. A trickle of departures, followed by presidential pardons on the way out of town, will be smoother and more historically graceful somehow.
(For pure symmetry, it would be fun to see the Bushies conclude the whole sorry show with one last James Baker and Theodore Olson appearance in front of the Supreme Court. Then Baker could leave D.C. for Texas aboard the Enron plane the Bush's lawyers took from Texas to Florida in November of 2000.)
In true George W. Bush fashion, this strategic withdrawal leaves the rest of the Republican Party -- and the rest of the nation -- holding the bag. With the country in a shambles, with our civil rights shredded, with Iraq eternally SNAFU'ed, and players like Rove, Gonzales, and who-knows-who-else safely back in Texas, the Bush administration can take the theme for the rest of its term from National Lampoon's Animal House:
"You F'ed up. You trusted us."
So, bye-bye Karl. So long Alberto. Take care of Texas until Cheney and Bush get there. And don't worry. They've got your withdrawal covered.