No President Left Behind and the Partisan Doughboy

At the current rate of those heading for the White House exit doors, when President Bush finally leaves office, the only ones who'll be around to bid farewell are the cooks, gardeners, cleaning staff and Secret Service. (My bet is that Cheney will barricade himself in the White House bunker with his trusty shotgun and refuse to vacate the premises.)

Many wonder: why now the high-profile departure of Karl Rove, followed by Tony Snow's announcement that he will be soon leaving his job as White House press secretary. Here's my theory on the timing. Remember back in September 2002 when White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card famously said that "from a marketing point of view, you don't introduce new products in August." He was referring of course to the public unveiling of the war plan to invade Iraq.

So, if you are Karl or Tony, pre-Labor Day would seem like a relatively quiet and convenient time to say that you are leaving behind the battered Bush presidency. Americans are either on vacation or mentally drained by the prolonged heat waves to concern itself with the comings and goings of loyal Bush foot soldiers. And for that matter, U.S. soldiers needlessly being sacrificed in Iraq. Michael Vick's run-in with the law is about all the news most people seemingly can handle during the dog days of August.

Sadly, the nation will be deprived of seeing the froggy Rove being frog-marched out of a D.C. courtroom. In its place, we have something much worse: Rove's "farewell media tour." I can't think of a more nauseating spectacle.

"Karl Rove is moving on down the road, " Bush had told reporters about his BFF. "I'll be on the road behind you in a little bit." Despite mangling the pronouns, the president sounded like Jack Kerouac speaking about Neal Cassady. While the 50th anniversary of the publication of On the Road is next month, it's unlikely that this book will be on the Bush or Rove reading list.

When Bush does move down the road, it won't be behind the wheel of an old Chevy, popping bennies and hurtling across the continent in a frenzied search for enlightenment.

He will leave the White House with his two terriers, Barney and Miss Beazley, and dutiful wife Laura by his side. The Secret Service started training agents to fill 103 full-time slots to be part of his retirement detail. It's gonna get crowded at the Crawford ranch. The Secret Service detail lasts for ten years. Then Bush must hire a private security force. I'm sure that a Halliburton subsidiary or Blackwater will do this gratis or on the cheap.

Who knows what the future has in store for Rove, though it cannot be denied that the Partisan Doughboy makes a shapely, inviting target for well-aimed, airborne vanilla cream pies. He must be careful where he gives speeches.

It's a given that Rove will write his heavily biased, self-aggrandizing memoir as a "witness to history," hit the lecture circuit, rake in millions, and remain a fierce apologist for the Bush presidency despite all the ruin, destruction, and divisiveness he single-handedly caused in this country and elsewhere in the world. Denial suits him fine, like a cheap suit. If a Democrat like Hillary retakes the White House, Rove and his goon-squad GOP disciples will have the political gift that keeps on giving. Rove will be in great demand for the 2012 presidential election under this scenario.

As a footnote, I am surprised that the media have failed to comment upon the etymology of "rove." There's something a bit eerie going on here. Rove's origin dates back to the late 15th century, and was a Scandinavian term in archery meaning to shoot at a casual mark of undetermined range. No one can doubt the frequency or accuracy of arrows Mr. Rove shot at his political opponents.

There's another dictionary meaning for "rove." This is from Oxford American: "It's a sliver of cotton, wool, or other fiber, drawn out and slightly twisted, especially preparatory to spinning."

The twisted, evil-genius Rove will spin. He will continue to spin the facts of his tainted legacy like a DJ playing with history.

Bill Katovsky is also the editor of