Why is a Political Operative on the Government Payroll?

Karl Rove is in trouble now for being involved in the decision to fire US attorneys for political reasons. But, of course, he was involved. That's what his job is at the White House: politics.

What I don't understand is why the American taxpayer has to pay for a political operative to operate out of the White House. Of course, every president gets advice about policy and politics from his staff while he is in office. But Karl Rove doesn't do policy, he only does politics.

The White House made this very clear when they moved Rove out of policy positions before the 2006 elections so that he could focus on the 2006 campaign. So, why were we paying him to do that?

If the Republican Party wants to hire him as their consultant, that's one thing. But why should American taxpayers of all political persuasions pay for a consultant to sit inside the White House and try to engineer Republican victories?

And now we find out that part of that engineering involved pressuring Justice Department prosecutors to launch investigations of Democrats and/or stop investigations of Republicans. If they didn't, there would be consequences. And there were.

The Republicans lost the elections. Exactly one month later, seven of those prosecutors were fired. They're not strong on subtlety in the Bush administration.

Isn't this a thousand miles over the line? I think it's pretty clearly over the line that he is being paid by the government to work for the Republicans. But when he plays with the Justice Department to carry out his political plots and plans, he's gone way too far.

I think that Alberto Gonzales is going to step down soon. I explain why here. But the short answer is because this scandal has now touched Rove and by extension - and admission - the president.

But even if Gonzales does step down, that doesn't explain why Rove should continue to be paid by the taxpayers to hatch his political plots inside the White House - and use government agencies for those purposes. There's no excuse for it. Rove must go.