In a story most people didn't expect to be discussing this morning, Karl Rove will be leaving his job as deputy chief of staff at the end of the month.
As a long-time political opponent is said to have remarked when he heard that Richard Nixon had died: "Hm. I wonder why he did that?"
The "why" question is answered by the WSJ article, although the reasons given seem transparently unlikely:
The WSJ interview reports that Rove is departing his White House post "for the sake of my family." This is a rather uncharacteristically obvious falsehood from the normally sly Rove, since it's a matter of record Rove's family were sacrificed in satanic acts of ritual cannibalism to guarantee the 2004 electoral votes of Ohio and Florida.
NPR coverage this morning has repeated the claim that the timing of Rove's bail-out is shaped by the current lull in bad political news for the White House: After avoiding indictment in the Plamegate investigation (since the one man whose testimony almost certainly would have put Rove's head in the noose heroically chose to perjure himself and accept a presidential commutation of his entire sentence rather than tell the truth) and with congressional investigations accumulating evidence that Rove was involved in, if not the architect of the wide-ranging plan to politicize the Justice Department including the firing of politically incompliant US Attorneys, this might be a good time for Rove to get out.
Rove insists in the WSJ article that he is not "leaving to please the mob"--by which term he apparently means the Democratic leadership of Congress and the majority of Americans.
Rove made a number of other predictions in the interview, including: The nomination of Hillary Clinton, who would lose to an unnamed Republican candidate, the rising of Bush's presidential approval numbers. improved conditions in Iraq following the military surge, and the triumphant arrival of the Titanic into New York Harbor. Good to see the Professor hasn't lost his touch.
Since Bush--in what can only be termed an astonishing coincidence--has already asserted his presidential prerogative to prevent even former White House staffers from testifying to Congress, in the name of executive privilege, we should assume Rove's departure will contribute nothing toward the process of exposing and curbing the lawlessness of the Bush Administration.
Normally we wait until the actual day of departure before doing this, but Rove, like the political regime of which he was the architect, is a special case. So we hereby advance-award Karl our special p3 "Good Riddance" bumper sticker.
Update: Jane at FireDogLake points out something about this unfolding story that is exasperating: Given that Rove's explanation for his departure is simply not to be believed, it's irritating as hell to realize that many or most of the Beltway reporters covering this story know more than they're telling, because loyalty to their tribe and sources trumps loyalty to their profession or their readers.
She also cites, in ascending order of threat level to Rove--and through him, to the White House and the Republican Party--the three legal jams most likely to be the actual cause of Rove's departure.