The Reviews Are In: Major Papers Cast Rove’s Record As Failure

roveIn the wake of Karl Rove’s resignation yesterday, television talking heads were quick to heap praise on the political strategist, lauding him as a “superstar,” “the mastermind,” and “Boy Genius.”

But this morning, major print outlets exhibited a more careful analysis of Rove’s record of false predictions, scandal, and his failed attempts to engineer a “permanent Republican majority.” In both analysis and editorial pieces today, major papers slammed Rove’s legacy:


[Rove] is quitting his White House job with little likelihood that the political agenda he set will be fulfilled…more recent attempts at major changes in the law — overhauling the Social Security and immigration systems — failed. … Rove’s vision of an enduring Republican majority was dealt a blow by defeats in congressional elections last November. [Bloomberg]

[F]ew people — including his Republican allies — believe Rove succeeded in what he set as his ultimate goal: creating a long-lasting GOP majority in the country. [Washington Post]

Mr. Rove leaves the White House anything but victorious. His legendary reputation…was seriously diminished by the Republican defeats of 2006. He is blamed in Republican circles for many of the political problems President Bush has suffered in a difficult second term. [New York Times]

Strategist Karl Rove’s departure from the White House may signal the official end of an era of ambition. … US political realignment, if it’s happening, appears to favor Democrats. And today, the administration’s domestic agenda is at best stalled — and at worst gone with the wind. [Christian Science-Monitor]

Karl Rove leaves the White House unbowed and unindicted, but also under investigation and unsuccessful in meeting a goal even more ambitious than navigating his friend to the Oval Office. For Rove, the even-bigger picture has been establishing a durable Republican majority. [Austin American-Statesman]


The GOP’s wipeout in 2006 would suggest that Mr. Rove did not achieve this goal, notwithstanding his brave parting words about Republican victory in 2008. And if the manufactured polarization of the Bush-Rove years did not even serve its ostensible purpose, then what was the good of it? [Washington Post]

Mr. Rove has stonewalled Congress’s legitimate efforts to investigate. … Rove failed his own party, as well as the American people, when he counseled President Bush to turn every serious policy debate — Social Security, the war in Iraq, even terrorism — into one more political dogfight. [New York Times]

[I]t’s hard to believe he’d be going home if his grand vision of Republicans forever had held together instead of imploding. [Chicago Sun-Times]

[T]he politics of polarization that once served President Bush so well eventually undermined his quest for a legacy of achievement in office, while deflating Rove’s own dream of a Republican ascendancy at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. On Monday, Rove quit while he was behind. [Los Angeles Times]

Fortunately, reality finally is catching up with Karl Rove. Lincoln famously said that you can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can’t fool all the people all the time. Rove has pushed those boundaries, but ultimately, he could not escape them. [Salt Lake Tribune]