But what if journalists are part of an unspoken conspiracy to inflate Rove’s importance — not for ideological reasons but because it makes for a better narrative? What if they are the architects, using well-placed aides to build a stage for inside-dope stories involving Rove and his colleagues?
Or perhaps there’s a cruder explanation: that some journalists believe Bush lacks the intellectual heft to achieve big things on his own, so they attribute his most consequential decisions to a powerful Svengali at his side.
This is not to play down Rove’s crucial role as the president’s longtime confidant and chief strategist, who indeed helped engineer his election triumphs and map a governing approach that emphasized the care and feeding of Bush’s conservative base. But was Rove’s decision to quit, 17 months before the end of Bush’s term, truly deserving of lead-story status in the New York Times, The Washington Post and the three nightly newscasts?