Monday, August 13, 2007
Rove's dream lost in sands of Iraq
Could Karl Rove become the architect of a kinder, gentler politics?
Karl Rove will enter history as the most influential political strategist of the modern presidency. James Carville, Dick Morris, Lee Atwater, etc. -- all were important but none as significant. One has to go back some 60 years to the partnership between Clark Clifford and Harry Truman or further back to Louis Howe with Franklin Roosevelt to find anyone as close and instrumental in helping a candidate win and then exercise power.

But the historical analogy that once seemed to fit even better has now vanished into the mist. Early on, Karl Rove was to Bush what Mark Hanna was to William McKinley -- the power behind the throne of a president who built an enduring Republican majority, one that lasted more than 30 years. Rove and Bush together brought that dream to the White House and for a while they were succeeding -- witness the elections of 2000, 2002 and 2004. But that dream has now gone smash, disappearing into the sands of Iraq.

What will Rove's final legacy be? To be fair to him, the final chapters have not been written. If fortunes turn up for his boss -- as Rove doggedly insists -- his own legacy will brighten, too. But let us hope that with Rove's departure, we may also see an end to some of the ways he and his boss have practiced political leadership. To wit:

  • Bush and Rove have tried to govern most of the time by steamrolling their opponents -- often demonizing them -- and winning with just 51 percent of the vote. It doesn't work and it undermines our politics. The next president needs to get back to the tradition that the best way to make big changes in the country is through a bipartisanship that builds super-majorities. That's what the great leaders like FDR and Reagan did.
  • Bush and Rove introduced the idea that the way to win the White House as a Republican is to run to the right to gain the GOP nomination and then stay to the right to win the election. They thought the center had disappeared. But their approach deepened the partisan divides and made our politics even more poisonous. Let us hope the nominees in 2008 run a race more to the center, trying to build coalitions that will not only bring victory but make governance possible.
  • Finally, Bush and Rove came to be seen as practicing a mean-spirited politics -- a politics that seemed comfortable with smearing opponents. Just ask John and Cindy McCain about their experience in the South Carolina primary in 2000. Bush and Rove were not the first to engage in the politics of personal destruction -- some Democrats of the past have come straight out of the pages of Machiavelli. And no doubt, Bush and Rove believe they, too, have been vilified. They are right. But with the country now facing challenges that are both huge and urgent, could we not find a better way with Rove heading out the door?
Strangely enough, maybe Rove can even help. He has one of the best minds in modern politics, and underneath the veneer, I have often found him to have a decency that gets lost to view in the hurly burly. As he steps back from the fray, he could well become an advocate of a better politics. Remember Lee Atwater's conversion?

-- By David Gergen, Former White House Adviser
Posted By CNN: 5:23 PM ET
  76 Comments
I say good riddance. I hope to never see that man again, unless he's in handcuffs.
Posted By Stacy, St. Louis, MO : 5:58 PM ET
I will surely be in the one percent of 360 commenters who will not pile on Karl Rove, because if you look closely, Hillary Clinton and her advisers are building the very same campaign machinery for her that Mr. Rove was responsible for creating on behalf of President Bush.
Posted By xtina - chicago IL : 6:11 PM ET
Nice to see you on the blog, Mr. Gergen. You preserve your reputation as the most optimistic man on the planet with this:

"As he steps back from the fray, he could well become an advocate of a better politics."

When pigs fly, Mr. G. When pigs fly.
Posted By Arachnae, Sterling VA : 6:12 PM ET
Yeah, right. *Yawwnnn* I wouldn't wait on it!
Posted By Cindy, Tulsa, OK : 6:14 PM ET
I have always respected David Gergen's analyses and views on the White House world. Time will tell for both Mr. Rove and President Bush but for once Rove was not able to time his decision to suit himself or his boss/friend. Although he will no longer be on the White House payroll, he will continue to give advice to President Bush.
Posted By North Carolina John : 6:15 PM ET
I guess this means that within 24 hours, the anti-Bush crowd will find a new person to demonize. Maybe go back to complaining about the Vice-President...?
Posted By Steve, Peoria, Ill. : 6:15 PM ET
Hi David, nice to see you blogging. Mr. Rove's departure signals the end, or almost end of an era. I have never liked Mr. Rove and this administration's tactics. Sure they won elections, but as time will tell, the people will see through their intentions and motivations. An elected official's genuine desire to serve and put the country's interests before theirs will win over negative, venomous, and destructive politics. Besides, how can you feel good about winning only 51 percent of the vote by demonizing opponents? I know I wouldn't. Yes, he's decent alright...decent enough to have the conscience to resign.

Lilibeth
Edmonds, Washington
Posted By Lilibeth, Edmonds, WA : 6:21 PM ET
Well, it is about time that we see the most DIVISIVE individual in America leave politics. The country is much worse off with the fingerprints of Rove all over the place. History will not be kind to this devious "win at all costs" lout.

Wait!!!! This could just be a sidestep to Rove popping up as the "guru" for another Republican candidate. Anyone who can get two draft dodgers elected over a war hero and make them look like they are tough on national defense has a perverse quality.
Hopefully Rove...it is Good-by and Good Riddance.

Keith Guice
Franklin, Tn
Posted By Anonymous : 6:31 PM ET
It's a happy day for Democrats!

What's the president going to do without his "brain"? Will he start thinking logically, consider causes and effects, change course, see nuances? I'm not optimistic, but we can hope.
Posted By Barbara, Culver City, CA : 6:34 PM ET
David/AC360:
Do you mean Atwater's repentance?

Thanks to Atwater and his student, Karl Rove, the ruthlessness of politics or "smash mouth" politics has dampened the reputation of the President from statesman to dictator.

The technique to blacken reputations to gain power, to dig up family dirt to embarrass good men and women, as well as to mentor not only Karl Rove but George W. Bush, will go down in history as the worse case of antagonistic propaganda that manipulated the American people into believing conservatives were looking out what is best for the whole country. Well, some of the country, the 1 per cent that holds the wealth.

Will Karl Rove grow a conscience? It will be interesting to see where he shows up next. With the Democratic Party holding the power in Congress, Rove and Atwater's philosophy may well come in handy when the threat of a Democratic moving into the White House may occur in 2008.
Posted By Sharon D., Indianapolis, Indiana : 6:52 PM ET
Karl Rove: The face of modern evil. I'm sure he is up to something sinister with the upcoming election.

When will Bush, Cheney, and Rove be arrested and charged with Crimes against the American People and Crimes against Humanity? Why do the people in power always get away with everything and pay no consequences?
Posted By James K. : 6:54 PM ET
Reply to Barbara of Culver City-

So the 4.6 unemployment, unprecedented growth of the economy, NO terrorist attacks in the U.S., record stock market and lowered budget deficit from what Pres. Clinton had are not working for you?! You want "logical thinker" and "change of course" from what the current administration represents, then expect to see rising income taxes, increased government welfare programs, increased casual abortions, weakened national security and more incursion of the government into your everyday business and life. Sounds like a good plan.
Posted By Chas, Virginia Beach, Va. : 7:11 PM ET
Dear David Gergen,

From the way you have explained this I conclude that Karl Rove has been called the villan due to his surrounding external political circumstances. If he is indeed the best strategist, then how did he get there in the first place. I say: "Let there be new faces and fresh minds!"

A monkey can be smart, but not when he outsmarts himself!
Posted By Ratna, New York, NY : 7:21 PM ET
As Karl Rove steps back from the fray, he could just as easily continue his work behind the scenes unencumbered by any pretense of responding to questions from Congress, and based on his past record and the record of this Bush administration, that is the more likely scenario.
Posted By Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA : 7:26 PM ET
Does anyone really believe that Rove left voluntarily, that he suddenly realized that he has a family to spend time with? No, he was cut loose as abruptly as Rumsfeld. I don't know why he was exiled at just this moment, but I suspect that it has something to do with the impending investigations into White House misconduct.
Posted By Art, Holmdel, NJ : 7:35 PM ET
Good riddance! One down, a few more shameful excuses for human beings to go. I can only hope that in leaving, he has started a trend that other Bush cronies will follow.
Posted By Anne Charlotte, NC : 7:40 PM ET
Regarding the comment about Clinton: I'm am in no way a fan of Hilary Clinton, but to compare her to Bush and his henchman seems preposterous at this stage in the game. Bush's administration and Rove's influence have been scary to say the least and have represented all that is wrong and dangerous in politics.
An aside-I'm glad you bring up Reagan because even though I tend to be quite liberal, I have to admit he was a great leader. And why??? Because he wasn't a career politician.
Posted By Debbie, Denham Springs, LA : 7:46 PM ET
David,

I pray that the center has not gone away and that the next President will be a centrist who will govern from the middle and get along with both parties. Rove has been a very destructive force in DC in my view. I am trying to be open to what the various candidates have to say, but I swear if any one of them hire Rove to be their Svengali, then they will never get my vote. As one person said, good riddance and may I add, don't let the door hit you on the rear on your way out.
Posted By Charlotte D, Stockton CA : 7:49 PM ET
Yes, we need a great leader such as Reagan or FDR who will be bipartisan.

But isn't it making the situation worse to continuously single out the President's confidants for dubious digressions? We are losing precious time each day. Both "sides" in our political world can find things against each other, but how is that improving or strengthening our country? How is it helping you, the viewer, to sit and stew over which government official we'll try to "get" next? Instead of pointing fingers at each other, why can't we all stand side-by-side and look out to the future together?

My words to Mr. Rove, if I could say them, would be "Be selective as to whose insults you take to heart".
Posted By William, Manchester, Vt. : 7:50 PM ET
I can see Mr. Gergen is an insider of life in the White House; he speaks glibly, as if politics and its consequences in the heights of power are only a gloved-gentlemen game. Those of us on the planet for whom human lives matter who do not admire Machiavelli or Napoleon but consider them notable for being blind to human suffering, see Rove & Co., and their politics, as sociopath. Those who have read Ann Rule true-crime books will understand. Felons who directly kill one human being and are subjected to psychiatric examination are often pronounced "narcissistic, sociopath, unable to understand others' feelings or suffering." That's what happens with these gentlemen (and ladies) and Bush. They're the power behind the throne and Bush happily complies. A friend of a friend just passed four months in Iraq with relatives. She describes Iraq's as a situation of "unmitigated misery". One of Rove's almost unknown feats during Mexico's elections was help export dirt campaigns -with a vengeance- against the non-chosen presidencial runner, through an onslaught of dirty, disgusting lies. It's not only the Republicans (though they're meaner). It's the Duopoly that practice dirt-slinging. I can see Ms. Clinton doing it if only to get even. Really, Rove could favor politics in your country (and in others) only by being indicted and put in handcuffs.
Posted By María Soledad Cervantes Ramírez : 7:53 PM ET
Re: Bush and Rove have tried to govern most of the time by steamrolling their opponents --

Gergen has it backward. Bush is the victim of more demonizing than any President in the modern era.
Posted By Alan Anderson, Dallas, TX : 8:02 PM ET
I respect Mr. Gergen's opinions, but I would not hold my breath waiting for a "conversion" from Karl Rove. The man truly believes that the end justifies the means. Anyway, didn't Lee Atwater's conversion come on his deathbed?
Posted By Robert, San Francisco : 8:03 PM ET
So, Rove's leaving to spend more time with his family? Why is it that so many members of the corrupt Bush Administration have trotted out that tired old excuse? I feel sorry for their put upon families. No, actually, I don't.
Posted By Fay, Vacaville, CA : 8:14 PM ET
As someone said today, Bush will now go from lame duck to lame brain.

Rove quit now because he wants to start writing his book so that he can put his own spin on history.
Posted By Jo Ann Matese, North Royalton, Ohio : 8:25 PM ET
David,You are much too kind and soft on Karl Rove. Since he is the mind behind the Bush administration which is untrustworthy and corrupt,I am happy that my mind does not compare. Karl Rove has help created a Karmic debt that this country will encounter for generations. It does not take a genius to understand politics. What else do you need to know about it? It is dishonest and dirty.
Always enjoy your discussions on AC/360.
Posted By Judy Stage/Brooklyn MI : 8:36 PM ET
It is the same people who say they want us to be "united", who are the first to "divide" us by slinging dirt at every one of the President's staff. Karl Rove didn't do anything against the law. You know it, I know it and the American people know it.
Posted By Miguel, Rockland, La. : 8:37 PM ET
Mr. Rove's departure is nothing more than the proverbial "rats jumping a sinking ship" and there's no bigger RAT in this country that Mr. Rove. As a parasite who attached himself to power, he's smart enough to figure out that his current host, the President, serves no further purpose other than to snare him in tsunami of congressional investigations. He also knows that this president can play the stubborn game but there's nothing else to be accomplished other than getting out of Washington without being indicted. He also knows that Bush will be further marginalized and exposed to a stream of endless scandals as the investigations continue unfold the depth of the corruption that Mr. Rove helped engineer. This is a man, along with Bush and Cheney, that needs to spend the next few years testifying in front of Congress, and hopefully charged with something. Pin no medals on this man for winning elections. He's a disgrace to America and history will judge him for the Rasputin that he is.
Posted By Carlos-Los Angeles : 8:38 PM ET
Karl Rove will be best known for the military defeat in Iraq, deserved or not. According to the best military intelligence in the world, this life is not fair ...(although God is)
Posted By Bob Delaware, OH : 8:47 PM ET
I wish Karl Rove a good life whether he chooses to stay in politics or not. George W. Bush (as much as I dislike some of his policies) is not a stupid man. I highly doubt he was Karl Rove's string puppet or they had some evil plot to take over the world or make Iraq turn into the disaster it has become. Karl Rove is merely a man who had a lot of influence that no one bothered to check while he was in office. If I were a democrat, I'd be asking that majority in Congress to hold Rove and Bush accountable for whatever evils they believe occurred. Then again, good luck proving they broke the law (and all is pretty much fair in politics). Like I said, Bush and Rove are not stupid men as much as some would like to believe. I hope Karl Rove enjoys excellent hunting. God knows after putting up with Washington, the man deserves a break.
Posted By Tammy C., Berwick, LA : 8:55 PM ET
Mr. Gergen,

Rove and Bush have left quite the legacy and I believe it's one they set out to leave that is; they shifted tax debt to the middle and lower class, they corrupted the Justice department and the Courts, they destroyed our standing as a Democracy to be admired, etc. There is not enough space here to describe their wonderful Legacy!
Posted By Bubba, Dallas, Texas : 9:00 PM ET
The President's Illegal Immigrant Amnesty Program was to have been the crowning achievement of his eight years. Karl Rove could not spin that baby to make it appealing to voters or Congress. The reason Karl Rove is resigning is that he could not get George's biggest program passed, and therefore his usefulness is at an end.
Posted By Stephen, New York, NY : 9:00 PM ET
"Gergen has it backward. Bush is the victim of more demonizing than any President in the modern era."

I guess by "modern era" you are referring to "post-Clinton"? Or perhaps you felt his impeachment was wholly justified?

Republicans complained so strenuously over Scooter Libby's indictment for perjury, yet those same people applauded when Bill Clinton was impeached over the exact same offense.

Face it -- politics is a dirty game. It's a self-reinforcing cycle -- the dirtier it is, the less people who are disgusted by the whole thing will want to participate. When one side is in power, the other side will complain and demonize. It's a fact of life. There was an enemy of Woodrow Wilson's who said, "I never thought I would hate anyone in politics as much as I hate Wilson."
Posted By David : 9:05 PM ET
President Bush walks softly but carries a big stick. He is letting Karl Rove down easily. This isn't emotional for him, this is business. It may look like a series of unfortunate events for the White House, but make no mistake; this is President Bush's power play, and he is the most powerful man in the world.
Posted By Hugh R.- San Bruno, Ca. : 9:53 PM ET
To Tammy in Berwick, LA:

Actually, I DON'T wish Mr. Rove a good life. I also don't wish Mr. Bush one either. While I wish them no harm, I actually don't care if either one falls off the face of the Earth right now. Bush hasn't been demonized, he earned it. And I'm not convinced he isn't stupid, either. Power hungry, corrupt, lying, judgmental...the list goes on about his administration, no matter WHO was fueling it. But maybe we should look inward to place blame-who put this administration in power? Twice. Isn't this a democracy?
Posted By Debbie, Denham Springs, LA : 10:01 PM ET
Wonder why you never asked if Bill Clinton's advisors were good or bad for the country?
Posted By Anonymous : 10:27 PM ET
Good riddance! Him advocating better politics? Sure.... if he gets the right price, why not?

But now, let's get serious. Blame Rove as much as you like... he certainly deserves to be behind bars... what about all those millions who voted for Bush the second time around and who still blieve that the war in Iraq is about our freedom? If you see a connection between our freedom in the US and the war in Iraq, then you may also believe that Rove one day may advocate better politics out of the latent decency of his latent soul.
Posted By Liana : 10:27 PM ET
He will be Fred Thompson's Campaign Manager. He enters the race, officially, in September.
Posted By Anonymous : 10:28 PM ET
The legacy of Karl Rove will be that a political whiz was the main architect for winning three major elections for George W. Bush which gave the candidate the Texas governorship & two U.S. presidential victories - On the other hand, Rove helped the President divide the nation instead of uniting the government for federal programs to assist the people.
Posted By Gary H. Roller, Agoura Hills, CA : 10:30 PM ET
Why don't we focus on what's important for our country to ensure its security and prosperity. Really successful people aren't distracted by these occasional blips on the radar, and these made-up scandals people have been laying on the Bush administration are boring. Get over it , people . George Bush and Karl Rove won fair and square for two terms! Now make the best of your own life without the drama of Washington on your minds.
Posted By John K., Hammond, In. : 10:37 PM ET
Dear David Gergen:

The politics of Karl Rove are not going to change as he leaves the White House & President Bush a lame duck until the election of 2008. Don't anticipate that an old political pro like Rove will change enough to help George W. Bush become an overnight bipartisan uniter in Washingtion. It isn't going to happen from outside advice as Rove returns to Texas.
Posted By Gary H. Roller, Agoura Hills, CA : 10:46 PM ET
Dear David Gergen:

The politics of Karl Rove are not going to change as he leaves the White House & President Bush a lame duck until the election of 2008. Don't anticipate that an old political pro like Rove will change enough to help George W. Bush become an overnight bipartisan uniter in Washingtion. It isn't going to happen from outside advice as Rove returns to Texas.
Posted By Gary H. Roller, Agoura Hills, CA : 10:46 PM ET
Rove's leaving the White House is certainly a positive development. But after he's gone, Bush and Cheney will still lead one of the most corrupt, secretive, non-transparent, and — according to conservative lawyer and scholar, Bruce Fein — criminal administrations in the history of our country. And the mainstream media will continue to, for the most part, avoid discussing in any serious, non-political way, the many impeachable and unconstitutional offenses of this White House.

My suggestion? How about, ya know, in the spirit of "keeping them honest" CNN focus on the criminal aspects — as opposed to the all too frequently discussed political aspects — of things like the unlawful detention of American citizens, kidnappings, secret detentions, and torture in Eastern Europe prisons, not to mention warrantless domestic spying on Americans?

Even though these are clear violations of the Constitution, the media tends to look at them as political issues and not criminal ones. The deepest discussion we ever hear — when we hear anything at all about these — is when one GOP operative and one Democratic operative trade verbal jabs. And so the end result is that this is "just politics" and not really something we should worry about from a legal, Constitutional standpoint. C'mon CNN, shape up.
Posted By Justin Kansas City : 10:52 PM ET
It is interesting to watch politics in America and in 2000 the Republicans were so upbeat on how they were going to change America and had several promises of how they were not going to back down until the job was done. And now when times are tough and the president's approval rating is so low they are bowing out. Has everyone in Bush's original cabinet left now?
Rove leaving may be a good thing, now that he is back into the public and not part of the Bush Dictatorship anymore maybe the American public can find the answers to the crooked things this administration has done behind the scenes the past several years.
My opinion of Mr. Rove is that he is in the same class as O.J. Simpson as he is very good at covering his tracks and fooling the American public.
Posted By Mark - Iowa : 10:58 PM ET
Rove leaves a stink on this administration and this country that few can match.I am sad to see him leave because some how when it all comes crashing down he will not be held accountable. I can almost hear him now as he flys away "so long suckers".
Posted By Bonnie,Madison, WI : 10:58 PM ET
@ David:

I think Atwater was the one that had the brain tumor and then became a Catholic and repented all of his sins against humanity during his political years.

David, are you in fact suggesting that Rowe too will be repenting all of his sins soon or am I putting words in your mouth?

@ 360 Producers:

Thanks for the "What Were You Thinking?" video tonight. I missed the video this morning. Boys, remember you will get caught!
Ladies, honestly, did you think he was that cute? It must be the hidden talents! Need I say more!
Posted By Renee Bradenton, FL : 10:59 PM ET
Good Riddance and good luck! Karl Rove is a brilliant mind most radicals are. He's approach to political campaigning and winning elections is radical in nature but as history have shown radicalism and extremism can only sustain itself for so long.
In 2000 they rode on the ticket of "bringing dignity back to the white house". Was the public really that undignified by the actions of president Clinton? The answer is no!
I think even back then the public was unsure. Luckily for them and unfortunate for us 9/11 happened and yes the public was shocked and outraged by the violence and there radical thoughts and extreme actions were welcomed and allowed at all cost. But as cycles end and start up again as they always do the shock and outrage subsided and the public came back to the center. At this time radical thoughts and extreme actions were no longer accepted by the general public.

For a student of political and presidential history, Karl Rove should have learned that radical tactics and the blatant contempt for the rule of law will never be accepted nor allowed by a centered general public.
And certainly not tactics of fear...those were possible pre PAX Americana.

Though i respect your views Mr. Gergen, i have to politely disagree.
Posted By Martyne : 11:00 PM ET
I was surprised by the announcement this morning. I tend to be suspicious of both the timing of and reasons for his resignation. I don't really think that Rove will be going very far. Thanks for your blog. I always enjoy your comments on AC360!
Posted By Kathy Chicago,Il : 11:05 PM ET
Jesus said as you judge,so will you be judged. I still judge Bush/Rove harshly by the misery & cynicism they have sowed nationally & internationally.
Posted By Alex : 11:06 PM ET
I'm neither a Democrat nor a Republican, but there is no one in politics today who I despise more than Karl Rove. The United States is supposed to be a country, not a political clique. By focusing on winning elections by any means necessary, fair or foul, and then making governing choices based almost entirely on their political value, Rove has ignored the good of the country in favor of the good of his political in-crowd, and that is hardly the kind of Democracy that we want to export to other nations like Iraq.

Bush, under Rove's tutelage, has accomplished exactly the opposite of nearly everything he promised to do when first elected. He's divided the country, bankrupted the Treasury, ballooned the size & reach of government into people's private lives, and appointed many many shady and/or incompetent people to positions of power, mostly for reasons of political payback or political control. My parents were staunch Eisenhower Republicans and if they were alive today, I think they'd be appalled.
Posted By Janet, Kensington MD : 11:12 PM ET
Karl Rove's "political campaign genius" was to secure the White House for Republicans by dividing the country over controversial issues such as prayer in schools and gay marriage. Ironically, the Bush / Rove disastrous domestic and foreign policies are uniting the country once again, albeit with the unfortunate consequence of 70% of the nation eagerly awaiting the end of the Bush presidency.

Greg S. in Chicago
Posted By Greg Surdel : 11:15 PM ET
To comment on your title, the USA's boastful ambitions of "imperial conquest and conquer" of the Arabian people will surely end in a bitter defeat, and will not represent the first great army to be swallowed whole by the desert warriors. There has been no greater tragedy in world history since 1948 with the displacement of an entire people and country of Palestine. Even these most humble of people in small numbers have held a most advanced wealthy army at stalemate. Revenge is served best cold, and our karmic destiny is an eternal iceblock.
Posted By pride then the fall : 11:23 PM ET
I believe that Rove's departure from the White house might look like a big loss for President Bush; however, I personally believe that he is not the only advisor George Bush has although he played a bigger role in bringing good faith to the president.

There are still brilliant people and architects of the Bush legacy out there. In politics like in everything else, people come and people go. I wish good luck to Mr. Rove for his new career orientation. I hope he understands that it is time to work with others to make America a great nation as it is the dream of all Americans.
Thanks
Posted By Bernard Londoni, Boca Raton FL : 11:35 PM ET
Although I have given my 2 cents earlier today, I feel as though I need to say more. It's hard to eloquently put into words your opinion while containing your anger. And I've been angry with this administration for too long. However, all one has to do was to listen to Anderson's interview tonight with Joshua Green. He recounted a story where Karl Rove told George Bush not to land the plane in Louisiana while they were scanning the damage made by Hurricane Katrina. They turned the plane around as if these people didn't matter. Now, if that isn't an indication of our administration's lack of empathy and lack of concern to the people of Louisiana, our fellow Americans, the people who needed them the most at that time, then I don't know what is. Mr. Green couldn't have put it more eloquently. Thank you, Anderson, for interviewing him. He's one of the most intelligent people I've ever heard speak. Please have him in your program more often.

Thanks,

Lilibeth
Edmonds, Washington
Posted By Lilibeth, Edmonds, WA : 11:46 PM ET
If only Rove's lust for absolute power were not representative of the Republican Party as a whole. As John Dean's "Conservatives Without Conscience" makles crystal clear, the leadership of the Republican Party as lost its way, along with its respect fo law and the Constitution.
Posted By John D., San Rafael, CA : 1:23 AM ET
To say that Bush/Rove have governed to the right is a statement that shows the extreme liberal bias in the mainstream media. The reason why the Republicans lost the Congress is because they governed to the left. They governed to the left of Bill Clinton if that is possible. It certainly was to the left of JFK and FDR. Republicans and Conservatives were fed up with the out of control spending, record earmarks, and general disregard for the will of the people especially their base. Conservative frustration with the Republicans in Congress led to many staying home and many voting for the so-called "Blue Dog Democrats". What has that gotten us? A minimum wage increase (which was long overdue) and the FISA bill (also long overdue). Besides that I think they have renamed some post offices, and investigated everyone with an (R) in front of their name. I hope Republicans have learned their lesson and realized that while conservatism doesn't make news headlines, it wins elections.
Posted By Nestor, Austin, TX : 1:25 AM ET
Mr. Gergen, you are much to kind about Rove. I don't believe there will be some transformation of Rove. If Rove is in fact the true brainchild behind the chaos this country is in right now, then I say his permenant departure is good for the country. They give me reason to say that Bush is not my president because I'm not a republican. For the past 6-7 years, it seems as though they only look out for people like them. But everyone has to realize, Bush ultimately makes the final decisions. So I blame Bush for everything that has happened. If Bush had any moral values, he would have told Rove no to some of his advice. To be honest, Bush and Cheney need to leave with him now.
Posted By Deon, Houston, TX : 1:37 AM ET
Karl Rove took demonization and Machievellian spin to new heights. He used these techniques, along with the politics of fears, to implement and, in some cases, create President Bush's and Vice President Cheney's policies.

He helped advance our government of business, by business and for business, expand presidential power to unprecedented levels, launch a new era in foreign policy abuses with the Bush doctrine and “harsh interrogation” techniques, create large deficits with his tax cuts for the wealthy, reduce the middle class and probably perpetuate these policies with the new Supreme Court justices.

All this has made us less safe, weakened our nation economically and created a threat to the very core of our constitutional checks and balances and our democracy.

It is too bad that he didn't use his genius to benefit the nation. There is a reason Bush is so demonized.
Posted By U.S. Citizen, Woodland Hills, CA : 1:56 AM ET
"...maybe Rove can even help. Remember Lee Atwater's conversion?"
Sure. And Chuck Colson's. And John Dean's. All occurred conveniently and inevitably after they had made their baleful influence felt to the full, after they had been caught or otherwise rendered politically impotent.
Scoundrels all, whose "conversions" aren't worth (to borrow a phrase) a bucket of warm spit.
There's always someone around to reflect that this or that departing weasel has some rarely glimpsed softer side, loves his wife, coaches little league,
quietly donates to orphanages or whatever.
But the damage they do is real, and in the case of the chicken hawks of Iraq, permanent, fatal, and unforgivable for tens of thousands innocents...and still counting.
Posted By mark, Chicago IL : 2:11 AM ET
Karl Rove is a perfect example of what can happen when a brilliant mind is trapped in a troubled soul.

Abandoned as a boy and raised by the wolves of the political circles, he chose to divide a nation (and a world) that longed to be united after 9/11.

Go home, Mr. Rove... Your karma awaits you ...
Posted By Tim Grant, Los Angeles, CA : 2:14 AM ET
As a Democratic voter, I find it such a colossal disappointment what the last 7 years have brought forth in this country. We, as a society, constantly seek to be led by a government that has integrity and is worthy of our trust. Here we have a man that has done everything in his power to eliminate the middle-class by driving a wedge through the heart of our great land.
Benjamin Franklin worked for the better part of his life to ensure that the United States be set apart from Britain which propagated the very thing that our founding father's fought so hard to keep sacred.
Good riddance to Rove and hopefully the door won't hit him too hard on his way out...followed by the rest of those miscreants who think they know what they're doing.
Posted By Cary Gries, Venice CA. : 2:36 AM ET
May I gently disagree with comments I heard from Mr. Gergen about Bush/Rove changing the political map of Texas from Democratic to Republican?
While statistical records agree with Mr. Gergen, as someone who lived through the era, I suggest that the state of Texas has never had a Democratic majority. There was no organized Republican party, so we had both a right and left wing of what was called the Democratic party. It was ruled by the right wing, such as Allan Shivers, the governor who led the 1952 "Democrats for Ike" movement.
I attended the Dallas County Democratic Convention in 1958, where a resolution was passed commending Gov. Orval Faubas for his stand on the school house steps in Little Rock.
One of the reasons that President Kennedy came to Texas in November of 1963, was to "mend the differences" within the wings of the party.
We have had a few outstanding real Democrats, such as Ralph Yarborough and Barbara Jordan, but the majority of old right wing Democrats converted to the Republican party, as soon as it become viable. John Connelly, Phil Graham, and the current governor Rick Perry were all official Democrats previously.
Posted By Beverly, Austin, Texas : 3:09 AM ET
Karl Rove's departure

Rove, a brilliant mind on a reactionary tangent, has helped drive the nation so far to the right that our country is in jeopardy on many fronts. Although Iraq is the obvious quagmire, there are others that may be as significant. Income, for instance, is such a fundamental and influential vairiable. To further excaberate the increasingly inequitable distribution of income- documented regularly since the 1960 Census - with the highly regressive Bush tax cut, is a threat not only to the middle class who is getting monetarily killed, but to our democracy and our economy.

Now, for instance, "the world is flat" as to a number of technical occupational realms. Many individuals in the U.S.A. are in direct competition with those in other nations. While this phenomina has been building not only has the middle class lost income share, college tuition and other associated costs have escalated much faster than the general rate of inflation. On the margins, numbers of students that could succede in higher education are inherently discriminated against and finding it increasingly difficult to get degrees. Now, practically speaking, fewer degrees will mean less technical productivity and an economy with a shrinking base. Reactionaries may be able to maintain their relative position, but the economic pie they glean from will be smaller. Living standards for all will suffer. The greed inherent in the policies of not only Karl Rove and President Bush but also of government levels closer to the people, State goverments in this instance, is undermining our very ablilty to compete.

Are we blind or are we so indoctrinated by right wing wind bags, no "fairnes doctrine" in journalism, that we can no longer think things through from other angles. This is dangerous. Our mental acruity is being undermined, our future as a nation has been put in jeopardy.

Much better balance must be found in our national dialogue, thought processes, and policies if we are not only to be more humane but also more agile, adaptable, and efficient. Whether it is Fairness Doctrine legislation or other mechanisms we must expand our cognizance and not allow one sector to so overtly influence our direction and policies.

To be effective in building logical algorithms is one thing, to dwell only on those from one end of the spectrum is another. Karl Rove has done the nation, well meaning or not, a great dis-service in this regard. One would hope that as he moves away from the administration, he will be able to gain not a better Republican stategic perspective, but, rather, as David Gergen I think hopes and implies, a better one to benefit all of us and, in particular, middle class Americans.
Posted By Don Perkins, SLC Utah : 7:00 AM ET
Gergen claims that Rove has a "good mind". When someone with a "good mind" does bad things they become a monster.
Posted By Anonymous : 12:37 PM ET
People who still haven't gotten over the fact that President Bush was elected for two terms, are bent on revenge, and will go after anyone connected to him. They will not look at the individual person fairly, but will judge anyone on Pres. Bush's staff as being an "enemy" of theirs, and thus fair game to ridicule, insult and defame. I find it irrational, blind hatred and most of all, boring.
Posted By xtina chicago IL : 12:50 PM ET
Since Karl Rove has been the "architect" of the Bush Administration, then when the Adminstration's infrastructure collapses, I won't be shedding any tears.
Posted By Jan from Wood Dale, IL : 1:56 PM ET
David, I have great respect for both you and your opinions, but you guys in politics and the media have got to stop focusing on the "political" fallout of what Rove and Bush have done and how they have poisoned our "politics" -- they have divided and poisoned OUR COUNTRY, OUR POPULACE, and that it a heck of a lot more important than political games. Sometimes I think those who've made their livings inside The Beltway forget that it is not a big game they are playing with each other, that their actions have consequences and that chess pieces are the lives of real people.
Posted By Tammy, Pittsburgh, PA : 2:26 PM ET
Dear Mr. Gergen,

I think I have a summarry of Karl Roves Iraq war Policy Strategy... tell me what you think

A big mafioso guy walks into a building in Iraq [we'll call him America], and he looks down at the guy sitting at the table with the box on it that says WMD's; one that the man is trying to sell [we'll call him Saddams regime].
Their conversation goes like this "

America- "Yo! Box boy. Ye, you... C'mere.
I gotsa proposition for ya's. Your gonna pay me, fer an indefinite amount of time, to um... guard dis here box, and dis here room... ta make sures ya employees over der don't gets hoit. I tell yas what; I'll give ya's ten days to um... ya know... vacate da premisis, er um... I'm gonna break bot cha legs. You follas?"

Saddams regime... Furows it's brow, looks up at the Mafioso and replies.... ?!What?!

America puls out A reeeeeeaaaalllllyyy big gun and points it between Saddam's regimes eyes and says... "Say What again!!!!!"

So... how close am I?
Posted By James Foley Kamiah, Idaho : 2:38 PM ET
An advocate for better politics???? Who would believe anything this guy has to say about ethical behaviour? He and Bush have lowered the bar for Presidential politics for the next century!
Posted By Anonymous : 2:59 PM ET
How exactly did Karl Rove damage the country? What did he do? I think people are blinded by the light of their ongoing Bush-bash mind set !!
Posted By Louise P. - Arcola, Ill. : 3:58 PM ET
My only issue is that you left out some of the specifics of Rove's impact on this administration and our government. He ran this administration as a political campaign as someone else has once stated. This, in effect, took the Public out of the picture and put in its place the will of the GOP on top. This is not the way to run this country's White House. He alone created this political divide that has created so much friction and stagnation in our government as a whole. I wish that with his leaving it may get better, but once this bile has been put into motion who knows where it will end.

Thanks,
Wynter (wynterdragon.blogspot.com)
Posted By Wynter Dragon : 4:44 PM ET
Politics is a dirty game and although I am certainly no fan of Rove or Bush for that matter, I will refrain from pointing fingers. Until we as Americans recognize that a two party system will only lead to a case of blaming the 'other' party anytime something goes wrong. We need to get past the mentality that all Republicans are bad and all Democrats are good or vice versa we will continue to be bogged down in partisian slander.
It's incredibly ignorant to believe that one party has all the answers or as some would like us to believe that one party is the party of
'allah'. We are all Americans.
Posted By Karen, Orlando, Fl. : 11:45 PM ET
if the same old republican belief systems dont change the crescendo of anti-american pressure will,like chinese water torture,become like a sledgehammer forcing change, in my opinion
Posted By Bob, Delaware, OH : 1:41 AM ET
I'm sure Rove was let loose to begin working for the RNC, to plan the attacks on Republican canditates that he won't be able to control if elected, as well as all Democratic candidates.

Leaving to spend time with his family - I would think a brilliant strategist could come up with a better smoke screen than that!
Posted By PA, Seattle, WA : 11:59 AM ET
Karl Rove was able to get whom many many people called the dumbest man on the planet elected President of the United States! I'd say Karl Rove is a genius.
Posted By xtina chicago IL : 1:55 PM ET
Mr. Gergen, I enjoy your imput on 360 so much. I respect and value your opinions and am so pleased that you are always a gentlemen.

Thank goodness Rove is gone, that
is one man that really made my blood boil. There's a saying lay down with a dog, get up with fleas on you, apparently Bush got his share of KR fleas, and along with the fleas some very bad advice.
Posted By barb-dalton ga : 2:03 AM ET
Dear David,

If you could give us some specific examples of Rove's decency I for one would be interested in hearing of those. Has he adopted any kittens, rebuilt houses in New Orleans, supported any widows, or given large amounts of money that could have been spent on groceries away to the Red Cross? Has he tutored any at-risk kids, built a gym for an inner city high school, or apologized publicly to those he helped slander?

Please, tell us some tales of this kind of decency coming from Karl Rove, if you can.
Posted By Karoline, Los Angeles : 6:31 PM ET
ABOUT THE BLOG
A behind the scenes look at "Anderson Cooper 360°" and the stories it covers, written by Anderson Cooper and the show's correspondents and producers.



ARCHIVES
• 01/29/2006 - 02/05/2006
• 02/05/2006 - 02/12/2006
• 02/12/2006 - 02/19/2006
• 02/19/2006 - 02/26/2006
• 02/26/2006 - 03/05/2006
• 03/05/2006 - 03/12/2006
• 03/12/2006 - 03/19/2006
• 03/19/2006 - 03/26/2006
• 03/26/2006 - 04/02/2006
• 04/02/2006 - 04/09/2006
• 04/09/2006 - 04/16/2006
• 04/16/2006 - 04/23/2006
• 04/23/2006 - 04/30/2006
• 04/30/2006 - 05/07/2006
• 05/07/2006 - 05/14/2006
• 05/14/2006 - 05/21/2006
• 05/21/2006 - 05/28/2006
• 05/28/2006 - 06/04/2006
• 06/04/2006 - 06/11/2006
• 06/11/2006 - 06/18/2006
• 06/18/2006 - 06/25/2006
• 06/25/2006 - 07/02/2006
• 07/02/2006 - 07/09/2006
• 07/09/2006 - 07/16/2006
• 07/16/2006 - 07/23/2006
• 07/23/2006 - 07/30/2006
• 07/30/2006 - 08/06/2006
• 08/06/2006 - 08/13/2006
• 08/13/2006 - 08/20/2006
• 08/20/2006 - 08/27/2006
• 08/27/2006 - 09/03/2006
• 09/03/2006 - 09/10/2006
• 09/10/2006 - 09/17/2006
• 09/17/2006 - 09/24/2006
• 09/24/2006 - 10/01/2006
• 10/01/2006 - 10/08/2006
• 10/08/2006 - 10/15/2006
• 10/15/2006 - 10/22/2006
• 10/22/2006 - 10/29/2006
• 10/29/2006 - 11/05/2006
• 11/05/2006 - 11/12/2006
• 11/12/2006 - 11/19/2006
• 11/19/2006 - 11/26/2006
• 11/26/2006 - 12/03/2006
• 12/03/2006 - 12/10/2006
• 12/10/2006 - 12/17/2006
• 12/17/2006 - 12/24/2006
• 12/24/2006 - 12/31/2006
• 12/31/2006 - 01/07/2007
• 01/07/2007 - 01/14/2007
• 01/14/2007 - 01/21/2007
• 01/21/2007 - 01/28/2007
• 01/28/2007 - 02/04/2007
• 02/04/2007 - 02/11/2007
• 02/11/2007 - 02/18/2007
• 02/18/2007 - 02/25/2007
• 02/25/2007 - 03/04/2007
• 03/04/2007 - 03/11/2007
• 03/11/2007 - 03/18/2007
• 03/18/2007 - 03/25/2007
• 03/25/2007 - 04/01/2007
• 04/01/2007 - 04/08/2007
• 04/08/2007 - 04/15/2007
• 04/15/2007 - 04/22/2007
• 04/22/2007 - 04/29/2007
• 04/29/2007 - 05/06/2007
• 05/06/2007 - 05/13/2007
• 05/13/2007 - 05/20/2007
• 05/20/2007 - 05/27/2007
• 05/27/2007 - 06/03/2007
• 06/03/2007 - 06/10/2007
• 06/10/2007 - 06/17/2007
• 06/17/2007 - 06/24/2007
• 06/24/2007 - 07/01/2007
• 07/01/2007 - 07/08/2007
• 07/08/2007 - 07/15/2007
• 07/15/2007 - 07/22/2007
• 07/22/2007 - 07/29/2007
• 07/29/2007 - 08/05/2007
• 08/05/2007 - 08/12/2007
• 08/12/2007 - 08/19/2007

SUBSCRIBE
    What's this?
CNN Comment Policy: CNN encourages you to add a comment to this discussion. You may not post any unlawful, threatening, libelous, defamatory, obscene, pornographic or other material that would violate the law. Please note that CNN makes reasonable efforts to review all comments prior to posting and CNN may edit comments for clarity or to keep out questionable or off-topic material. All comments should be relevant to the post and remain respectful of other authors and commenters. By submitting your comment, you hereby give CNN the right, but not the obligation, to post, air, edit, exhibit, telecast, cablecast, webcast, re-use, publish, reproduce, use, license, print, distribute or otherwise use your comment(s) and accompanying personal identifying information via all forms of media now known or hereafter devised, worldwide, in perpetuity. CNN Privacy Statement.
Home  |  World  |  U.S.  |  Politics  |  Crime  |  Entertainment  |  Health  |  Tech  |  Travel  |  Living  |  Money  |  Sports  |  Time.com
© 2014 Cable News Network. Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. All Rights Reserved.