Karl Rove was in a dicey spot: If his strategies prevailed, he'd be viewed as a guru in the circles of those who embrace the current White House. If not, he's dead meat.
Rove chose to leave his policy management position in the Bush Administration as part of an overall presidential staff shakeup, something, by the way, that's not uncommon in the waning days of a presidency.
It's difficult to come away with a neutral assessment of the Bush White House. It's almost like the Hillary Rodham Clinton situation: most folks either like her or they don't. Very little "in between" there.
Nonetheless, I'll try.
The Bush White House has been largely inept and far too politicized. Prior to 9/11 the administration lacked focus then seized on "national security" (Who can oppose national security in the wake of a terrorist attack, after all?) as its issue. Even so, the national security record is mixed at best.
Osama Bin Laden is still at large. Iraq is in civil war and we've lost over 3,000 American lives there. Failing to heed the lessons of Vietnam our troops fight with one hand tied behind their back. Much of the rest of the world views us with distrust. Gasoline costs double -- or more -- than it did when Bush took office. We couldn't adequately respond to hurricanes. And the list of unresolved problems goes on.
Of course that list is simplistic but at the end of the day there still is a lack of focus in this White House on anything other than political survival.
That focus is to be expected. Political animals understandably have survival instincts.
But there still remains in most governments a need and desire to faithfully discharge the routine affairs of the government which this White House simply hasn't done with any modicum of distinction. Just as John Kerry was an embarassment to the Democratic party, George W. Bush carries the same moniker in the G.O.P.
Perhaps -- just perhaps -- there will be enough backlash that both Republicans and Democrats will join together to send the message of "throw the bums out" to politicians of both parties who turn their backs on their duties and the American people.
But don't count on it.