From the Wall Street Journal:
Karl Rove, President Bush’s longtime political adviser, is resigning as White House deputy chief of staff effective Aug. 31, and returning to Texas, marking a turning point for the Bush presidency.
Mr. Rove’s departure removes one of the White House’s most polarizing figures, and perhaps signals the effective end of the lame duck administration’s role in shaping major domestic policy decisions. Mr. Rove revealed his plans in an interview with Paul Gigot, editor of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial page.
Mr. Rove, who has held a senior post in the White House since President Bush took office in January 2001, told Mr. Gigot he first floated the idea of leaving a year ago. But he delayed his departure as, first, Democrats took Congress, and then as the White House tackled debates on immigration and Iraq, he said. He said he decided to leave after White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten told senior aides that if they stayed past Labor Day they would be obliged to remain through the end of the president’s term in January 2009.
“I just think it’s time,” Mr. Rove said in the interview. “There’s always something that can keep you here, and as much as I’d like to be here, I’ve got to do this for the sake of my family.” Mr. Rove and his wife have a home in Ingram, Texas, and a son who attends college in nearby San Antonio.
There’s a lot more detail in Paul Gigot’s commentary, which you can read here. Here’s a portion in which Rove discusses the mythology the nutroots and moonbats have created about him:
What about those who say he’s leaving to avoid Congressional scrutiny? “I know they’ll say that,” he says, “But I’m not going to stay or leave based on whether it pleases the mob.” He also knows he’ll continue to be a target, even from afar, since belief in his influence over every Administration decision has become, well, faith-based.
“I’m a myth. There’s the Mark of Rove,” he says, with a bemused air. “I read about some of the things I’m supposed to have done, and I have to try not to laugh.” He says the real target is Mr. Bush, whom many Democrats have never accepted as a legitimate president and “never will.”
It doesn’t matter that Rove will be living in Texas after he resigns; the nutroots and moonbats out there will still find things that they will insist are Rovian plots that he concocted from Texas.
Rove has been such a huge influence, it will be interesting to see who will replace him.
I’m ambivalent about Rove’s leaving. I wouldn’t have minded if he left a while ago because he seemed to have lost something in the past year or two. But Michelle Malkin is very happy to see him go and writes this:
Gigot lets Rove defend himself and his legacy, and what I see, alas, is the mark of self-delusion and blindness that has damaged the White House and the Beltway GOP. Rove pats President Bush (and himself) on the back for the disastrous Medicare entitlement expansion and the aborted Social Security reform effort.