Here are two Republican reactions to Karl Rove leaving. First, from John Hawkins:
Rove is generally considered to be a political genius and undoubtedly, he knows a lot about politics and running a campaign. However, his reputation seems a bit undeserved given how disastrous the last two and a half years of the Bush Administration have been.
I mean, if you're the primary political adviser to a candidate who hasn't even been polling consistently in the forties since early 2005, you're either doing a terrible job, the candidate is a nightmare, or some combination thereof.
Given how well Bush did in his first term and some of the really terrible ideas Rove has reportedly been behind, like comprehensive immigration reform and the Medicare Prescription drug benefit, you have to think that he has had a lot to do with Bush's lack of political acumen in his second term.
There are rumors floating around that Rove may be leaving to help one of the GOP candidates in 2008, but honestly, with his track record over the last couple of years, would anyone really want to base their political future on Karl Rove's advice?
I agree with this. I think the case against Rove is even worse than what Hawkins says. Why did spending go through the roof under Bush? Because Rove's strategy, as far as I can figure, was, "To hell with all that old fashioned talk about free markets and less government. In a welfare state you have to increase spending to buy votes. Cutting spending is too risky."
Bush bears the ultimate blame for his administration, but you have to think that Rove's pragmatism urged the more government/big spending approach.
Now here is Hugh Hewitt's take:
Democrats have to be worried that when Karl Rive exits the White House in August, he'll take a month off and end up at the virtual elbow of Mayor Giuliani, Governor Romney, or Senator Thompson. They should be worried. Of course that's what he (and Ken Mehlman) will be doing. All-stars whose franchise can't play for the title often show up in the heat of the hunt. Politics is like sports in many ways. And Rove is the Tiger Woods of politics. (That would almost make Bob Shrum Greg Norman, but Norman won two majors. I need a better analogy for Shrum.)
Rove is 5 for 6 in the big elections he has skippered, and despite more attacks than any presidential aide in history, he is strolling out of the White House with a smile on his face and the admiration of nearly everyone in the GOP. If he gets bored, there will be plenty of opportunities for him to return to the thing he does best --beating Democrats in November. When he does return, Dems will panic again.
Rove wins elections, and that is the most important thing to Hugh Hewitt. Also good, Rove makes leftists lose their mind. The mention of his name has the ability to cloud a Democrat's mind with fear and loathing, and that's always a good thing, isn't it?
Hewitt's position, by implication, is, "Screw small government principles, screw the free market, screw Goldwater, screw that extremist laissez-faire capitalism stuff and you know what? Screw the United States of America. Karl Rove wins elections for the Republican party. Case closed."
Until we get Republicans who can look past the next election, who can think in principles such as individual rights and who put America ahead of the Republican Party, then the GOP will continue its march to fascism.