The World from Berlin Bush Loses Brain

Karl Rove, Bush's most important advisor and often called 'Bush's Brain,' has announced his resignation. He leaves behind over a decade of success as a Republican strategist -- and a number of enemies. German commentators take a look.

He is the man that US President George W. Bush has relied on perhaps more than any other for the last 10 years. He is also the man who personifies more than any other the deep rift that splits American society down the middle. On Monday, Karl Rove, the architect of Bush's two-term presidency, announced that he was resigning.

It's time, Rove said, to "start thinking about the next chapter in our family's life." But more than that, the move signals that it is time for the Republican Party to start looking towards its own, post-Bush future. It was master strategist Rove, after all, who delivered Republican majorities in three straight US elections, until falling flat in the 2006 elections which saw the Democrats win majorities in both the House of Representatives and in the Senate.

Rove has also been closely associated with a number of Bush's domestic policies and has often been accused of having power far in excess of his position on the president's staff. He worked on a dossier prior to the invasion of Iraq that attempted to prove the dangers posed to the world by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein. He narrowly avoided being prosecuted for his alleged role in the revealing of CIA agent Valerie Plame's identity and is likewise under pressure for the controversial dismissals of US attorneys.

Partly because of his success, he has long been a favorite punching bag for America's Democrats. Senator John Kerry, who just lost out on the presidency in 2004, said that Rove had "proved the politics of division may win some elections but cannot govern America."

German language commentators take a closer look at the resignation of Bush's closest aide.

The Financial Times Deutschland writes:

"George W. Bush has already lost or dismissed many important employees during his years in the White House. Often enough, these departures were also a symbol of the political decline of his presidency. Karl Rove … was perhaps the most important Bush advisor of all, at least as far as domestic policy was concerned. His departure, however, has to do above all with the calendar, rather than being a political signal. In one year's time, the next president will be selected, and George W. Bush will not be a candidate. If his best election campaign strategist is now prematurely leaving, then that is only logical and marks the beginning of the official end of the Bush era."

The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:

"Karl Rove is often described as the most important presidential adviser of all time, as a sinister Machiavelli, as a brutal political strategist, as the brain of George W. Bush…. Now, at the end of Bush's presidency, the chief architect of the last seven years will have to answer many unpleasant questions. Little has remained of Rove's grand predictions of decades-long Republican dominance, of the decline of the Democrats, of an eternal alliance between the rich, the right wing and the religious.

"Rove did what politicians have done since the days of Cicero -- he constructed majorities by polarizing, by emotionalizing, awakening national pathos and creating dependency. But Rove was no Cicero, he wasn't even a Clinton because he shunned the public and only felt comfortable among like-minded people. That's cowardly but common among people who only see things in black and white and divide people into friend or foe."

"That's why Rove is leaving behind only a weak legacy: There's no trace of a coherent ideology, of an enduring dogma worth preserving. The Republicans face a heap of rubble. No domestic policy agenda, an unpopular war in Iraq, a president lacking approval, a defeat in mid-term elections and not very promising presidential candidates for the 2008 election year."

Vienna's Der Standard writes:

"It's not just his enemies, who see him as diabolical, who are convinced that his fingers were in every mess that took place in Washington in the last six and a half years…. George W. Bush always forgave Rove, because he has his fellow Texan to thank for everything. Rove has managed Bush's election campaigns since 1978. He helped him with the Texas gubernatorial election in 1994. He also brought Bush presidential success in the 2000 and 2004 elections…. For a long time people have been saying that this administration is a lame duck. With the departure of 'Bush's Brain' it is clear that this presidency has reached its end, well before its time."

-- Charles Hawley, 11:15 a.m. CET

Die Wiedergabe wurde unterbrochen.