By JOSEPH L. GALLOWAY
Now leaves the spinmeister himself, Karl Rove, the biggest rat yet to skitter down the hawser of the SS Bush Titanic, heading off to "spend more time with his family" and less time looking over his shoulder for the subpoena servers.
What will the historians say of this pudgy, balding fellow who was called Bush's Brain, the man who so skillfully set the ambushes and laid the bouncing betty mines that would kill or maim far better candidates than the one he helped rise to elected office at least six levels above his competence?
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What will they write one day about this man who, more than any other in a century, so polarized and divided a great nation and people and converted the great game of politics into a blood sport, a killing sport? There was a time when politicians of both major parties could beat each other around the head and shoulders all day long in the halls of Congress and then when the sun went down head off together to a friendly bar to sit and drink and talk and laugh together like the old friends they were.
There was a time when both political parties were ruled by moderates, by people who thought through and civilly debated the issues of their time and could even be persuaded of the wisdom of another's ideas without an exchange of either cash or artillery fire.
Who outside the inner circle of the Bush White House or the Cro-Magnon Wing of the Grand Old Party or a few journalist hacks bartering their souls for "access" would want to sit down and have a drink with Karl Rove? The man has all the charisma and charm and inherent kindness of a spitting cobra and nothing so graces the White House in six years as Karl Rove leaving it.
A time is coming, and coming soon, when we as a nation must begin thinking and talking about and planning to repair all that the Bush administration has broken or bent or twisted. A time when we must begin shoveling out a stable full to the roof with what Harry Truman called horse manure, or at least that's what it called it when Miss Bess was in earshot.
No need search that pile for a diamond ring or a little red sports car. There's nothing there but horse manure.
We must assume that the war in Iraq will drag on until George W.
Bush's successor takes office and tries to figure some way out of the disaster that Bush and Darth Cheney and Don Rumsfeld and Karl Rove created with their arrogance and ignorance and sheer incompetence.
The wounding and dying and killing must go on because those who created a disaster of a war aren't competent or smart enough to get out. Even when they found themselves in a hole they refused to quit digging.
When we were kids we used to talk about how if you started digging and went straight down you would eventually emerge in China. We even tried that a time or two, with negligible results, in the hard Texas clay. But Bush and Company may dig right on through and succeed in reaching our historic ally communist China, and that may be quite convenient since it is the Chinese who are financing the Bush war in Iraq with the profits they earn selling us food that kills our pets, poisonous toothpaste and toys for our children dripping in lead paint.
We are within 500-some days of the end of the Bush League Era. Near the time when all of us are going to have to roll up our sleeves and lend a hand at fixing all that these folks have broken or bent or twisted in our society: Our military, our U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, our economy in which the very rich have only gotten richer and the poor poorer and our great American middle class an endangered species.
We need a Manhattan Project to develop renewable energy sources and end our total dependence on oil that is increasingly in the hands of our sworn enemies.
We need a solution to the illegal immigration problem and it does not lie in building $500 billion walls across thousands of miles of our southern and northern borders. Nor does it lie in rounding up 12 million illegal aliens and deporting them.
There's no lack of work to be done. Just a lack of leadership in both parties.
Adios, Karl Rove. We shall know you by the rotten fruits of your labors.
ABOUT THE WRITER Joseph L. Galloway is a military columnist for McClatchy Newspapers and a former senior military correspondent for Knight Ridder Newspapers; he is co-author of the national best-seller "We Were Soldiers Once ... and Young." Readers may write to him at: P.O. Box 399, Bayside, Texas 78340.