Rove still setting Bush’s Iraq policy

Iraq has always been first and foremost a political issue for the Bush White House. Same for national security. Politics trumps policy every time. In today’s NY Times, we see one more time that Karl Rove is playing a key role in setting the Bush administration’s Iraq policy. Bush doesn’t listen to the military. He listens to Karl Rove. So, one more time, we see that politics matters more than anything:

Last week, Mr. Bush’s national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, called in from a brief vacation to join intense discussions in sessions that included Karl Rove, Mr. Bush’s longtime strategist, and Joshua B. Bolten, the White House chief of staff.

Officials describe the meetings as more of a running discussion than an argument. They say that no one is clinging to a stay-the-course position but that instead aides are trying to game out what might happen if the president becomes more specific about the start and the shape of what the White House is calling a “post-surge redeployment.”

The views of many of the participants in that discussion were unclear, and the officials interviewed could not provide any insight into what Vice President Dick Cheney had been telling President Bush.

They described Mr. Hadley as deeply concerned that the loss of Republicans could accelerate this week, a fear shared by Mr. Rove. But they also said that Mr. Rove had warned that if Mr. Bush went too far in announcing a redeployment, the result could include a further cascade of defections — and the passage of legislation that would force a withdrawal by a specific date, a step Mr. Bush has always said he would oppose.

To the Bush team, the politics and appearances are more important than anything. Now, this strategy has gotten Bush down to a 26% approval rating and has the U.S. trapped in the middle of a civil war. But, Bush and Rove are never wrong. Ever.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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