I do not believe it necessary to amend the Constitution frequently but there are times when an amendment is justified. One such amendment should prohibit politicians from using the phrase "I'm going back to my home state to be with my family." Usually this is code for "I have a difficult, unpredictable election coming up and it would be an embarrassment to lose as an incumbent, so I have decided to retire." Such was the case earlier this month when a well-known Member of Congress announced her retirement. But in spite of my dislike of the phrase, there are a few men and women who say it and mean it.
One such person is Karl Rove. He actually is returning to Texas to be with his wife and family. Those 90-hour work weeks become tiring after a while. Karl Rove was truly a friend of President George W. Bush. This business of his being Bush's brain was as nonsensical as it was amusing. Had Rove only been interested in his own ego he would have left the week after the 2004 election. During the Christmas break of 2003, Rove sat down with the President and a yellow pad and suggested he increase voter turnout for Republicans among Blacks, Hispanics, blue-collar workers and other groups. Rove took notes and succeeded in improving Republican turnout. He did this while the Democrats increased their turnout by eight million votes.
Who can forget that extraordinary map showing that Bush had won almost all of the countryside while Kerry won isolated areas in large cities? The President wanted to increase the number of Republicans in the Senate. He received what he wanted, as the number of Republican Senators increased from 51 to 55. Republicans also increased their margin by three in the House of Representatives.
You name it, Rove achieved it. Leaving after such a victory would have been ideal. Rove could have had nearly any job he desired but Bush hoped he would stay and help him implement some reforms. Few could have foreseen that the Democrats would resist the President's reforms as vigorously as they did.
Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA) and I had a bit of a disagreement. I saw the defeat of Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-SD), the first time a Minority Leader had been defeated in over fifty years, as an indication that other Democrats were vulnerable. Senator Santorum said that the new Minority Leader, Senator Harry M. Reid (D-NV), and others intended to thwart everything the Republicans wanted to do. I said I could not imagine under the circumstances how the Democrats could ignore the electoral votes. Santorum won the argument, not that it did him any good. The Democrats were tougher, angrier and more determined than they had been for several years.
The Democrats completely stopped the Republican reforms. Rove tried but he could not succeed without the help of Congressional Republicans, who were in no mood to reform. The 2006 elections were a disaster for Republicans. Rove could have left then, but now with Congress adjourned he can leave on his own terms. He can spend time with his family and pursue his own interests. He has been the recipient of much of the hate directed towards the Bush Administration. Now Rove deserves a rest.