Posted: Aug 16, 2007 11:42 AM

Interesting, isn't it, now that Rove has announced he is leaving the White House Democrats (who consider him to be a combination of - in reverse order of publication - Lord Voldamort, Darth Vader, and Grendel) are leaping up and down with joy, elbowing each other out of the way on cable news chat shows to point out that they don't really care if he stays or goes and they never thought that much of, or about, him anyway.

Unfortunately, too many Republicans, now that Rove will soon have neither goodies nor retribution to pass out, can barely remember whether he spells his name with a "C" or a "K."

Even when he was at the height of his power, I never claimed to be a friend of Rove's. We have been acquaintances and allies for 25-or-so years, but not friends. We have talked now and again. E-mailed once in a while. Agreed on most things, disagreed on a few.

Rove was never deserved the title of all-abiding genius which we all heaped on his shoulders after his work in Alabama, Texas and, of course, in the elections of 2000, 2002 and 2004. Neither does he deserve the title of failure which his political opponents are whacking him with this week.

He was never "Bush's Brain." Bush's own brain got him through Yale and Harvard long before Rove helped get him to the Statehouse in Austin. He was - and is - a very, very smart political operative who has had an extraordinary run.

I know I am missing someone but Rove is in a class of very few operatives I have known: Ed Rollins, Charlie Black, and Lee Atwater come to mind on the GOP side. James Carville stands out on the Democrats' side, although Hamilton Jordan might well have been on the list had his health and inclination allowed him to stay in the game.

Years ago I watched Jim Valvano coach his North Carolina State basketball team in an early round NCAA tournament game. I was amazed at how involved Valvano was in every play when the Wolfpack had the ball, and how he ran up and down the sideline shouting instructions even when the other team had the ball. And he did it for the full 40 minutes.

The level of concentration and commitment he demonstrated was awesome; and that didn't include the amount of time and effort he had put in before the game ever started.

That may be the secret of success in every area of endeavor, but I haven't been in that many areas of endeavor so I leave it to you.

Rove is not responsible for the War on Terror. Islamic fundamentalists are responsible for that. Neither was he responsible for the stock market running up to 14,000; nor for the sub-prime mortgage mess causing the Dow to plunk down towards Earth.

Rove is what every major political figure needs: A dedicated, loyal ally who has the ability to give unvarnished - and untarnished - advice.

Rove has performed that function for President Bush and for that he deserves full credit.

By the way, his name is spelled Karl ... with a "K." Disclosure Notice: I am a paid consultant to the Friends of Fred Thompson organization.

Speaking of names, the other day the Washington Post wasted valuable ink and paper on a column by one of its staff writers about the name "Fred." The whole thing was about how someone named "Fred" could not, and should not be elected President.

I believe we may have been through this before but let's take a look at Presidential names since World War II:

We have had a Franklin (who succeeded a Herbert), a Dwight (who defeated an Adlai twice) and a Lyndon (who defeated a Barry).

We have had a Harry (whose Vice President was an Alban) and a Dick (who was defeated by a John and who, in turn, went on to beat a Hubert).

We have had a Gerry who lost to a Jimmy who lost to a Ron before the first of the two Georges was beaten by a Bill.

Swallow your coffee before you read on. Ready?

The column was written by a woman named …