"I just think it's time," he says, adding that he first floated the idea of leaving to Mr. Bush a year ago. His friends confirm he had been talking about it with others even earlier. But Democrats took Congress, and he didn't want to depart on that sour note. He then thought he'd leave after the State of the Union, but the Iraq and immigration fights beckoned. Finally, Chief of Staff Josh Bolten told senior White House aides that if they stayed past a certain point, they were obliged to remain to Jan. 20, 2009.Mr. Rove has set a date of August 31st for his resignation. He claims he has thought about resigning several times, and although he doesn't say so, it is felt the timing allows him to resign on his own terms.
As for the future of the Bush Presidency, Rove is very upbeat.
"He will move back up in the polls," says Mr. Rove, who interrupts my reference to Mr. Bush's 30% approval rating by saying it's heading close to "40%," and "higher than Congress."For the Liberals who, to put it mildly, dislike Rove, this will probably be taken as a bitter-sweet decision.
"I'm a myth. There's the Mark of Rove," he says, with a bemused air. "I read about some of the things I'm supposed to have done, and I have to try not to laugh." He says the real target is Mr. Bush, whom many Democrats have never accepted as a legitimate president and "never will."Most of the left considered him the "Evil Rove", but I suspect their real dislike for Mr. Rove was for 2 reasons. (1) They are jealous of his successful Political strategy and (2) he was a proxy for President Bush. The reaction from the Left to this news is going to be interesting.