Monday, March 28, 2005

Who is President, Really?

Found an interesting quote today in the Times:

"All roads lead to Karl."
a Republican lobbyist, on Karl Rove's policy and political roles in the White House.

Don't you think that this person, who was not elected at all, has a bit too much power in the Whitehouse?


WASHINGTON, March 27 - Jack Kemp was causing problems for President Bush's drive to overhaul Social Security, and it naturally fell to Karl Rove, Mr. Bush's strategist, enforcer and closet policy expert, to take him on...

...But as the confrontation with Mr. Kemp suggests, Mr. Rove is assuming a more expansive role, bringing the same intensity to the big issues in Mr. Bush's second-term agenda that he brought to the president's re-election campaign. In naming Mr. Rove deputy White House chief of staff for policy last month, on top of his continuing catch-all title of senior adviser, the president formally recognized Mr. Rove's affinity for the nitty-gritty of governance and publicly acknowledged his influence over whatever deal might emerge on Social Security, his No. 1 domestic priority....

...But the intensity of Mr. Rove's involvement in politics and policy makes his current status unusual and gives him remarkably broad authority inside the White House and out. And in giving Mr. Rove his new title, Mr. Bush, freed from the need to think about re-election, seemed to acknowledge what everyone in Washington knows: that in this administration, as in all others, politics and policy are inextricably intertwined.

"Karl Rove is the crossing guard at the intersection of policy and politics," said Marshall Wittmann, a senior fellow at the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, who previously observed Mr. Rove for years as an aide to Senator John McCain, the Arizona Republican, and as legislative director of the Christian Coalition.

"He blends political hack and propeller head in a way no one has ever achieved," Mr. Wittmann said. "No one is going to question his political expertise or his policy expertise. The question for him is always one of hubris."

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