Take a Hike, Karl

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One of the best results of the 2006 elections was the shattering of Karl Rove's reputation as a political marvel.

Rove has made more excuses and alibis for the Republican losses than a football coach who has just lost a 49-0 game. He wants to blame scandals in the party and other extraneous reasons but never the president or himself.

Rove's campaigns of smashing opponents by any means possible have caught up with him. His history is full of stories of dirty tricks and hardball tactics.

Rove has trashed the book Bush's Brain by two respected journalists in Texas. They document his history in campaigns dating back to an early association with the late Lee Atwater of South Carolina.

If you've forgotten, Atwater liked to hit below the belt. He rose to chair the GOP national committee when Bush 41 was elected. Eventually, while dying from cancer, he apologized to many of the opponents he had savaged. Atwater died at peace with himself after doing his best to make peace with former opponents. He humbled himself.

Rove could use some humility now, but don't expect any. If one of the prospective presidential candidates hires him for 2008, he should do so at his peril. Rove may carry a lot of statistics in his head, but he comes with lots of baggage.

There was speculation that Rove would be hired by outgoing Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee, who, like so many in his position, thinks he sees a president in the mirror every morning. But Frist's "leadership" in the Senate has been a disaster, even stirring some griping by Republicans. Frist is hardly presidential material.

So Karl will have to find himself another paying client.

At his post-election press conference, Bush supposedly poked fun at Rove for not working as hard as he did in the campaign. Sitting in the audience, Rove laughed, but he had to be gnashing his teeth.

Further confirmation of Rove's diminishing value occurred today when Trent Lott won back a role in the GOP Senate leadership by defeating Lamar Alexander by one vote for the position of minority whip. Lott had lost the top party job in the Senate in late 2002 with the approval of Rove and the White House.

Any misery for Rove in 2006 was well deserved. He has made a career of making misery for others.