Rove's career demonstrates that the qualities which help you run a winning political campaign may in fact work against you once your candidate gets into office. This is why in most cases the person a politician hires to run his campaign is not the same person he hires to run things and advise him once he's elected. President Bush's tendency to become sentimentally attached to the people he works closely with worked against him with Rove, keeping him around far longer than was wise.
There has been a dismaying effort on the left to demonize and dehumanize Rove beyond anything which is appropriate based on his conduct. Rove has given them plenty of material from which to stir up controversy, but very little of substance to follow through on. It almost makes me wonder if Rove's role in the White House was to distract attention with trivial pseudo-scandals which could never go anywhere, but drew attention away from other activities of a more nefarious nature.
Rove is now on his way out, and few seem sad to see him go. Republicans are breathing a sign of relief and hoping that the partisan attack machine will become a bit more civil with him gone. Democrats are claiming victory and promising to contiue to harass Rove as a private citizen in revenge for his supposed outrages while in the White House.
For me Rove remains an enigma. He has always radiated an aura of peculiar innocence and exuberance which seems totally at odds with the public perception of a machiavellian mastermind. Despite the massive level of personal attacks and verbal abuse loaded on him in the media and in the blogosphere, he seems to have sailed through it all and remained cheerful and self-assured. He has been called every name imaginable from traitor to devil and even been compared with Josef Goebbels. This sort of partisan demonization and dehumanization of political opponents has become more and more common in recent years, and Rove himself has been guilty of it in political campaigns. It's childish and offensive and lowers the quality of political debate, but it has become a mainstay of the angry left's culture of perpetual outrage. The irony is that in attacking Rove they become more and more like Rove, despite the fact that having his example to look at they ought to know better. They are what Rove has made them, and by their actions they legitimize him and become part of the Wrestlemania style of politics he symbolizes.