Who abolished state treasurer’s office?

According to Karl Rove’s new book, the demise of the office of state treasurer in Texas came at the hands of Democrats: “Kay Bailey Hutchison was elected state treasurer, succeeding Ann Richards. Democrats then abolished the position, which made me wonder if political payback is about the only grounds on which Democrats abolish government posts. Hutchison later became a U.S. senator.”

As PoliFact Texas points out in a recent article, this claim is highly questionable and rates a “false” on their “Truth-O-Meter.” The effort was bi-partisan and came after Kay Bailey Hutchison left the office in the hands of a Democrat appointed by Ann Richards. In fact, many Republicans weren’t fond of Ann Richard’s use of the office as a springboard to the governorship.Registering a false on the Truth-O-Meter

Besides creating a mistaken impression about what happen to the position of state treasurer, Karl Rove’s claim illustrates how he contributed to the failures of the Bush presidency. While George W. Bush’s natural inclination was to work with anyone–regardless of party, Rove and a few others insisted on politicizing everything and separating the President from his Democratic friends in Congress. This contributed to Bush’s inability to win more victories in Congress and the continuation of the bitter partisanship Bush promised to end.

When people ask why Bush was more effective at working with others when he was Governor than when he became President, the decision to give Karl Rove a major position on the White House staff looms large. Rove may have helped Bush win the presidency (although I suspect his impact was greatly overrated) he hamstrung Bush with a divisive approach to leadership that greatly diminished the Bush legacy.

Not everything in governing has to be partisan. If the Obama White House would learn from the failure of Karl Rove, they could spare themselves a lot  of trouble.

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