The media have been in full Rove Derangement Syndrome since Monday's announcement that the famed White House adviser would be stepping down at the end of the month.
However, I would like to nominate the following opening paragraph from Tuesday's San Francisco Chronicle article entitled "Pundits, Bloggers Go Wild Over Rove's Resignation" as the winner of the best example of RDS yet penned or uttered (emphasis added):
Karl Rove is the most polarizing American political figure outside of the man he serves, President George W. Bush.
What? President Bush is the most polarizing political figure in the nation, and Karl Rove is number two?
Let's analyze the level of derangement on display here, shall we?
First, given Congress' much lower favorability ratings, is Bush more polarizing than House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) or Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada)?
Furthermore, lacking poll data on the subject to prove the point, I venture to guess that Republicans are more repulsed by Hillary Clinton than Democrats are by President Bush. As such, one could make the case that the junior senator from New York is the most polarizing political figure in the nation, and is certainly more polarizing than Rove.
*****Update: Time magazine agrees with me (h/t NBer motherbelt, emphasis added):
Hillary Clinton may be the most polarizing figure on the current political landscape. TIME asked respondents about 11 phrases one could use to describe her, from "likable" to "would protect America against terrorism." Democrats and Republicans disagreed by a margin of over 40 points on the applicability of eight of them, and by 50 points on three, including "strong leader" (Republicans 25%, Democrats 77% ), "would protect America against terrorism" (Republicans 17% , Democrats 67% ), and "has strong moral values" (Republicans 16% , Democrats 69% ). Democrats and Republicans come closest in agreement on her intelligence (Republicans 73% , Democrats 91% ) and the likelihood that she "would stand up for issues important to women" (Republicans 60% , Democrats 81% ) — perhaps a sign that, whatever her other problems as a candidate, she is not being held back by gender stereotypes. Or it could mean that Republicans hate her so much they don't care if she's smart.
Of course, as it pertains to Reid, the previously cited polls indicate that many people have never heard of him. That represents point number two concerning Rove: outside of political junkies, how many Americans actually know who he is? Hard to be polarizing if you're unknown.
I mean, think about those man on the street interviews that people like Jay Leno and Sean Hannity regularly do when they ask regular folks questions about political figures, and many people don't even know who the vice president is. Do you think they'd know who Karl Rove is?
Nah, I don't either. As such, stating that Karl Rove is the second most polarizing figure in politics today gets my vote as the ultimate example of Rove Derangement Syndrome.
How 'bout you?