The public hears that Karl Rove is resigning in order to spend more time with his family. But Washington insiders know that the real reason Mr. Rove is leaving is because he won the latest round of Lotto 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue - the unofficial White House lottery.
Ever since the President’s approval rating nosedived below 30%, the Bush Administration has been looking for a fair and orderly way to govern the departure of those lining up to jump ship. As one official noted: "It’s kind of like our own personal exit strategy designed to steer clear of an unwanted surge."
To avoid the embarrassment of mass resignations, President Bush got all staffers to agree to the lottery option. Every two months, a new name is drawn and the winner gets to resign in order to "spend more time with his family."
The first winner was former Presidential counsel Dan Bartlett whose name was drawn in June. Officially, Mr. Bartlett left to spend more time with his family. But unofficially, he was thrilled to be the first one to escape.
This month’s winner, of course, is Karl Rove. Whether or not his family will be happy to see more of him, Mr. Rove is tickled pink to get out. "What with all those investigations and allegations," said Rove. "The timing couldn’t have been better."
Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and Counsel to the President Harriet Miers have been excluded from the lottery since neither has a family to spend more time with. Not surprisingly, both women say they love their job and expect to stay on until January 20, 2009 or until the President wins the lottery, whichever comes first.
Disappointed once again was Alberto Gonzales. Desperate to get out, the Attorney General will have to spend at least another two months fighting off subpoenas from Congressional committees. Everyone is reportedly pulling for Mr. Gonzales including the President.
"Heck, I’d like to win the lottery as much as the next guy," said Mr. Bush. "But if anyone deserves it now, it’s Al."
President Bush may get his first wish if the latest rumor turns out to be true. Seldom reliable sources have revealed that Dick Cheney has substituted another "W" ball for his in the lottery hopper.
"I think I’m the man for the top job," said the Vice President. "After all, even my own family doesn’t want to spend more time with me."