Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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November 19, 2009

THE ORIGINAL KING OF IRONY KEEPS HIS CROWN.... It's easier to stomach Karl Rove's political commentary if one thinks of him as some kind of performance artist.

Today, for example, Rove writes an entire column about the Obama White House releasing discouraging news on Friday afternoons.

Every modern White House has put out news on contentious issues late on Friday in the hope that doing so will bury it, or reduce the amount of critical scrutiny it would otherwise receive. What is unusual is the degree to which this White House has relied on this tactic.

I nearly fell out of my chair reading this. It was, after all, Karl Rove's signature move -- release bad news late on Friday afternoons, in the hopes it would generate less attention. Rove is going after the president's team for occasionally using the same media trick Rove personally perfected while helping run the White House.

What we are seeing with the White House's timing in releasing its decision on KSM and other terrorists is a presidency clinging to campaign tactics that aim to dominate the 24-hour-news cycle. The problem is that ploys that work in a campaign don't work nearly as well when you're in charge of the executive branch. Once in office, you have to live with the consequences of a policy decision.

Seriously? Karl Rove is lecturing the White House on appreciating the consequences of policy decisions? Did Rove ever have to deal with the repercussions of his own misconduct?

At least, however, the almost farcical column is in keeping with Rove's general m.o. Rove ran a White House that embraced a "permanent campaign," so he's accused the Obama team of embracing a "permanent campaign." Rove embraced the politics of fear, so he's accused Obama of embracing the politics of fear. Rove relied on "pre-packaged, organized, controlled, scripted " political events, so he's accused Obama of relying on "pre-packaged, organized, controlled, scripted" political events. Rove looked at every policy issue "from a political perspective," so he's accused Obama of looking at every policy issue "from a political perspective." Rove snubbed news outlets that he considered partisan, so he's accused Obama of snubbing snubbed news outlets that he considered partisan.

A lesser hack may find it difficult to launch political attacks that are ironic, hypocritical, and examples of projection, all at the same time, but Rove is a rare talent.

Steve Benen 10:05 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (30)

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Rove is a rare talent.

Rove should be incarcerated. Why isn't he?

Posted by: about time on November 19, 2009 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

that karl, he sho do know how politics works...he's a slick propagandist...and literally gets away with murder AND gets to accuse others of the murders he committed.

what a patriot! what an american!

Posted by: neill on November 19, 2009 at 10:16 AM | PERMALINK

The more Rove does this the more I think he is completely aware of the irony and just doesn't care (or probably revels in it). After all, who better than he to spot and expose a dirty trick. Then he just plays the innocent, knowing full well he'll never be called out in public by anyone his target audience would listen to. It's just one more dirty tactic from a bottomless well of deceit.

Posted by: AnotherStrayCat on November 19, 2009 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK
Did Rove ever have to deal with the repercussions of his own misconduct?

The short answer is, no. The Democrats are doing their very best to protect Rove and the rest of the Bush maladministration. The joke, however, is going to be on the Democrats because if the Republicans ever get control of the government again, you can be sure that every member of the Obama administration will be investigated and/or prosecuted for the crime of not being Republican.

Posted by: karen marie on November 19, 2009 at 10:22 AM | PERMALINK

some kind of performance artist.

The word you're searching for is "clown".

Posted by: Bobo Teh Clown on November 19, 2009 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

Every week, Rove criticizes the Obama administration for something that the Bush administration did in spades. Are you really going to comment on this every time he does it?

Posted by: shortstop on November 19, 2009 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Thanks Steve for shining more light on this issue. I wish others were. Rove -- and all of FOX news really -- have been employing this tactic for months. It is a key element in the Bush Legacy Project to recover W. from the ash bin of history. And it has the added bonus of sliming Obama in the process.

What Rove has been doing is carefully looking at all of George W.'s failures and shortcomings and projecting them onto Obama. Just the other day Rove accused Obama of "politicizing" important policy issues. I wasn't so much angered at the hypocrisy of this charge, coming as it did from the only guy to ever hold the joint titles of White House chief political advisor AND chief policy advisor. I was just amazed Rove was able make this accusation with a straight face! And FOX played its part by waging this pseudo-war on Obama's "czars," warning darkly about the dangers to the Republic of letting Obama bring so many people into his administration without Senate vetting or confirmation -- this charge coming from the same people, mind you, who cheered when Bush gave John Bolton a recess appointment to the UN after the Senate had REJECTED Bolton's ambassadorship.

So, that is what is really involved in this hypocrisy: the attempt by Rove and company top whitewash George W. Bush's (and the GOP's) worst sins by making them bi-partisan.

Posted by: Ted Frier on November 19, 2009 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

He's like a sex-offender telling everyone, in a squeaky voice, that predators should be castrated.

After all, he does have a "Roving" eye!

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on November 19, 2009 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

LOL. Rove is as pure a politic beast that has ever existed. Of course he is well aware of what he is doing. It's all a big game to him and he thinks it's funny as hell.

I'm beginning to think he has even more contempt for the conservatives that buy his schtick than the Dems that he rails against.

Posted by: Simp on November 19, 2009 at 10:30 AM | PERMALINK

I see your point, Steve. But Rove is, at present, battling a planet with more news gravity than himself, the White House, the KSM trial or the senate's health care bill: The Rogue Planet, the Death Panel Star, Ms. Sarah Palin.

Posted by: Chris Walla on November 19, 2009 at 10:31 AM | PERMALINK

Rove, and his ilk -too many to enumerate- do and say whatever they please, because they know they can.

To quote Vice President Cheney, "Fuck you."

Posted by: DAY on November 19, 2009 at 10:35 AM | PERMALINK

Screw Rove. He's shown himself to be a one trick pony. He's got about 3 political viewpoints he sees the world through. Fear, cynicism, ideology. Like all hammers, sees nails everywhere.

The second he comes up with a thought that's distinguishable from something he said in 2004, I'll listen to him.

He's a hack. I don't know why y'all are even bothering to make him relevant. I'd rather hear what Palin has to say about the Obama administration than that guy. And that says a lot.

Posted by: itstrue on November 19, 2009 at 10:38 AM | PERMALINK

I don't think it's ironic at all, but very calculated on Rove's part. By accusing the Obama White House of the very practices he himself implemented (and perfected, as Steve says), it makes the Bush Administration's record appear much less outrageous. It's very revealing, and if anything, proves that Rove was very aware of what he was doing and that he is also aware of how his (and Bush's) legacy will be viewed.

Posted by: OKdem on November 19, 2009 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

I was reading comments yesterday and someone pointed out we have to stop getting upset about 'stupidness'...just point it out and move on. No histrionics. He's a dick, a criminal and a hack. Any other questions?

Posted by: SYSPROG on November 19, 2009 at 10:46 AM | PERMALINK

Listening to Rove is like stepping in dog shit. Even if you wipe it off, the stink still lingers.

Posted by: jcricket on November 19, 2009 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

There's no irony in this at all, just evidence that Rove is living entirely in his head. Rove's avowed MO is to attack an opponent's strength, with the view that poisoning that strength sufficiently will turn it into a weakness. The strategy reach its apogee with the swift boat nonsense, and Rove evidently thinks he can relive that moment over and over.

I'd speculate that Rove still thinks that this release news on Friday move is *SO CLEVER*, despite the fact that he didn't invent it, he just employed is for everything rather than a few things. So if you follow his logic, Obama must be clever for using Rove's patented move, and since that's a strength, Rove is attacking it. Rove is basically just running his old playbook, only there's no longer anything remotely new about it. He's just turning the crank. Shoot, I'll be some sufficiently snarky blogger could easily write Rove's columnns in advance of them coming out.

Posted by: Eric E on November 19, 2009 at 10:55 AM | PERMALINK

Who's better qualified than a pot, to analyze the color of a kettle?

Posted by: jvwalt on November 19, 2009 at 11:13 AM | PERMALINK

Rove is not projecting. One of the key big-lie tactics is to loudly accuse someone else of activities of which you yourself are guilty.

Rove does nothing by accident. He is purposely taking the catalogue of Bush tactics and accusing Obama of them, because he thinks no one will notice, and he is probably right.

Posted by: Steve on November 19, 2009 at 11:20 AM | PERMALINK

Rove is a clown in the mold of John Wayne Gacy.

Posted by: Little Dick on November 19, 2009 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Rove is a genius and everything he says is true, if you just subtract about 4-8 years of time.

Posted by: geodahir on November 19, 2009 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

Rove is a clown in the mold of John Wayne Gacy.

I was thinking Pennywise, myself. But Gacy works too.

Posted by: Realist on November 19, 2009 at 11:47 AM | PERMALINK

I don't understand why Rove's complaining. Shouldn't he be flattered?

Posted by: Me on November 19, 2009 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

Rove's Law: Any act criticized has been previously performed by the critic to a magnitude of at least 10.

Other than gravity, there's no surer bet.

Posted by: bdop4 on November 19, 2009 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

What's really interesting about projections from a spiritual perspective, is that it sounds very much like the "sacrificial lamb" used in Old Testament/Judaic ritual and anthropomorphized in Jesus Christ.

Having been raised fundamentalist Christian, I can say that what's going on with Obama has an eerie familiarity to the Christ story. In the gospels, Christ represented everything that was good and perfect in the world... but also as the ultimate scapegoat for all the world's ills and man's sins.

I have noted in my *own* journey (which has led me as far away from organized religion as I could possibly have imagined while I was being indoctrinated) that the world genuinely seems to prize violence over peace, lies over truths, belief over knowledge and worldly wealth above all else.

And anyone who stands in the way of these priorities winds up being blamed for them.

Now, don't expect any significant number of Christians to catch on to this irony. For that is the purpose of the "anti-Christ" story: to create a plausible scenario in which someone can possess characteristics of purity, humility, charity and charisma, but *still* be the Devil incarnate.

In short, they simply write it of as "deception".

Posted by: JTK on November 19, 2009 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Such projection may be the expression of Rove's repressed sense of self-loathing.

Posted by: Joseph on November 19, 2009 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

How can you tell when Karl Rove is projecting? If his lips move and any words come out, he is projecting his own bad behavior onto someone else.

Posted by: Marko on November 19, 2009 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Karl Rove can only live with selective memory. Now he needs it to continue to exist. If he didn't have it, his head would explode.

Posted by: ET on November 19, 2009 at 2:28 PM | PERMALINK

Rove is an odoriferous turd - nothing more, nothing less! Just a stinky turd! We should put him where he belongs - any old sewer system will do! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on November 19, 2009 at 3:54 PM | PERMALINK

He and Cheney are obviously lovers.

Posted by: ComradeAnon on November 19, 2009 at 10:41 PM | PERMALINK

score another point for the many studies that show conservatives are much more tolerant for cognitive dissonance....

Posted by: ahoy polloi on November 19, 2009 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK
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