Thursday, April 12, 2012

Rove's Game

A couple of days ago I wrote about trying to get inside Karl Rove's head to figure out how he is likely to stage an attack on President Obama's strong points. A recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal by Peggy Noonan suggested to me that, after a Republican strategy of total obstruction all the time, they would say that the President wasn't being "nice" or "bi-partisan" enough.

Well low and behold, Rove had an op-ed himself in the WSJ yesterday. And you'll never guess what it was about.

Among Mr. Obama's more appealing 2008 campaign lines were his pledge not "to pit Red America against Blue America" and his promise to "resist the temptation to fall back on the same partisanship and pettiness and immaturity that has poisoned our politics for so long."

Mr. Obama gave into that temptation the moment he was inaugurated. His harsh attacks, angry misrepresentations and outright falsehoods are light years away from the message of unity and post-partisanship that propelled him into the Oval Office.

OMG..really? Is Karl Rove suggesting that he's all about unity and post-partisanship as a standard in politics? Or does he simply expect that from Democrats? Perhaps he should have a little talk about unity with Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell who, as we all remember, during some of the toughest days of our economic struggles suggested that his number one goal was not to create jobs for the American people but to make Obama a one-term president. How was that for unity Mr. Rove?

But this is classic Rove strategy. He knows that this is President Obama's strong point when it comes to the American public. He also knows that Republicans have made unity and post-partisanship impossible to attain. And now he wants to pretend like that's Obama fault.

Last year Steve Benen did a marvelous job of chronicling how Rove uses projection as a tactic to achieve these kinds of goals.

Karl Rove has a special, some might call it "pathological," quality as a political pundit. More than anyone I've ever seen or heard of, Rove identifies some of his own ugliest, most malicious, most pernicious qualities, and then projects them onto those he hates most...

Rove has spent his professional life engaged in political sleaze, so he's accused Obama of adding "arsenic to the nation's political well." 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. Rove had a habit of burying bad news by releasing it late on Friday afternoons, so he's accused Obama of burying bad news by releasing it late on Friday afternoons. Rove questioned the motives of those with whom he disagreed, so he's accused Obama of questioning the motives of those with whom he disagrees.

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

That tactic is on blatant display in how Rove ends his op-ed.

Mr. Romney also should remind Americans of Mr. Obama's lofty words from his 2008 acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention in Denver. There he said, "If you don't have any fresh ideas, then you use stale tactics to scare voters. If you don't have a record to run on, then you paint your opponent as someone people should run from."

Mr. Obama attacked such a strategy then. Lacking any fresh ideas or a record to run on, it's the strategy he's adopted now.

We all know that it is - in fact - Republicans who want to "take their country back" to the failed policies that got us into this mess in the first place. It was the president Mr. Rove served who most clearly demonstrated that those Republican ideas of tax cuts for the rich, de-regulation, and wars for no reason were not only stale, but a colossal failure. And in the wake of all that, rather than re-group and come up with ideas to tackle those problems they created, their response was to obstruct everything and anything President Obama tried to do and scare people with talk about the "Kenyan socialist" out to ruin America.

Rove thinks he can have it both ways. If President Obama stretches out his hand to Republicans to work together, they obstruct and call him weak. If he challenges them, they clutch their pearls and call him "threatening." That's his game.

But I have to wonder if the American people are going to be that gullible.


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  2. Ooh, a two-fer from Rove. Rove also blows the Angry Blackity Black Black Man dogwhistle.

  3. Rove didn't know how to defeat Barack Obama in 2008 and he has shown a preponderance of ignorance of the man occupying the White House. They ALWAYS underestimate the President and they constantly get it wrong. His tired tactics were effective against Kerry, but they simply won't work against the President. But it's going to be fun to watch him flail away with his projection mud and wondering why none of it sticks. They. Got. Nothin'.

  4. It's so good,i must leave something,thanks