THE ORIGINAL KING OF IRONY KEEPS HIS CROWN…. Karl Rove devoted his Wall Street Journal column today to accusing the Obama White House of “Extended Campaign Syndrome.” Seriously.
The scandal-plagued Republican strategist added, “In an election, campaign staffers are often just trying to survive until the next week or the next primary. They cut corners because they are fatigued or under pressure. They can be purposely combative and even portray critics as enemies. Carrying this mindset into the White House can get you into trouble, a lesson the Obama administration is now learning the hard way.”
The former Bush advisor’s attack on Obama is ironic, considering Rove’s own role in creating a divisive “permanent campaign” attitude in the previous White House.
Former Bush Press Secretary Scott McClellan wrote in his 2008 book What Happened that “Karl Rove did not create the excesses of the permanent campaign. Rather, the excesses of the permanent campaign created Karl Rove.” As the Washington Post notes, Rove’s 2003 efforts to promote political appointments and direct federal funding to support “Bush’s reelection agenda” amounted to “a permanent campaign that was an integral part of his strategy to establish Republican electoral dominance.”
Though Rove decries White House “efforts to divide Americans” today, when he served as Bush’s Deputy Chief-of-Staff he did just that.
It’s quite a pattern Rove is following. Rove embraced the politics of fear, so he’s accusing Obama of embracing the politics of fear. Rove relied on “pre-packaged, organized, controlled, scripted ” political events, so he’s accusing Obama of relying on “pre-packaged, organized, controlled, scripted” political events. Rove looked at every policy issue “from a political perspective,” so he’s accusing Obama of looking at every policy issue “from a political perspective.”
It’s hard to launch political attacks that are ironic, hypocritical, and examples of projection, all at the same time, but Rove is a rare talent.