THERE HE GOES AGAIN…. The good news is, Karl Rove no longer works in the White House, so his capacity to do real damage to the country has been vastly reduced. The bad news is, Rove remains a major media figure, including writing columns for the Wall Street Journal, where he continues to annoy.

Take today’s latest gem, for example.

[S]upport for the stimulus bill is falling. CBS News polling reveals a 12-point drop in support of the bill over the past month. Pew Research and Rasmussen have turned in similar numbers. The more Americans learn about the bill, the less they like it.

While it’s true that misleading Republican attacks had an effect on public opinion, Rove cites Rasmussen, which actually shows support for the plan going up seven points over the last week, with supporters now outnumbering opponents. I guess that means, by Rove’s logic, the more Americans hear the president’s defense of the legislation, the more they like it.

Congressional Republicans lack President Barack Obama’s bully pulpit and do not have the majorities that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid enjoy. But they are playing their hand extraordinarily well.

Over the past month, House Republicans have used the stimulus bill to redefine their party, present ideas on how to revive the economy, and force congressional Democrats and the president to take ownership of the spending programs soon to be signed into law.

Actually, Republicans haven’t “presented ideas”; they’ve called for more tax cuts. (That doesn’t “redefine” the party; it just reinforces existing impressions.) And if the GOP has played its hand “extraordinarily well,” why is it that Americans have staunchly opposed the party’s efforts during the stimulus debate?

House Republicans had the wisdom to continue to talk to the Obama White House. This made them look gracious, even as the president edged toward a “my way or the highway” attitude.

Again, in our reality, Rove has it backwards. Recall, 95% of House Republicans and 90% of Senate Republicans supported an all-tax-cut plan, and refused to engage constructively with the president, despite his repeated outreach. Who looks “gracious”?

[Congressional Republicans] asked the Congressional Budget Office if the Democratic Senate bill was actually stimulative. The nonpartisan CBO found it would have a “negligible” impact on jobs by 2011 and hurt economic growth and prosperity over the next decade.

This is misleading to the point of comedy.

The Democratic stimulus will slow recovery, but not stop it. Recessions don’t last forever and, if history is a guide, sometime late this year or early next the economy will rebound on its own. When that happens, Democrats will argue that their untargeted, permanent spending actually revived the economy.

Rove really seems to believe this is just some routine economic downturn, and that a stimulus bill will “slow” recovery.

That this clown helped run the executive branch of government for seven years remains vaguely horrifying. Then again, it also helps explain the mess we’re in now.

Steve Benen

Follow Steve on Twitter @stevebenen. Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.