THE MAYBERRY MACHIAVELLIS DISCOVER IRONY…. About a year ago, Karl Rove, criticizing this New York Times article, accused the paper of having “outed a CIA agent,” which “obviously puts the CIA agent in danger.” Rove added that disclosing the name of a CIA operative represents “a very callous view about our nation’s security and interests.”

It was one of the single most ironic things I’ve ever heard. And yet, Rove managed to take irony to new heights (or depths, depending on one’s perspective) yesterday:

“[The Obama White House is engaged in] the same old style politics that we grew to really dislike in the 1990s, when the White House thought everything through from a political perspective, road-tested it by running polls and focus groups and did everything with a very keen eye towards the politics of the matter, not what was in the best interests of the country.”

The Irony-O-Meter I keep on my desk just burst into flames.

Karl Rove is criticizing White House officials of investing too much energy in political considerations. Is it at least possible that Rove has become some kind of caricature intended to make Republicans look ridiculous?

I mean, really. Americans are not idiots. We know what kind of operation Rove ran in the West Wing. We remember what one top Bush policy advisor conceded: “There is no precedent in any modern White House for what is going on in this one: a complete lack of a policy apparatus. What you’ve got is everything — and I mean everything — being run by the political arm. It’s the reign of the Mayberry Machiavellis.” We recognize the obvious truth that Rove personally “oversaw the politicization of nearly every aspect of Bush’s federal government.”

If Rove wants to be taken even a little seriously, he’s doing to have to do better than this. Otherwise, the urge to point and laugh will be hard to resist.

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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.