ROVE PLAYS VOTERS FOR SUCKERS (AGAIN)…. When I describe Karl Rove’s presence in American politics as a poison in our democracy, there’s a good reason for it. Consider this report from Christina Bellantoni.

Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS this week detailed the “seven public policy initiatives” that will be most important for Congress next year. The group runs ads against Democrats across the country.

On the list at No. 1: “Stop the Obama tax hike time bomb scheduled to detonate on January 1, 2011.”

That’s not a typo. Rove’s group is claiming that Obama set the timer on that so-called “bomb.”

No one should be surprised. Rove has been lying to voters, just as a matter of course, throughout his career. For a campaign operation organized by the activist/hatchet-man/media-personality to base its work on playing voters for fools is entirely predictable.

But as Rove’s lies go, this one takes some chutzpah. It was Rove’s White House, after all, that crafted and approved irresponsible tax cuts — which failed miserably in their stated goal — and put an expiration date on them. It wasn’t Obama, and it wasn’t Democrats — Rove’s White House played a budget game and set the lower rates to expire at the end of 2010.

If it’s a “bomb,” Rove helped set the timer. He has no reason to whine (or lie) about it now.

And as the “debate,” such as it is, proceeds, there are two competing approaches about future tax rates. Democrats’ plan leaves the lower rates for the middle- and lower-class in place, while the wealthy would go back to brackets that existed in 2000 — back when a Democratic president left a health economy and a massive budget surplus for a Republican president to screw up. Republicans’ plan, apparently endorsed by the clownish Rove, is to protect massive breaks for millionaires and billionaires, and throw the tab onto the massive deficits they left for Democrats to clean up.

Maybe Rove knows this, and is just counting on voters being dumb. Maybe Rove doesn’t know this, and he’s just a mindless hack. Either way, this talk of “bombs” is ridiculous.

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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.