Affection for projection

AFFECTION FOR PROJECTION…. Last week, we saw the latest example of Karl Rove’s borderline-pathological habit of identifying some of his own ugliest, most malicious qualities, and then projecting them onto those Democrats he hates most. It’s strikingly common.

In yet another classic example, Rove, for no apparent reason, insisted President Obama has an “enemies list.” It prompted Jon Chait to flag this gem from Rove’s greatest-hits package.

Roe walked over to the table, “I’m Jason Roe.”

Rove: “Oh, the famous Jason Roe.”

Roe: “I don’t know that I’m famous, but I’m Tom Feeney’s former chief of staff, and I’m offended by your comments on Fox about Tom. You guys wouldn’t be in the White House without Tom. And you made these really degrading comments about him that offended a lot of people.”

(Sidenote: Tom Feeney was the speaker of the Florida House of Representatives during the whole Bush/Gore 2000 recount.)

Rove: “Well, I have a file on the things Tom Feeney said about George Bush.”

Roe: “That says more about you than me that you kept a file on Tom Feeney. This guy was so restrained in his desire to criticize the president — even against this staff’s advice.”

Rove: “I have a file.”

Roe: “I’m right here. Tell me to my face what’s in that file.”

Rove: “I’ll send you the file.”

For those keeping score at home, this ties in nicely to the larger pattern. 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.