Former White House adviser Karl Rove in Oklahoma City, May 17, 2010.
Sue Ogrocki/AP Photo

Self-awareness is a virtue

Updated
Despite his missteps, Republican strategist Karl Rove still has a weekly column in the Wall Street Journal, and his latest submission is a gem that shines bright.
 
Most of the 700-word op-ed complains about the Affordable Care Act, but it’s the conclusion that captures a failure of self-awareness that was unintentionally hilarious.
Mr. Obama’s pattern is to act, or fail to act, in a way that will leave his successor with a boatload of troubles. The nation’s public debt was equal to roughly 40% of GDP when Mr. Obama took office. At last year’s end it was 72% of GDP. […]
 
Then there’s Medicare, whose Hospital Insurance Trust Fund will go bankrupt in 2026. For five years, Mr. Obama has failed to offer a plan to restore Medicare’s fiscal health as he is required by the law establishing Medicare Part D. When Medicare goes belly-up, he will be out of office.
 
From the record number of Americans on food stamps to the worst labor-force participation rate since the 1970s to rising political polarization to retreating U.S. power overseas and increasing Middle East chaos and violence, Mr. Obama’s successor – Republican or Democratic – will inherit a mess.
So, let me get this straight. Karl Rove, a former deputy of chief of staff in the Bush/Cheney White House, is worried about a president who will leave his successor with high deficits, a weak economy, a divided electorate, and violence in the Middle East.
 
Did he even read this before submitting it? Did it not occur to him how ironic his complaints might seem, given that his former boss turned a massive surplus into a massive deficit, saw the economy suffer a near-catastrophic crash, and left two disastrous wars for Obama to clean up?
 
As for the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund, one wonders if Rove realizes that it was Obama, not Bush, who extended the program’s fiscal health?
 
The larger takeaway, however, is that Karl Rove has taken the practice of projecting one’s flaws onto one’s foes to a level of performance art.
 
It’s a pattern I started documenting a few years ago, but which Rove somehow manages to add data points to with alarming regularity.
 
* Rove has tried to buy elections, so he accuses Democrats of trying to buy elections.
 
* Rove has relied on scare tactics, so he accuses Democrats of relying on scare tactics.
 
* Rove embraced a permanent campaign, so he accuses Democrats of embracing a “permanent campaign.”
 
* Rove relied on pre-packaged, organized, controlled, scripted political events, so he accuses Democrats of relying on “pre-packaged, organized, controlled, scripted” political events.
 
* Rove snubbed news outlets that he considered partisan, so he accuses Democrats of snubbing news outlets that they consider partisan.
 
* Rove had a habit of burying bad news by releasing it late on Friday afternoons, so he accuses Democrats of burying bad news by releasing it late on Friday afternoons.
 
But despite all of this, for Rove to complain about a president bequeathing high deficits, a struggling economy, and a mess in the Middle East breaks new ground in failures of self-awareness.
 

Karl Rove

Self-awareness is a virtue

Updated