While others perfect their own "I'm rubber, you're glue" tactics, I continue to believe Karl Rove is in a league of his own. Today, for example, the former Bush/Cheney aide used his Wall Street Journal column to condemn President Obama for politicizing national security. No, seriously.
Looking back on the 2004 race, Rove said Team Bush offered "simple, positive statements and images" about national security, because he recognized the value of restraint.
[I]n March 2004, the Bush-Cheney re-election campaign released its first ads. One of them, "Tested," began with the announcer saying "the last few years have tested America in many ways. Some challenges we've seen before. And some were like no others." During this last sentence, footage of the attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon appeared. The ads, including this one, were so inoffensive that FactCheck.org called them "downright bland."
The problem, Rove added, is that Obama and his team don't realize that sometimes, "less is more."
First, this is all a bit rich from the Republican political strategist whose team orchestrated the "Mission Accomplished" fiasco nine years ago this week. As Rachel noted in a segment on Tuesday, "The previous president put on a flight suit, pretended to fly a jet onto the deck of an aircraft carrier that was parked off the coast of San Diego and standing under a banner that read "mission accomplished," he declared that in the battle of Iraq, the United States and our allies have prevailed."
Sure, Karl, tell us another one about understanding that sometimes, "less is more."
Second, in the "rubber/glue" category of political figures attacking rivals for things they themselves are guilty of, Rove's level of shamelessness is becoming rather pathological.
Rove won in 2004 by relying on an endless barrage of attack ads, so he's now accusing the president of trying to win by relying on an endless barrage of attack ads. 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 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.
And now Rove, whose team used fear of terrorism as a potent partisan weapon after 9/11, wants Americans to believe Obama is politicizing national security in a way the Bush/Cheney team never did.
I'm curious if Rove actually believes his own attacks, or if he just doesn't care anymore.