by Eric Boehlert/Media Matters
If there's one thing Fox News contributor and Wall Street Journal columnist Karl Rove can't stop bemoaning in recent weeks, it's the nasty, negative partisan side of President Obama, which Rove claims is poisoning out politics. And if there's one thing strategist Karl Rove can't stop doing in recent weeks, it's producing nasty, negative (and blatantly false) attack ads that are poisoning our politics.
So yes, Karl Rove remains on a collision course with Karl Rove.
It's not the first time Rove has butted heads with Rove. In October, we noted the oddity of pundit Rove instructing Obama over and over about how his liberal populist rhetoric was going to lose him independent voters. Yet at the same time, Rove's American Crossroads political attack group was warning Republicans that Obama's populist rhetoric was likely winning him support ("getting traction") among voters.
This latest bout of Rove v. Rove hypocrisy is even more glaring, though, and highlights how foolish it is to take seriously his media commentary when in his role as professional election partisan Rove often does the exact opposite.
First, the whining.
Rove has been making the media rounds this season preemptively sounding alarms about how Obama's re-election push will subject the Republican nominee to the "worst beating of their life." It will be so "ugly" it will surely qualify as "the most negative re-election campaign ever mounted by a sitting president." (!) Bush's former political architect has been condemning Obama's "shrilly" rhetoric, his "angry, partisan approach," as well the president's "class warfare" taunts. On and on it goes.
See, Rove is deeply disappointed about Obama's politically dumb partisan turn because Rove is sure voters are turned off by that approach and that kind of attack rhetoric. Voters hate that kind of partisan hardball. That's the lesson pundit Rove is trying to impart to the president. Instead, voters respond to messages of hope and unity.
Right, except that in recent weeks Rove's deep-pocketed attack group has released not one, not two, not three, not four, but five relentlessly partisan attack ads, most of which were instantly I.D.'d as being built around obvious lies. (One was even pulled off the air in by local broadcasters.)
The simple truth is Rove's American Crossroads, busy raising untold millions, is doing everything in its power to make sure next year's election cycle is as "ugly" and "negative" and "angry" as possible. Pundit Rove should stop trying to pretend otherwise.