The pot that called the kettle black, of course. Today Rove said that some of McCain's attack ads went "a step too far" in that they would not pass the "100 percent truth test." My first reaction to this - and the Obama campaign's reaction to this - was, "Wow, even slime ball Karl Rove is speaking out against McCain's tactics." Then I thought a bit, and realized that Rove holds no legitimate place in the political discourse for this election or any election in the future.
One disturbing thing about the way that the media is presenting the story is the fact that they are leaving out the context of Rove's rant. In the same way that the "lipstick on a pig" comment by Obama was taken out of context, Rove's diatribe began with criticisms of the Obama campaign and discussion of the McCain campaign arose when Rove was prompted by Fox News Sunday's Chris Wallace. It was then that Rove said McCain's campaign has recently gone a bit too far in its ads about Obama.
The overarching irony of Rove pointing out dirty political tricks seems to be lost on the mainstream media as well as the Obama campaign. While it may seem advantageous for Obama supporters to spread the word of Rove in order to get more independents on their side, in reality this could backfire. McCain could use this in his next ad, saying "Look, the human epitome of Washington insider-ism, Karl Rove, doesn't like the way I'm running my campaign. Of course he doesn't, because he's scared of change," or something to that extent. He could also turn it to say, "Look, Obama is embracing Karl Rove. That's not change."
The reason that the media is picking it up is because it thinks that it will generate viewers. I don't necessarily think that it is because of a liberal media bias. If James Carville had come out and said something similar about Obama, I think it would have gotten the same treatment (with Ike's aftermath still being treated like a feeding frenzy for the media, this story has not garnered the absolutely massive headlines it would have on a slower news day).
Like everything, however, we need to look at the source. To begin with, Karl Rove is not really a respectable individual. He started sleazy political tricks quite young - at 19 he used false identity to enter the office of Illinois Democrat Alan Dixon, stole the state treasurer's letterhead and put out a flyer using said letterhead advertising free alcohol and women to kick off Dixon's campaign. He seems to have been a minor player in Watergate, he headed the White House Iraq Group (the group responsible for drumming up the case for war with Iraq), and he seems to be involved in the Joe Wilson/Valerie Plame incident.
But one of the sleaziest Karl Rove moves (that we know of) occurred in the 2000 South Carolina Republican primary, when he took the generous actions of the McCains (Cindy had brought back Bridget, a baby from Mother Teresa's orphanage in Bangladesh for medical treatment in 1991 and she and John adopted her soon after) and turned them into a vicious lie. Through push polling, Rove and his cronies helped spread the lie that the 8 year-old dark skinned girl that could be seen with McCain was, in fact, a bi-racial daughter that McCain had fathered out of wedlock. Despite winning New Hampshire in a landslide, McCain lost South Carolina, and Bush went on to win the primary and the White House. You have to be a pretty heartless individual to do something like that, and Rove seems to fit the bill.
So if Karl Rove points out the obvious (that McCain's campaign ads are not 100% true and that he went too far), why report on it? Rove pointing out that the McCain campaign is acting a little sleazy is like Hitler saying that Stalin was a bad guy - an obvious observation that is not made more or less true by that person's speaking out on it. In fact, Obama's and the media's embrace of Rove's "analysis" actually legitimize Rove's words (not a good thing considering his recent foray into newscasting). Obama's camp should not have touched this; they should have let the media pick it up (which they would have done because it is "controversial" and brings in viewers/readers). Again, the whole "self-destruct" theorem applies. Besides, Karl Rove is not someone I would want to cite to help argue my case. Peace.
Photos - Karl Rove (www.cnn.com), George W. Bush and Karl Rove (voices.washingtonpost.com), The McCain family (with Bridget third from right) in 1999, a year before Rove's infamous smear (www.nytimes.com)