Today, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed titled “Obama and the Permanent Campaign,” former Bush advisor Karl Rove claims that the Obama Administration is suffering from “Extended Campaign Syndrome” and is overly-politicizing the White House:
Team Obama is suffering from Extended Campaign Syndrome. In an election, campaign staffers are often just trying to survive until the next week or the next primary. They cut corners because they are fatigued or under pressure. They can be purposely combative and even portray critics as enemies. [...]
Mr. Obama’s exaggerations, misdirection and efforts to divide Americans are becoming more obvious. What worked in the Obama campaign will often backfire on the Obama presidency. But old habits are hard to leave on the trail.
The former Bush advisor’s attack on Obama is ironic, considering Rove’s own role in creating a divisive “permanent campaign” attitude in the previous White House.
Former Bush Press Secretary Scott McClellan wrote in his 2008 book What Happened that “Karl Rove did not create the excesses of the permanent campaign. Rather, the excesses of the permanent campaign created Karl Rove.” As the Washington Post notes, Rove’s 2003 efforts to promote political appointments and direct federal funding to support “Bush’s reelection agenda” amounted to “a permanent campaign that was an integral part of his strategy to establish Republican electoral dominance.”
Though Rove decries White House “efforts to divide Americans” today, when he served as Bush’s Deputy Chief-of-Staff he did just that. For instance, in a 2005 speech, Rove declared that while “conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war,” “liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.” Watch it:
In the same speech, Rove implied that liberals wanted to see American soldiers hurt. “”Let me just put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals.”