Rove Watch

By Dan Froomkin
1:16 PM ET, 02/26/2009

Karl Rove writes in his Wall Street Journal opinion column that President Obama is guilty of using "the lazy rhetorical device of 'straw men.'"

Obama "routinely ascribes to others views they don't espouse and says opposition to his policies is grounded in views no one really advocates," Rove writes.

He's not entirely wrong, although several of the "straw men" he cites -- for instance, Obama's assertion that in the Bush era "a surplus became an excuse to transfer wealth to the wealthy" -- are not straw men at all. They're supportable statements.

But that's not the point. The point is Rove's chutzpah.

As Frank James blogs for Tribune: "In a June 2006 speech to conservatives, [Rove] erected one of the most infamous straw men of modern times. He said: '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.In the wake of 9/11, conservatives believed it was time to unleash the might and power of the United States military against the Taliban; in the wake of 9/11, liberals believed it was time to... submit a petition. I am not joking."

Glenn Greenwald blogs for Salon: "Karl Rove's entire strategy for the Bush presidency was grounded in straw men accusations."

See also this September 2006 column of mine and my Straw Man Watch items from the Bush era.

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