Why is Karl Rove a smart man? Because he agrees with me. I'm smart, he agrees with me, so he's smart. That's Chuck logic in a nutshell.
Now to the part where Rove agrees with me. He wrote a great opinion peice in the WSJ today. The White House Misfires on Limbaugh
Just a quick aside. When you go to the page I linked to, I want you to notice one thing right off. The WSJ called this article an opinion piece. It's right there, spelled out, "opinion". Why is this relevant? Because if you were reading this article on most other news sites, at least the ones that don't start with "Wall Street Journal" or "Fox News", the article would be called news. See, respectable sites like the WSJ or Fox, label articles like this as opinion pieces. Whereas when visiting the majority of the media, CNN, MSNBC, etc, the "news" stories are opinion pieces.
Now back to the regularly scheduled rant.
Rove wrote a piece today about the Obama administration's war on freedom of speech, er Rush Limbaugh. Rove was not defending Limbaugh's position or really even criticizing Obama's attack on the position. It mainly looked at the political rationale and implications of the attack. (all emphasis mine)
Team Obama -- aided by Clintonistas Paul Begala, James Carville and Stanley Greenberg -- decided to attack Rush Limbaugh after poring over opinion research. White House senior adviser David Axelrod explicitly authorized the assault. Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel assigned a White House official to coordinate the push. And Press Secretary Robert Gibbs gleefully punched the launch button at his podium, suckering the White House press corps into dropping what they were doing to get Mr. Limbaugh.
Was it smart politics and good policy? No. For one thing, it gave the lie to Barack Obama's talk about ending "the political strategy that's been all about division" and "the score-keeping and the name-calling." The West Wing looked populated by petulant teenagers intent on taking down a popular rival. Such talk also shortens the president's honeymoon by making him look like a street-fighting Chicago pol instead of an inspirational, unifying figure. The upward spike in ratings for Rush and other conservative radio commentators shows how the White House's attempt at a smackdown instead energized the opposition.
Did it do any good with voters not strongly tied to either party? I suspect not. With stock markets down, unemployment growing, banks tottering, consumers anxious, business leaders nervous, and the economy shrinking, the Obama administration's attacks on a radio talk show host made it seem concerned with the trivial.
Why did the White House do it? It was a diversionary tactic. Clues might be found in the revelation that senior White House staff meet for two hours each Wednesday evening to digest their latest polling and focus-group research. I would bet a steak dinner at Morton's in Chicago these Wednesday Night Meetings discussed growing public opposition to spending, omnibus pork, more bailout money for banks and car companies, and new taxes on energy, work and capital.
What better way to divert public attention from these more consequential if problematic issues than to start a fight with a celebrity conservative? Cable TV, newspapers and newsweeklies would find the conflict irresistible. Something has to be set aside to provide more space and time to the War on Rush; why not the bad economic news?
This is all stuff I, along with others, have been saying. The attack on Rush, while making the far left giddy, is petty and small and runs a real risk of costing Obama the support from moderates that he is getting now.
The rest of the article is well worth reading. Rove goes into the long term ramifications of Obama's policies.