For reasons best known to his therapist, Karl Rove has decided — yet again — to poke a stick into the Sarah Palin hornet’s nest and give it a good stir. In an interview with New York Magazine Rove briefly departed from the theme of escalating self-congratulation he was very much warming to long enough to try his hand at Tina Fey shtick.
… When I bring up his statements [last October] about Palin during our interview, Rove says only that he wished he’d made his comments on Fox News instead—before going into a withering impersonation of Palin, recalling a scene from her TV show in which she’s fishing.
“Did you see that?” he says, adopting a high, sniveling Palin accent: “ ‘Holy crap! That fish hit my thigh! It hurts!’ ”
“How does that make us comfortable seeing her in the Oval Office?” he asks, disgusted. “You know—‘Holy crap, Putin said something ugly!’ ”
There is no mention in the article of Rove donning little Sarah glasses or ripping off his tear-away suit to reveal a faux Sarah ensemble (for which, on behalf of a grateful nation, I am truly thankful) but he may have been battling time constraints.
Again, no-one can know what’s in another man’s heart (although we can safely surmise there wasn’t a whole lot going on in his head) but it’s possible Karl felt there hadn’t been quite enough friction and division among conservatives of late. Lord knows after the smooth ride that was CPAC, to say nothing of the Tea Party love currently being showered on House Republicans over the budget cuts (or is it now down to “cut”?) one can readily appreciate how Karl could have come to that conclusion.
Maybe Karl woke up the morning of the interview and said to himself “You know its been weeks since MSNBC has had a good sound byte of Republicans seal-clubbing one of their own. Quick, Karen, get me a notepad!” Perhaps after drawing and discarding several stick drawings of himself with attendant captions like “The comeback is now!” he remembered that nothing will get the factions chin-wagging at each other like some demented Gilbert and Sullivan patter-chorus faster than the specter of Sarah Palin.
If this was his intention, including feeding the insatiable maw that is MSNBC’s obsession with Sarah Palin, he could have measured the time it took them to pick up the story with the sweep-hand on his watch.
As divisive (to finally use that term in its proper context) as Rove’s utterances might be, and for all the aid and comfort they provide to those who do not wish us well, they’re a mere by-product of his true intent, which is amply illustrated in the same New York Magazine article:
One week before the 2010 midterm elections, Rove took aim at Sarah Palin, questioning the wisdom of her appearance on a reality show, Sarah Palin’s Alaska, if she really wanted to be taken seriously as a presidential candidate. Palin lacked the “gravitas” to be president, went a subhead in the U.K.’s DailyTelegraph.
Rove was the first major Republican figure to take a swipe at Palin. But he knew he had to do it. A few months earlier, in Rove’s traditional seat of Texas, he had gotten an up-close view of the internal divisions threatening his place in the party’s firmament. Governor Rick Perry’s political machine was courting the new hard-right populists in tricornered hats, feeding rumors of presidential designs, and threatening to blot out Bush’s footprint on the state. The Bush family, for political and personal reasons, tried to unseat Perry, backing Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison in the Republican gubernatorial primary. Their best man was on the case: Karl Rove, who supported and reportedly advised Hutchison.
What resulted was a preview of the GOP–versus–tea party civil war. Dave Carney, Perry’s top strategist, attacked Rove as a “country club” Republican. Conversely, Sarah Palin, tea-party heroine, endorsed Rick Perry, calling him a “true conservative.”
Perry handily destroyed Hutchison in the primary.
It beats me how RINO Senator whose favorite color is plaid on most issues, benefiting from the counsel of a man who made squeakers out of two presidential elections that should have been walkovers, and whose tepid responses to the vicious slanders against his old boss effectively surrendered the narrative to the Left, could possibly have lost … but that’s politics I guess.
Of interest too is the enumeration of the Progressive policies he is credited with advancing in the Bush administration:
Rove is the embodiment of everything the tea party resents. He supported Bush’s decision to bail out the banks in 2008, a major bone of contention with deficit hawks. And it was Rove, as White House political adviser, who pushed for some of the most expensive Bush programs, like the Medicare-prescription-drug bill, the passage of which cornered the troublesome State of Florida for Bush in 2004 but has already cost more than $1 trillion. The national debt nearly doubled under Bush, from $5.7 trillion to $10.6 trillion.
The point is Karl Rove wants back in, he’s “the architect” and he wants his old drafting table back. Once he and the Republican establishment are back in charge we can return to the sane universe of his remembrance in which the GOP’s biggest selling point is they tax, spend and regulate a little less than the other guys. The Tea Party in general and Sarah Palin in particular stand in the way of this very necessary realignment.
So, for all the talk of uniting against a common enemy (with which I am in full agreement by the way) it’s worth noting that the poniards always seem to come from the cool, rational, pragmatic Republican Old Guard. It wasn’t the Tea Party in the immediate aftermath of the greatest electoral power shift in seventy-five years who started whining to any itinerant camera crew they could find about the ones that got away. I don’t recall the Tea Party in 2010 slagging off any duly nominated Republican candidate, notwithstanding what would have been profound policy differences with at least some of them. I also fail to recall any Tea Party candidate who failed to honor the Republican nomination process by running as an independent or write-in after losing.
But no matter, Rove has obviously read his Milton and decided it’s better to rule in hell than serve in Heaven. If he and his ilk succeed he will have ample opportunity to find out.
Because this particular strategy, which necessarily involves the marginalization and alienation of the Tea Party, is also known as the “Obama Elected By Acclamation 2012” gambit.