Now that Karl Rove's retired from the Bush White House and bent on rebranding himself as a media personality, the rest of us get to more fully appreciate the weird way in which his mind works. Last week, in an interview with Greta Van Susteren, we got a fulsome look at the Rove value system. His "advice" to Barack Obama? Traffic in rank insincerities, and call it "gutsy." Somehow, we always figured.
In a wide ranging interview with GQ, readers can come to appreciate another one of the traits that has served Rove in good stead as he's led a President through two-terms of catastrophic ideas that have resulted in horrific approval ratings and his party's defeat in both houses of Congress: his glorious lack of self-awareness. This is on glittering display as he discusses the two Democratic contenders.
What do you make of this whole thing where Hillary was talking Obama up as a vice president and he came back saying, "Wait a minute, I'm winning--why are you asking me to be your number two?"
Very calculating on the part of the Clintons, and a mistake for him on his part.
Because they wanted him to get down to their level. They want him to look like, you know, not the golden inspiring figure but instead, you know, like an average ordinary pol who's got three years in the United States Senate. So they lay it out there. And rather than having it be dismissed by a surrogate, instead he goes out there! And rather than having an inspiring, forward-looking message, instead he's out there as an ordinary pol saying, "Hey, I'm number one, I'm in first place! I won more states than she did. I won more delegates than she did. What the hell's she doing offering it to me? That's insulting." And he did it in an arrogant way that I don't think made him look that good."
So you don't think his response played well?
No. Take a look at the footage. Turn the sound off and look at it. You can tell that he is arrogant, and you can tell that he's a little bit angry, and you can tell he's very dismissive. He takes his hands and he sort of, you know, waves his hand like, "I'm dismissing something." That was the moment to say, you know, "Look, I know what my opponents are saying, but you know what? I'm focused on one thing and one thing only, which is to help bring Republicans and Democrats and independents together to move America forward." Instead of "Hey, lemme just remind you, I'm winning! I'm beatin' her!"
Rove calling Obama "arrogant?" That's pretty rich coming from a guy who, just a few days ago, took a nice chunk of money from an appearance at the University of Iowa, during which he scolded the attendees, "You got a chance to ask your questions later and make your stupid statements, let me make mine," and mawkishly clutched at his own heartstrings over Iraq: "I shed a lot of tears and I have been inspired by many of the people who feel their son or daughter should not have to die in vain."
But if you dare risk your eyeballs permanently rolling back into your head, here's what Rove had to say about Hillary Clinton:
You've said--what was the phrase you used about Hillary? "Fatally flawed"?
Fatally flawed. I just thought her flaws would show up in the general election. I didn't know they'd show up as early and as strong as they have.
Uh, calculating. You know, she went through the period where she had the calculated laugh, she went through the period where she had the calculated accents, and you build that on top of a person who already has the reputation that anything she says is calculating, you know....
Is calculating a terrible thing?
It is if people think it's phony. And that's what her problem is. That and the sense of entitlement.
And so, the eternal dialectic betwixt pot and kettle in re blackness continues. At least the interviewer had the good sense to not let that one slide.
There is something ironic about Karl Rove criticizing someone for being calculating.
Right. Look, it's one thing to calculate and say, "What's the best way for me to do this?" It's another thing to say, "What's the best way to do this, even if it means the sacrifice of my fundamental principles?"
And with that, we recommend you click on over to the Huffington Post's "Living" vertical, where you might find tips on how to clean a copious amount of vomit out of your computer's keyboard.
RELATED: Later in the interview, Rove offers up some juicy opinion that he did not deem fit for reader consumption:
I get the sense you respect Hillary more than you respect Obama.
Off the record?
Please don't go off the record.
Off the record... [Yeah, it's good. Sorry.]
Damn! Now say that on the record.
No. Nope. Nope. Nope.
Let's try again, then: on the record. I get the sense you respect her more than him.
Uh, I know her better than I know him. And I just, uh--she has been around public life a lot longer and has demonstrated, you know, more involvement than he has.