Washington Babylon — September 3, 2008, 9:21 am

Karl Rove to Chris Wallace: “I think I’m with you”

John McCain’s camp is attacking the media for having the audacity to question Sarah Palin’s foreign policy experience, even though — as the GOP talking points go — her stellar qualifications include being a “commander in chief” (of the Alaskan National Guard) and living in a state that borders Russia. The Republican push back will undoubtedly work, as foreshadowed in this story today from Howard Kurtz of the Washington Post:

I’ve talked to many political professionals over the years who were mad at the media, or me in particular. But I’ve never quite had a conversation like the one Tuesday night with Steve Schmidt. He was absolutely furious as he unloaded on the journalistic community for, in his view, unfairly savaging Sarah Palin.

Sure, it is in his interest to try to get the press to tone things down. But Schmidt–Sen. John McCain’s hard-headed, no-nonsense, on-message strategist–really sounded shell-shocked. And so he was saying things on the record that senior aides usually say only under a cloak of anonymity. That doesn’t make his accusations right. But it does suggest to me that a brewing conflict between McCain and his media chroniclers–one that makes the ol’ Straight Talk Express days a distant memory–has reached the boiling point.

So McCain’s top strategist thinks the press coverage of Palin is unfair, and Kurtz clearly takes his opinion more seriously because Schmidt is “furious” about it. (Spinmeisters take note.) The media is asking tough questions about Palin — as are some conservatives — but someone has to vet her since the McCain camp clearly didn’t.

In general, the idea that the media is being overly critical of the McCain campaign is ridiculous. There was only so much convention coverage I could stomach, but
I didn’t see a lot of harsh attacks on the GOP during my channelsurfing. Consider this exchange on Fox News, between Chris Wallace and Karl Rove:

WALLACE: It seemed to me that — that in a very low-key, reasoned, cautious, Joe Lieberman way, he kind of took Barack Obama apart. And you know, it wasn’t red meat. And it wasn’t shouting. But in contrasting the real reform credentials of McCain and Obama, it was very powerful.

ROVE: He put dynamite underneath the two foundations of the Obama campaign and blew them up. Gifted and eloquent young man, but eloquence is no substitute for record. And then he talked about bipartisanship and said, in essence, McCain has done it. Obama has not. I think I’m with you. It was a very powerful demolition of the Obama camp.

From what I saw, the “savaging” of the Republicans by CNN was equally fierce.

Share
Single Page

More from Ken Silverstein:

Commentary November 17, 2015, 6:41 pm

Shaky Foundations

The Clintons’ so-called charitable enterprise has served as a vehicle to launder money and to enrich family friends.

From the November 2013 issue

Dirty South

The foul legacy of Louisiana oil

Perspective October 23, 2013, 8:00 am

On Brining and Dining

How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy

Get access to 165 years of
Harper’s for only $45.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

December 2016

Prose by Any Other Name

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The New Red Scare

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Separated at Birth

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Priest in the Trees

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Lightness

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

With Child

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
With Child·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"She glanced across the waiting room at a television playing a birth-control ad and laughed darkly. 'Jesus, Lord, it would be so nice if someone just pushed me down a flight of stairs.'"
Photograph (detail) by Lara Shipley
Article
Swat Team·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"As we shall see, for the sort of people who write and edit the opinion pages of the Post, there was something deeply threatening about Sanders and his political views."
Illustration (detail) by John Ritter
Article
Escape from The Caliphate·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"When Matti invited me on a tour of the neighborhood, I asked about security. 'The message has already been passed to ISIS that you’re here,' he said. 'But don’t worry. I guarantee I could bring even you in and out of the Islamic State.'"
Photograph (detail) by Alice Martins
Article
In This One·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"She glanced across the waiting room at a television playing a birth-control ad and laughed darkly. 'Jesus, Lord, it would be so nice if someone just pushed me down a flight of stairs.'"
Illustration (detail) by Shonagh Rae
Article
“Don’t Touch My Medicare!”·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

"Medicare’s popularity, however, comes with almost no understanding of what the program is and how it works."
Illustration (detail) by Nate Kitch

Number of tombstones in Tombstone, Arizona:

792

Electrofishing on the Irrawaddy River deters dolphins from their habit of assisting fishermen.

Trump tweeted that “millions of people” had illegally cast ballots in last month’s presidential election, and the Washington Post identified four cases of voter fraud across the country.

Subscribe to the Weekly Review newsletter. Don’t worry, we won’t sell your email address!

HARPER’S FINEST

Who Goes Nazi?

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

By

"It is an interesting and somewhat macabre parlor game to play at a large gathering of one’s acquaintances: to speculate who in a showdown would go Nazi. By now, I think I know. I have gone through the experience many times—in Germany, in Austria, and in France. I have come to know the types: the born Nazis, the Nazis whom democracy itself has created, the certain-to-be fellow-travelers. And I also know those who never, under any conceivable circumstances, would become Nazis."

Subscribe Today