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:

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

Postcard October 16, 2013, 8:00 am

The Most Cajun Place on Earth

A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits 

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

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

June 2015

Loitering With Intent

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Polite Coup

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Findings

What Went Wrong

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

Shooting Down Man the Hunter

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Article
Legends of the Lost·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“A bond with reality has gone, and sometimes you wonder whether that fosters our feeling that movies are a fleeting art.”
Photograph by Alexander Perrelli
Article
What Went Wrong·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“In the seventh year of his presidency, Barack Obama was presenting himself as a politician who followed the path of least resistance. This is a disturbing confession.”
Photograph by Pete Souza
Article
Surviving a Failed Pregnancy·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“If this woman — who spent her days studying gray screens for early signs of gestation — could not see my pregnancy, what were the chances that anyone else would?”
Illustration by Leigh Wells
Article
Interesting Facts·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“My husband is forty-six. I am forty-five. He does not think that, in my forties, after cancer, chemotherapy, and chemically induced menopause, I can get pregnant again, but sisters, I know my womb. It’s proven.”
Photograph by McNair Evans
Post
Kid Chocolate’s Place·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“Cuban eyes often look close to tears.”
Illustration by the author

Length in days of the sentence Russian blogger Alexei Navalny served for leading an opposition rally last year:

15

Israeli researchers developed software that evaluates the depression of bloggers.

It was revealed that reading material recovered during the U.S. raid of Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan included Popular Science, Time, silk-screening instructions, and a suicide-prevention manual called “Is It the Heart You Are Asking?”

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

HARPER’S FINEST

Subways Are for Sleeping

By

“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”

Subscribe Today