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 164 years of
Harper’s for only $34.99

United States Canada

CATEGORIES

THE CURRENT ISSUE

May 2014

50,000 Life Coaches Can’t Be Wrong

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

The Quinoa Quarrel

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

You Had to Be There

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

A Study in Sherlock

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

view Table Content

FEATURED ON HARPERS.ORG

Post
“In Thunupa’s footsteps grew a miraculous plant that could withstand drought, cold, and even salt, and still produce a nutritious grain.”
Photograph by Lisa M. Hamilton
Article
A Study in Sherlock·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“It is central to the pleasure of the Sherlock Holmes stories that they invite play, and that they were never meant to be taken seriously.”
Illustration by Frederic Dorr Steele
Post
My Top 5 Metal Albums and Their Poetic Counterparts·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“1. Death, The Sound of Perseverance (Nuclear Blast, 1998)”
Photograph (detail) by Peter Beste
Article
Found Money·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“I have spent my entire adult existence in a recession. Like most people I talk to, I assume the forces that control the market are at best random and at worst rigged. The auction shows only confirm that suspicion.”
Illustration by Steven Dana
Post
The School of Permanent Revolución·

= Subscribers only.
Sign in here.
Subscribe here.

“The University of Venezuela has provided a consistent counterweight to governmental authority, but it has also reliably produced the elite of whatever group replaced the status quo.”
Photograph © Daniel Lansberg-Rodríguez

Percentage of non-Christian Americans who say they believe in the resurrection of Christ:

52

A newly translated Coptic text alleged Judas’ kiss to have been necessitated by Jesus’ ability to shape-shift.

Russia reportedly dropped a series of math texts from a list of recommended curricular books because its illustrations featured too many non-Russian characters. “Gnomes, Snow White,” said a Russian education expert, “these are representatives of a foreign-language culture.”

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

HARPER’S FINEST