Despite Republicans telling Karl Rove that he is helping Hillary Clinton, and harming his own party, the former Bush’s brain doubled down today on his brain injury smear during an appearance on Fox News Sunday.
WILLIAMS: Karl, Karl, doesn’t this remind everybody that you, your past as a very effective political operative, have gone after people with swift boating of John Kerry, going after people —
ROVE: Which was entirely legitimate.
WILLIAMS: Oh, well, I’m just telling you, it comes across in that way. I’m saying as someone who has known you for a long time, you’re effective political operator —
ROVE: Yes, yes.
WILLIAMS: — but you may be helping Hillary Clinton.
ROVE: Yes, but, look, here is the deal — I’ve been saying this for six months. This was an off-the-record event.
WILLIAMS: Tell Mitt Romney.
ROVE: That somebody then leaked to New York Post gossip page. And I’m not the person who said brain damage. I said —
WALLACE: Wait, wait, wait. I’ve got two things I just want to say because we got to get out of this segment. One, did you say that she was wearing glasses that people need who have suffered traumatic brain injury?
ROVE: Yes, well —
WALLACE: I’m not saying that’s wrong. But did you say that?
ROVE: Yes, because, look, a concussion is, by definition, a traumatic brain injury, and so is a blood clot in the brain.
WALLACE: And, finally, any regrets?
ROVE: No, no. Look, my point is this. She’s a human being. She’s — you would not be human and not have a serious brain injury like this was and take it into consideration if you’re thinking about going and doing what she might do.
WALLACE: So, this was concern for her?
ROVE: Yes, look, I think —
WILLIAMS: That’s right.
ROVE: No, no, no. Yes, I’m concerned as one human being to another. But I’m more concerned because people say, you know, she’s in. This is a done deal.
I’m not so certain. I think my brain says she’s running. My gut says, you know what? This is going to be far more serious deal.
Rove doubled down on the brain injury nonsense despite the fact that some prominent members of the conservative media are warning that this smear is backfiring and helping Hillary Clinton.
On ABC’s This Week, Bill Kristol said, “I don’t think it was a particularly shrewd move. I mean, we’ll see how Secretary Clinton’s health is. She’ll be out there campaign presumably. She will — I imagine her health will be fine. But in any case, people can see for themselves. So there’s no reason for Karl Rove to speculate about it.” On the same ABC program, Peggy Noonan said, “I don’t think — I — I agree with Bill. I think your point — I don’t think it was — was helpful for a political operative as opposed to journalists, to begin this whole story. But I also think, in a funny way, it will work for Mrs. Clinton’s benefit. After all, she’s got a book tour coming up in June. That means these topics will come up then. When she’s selling the book, when she’s doing network specs, when she’s feeling fresh and perky and can knock it back with prepared lines.”
The fact that Rove chose to double down on a smear that isn’t working reveals the degree that he is out of touch with current politics. The kind of smear that Rove is using worked in 2004 when he was able to swift boat John Kerry, but the times and technology have changed things.
The kind of politics that Rove is practicing are antiquated. He is trying to build a smear into a legitimate news story two years before a presidential election. Everybody already knows about it, and the Clintons have knocked it down. If this was Rove’s big play to keep Hillary Clinton out of 2016, it has been a major failure.
Rove’s brain injury smear was a personal attack, and it is going to do nothing but help Hillary Clinton. Reince Priebus seems to be taking his talking points from Rove, which means that Karl Rove is putting the Republican Party on the path to total failure in 2016.
Karl Rove doesn’t get it. By doubling down, he is helping Hillary Clinton get elected president. Rove once dreamed of a Republican dominated political landscape, but what he is building is a potential entire generation of Democratic control of the White House.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association