Oh My: Karl Rove Impersonates, Skewers Sarah Palin

Posted: Mar 01, 2011 9:07 AM
Joe Hagan's New York Magazine profile piece on Karl Rove is worth a full read.  It delves into Rove's tempestuous early life, his path to prominence on the American political stage, his complex legacy among Bush loyalists, and his plan to once again lay claim to the title of "the architect" by forging a "durable" Republican majority.  But the element of the story most likely to generate media attention is the series of choice words Rove had for former Alaska Governor and potential presidential candidate Sarah Palin.  Asked about his widely-reported "gravitas" remarks criticizing Palin's reality television show, Rove doubled down -- crossing into open mockery:

Rove’s backhands weren’t accidental, nor was he the victim of outrageous tabloid reporting. When I bring up his statements about Palin during our interview, Rove says only that he wished he’d made his comments on Fox News instead—before going into a withering impersonation of Palin, recalling a scene from her TV show in which she’s fishing.

“Did you see that?” he says, adopting a high, sniveling Palin accent: “ ‘Holy crap! That fish hit my thigh! It hurts!’ ”

“How does that make us comfortable seeing her in the Oval Office?” he asks, disgusted. “You know—‘Holy crap, Putin said something ugly!’ ”

Rove was the first major Republican figure to take a swipe at Palin. But he knew he had to do it...

“He deserves a medal,” says one Republican operative who is friends with Rove. “This is a guy who understands what’s involved in being commander-in-chief. He looks at Sarah Palin and says, ‘Are you f***ing kidding me?’

There's little love lost between Rove and Palin, as Team Palin's new chief of staff makes perfectly clear near the end of Hagan's story:

Does the next candidate of the GOP want the mark of “Bush’s Brain” on their candidacy? To alienate the tea party by ?cozying up to the elitist Rasputin?

Certainly not Sarah Palin. “Of all the potential candidates, Governor Palin would no doubt be the one desiring new energy and ideas,” says her chief of staff Michael Glassner, “and, refreshingly, hiring advisers who aren’t entrenched in any political machine.”

Glassner's comments certainly leave the distinct impression that Palin is gearing up for a run, do they not?  (1) Taking a shot at a possible future adversary is par for the course in early presidential skirmishes, and (2) how many non-politician pundits have chiefs of staff bragging to reporters about the quality and independence of the advisers they're hiring?

If Palin gets in, and Rove makes it his mission to stop her, Republicans should brace for a historic rumble.  Democrats would likely enjoy every minute of the internecine feud, but would be well-served to remember that a nasty, protracted intra-party fight does not guarantee political success for the opposing party.