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Let’s play some Karl Rove on Karl Rove

STAFF PORTRAITS OF KARL ROVEKarl Rove is playing Karl Rove on Hillary Clinton. In the grand Rovian dirty-tricks tradition that includes suggesting that John McCain had fathered an African-American baby out of wedlock and that John Kerry, who actually served in Vietnam, unlike Rove, and was honored for his service, was unfit for command, Rove last week raised issue with Clinton’s brain health.

“Thirty days in the hospital?” Rove said at a conference. “And when she reappears, she’s wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury? We need to know what’s up with that.”

Doesn’t matter that Clinton didn’t spend “thirty days in the hospital” as a result of her December 2012 fall that put her in a hospital for three days for treatment of a possibly life-threatening blood clot. Or that even Newt Gingrich, no fan of anybody named Clinton, even, presumably, George, was “totally opposed and deeply offended” by Rove’s misleading remarks, saying they are “exactly what’s wrong with American politics.”

The toothpaste is out of the tube, as they say. When you have people like Rove, who was also behind a whisper campaign in a 1994 Alabama judicial election that saw his guy’s opponent labeled a pedophile, willing to go that low to score a political point, it’s like getting a terrorist to swear off car bombs to get them to say that they’ll stop and believe that they actually will.

You can’t negotiate a truce with a guy like Karl Rove, and you can’t make peace with him, either, by endlessly parsing his words. Rove has done what Rove does: releasing his usual stream of viral bullshit into the political bloodstream that will become a talking point for the GOP echo chamber to repeat ad nauseam for roughly the next 30 months.

So, how can you even hope to neuter a Karl Rove? You’ve got to be willing to go lower than him.

Problem for Democrats is that they don’t do this well, or really at all. Think of how the Obama team responded to the repeated nonsense from the birthers. Seriously, they thought releasing his birth certificate would do the trick! When people question your very right to exist, as Republicans have been doing to Democrats since the first Clinton was elected in 1992, official documents aren’t going to shut them up.

Fight fire with fire. Sling bullshit at the bullshit.

Sure, in so doing, you risk bringing to life the old axiom that you should avoid getting in a pit with a pig, because all you’ll end up doing is getting dirty, and the pig will like it, but even so. How would Karl Rove like to have to respond to questions that are of the nature of, Hey, Karl, is it true that you’re no longer beating your wife?

Think Ted Cruz wants to have to deal with whispers about whether or not he’s a naturalized-citizen pedophile? Or, Excuse me, Sen. Paul, there’s a report here that you were once a high-dollar male prostitute: care to comment?

The viruses in the bloodstream that Republicans have to treat with antibiotics right now have to do with silly things like the Koch Brothers being baddy billionaire rich guys trying to buy elections (ooh!) and how the old white guys (and aspiring old white guys) who dominate party politics on the right don’t like women, gays, people of color (news alert!).

Which is to say, they get off easy. Basically, don’t throw me in that briar patch, and oh, by the way, Benghazi, there, that ought to call the dogs off.

Spousal abuse. Pedophilia. Getting paid for gay sex. If that’s what politics is today, then get after it.

– Column by Chris Graham

 



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