Report: Karl Rove Suggests Hillary Clinton Has Brain Damage, But Is He Just Projecting?
Speaking at a conference last Thursday, Karl Rove apparently suggested that Hillary Clinton might have suffered brain damage from a fall she took in 2012. "Thirty days in the hospital?" Rove allegedly said. "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." Rove now claims that he never used the words "brain damage," and has spent much of Tuesday afternoon on TV trying to make that clear.
Well, okay, no reason to think he’s being shady about this — except that he also misstated the amount of time Clinton spent in the hospital after the fall by a factor of 10 (it was three days, not 30). (By the way, when the Fox News host called him out on that, he quickly backed down.)
All of this raises the (mostly) satirical question: Who exactly is Karl Rove to speculate about brain damage? He’s certainly had some, shall we say, questionable moments during his 13-year tenure in the national spotlight.
Let’s take a look at some of them. Because, in his own words, we need to know what's up with that.
Rove Claims Obama Hasn’t Won when he clearly has
While President Obama was an overwhelming favorite to win reelection on the eve of the 2012 election, many conservative pundits followed the "if a tree falls in the forest but I don’t look at it, it didn’t really fall" school of thought, and insisted that Romney was about to soar to victory. There were so many of these predictions that there’s even a blog devoted solely to cataloguing them.
By the time the numbers started rolling in, however, most conservatives gave up the ghost and accepted that Obama was indeed going to be comfortably reelected. But not Rove! No, when Fox News called the election for Obama, Rove threw something of a tantrum, insisting that the call was premature.
The situation was only resolved when Megyn Kelly marched into the control room and confirmed with the network’s number-crunchers that, yes, Obama had won the election.
"That was awkward," one of his colleagues remarked off-camera.
Rove Claims Obama's Victory Isn't A Good Thing For Obama
Political spin is Rove's modus operandi, but after the 2012 election, he jumped the shark. In an appearance on Fox News, Rove tried to argue that, despite Obama's victory, it maybe wasn't really a victory, because he won with a smaller majority than in 2008.
"But he won, Karl," replied Kelly, prompting Rove to descend into a rambling dissection of Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich's presidential runs. Why did he do this? Yes, yes. Why indeed....
Rove Says The Iraq War Was Bin Laden’s Idea
Regardless of what you think of the Iraq war, it isn’t disputed that the Bush administration did, in fact, make the decision to go to war with Iraq. Right? Well, not according to Karl Rove. At a speaking engagement in 2007, Rove said that it was actually Osama bin Laden’s idea to invade Iraq:
In a question-and-answer period after his speech, Rove was asked whose idea it was to start a pre-emptive war.
``I think it was Osama bin Laden's,'' Rove replied.
Umm. What? Then again, he also said "I wish the war never existed" during the same speech, despite his own vocal support for the war.
Rove Exhibits Seizure Symptoms, Spins as dancing
As a general rule, it isn’t wise for aging white politicians to try and co-opt hip-hop culture for laughs, especially in a public forum. And yet, in 2007...
The fact that Rove pulled out his Blackberry and started texting midway didn’t help matters. When asked for a response, a White House spokesman accurately said that his performance "speaks for itself." And yes, that’s NBC anchor David Gregory dancing directly to Rove’s right.
The Entire Valerie Plame Affair
There were no shortage of ethical and moral transgressions during the Bush administration, but the Plame affair was certainly one of the most unforgivable. In 2002, the administration sent diplomat Joseph Wilson to Niger in an attempt to gather evidence that Iraq was trying to build weapons of mass destruction. Wilson came up empty-handed, but that didn’t stop Bush from publicly declaring exactly the opposite. Understandably, Wilson wasn’t pleased with this, and so he published an op-ed making clear that he hadn’t, in fact, uncovered any of the evidence to which Bush referred.
A reasonable response to this would have been to admit fault. A less reasonable but still pseudo-ethical response would have been to say “no comment.” Instead, Rove is suspected of having gone ahead and leaked to the press that Wilson’s wife, Valeri Plame, was a covert CIA agent. This was classified information, but hey, it’s worth leaking classified information and endangering the lives of your own government’s employees if it’s in the name of revenge, right?
Le sigh. Karl, Hillary has clearly got you shaking in your boots already. But nothing you imply about her brain is going to change the fact that she's got the smarts to win.