Sunday, November 16, 2008


If you liked John McCain's now-famous bitter Time magazine interview from last August, you'll really enjoy Karl Rove's chitchat with Deborah Solomon in today's New York Times Magazine. Somehow I suspect Rove didn't give Solomon any of the cream puffs he's been known to bestow on journalists in happier times:

Do you see the election results as a repudiation of your politics?
Our new president-elect won one and a half points more than George W. Bush won in 2004, and he did so, in great respect, by adopting the methods of the Bush campaign and conducting a vast army of persuasion to identify and get out the vote.

But what about your great dream of creating a permanent Republican governing majority in Washington?
I never said permanent. Durable.

(Um, it wasn't durable either, Karl.)

...Are you going to send [Barack Obama] a little note congratulating him?
I already have. I sent it to his office. I sent him a handwritten note with funny stamps on the outside.

What kind of funny stamps?

(Why so snippy? You brought it up.)

...Do you like Joe Biden?
I think he has an odd combination of longevity and long-windedness that passes for wisdom in Washington.

(Oooh, snap! Thanks for that gracious contribution to the transition, Karl.)

...Do you have any advice for [President Bush] at this point?
With all due respect, I don't need you to transmit what I want to say to my friend of 35 years.

Remember, attack politics are out. It's a new age of civilized discourse.
You're the one who hurt my feelings by saying you didn't trust me.

Did I say that?
Yes, you did. I've got it on tape. I'm going to transcribe this and send it to you.

(Good grief -- I'm reminded of Jack Lemmon in The Out-of-Towners screaming "I've got all your names and your addresses!")

Elsewhere in the Times, Frank Rich argues (as he often does) that the Republican Party is in dire straits because it's the throwback party of white male resentment -- but it occurs to me after reading this interview that's it's simply the party of resentment, period. What does the GOP stand for? Whiny in-your-face bitterness. That's it. That's all.

I wouldn't say it's nonspecific whiny in-your-face bitterness -- the principal enemies seem to be The New York Times, The New York Times, The New York Times, and um ... oh, I guess, Katie Couric and lefty bloggers (hello, Sarah!), Time (hi, Johnny Mac and Steve Schmidt!), and any other cultural institution that's ever refused to acknowledge the right-wing movement's enduring greatness and majesty. Obama and the Democrats seem way down on the enemies list by comparison, and nonwhites seem pretty low down as well (as do the actual enemies of America -- Osama bin Whatshisname doesn't even seem to make the charts).

But it's the florid act of resenting that unifies these people. Their sense of solidarity derives from what they're against -- and how ostentatiously they're against it.

No comments: