The Laconic Karl Rove

This NYT Magazine interview with Karl Rove is rather amusing, especially for the terseness of his responses.

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

Do you regret anything that happened in the White House during your tenure?
Sure.

You’ve been booed off stages recently.
No, I haven’t. I’ve been booed on stages. I’m a little bit tougher than to walk off a stage because someone says something ugly.

Do you think the era of negative politics is over?
No.

[…]

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.

While one can’t help but admire Rove’s skills as a politico, I’ve never liked “Rovism” in terms of running the White House in such a way that everything was about partisan advantage and the next election.  One does get the sense from reading the interview, though, the he’s prepared to take it as well as dish it out and that he can take losses without whining or throwing allies under the bus to bolster his own rep.  There’s something admirable about that, too.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Brett says:

    That was excellent. It’s exactly the type of total, terse, straightforward answers that you don’t generally get in these kinds of interviews. Especially since some of those questions were appallingly stupid – “Is the Era of Negative Politics over?” It’s always been there, Ms. Interviewer, and the Democrats certainly aren’t any more immune to it than anyone else. “Do you like Joe Biden?” That’s pathetic – no wonder he was so terse.

  2. Brett says:

    To add –

    I took at look at the interview again, and it’s even more appalling the second time around. The idiotic interviewer actually has the gall to editorialize and say “Remember, attack politics are out. It’s a new age of civilized discourse. ” Look, if Thomas Jefferson and John Adams – intellectuals and Enlightenment Men as much as they could possibly be – could go into negative politics, what makes her think that it will disappear in an age where the technology makes negative politics all-the-easier?

  3. just me says:

    I think the idea that there was once this political utopia where everyone was nice to each other is a myth. I do think the 24 hour newcycle and the advent of talk radio makes what once would have likely not been news into news. So I think essentially the media highlights more of the divisiveness because they have nothing better to do than that it wasn’t ever there in the first place.

    I think what bugs me is that the GOP is blamed for the divisiveness whether they are the party in power or the party out of power as if the democrats are paragons of virtue on the issue.

  4. AJ Lynch says:

    Ha Ha what a great soundbite to describe IBM (Irish Big Mouth) Joe Biden.

    Slow Joe has been in the Senate for what 30 plus years and he accoumplished what? He is a poster boy for what is wrong with Washington.

  5. capital L says:

    I wonder what Alexander Hamilton would say about our era of negative politics.

  6. Eneils Bailey says:

    One does get the sense from reading the interview, though, the he’s prepared to take it as well as dish it out and that he can take losses without whining or throwing allies under the bus to bolster his own rep.

    And he is also prepared to go on…

    And laugh at the devil as his train rolls by.

    Allision Krauss and Union Station.

    And please, before anyone accuses me of calling anyone a devil; it’s a metaphor for the past election.

  7. Triumph says:

    especially for the terseness of his responses.

    If you aren’t a regular reader of the Times, you might not realize that these “interviews” by Solomon are terse by design. They are always one page and include a full body picture of the interviewee.

    Also, Solomon always gets cute with her questions–that’s part of the feature.

    I wouldn’t consider this a “real” interview in the traditional journalistic sense.

  8. Brett says:

    So, in other words, it’s like that deliberately? Too bad – I’d love to see him get terse in a more serious interview.

  9. James M. says:

    I agree refreshing answers. Answer the questions with a real answer. What a novel concept.

  10. Patrick T McGuire says:

    One does get the sense from reading the interview, though, the he’s prepared to take it as well as dish it out and that he can take losses without whining or throwing allies under the bus to bolster his own rep. There’s something admirable about that, too.

    Well done, Mr. Joyner. I have been wondering if you were becoming biased in your analyses but apparently there is hope for you yet.

  11. Alexander Hamilton says:

    I wonder what Alexander Hamilton would say about our era of negative politics.

    It is a just observation that the people commonly intend the Public Good. This often applies to their very errors. But their good sense would despise the adulator who should pretend they always reason right about the means of promoting it.

  12. Moonbat Boy says:

    Spot on with the first answer.

  13. Triumph says:

    So, in other words, it’s like that deliberately? Too bad – I’d love to see him get terse in a more serious interview.

    Yes, actually James missed the fact that the interview was “condensed,” which was posted at the bottom of the article:

    INTERVIEW CONDUCTED, CONDENSED AND EDITED BY DEBORAH SOLOMON

  14. While one can’t help but admire Rove’s skills as a politico, I’ve never liked “Rovism” in terms of running the White House in such a way that everything was about partisan advantage and the next election.

    Wasn’t it the Clintons that created the permanent campaign?