Throughout the past seven years Karl Rove has portrayed as the epitome of all evil. Style Magazine conducted a great interview with Karl Rove, and amazingly but also predictably Karl Rove seems to loathe Barack Obama more as a President than even Hillary Clinton. He fears that Barack Obama is inauthentic.

If you had to make a bet, can Hillary pull it off?
The odds are long, but improbable things have happened almost every month in this race. She wasn’t supposed to win New Hampshire, and she did. So we’ll see. You know, she’s got a lot of strengths, and he does, too. We got two wellmatched opponents going at each other hammer and tongs. It’s fun to watch.

If it’s mathematically impossible for either of them to get enough delegates, how will this get resolved?
Somebody can get to a majority, but they’re gonna have to get to a majority with superdelegates. Neither of them can win enough delegates to win it on just simply the elected delegates.

So if it comes down to superdelegates, doesn’t that become a question of who can be more ruthless?
Well, you know, people will have to decide whether they’re going to act as reflectors of the popular vote in their districts or states, or whether they’re going to exercise independent judgment. I think this is the big dilemma the Democrats face: Are they going to choose a nominee who essentially is chosen, validated, by a minor aristocracy, by essentially an undemocratic group? Because, look. Does anybody think that Patrick Deval [sic], governor of Massachusetts, and Senator Ted Kennedy are gonna respect the wishes of their home-state crowd and go for Hillary Clinton, who won their state? No.

So how ugly is it gonna get?
Well, I—we don’t know. We have geological ages that are gonna pass. It’s not that ugly today. The wounds are fresh, but there’s plenty of time for them to heal. The question is, will the wounds get deeper and more difficult to heal? We don’t know. My gut tells me it happens, but I don’t know.

If you could run one of their campaigns, which one would be the dream campaign to run?
Neither one.

Why?
Because I don’t believe in what they say.

But just as a strategist, just to get in there and—
Yeah, well, see, for me it’s not divorced from who they are and what they’re all about and what they would do.

What did you think of the red-phone 3 a.m. ad?

It was a gutsy, dangerous move. She figured out that she had to do something to raise the issue of: Is he fit to be president? And this was a way to do it. I happened to be in Texas a week before the ad popped, and all of her surrogates were hitting him pretty hard on the thinness of his experience. They were pretty brutal. And this ad sort of fed into that.

Isn’t that the kind of ad you would have done?
Uh, look, that’s the problem. She can’t run an ad—you know, the more powerful ads she can’t run against him, because she’s afraid of looking too moderate. He’s got essentially… His argument is twofold. “Vote for me because I’ll bring Republicans and Democrats together; we’re not red states, blue states, we’re the United States.” And second of all—and he said this most passionately in the Wisconsin victory speech: “There are big issues facing the country, and it requires leadership and energy to solve them.” Well, the two best counters to those are Hillary saying, “I’ve actually worked with Republicans and Democrats to get things done.” Or McCain saying, even more pointedly, “On all the big issues where Republicans and Democrats have come together, I’ve been in the middle of bringing them together, and you’ve been way out there on the fringe. When we pulled together the Gang of Fourteen, you were out on the fringe. When we pulled together a bipartisan answer on the terrorist-surveillance program, you were way out there on the fringe. When Democrats and Republicans, regardless of where they were on the war, came together to give our troops everything they needed while they were in combat, you were way out there on the fringe.” Now, she can do some of that, because she’s actually tried to work with Republicans over the years. He has not since he got there. He’s been coolly detached and sitting on the side. His fingerprints are on, at most, a couple of small items. And then, on the leadership issue, she can say, “Look, I’ve been in the middle of these big battles. I’ve been providing the leadership. Sometimes we won, sometimes we lost. But at least I’ve been involved.” And McCain will be able to sharpen that even more.

It seems like you’re talking about authenticity here. Are you saying Obama is inauthentic?

I’m saying that he has adopted two themes for his campaign that are not supported by his actions.

Do you think Obama would be easier to beat?
I try not to think about those things. Because that inevitably leads you to believe, I would like to have A or I would like to have B. You need to keep your mind open about both of them.
You’ve said—what was the phrase you used about Hillary? “Fatally flawed”?
Fatally flawed. I just thought her flaws would show up in the general election. I didn’t know they’d show up as early and as strong as they have.

Which flaws?

Uh, calculating. You know, she went through the period where she had the calculated laugh, she went through the period where she had the calculated accents, and you build that on top of a person who already has the reputation that anything she says is calculating, you know…

Is calculating a terrible thing?
It is if people think it’s phony. And that’s what her problem is. That and the sense of entitlement. You know, the sense of “This is mine, I deserve it; we’re the Clintons, this is ours.” And I think that really caused a lot of people to say, “You know what? It’s not yours.” And do we really want to go back? The ’90s were nice in a lot of respects, but do we really want to go back to all that drama?

There is something ironic about Karl Rove criticizing someone for being calculating.

Right. Look, it’s one thing to calculate and say, “What’s the best way for me to do this?” It’s another thing to say, “What’s the best way to do this, even if it means the sacrifice of my fundamental principles?” When she stood up there and said, “I’m in front of an African-American group in Alabama, so let me adopt a phony southern accent!” And when she sat there and said, “You know what? I need to warm myself up, so for the next weeklong period I’m gonna sit there and laugh and cackle at anything that is even remotely funny.” You know, when both she and he, who are free traders by instinct, went to Ohio and said, “We’re gonna renegotiate NAFTA,” when they know that (a) there’s no provision to renegotiate NAFTA, and (b) the Canadians and the Mexicans are not gonna want to renegotiate NAFTA, and (c) when both of them understand that trade liberalization, particularly with our neighbors, has been to our economic advantage, who are they kidding?

But when people call you calculating, do you take that as a compliment?

Look, what I’m charged with is, in politics, taking the material that I have to work with—which are the views and values, convictions and principles, of my candidate or client—and charting the best path to victory. That’s different than saying, “How am I gonna take a fundamental belief or a reality of me as an individual and discard it?”
So there’s good calculating and bad calculating?
Absolutely. “

Then again maybe he should just keep his mouth shut because if there is any way to get Barack Obama elected would be to have Karl Rove come out in support of Hillary Clinton.

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