“Dr.” Rove’s new smear shows where real brain damage is

So Republican strategist and sleazy rumormonger Karl Rove hints that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton must have a “brain injury” because a few years back, she fell, got a concussion, and developed a blood clot. Obviously, he infers, she’s not capable of being president.

This from a guy whose own presidential boss called him “Turd Blossom.” On The Daily Show, Jon Stewart even gave this a new hashtag – #BRAINGHAZI.

“Thirty days in the hospital?” Rove said, according to the report of a speech he gave at a conference a week ago. “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.”

According to Politico, Rove was trying to inject questions about Clinton’s health into the debate. And he wasn’t being too subtle about it.

It would be one thing if what Rove said multiple times during his speech was anywhere close to the truth. Thirty days? Of course, she was in the hospital for only four days. He must be skewing the numbers again, just like he did in Ohio in the 2012 election. And yes, Hillary Clinton has worn those same sunglasses before.

Clinton’s people pushed back, as did many Democrats and many in the media. “Karl Rove has deceived the country for years, but there are no words for this level of lying,” said Clinton spokesman Nick Merrill. As for Clinton’s  health, he said, “She is 100 percent. Period.”

Of course, initial reports of Rove’s smear used the term “brain damage,” which Rove immediately denied saying. True, he said “brain injury.” Not a lot of difference, is there? It’s the old GOP trick of claiming that his words were taken out of context.

“In other words, Rove didn’t say Hillary Clinton has brain damage,” writes Peter Beinart in the Atlantic. “He hinted it, thus giving himself deniability while ensuring that the slur lingers in the public mind. Which is what he’s been doing his entire career.”

Let’s remember how Karl Rove first got involved in politics. In 1970, when he was still a college student, Rove used a fake identity to sneak into a campaign office for Alan Dixon, who was running for Illinois treasurer. Rove stole some stationery with campaign letterhead and printed fake campaign rally fliers promising a rally with “free beer, free food, girls, and a good time for nothing.” These were distributed at rock concerts and homeless shelters – Rove hoped the rowdy crowd would disrupt Dixon’s rally. Dixon won anyway.

That’s one political smear he admits to. He has never admitted his likely involvement in the whispering smear campaign against Sen. John McCain (R, Ariz.) in the 2000 GOP primary battle, supposedly for fathering an African-American “love child” (McCain and his wife adopted a daughter from Bangladesh). McCain had been gaining strength, but he lost South Carolina to George W. Bush, eventually giving Bush the GOP nomination.

There have been other smears of which he is likely guilty. But that’s how he plays the game – intimate something negative or tawdry and see what sticks.

Look, there are things to question about Hillary Clinton’s career, and her age in 2016 will be one of them, although there’s an awful lot of sexism in talking about it, since so many male candidates are older. Some on the left say she’s too much of a hawk. Those on the right say, well, that she’s Hillary Clinton. And don’t forget BENGHAZI!

I think this latest approach from Rove is likely to backfire, since the obviousness of the attack may have the effect of angering women and older voters. It makes it look like the GOP is so scared of Hillary Clinton in 2016 that there’s no level they won’t stoop to to bring her down.

No, I think the sheer stupidity of bringing up this false report shows something else – Karl Rove is past his prime. Whose brain should we be worrying about now?

 

 

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