VP Picks: Karl Rove Swings And Misses Big Time

On August 10, Karl Rove went on "Face The Nation" to argue that Senator Obama would make an "intensely political choice" for Vice President without regard for the "responsibilities of president." At the time, Rove believed Obama would choose Tim Kaine, and argued against him by saying this:

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With all due respect again to Governor Kaine, he's been a governor for three years, he's been able but undistinguished. I don't think people could really name a big, important thing that he's done. He was mayor of the 105th largest city in America. And again, with all due respect to Richmond, Virginia, it's smaller than Chula Vista, California; Aurora, Colorado; Mesa or Gilbert, Arizona; north Las Vegas or Henderson, Nevada. It's not a big town. So if he were to pick Governor Kaine, it would be an intensely political choice where he said, `You know what? I'm really not, first and foremost, concerned with, is this person capable of being president of the United States?

As we now know, Barack Obama chose Joe Biden as his VP, probably the least political choice he could have made, and probably the best governing choice he could have made. John McCain, on the other hand, is the one who made the "intensely political choice" by choosing Sara Palin -- a political newcomer and self-described "hockey mom" who has less than two years of governing experience and ZERO foreign policy experience -- all because the political winds dictated that "change" was going to trump "experience" this election.

Rove argues that Kaine's mayorship of Richmond (pop. 200,000+) is insignificant and that his 3 years as Governor of Virginia (pop. 7,712,091, GDP $383 million) has been "indistinguisahable." If Rove was intellectually consistent, wouldn't that mean Palin's mayorship of Wasilla (pop. 8,000+) and 20 months as Alaska governor (pop. 683,478, GDP $44.5 million) makes her even less qualified than Kaine?

Barack Obama chose Joe Biden because he knows his way around Washington and knows how to get stuff done. His selection mollifies virtually no voting block or constituency.


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McCain, on the other hand, chose someone eminently unqualified for the job (seriously, can you see Sara Palin sitting down with Maliki or Karzai or any other world leader?) for the sole reason of appeasing the right-wing lunatic fringe and hoping to pick off a few die-hard Hillary holdouts, as well as assuaging voters' concerns about his septuagenarianism.

So, Karl, who made the "intensely political choice"?

What can we take away from this episode? When Karl Rove suggests something -- in this case, Obama would make an "intensely political decision" -- always assume the opposite will happen. Remember, Rove predicted, according to "the math," that the GOP would pick up seats in 2006.They of course were swept out of power in an historic landslide.

Remind me again why the punditocracy heralds this guys as some sort of political genius?

Full transcript below the fold:

CBS (.pdf):

SCHIEFFER: You have said yourself in the past that Obama probably should pick a red state governor, somebody just like Tim Kaine that we just heard just a minute ago from Virginia. Governor Kaine seems to think that Democrats really can carry Virginia this time. Do you think that state's going to be in play?

Mr. ROVE: Yeah. I think it's going to be in play, but let me clarify. I didn't say that I thought he ought to, I said that I thought he probably would pick a red state Democrat, because I think he's going to make an intensely political choice, not a governing choice. He's going to view this through the prism of a candidate, not through the prism of president; that is to say, he's going to pick somebody that he thinks will on the margin help him in a state like Indiana or Missouri or Virginia. He's not going to be thinking big and broad about the responsibilities of president.

With all due respect again to Governor Kaine, he's been a governor for three years, he's been able but undistinguished. I don't think people could really name a big, important thing that he's done. He was mayor of the 105th largest city in America. And again, with all due respect to Richmond, Virginia, it's smaller than Chula Vista, California; Aurora, Colorado; Mesa or Gilbert, Arizona; north Las Vegas or Henderson, Nevada. It's not a big town. So if he were to pick Governor Kaine, it would be an intensely political choice where he said, `You know what? I'm really not, first and foremost, concerned with, is this person capable of being president of the United States? What I'm concerned about is, can he bring me the electoral votes of the state of Virginia, the 13 electoral votes in Virginia?'

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