here's the beef

A Complete History of the Karl Rove–Sarah Palin Beef

Sarah Palin and Karl Rove: Not friends. Photo: Mark Hirsch/Getty Images, Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

A long-simmering and highly entertaining feud between the world’s worst investor, Karl Rove, and the world’s worst vice-presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, flared up once again at CPAC over the weekend. How did this grudge begin, and what were its most hilarious moments? We’re glad you asked.

September 1, 2008: Rove, a Republican ostensibly trying to help the Republicans win the presidential race, suggested that the selection of Palin as John McCain’s running mate was “not a governing decision but a campaign decision.

September 19, 2008: Rove reiterated the point by telling the AP that Palin was a “political pick” and was not the most qualified candidate for the job. 

September 24, 2008: Asked whether Palin would make a good president, Rove responded, “I don’t know.” It is becoming clear that Rove is not really a Palin fan.

November 13, 2008: After the election, Rove said that if Palin “wants to run for president she’s gonna have to get somebody to move to Anchorage, Alaska and help her take her game to another level.” Tough but fair. 

July 5, 2009: Rove said he was “perplexed” by Palin’s decision to abruptly resign her governorship before her term was up. “It is not clear what her strategy here is by exiting the governorship 2 1/2 years through the term and putting herself on the national stage that she may not yet be prepared to operate in,” he said.

September 15, 2010: After Rove slammed Christine O’Donnell for being probably one of the worst Senate candidates of all time, Palin, who endorsed O’Donnell, struck back against the “good old boy” and his establishment mindset. “Well, bless his heart,” Palin said on Fox News. “We love our friends, they’re in the machine, the expert politicos. But my message to those who say that the GOP nominee is not electable, or that they’re not even going to try, well I say, ‘buck up!’”

October 27, 2010: As Palin’s reality show was about to debut, Rove implied to the Telegraph that she lacked the “level of gravitas” that voters look for in presidents. “With all due candor, appearing on your own reality show on the Discovery Channel, I am not certain how that fits in the American calculus of ‘that helps me see you in the Oval Office.”

October 31, 2010: Palin insisted that Sarah Palin’s Alaska was not a reality show but a show “documenting Alaska’s resources.” Therefore, “Karl is wrong right there in calling it a reality show.” Okay.

March 7, 2011: As detailed in the very pages of  New York, Rove did a “withering impersonation of Palin” for writer Joe Hagan: “‘Did you see that?’ he says, adopting a high, sniveling Palin accent: ‘Holy crap! That fish hit my thigh! It hurts!’” Amazing.

August 23, 2011: For whatever reason, Palin lashed out at Rove after he predicted that she would run for president in 2012. “Any professional pundit claiming to have ‘inside information’ regarding Gov. Palin’s personal decision is not only wrong but their comments are specifically intended to mislead the American public,” Palin’s PAC said in a statement.

August 24, 2011: Rove fired back the next day. “It is a sign of enormous thin skin if we speculate about her, she gets upset,” he said on Fox News, “and I suspect if we didn’t speculate about her, she’d be upset and trying to find a way to get us to speculate about her.”

March 7, 2012: In a private conference call, Rove declared that Palin’s endorsement of Newt Gingrich “demonstrated that endorsements don’t mean snot.”

March 16, 2013: Palin referred to Rove by his nickname, the Architect, in a scathing CPAC speech over the weekend. “If these experts who keep losing elections and keep getting rehired and getting millions — if they feel that strong about who gets to run in this party, then they should buck up or stay in the truck,” Palin said. “Buck up or run. The architects can head on back to the great Lone Star State and put their name on some ballot — though for their sakes, I hope they give themselves a discount on their consulting services.”

March 17, 2013: Rove’s comeback came the next morning. “If I did run for office and win,” he said on Fox News Sunday, “I would serve out my term and I wouldn’t leave office midterm.”

To be continued, God willing.

History of the Karl Rove–Sarah Palin Beef