Sunday, February 10, 2008

Roving Free Speech

I was deliriously happy when I heard Karl Rove was coming to the UI to speak. I'm not a conservative, but living in Iowa City makes me feel like one. Everyone else is so far to the left of me, I feel like a scale model would place me near Newt Gingrich in the real world. So, when I heard about the lecture it pleased me two-fold. First because I'm proud of the lecture committee for bringing in a conservative viewpoint. Second because I want to grab a bucket of popcorn and watch Iowa City go Q & A with M.C. Rove. Seething liberals vs. a smug little member of the Bush administration - what a delightful way to spend my Sunday evening!

I'm surprised the Committee was bold enough to invite him, and I'm concerned that some loud liberal voices may somehow prevent his appearance. We've recently had lectures from Daniel Ellsberg, Mr. Valerie Plame, and RFK Jr. The only one I've attended was RFK Jr. It was supposed to be about the environment, but it should've been titled "How the Bush Administration is f***ing up America" because that's what it sounded like to me. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that negative comments about the Bush administration made their way into the Ellsberg and Plame/Wilson lectures as well. To schedule only like-minded speakers whose political views align with the townspeople would be too easy; that is not how the University should operate - that is how a cult operates. I'm sure those three were fairly well received by the people of Iowa City, and if the UI has paid three lecturers to bash Bush - it's appropriate that they allow someone from the administration to defend themself.

Good for you, Lecture Committee!

I'm going to get very tired very quickly if the good liberal folks of Iowa City start to get nasty about Rove's lecture. He's a fascinating person, and like it or not - his influence has not only changed American politics, but made an indelible effect on the entire world via the Bush presidency. I don't expect liberal Iowa City to like Karl Rove. Hell, his own friends call him Turdblossom! I don't expect the libs to approve of his coming here, and I don't expect them to listen to him. I only hope they don't try to impede his appearance here. He should have an opportunity to defend himself; to prevent him from doing so would infringe upon the rights of others. I, for one, would like to hear what the man has to say.


Nate said...

Fascinating? Sure.
Also apt descriptors; liar, wicked, devious.

If I thought he could tell the truth on an issue and explain his true feelings and true motivations I'd sit and listen too, but I can't believe a word the guy says, so I won't waste my time.

You're a better person than I, Kathleen.

Nate said...

Oh, and I think a more useful attitude going into the thing would be KNOWING and ASSUMING there will be "incident(s)" and just hoping they keep to a minimum.

I'm almost more interested in how the "incident(s)" play out, how he reacts to them (will he go negative, criticize the school or city) than his actual speech.

Goodner said...

Is Rove just a conservative viewpoint? Should he be considered along the likes of Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and Bill O'Reilly?

Or does his participation in the buildup to war with Iraq, ouster of Valerie Plame b/c her husband challenged the Admin's line about the justifications to go to war, deleting of emails in the Attorney General scandal, and more make him a traitor and a war criminal who should only be expressing himself in a courtroom, and then behind bars, and not making $40,000 profit off of his "viewpoint"?

To me there is a qualitative difference between him and a conservative like Newt Gingrich or someone. Rove is actually a criminal.

Also, if Rove has the right to free speech, do us crazy leftist moonbats also have a right to tell him shut the eff up? As Nate mentioned, Rove is a liar and can't be trusted. Even though he was on the committee that came up with the lies to send our country into war (lies repeated in the public arena 935 times) he is now claiming that it wasn't him, and that Congress pushed the Bush Admin into war.

It's too easy to jump on the free speech bandwagon without first considering the questions i raised here more in-depth. I think its also important to challenge the "there are two sides to every argument" line that so many liberals, especially liberal journalists, like to cite. sometimes there is only one side.

andrewswift said...

Read tomorrow's column. FYI I'm on the Lecture Committee.

Kathleen said...

I once watched a debate with Rove & Jeb Bush vs. Max Cleland & an Army General. Cleland made a comment about the Bush administration not even trying to find bin Laden. Rove responded to Cleland with righteous indignation: "Well! I happen to know a lot of brave men and women in uniform who would be offended by you saying they never tried to find bin Laden!" Incredible. Rove - the draft dodger, reprimands Cleland - the vet who left 3 limbs in Vietnam, for insulting the military. Karl Rove has balls bigger than the wheels on Max Cleland's chair. Will he go negative? Not explicity. Will he be insulting? Absolutely. Will it be fascinating and repulsive at the same time? Without a doubt!

Just read the last line of Rove's column in Newsweek last week. "Lots of surprises lie ahead." What the hell does that mean? Coming from someone else, maybe nothing, but it sounds like a threat coming from Turdblossom.

I'm much happier watching the people of Iowa City confront Karl Rove than listening to them complain about all of the things he's done.

Kathleen said...

To Goodner & the UIAC,
I absolutely support everyone's free speech. The beauty of this lecture is the opportunity to confront him with direct questions. There are many people in Iowa City who feel the way that you do. Not only is it unlikely he'll be punished for things you mention, but it's unlikely we'll ever know the depth of his involvement in many affairs. We have no control over that.

Here, with this lecture, everyone has the opportunity to stop talking about him and speak directly to him. It seems to me so much more productive to have a direct dialogue than to react to what he's done amongst like-minded community members.

On a more personal note, I've considered your point of view quite a bit. In the past, I may have dismissed your comments as the ravings of a moonbat. Having met with the Anti-War committe over the summer, I can understand why you feel so passionately about Rove's appearance. The UI Anti-War Committee members have spent years investing their time and their selves to call attention to what the Bush Administration has done and gather support to try and reverse some of the damage. I expect that the committee takes it personally that the University they're affiliated with has showed them little support, yet is now giving Karl Rove a platfom and monetary compensation. I don't dismiss these feelings, I think I understand why it matters to you.

But for me, it is a free speech issue. We can not make the Rove's of the world go away, preventing him from coming to this community will not make a point, we're otherwise irrelevant to Karl Rove. Here, we have the opportunity to judge for ourselves, and to speak for ourselves. The reason I'm looking forward to the lecture is not b/c I'm a fan, but b/c there are so many activists in the community who will speak their minds. That's a good thing.

To me, this is progress. We coexist in separate spheres with the Bush Administration. If we only bring more palatable lecturers into the community and Rove surrounds himself with Loyal Bushies, nothing changes. By bringing him here, people have an opportunity to interact and confront their adversary. Of course he won't break down and confess or apologize, the man will likely never be convicted. But with this lecture, you have the opportunity to show him your conviction about what he's done. To me, that is a much better alternative to remaining in separate spheres.

I would much rather have you confront Rove himself than pay a talking head like O'Reilly or Coulter to come here and defend him. I don't expect this to change the world, or change anyone's opinion. But in giving him a platform, you also have a platform to protest directly. Karl Rove never knew that the UI Antiwar Committee existed, but that will soon change. For all of your frustration with the lack of media coverage of protests, for this - you won't need media. You can deliver your message directly to the source. I hope you can look beyond your disapproval and see what a wonderful opportunity this gives you.

Goodner said...

for the record, UIAC won't be disrupting the event. we will be protesting, but not in a way that interfers with the event.

i have however, heard rumors of groups from out of town coming to disrupt, something i personally am trying to stop, but i can't guarantee they will listen.

Jon Gold said...

If you're going to write that much, write a new post, please.

Nate said...


At Jon's comment.

Kathleen has a tendency to do that, methinks.

Kathleen said...

How am I supposed to know how long it's going to be!?! I don't plan, I just type.

So I like words.