Sunday, March 9, 2008

An Easy 40K

I attended the Karl Rove lecture tonight, and he was about as popular as I expected him to be. What I hadn't expected was the number of outbursts by shouting members of the audience. Protesters met the line of audience members by making their voices heard and handing out flyers with information about an event on March 26th that sounds interesting - two veterans speaking about the Iraq War. That's the part I expected - people speaking out against Rove. I guess I hadn't considered that Rove may not get to speak much because of constant random outbursts by the crowd. Whenever he began a sentence, people scattered throughout the audience would yell, "Liar" or "War Criminal" or any number of terms associated with Rove. It was disruptive and difficult to hear what he was saying. I'm sure that was the point.

I'm always for free speech, but the unfortunate part was that the interviewer, UI Professor Frank Durham, didn't get the chance to ask many questions without being interrupted. I understand that the audience members wanted to communicate how they felt about Rove, but I think Professor Durham did a fine job of doing that in a professional manner. When the interviewer asked questions like, "When will we get our constitution back?" I think it's fair to say that he shared much of the audience's opinion of Rove. I would much prefer that an interviewer confront Rove with direct questions than listen to shouts of "Where's Osama Bin Laden?" that went unanswered but were distracting enough to get those onstage off-point. There were a few times Rove seemed to get upset with questioners and addressed their questions, but the atmosphere was so chaotic to make Professor Durham less effective than he could have been. It's disappointing because I felt the Professor could've expressed the sentiment of the crowd and demanded a direct answer. Instead, it became disorganized and off-topic.

The Q & A session followed an expected line of questioning, generally much less eloquently phrased than Professor Durham. The answers were as expected as well. Rove accused people of libel and insulting the troops. He accused Joe Wilson and Ron Suskind of making false statements. He talked about what a bad guy Saddam Hussein is and what a good guy George W. Bush is. The usual Rovespeak.

I can't say that I learned much, but it was an interesting look at Karl Rove. (Did you know he cries?) He didn't always give direct answers to questions and instead preferred to explain why the questioner was wrong rather than why he is right. When asked about the Center for Public Integrity's findings that the Bush Administration made at least 935 false statements, he replied by writing it off for left-wing bias. That may be true, the Center has been up the Bush administration's ass for quite some time; and they do have ties to George Soros and leftist organizations like the New York Times, NPR, and the Washington Post. So he may be correct in a left-wing bias, but does that discredit everything produced by the Center? He still didn't answer the question.

In the end, some questions went unanswered, and some were answered with Rove defending the position of the Bush Administration and reiterating the importance of confronting terrorists. Someone in front of me kept shouting "You're lying to us! Everything you're saying is a lie!" I couldn't really tell if he was lying or not because I couldn't hear much of what anyone but the crowd was saying. That's the part that really saddens me. Maybe others find satisfaction in the fact that we paid Karl Rove $40,000 to come to Iowa City and be insulted. Personally, I would've rather made him work for his money by addressing every question, and be pressed on his answers rather than letting him off the hook with half-truths.


Nate said...

I take exception to calling NPR "left wing."

And Nader still walks on water.

Publici08 said...

There are several inaccurate statements in "An Easy 40K" that I'd like to address. The Center for Public Integrity does not have a "left-wing bias" nor does the Center have ties to George Soros. Regardless of politicfal party or office holder, the Center's investigations focus on making institutional power more transparent and accountable. The Center has received foundation support from the Open Society Institute in the past, most recently in 2004. Regardless of the source, all of the Center’s projects are editorially independent and strictly managed by in-house journalists and staff. The Center was the first journalism organization to uncover the Clinton White House "selling" of the Lincoln bedroom to big-time contributors in a series of Center stories titled "Fat Cat Hotel." The Center has strict guidelines on revenue sources. We do not accept contributions from governments, corporations, labor unions, anonymous donors and has no advertising. The Center does not and has never endorsed any legislation, political candidate, party or organization. All of our investigations are freely available, including a list of foundation funders and individual contributors, on our website,

Steve Carpinelli
Center for Public Integrity

david-goodner said...

national media outlets have alot of interesting stories about this, and almost all of the reader comments are anti-Rove and pro-protester.


Jon Gold said...

Wow, Steve just dished up some hot, spicy pwnage.

david-goodner said...

yawn at the DI once again whining about the antiwar movement for not being nuanced and rational.

lookin' forward to the hypocritical editorial tomorrow where you do to us what we did to rove.

and we won't hear any comments from you guys about how Rove ducked every question, most of which were extremely good, well-thought out, legitimate questions.

Jon Gold said...

What else are we going to do tomorrow, David? You seem to be eminently well-informed.

Also, you accuse Kathleen of "whining about the anti-war movement not being nuanced and rational." First of all, I wonder why you say that so dismissively. Isn't it rather a large problem that parts (certainly not all) of the anti-war movement are knee-jerk and irrational? Isn't it, in fact, a great boon to the warmongers themselves?

Second, I don't believe that you can credibly claim to speak for the entire anti-war movement. I think that there are lots of people, including myself, who oppose both the war and the methods of many war protesters.

david-goodner said...

being in the movement requires actions, not just words. internal debates should stay internal, and we should respect a diversity of tactics. also, you guys criticize but never propose alternatives, much less practice your own.

Nate said...

David, you're going to be waiting for awhile.

And a question, sir; if you despise our predictable drivel, why do you continue to read it?

Kathleen said...

Now that Jon should be happy that I put my lengthy response on a new post, I can respond to the rest of ya's.

Nate: you should be glad anyone's reading our stuff.

David: Do you even read our shit before you respond to it? What do you mean you won't hear anything about how Rove ducked questions? How do you interpret this quote from the blog you resonded to?:
"He didn't always give direct answers to questions and instead preferred to explain why the questioner was wrong rather than why he is right."
"...he replied by writing it off for left-wing bias"
"He still didn't answer the question"

this one sounds similar, too:
"In the end, some questions went unanswered, and some were answered with Rove defending the position of the Bush Administration and reiterating the importance of confronting terrorists."

These all seem to communicate a lack of solid answers.

david-goodner said...

nate - i don't despise you guys. sometimes i have disagreements, nothing more. by all means, keep doing your thing.