Rove Continues to Batter Obama, Justify Bush
by Don Monkerud | May 8, 2009 - 9:09am
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The electorate is more divided than anytime in the past twenty years, but Karl Rove says he had nothing to do with it.
Bush as a divisive president is "a myth," or so Karl Rove asserted during the Monterey Panetta Institute's lecture series, Can the Partisan Divide Ever End?
"I love people who say it was all my fault," said Rove. "I'm happy with what I did and proud of what I did."
Rove, a senior advisor and coordinator of White House policy under former President George W. Bush, faced David Plouffe, manager of President Barack Obama's presidential campaign, in a contentious debate that saw many clashes. Frank Sesno, White House correspondent and host on CNN, repeatedly had to silence Rove, who over talked, interrupted and refused to stop arguing points.
Although Plouffe compared Rove's lecture on bipartisanship to "getting interview lessons from Sarah Palin," Rove jumped into each question with both feet, denying, obscuring, distorting, ignoring and outright lying about Bush's policies as he attacked Obama as divisive and partisan for not treating Republicans with more respect and dignity.
"The gap between approval ratings and partisanship has never grown as fast as under Obama," Rove said.
Rove claims Republicans want the new president to succeed, despite the fact that they attack him on every issue and don't vote for any of his proposals. Bush was much less partisan than Obama. For example, Bush modified his tax cuts from $1.7 trillion to $1.3 trillion, phasing them in and providing an expiration date, after consulting with Democrats. He appointed a group of five from both parties to negotiate the No Child Left Behind Act.
Each time Bush attempted to reach out to Democrats, he was "bitterly opposed." Obama opposes Republicans in the same way, telling them "he won." Obama shouldn't use "strawmen" to snipe at the Republicans in Congress and say they don't want to do anything, or label Republican's ideas as "old and stupid." Obama telling Republicans to stop listening to right-wing Rush Limbaugh "only adds to partisanship."
"Look," said Plouffe. "We are dealing with a complex mess and Obama is a pragmatist who is getting lots of advice from different people. He's said he has no interest in the government running auto companies, but when you're in charge you have to make tough choices."
In an earlier session with students, Rove belittled a question about his refusal to respond to subpoenas from Congress, yelling, "Get your facts straight!" He refused to answer another questioner who queried his use of the "Southern Strategy," a Republican racist appeal to voters in the south.
Rove claims the Christian evangelical vote is not "right wing" but an expression of freedom of religion. Fiscal conservatives have their facts wrong, because Bush cut government discretionary spending, excluding military expenditures. Bush wasn't that conservative, because even Obama opposes abortion and gay marriage. And Republicans didn't give religious conservatives more influence than they should have had; they merely courted "urban social conservative ethnics who felt disenfranchised."
The session was distinguished more by the questions that were not asked in the narrow confines of a discussion on bipartisanship. After hiding behind "executive privilege" for eight years, Karl Rove has many questions to answer about his role in the Bush White House on a number of issues: the invasion of Iraq based on lies from the Bush Administration; blaming Democrats for failing to respond to Hurricane Katrina in a timely fashion; the firing of U.S. attorneys for political reasons; the outing of Valerie Plame because her husband opposed Bush's invasion of Iraq; Karl Rove's threats and the subsequent death of Michael Connell, White House IT guru, who was subpoenaed to provide evidence against Rove in a 2004 vote tampering case in Ohio; the use of terrorist alerts before the 2004 elections; and the use of torture as a U.S. policy.
Karl Rove, or Turd Blossom as Bush called him, is not a push over: He's tough, he's deadly, and if his participation in crimes are not investigated, he will be a fixture in American politics for another four decades.
Don Monkerud is an Aptos, California-based writer who writes about culture and politics. He can be reached at email@example.com.
"It's too generous to accuse Republicans in Washington of having a strategy," said Plouffe. "Newt Gingrich's strategy is to oppose the president and hope he fails."
Despite Rove's blustering and overtalking, Plouffe responded with a much different approach. He asserted that people are hungry for change, which is why they united behind Obama. Instead of focusing on Bush's failed policies, it's more important to deal with the economy, Iraq and Afghanistan, and bring changes in energy, healthcare and education. Obama will continue to reach out to opponents and expects a better reception from Republican governors and mayors than from the GOP clique in Washington who don't have to compromise because few Republicans are in danger of losing their safe seats in an election-they have already lost all unsafe seats.
"We just had an election and voters made the unmistakable statement that they wanted a change in policy," Plouffe said. "What Republicans are offering today is warmed over policies from the Bush Administration, yet people who voted for Obama are being completely vilified by the Republicans."
At the same time, Plouffe warned against over reaching. On the verge of a filibuster-proof 60 votes in the Senate, it would be dangerous for Obama to tell Democrats, "It's my way or the highway." Bush's policy failures and Republican structural problems, as well as their problems with young people, could quickly change. There are too many differences within the Democrats to try to enforce party discipline on every vote. "We have to be careful not to become arrogant," Plouffe said.
The two spared over whether Obama's approach to the auto industry, which Rove admitted was not "socialist because the government won't own the means of production," but he claimed Obama was "pursuing social democratic policies," similar to Canada and countries in Europe.
Both parties are bought & paid for by global corporate co's.
These guys don't give a rats @ about the country, with thier short term fixes. As long as they can pad their buddies pockets, the $ comes back through in kickbacks. They are trying to force more gov't on our liberties. The lifestyle that you have been accustomed to is changing. Expect the mass impoverished, to provide for select lavish lifestyles.
If these politicians had any moral decency, they wouldn't be pillaging the cookie jar. Consider our future "mortgaged". The overhead of the interest will be a burden alone.
They fail to take notice of our diminishing gross nt'l products, while accepting higher profit margins at the top.(by outsourcing & free trading America into the ground)
Keep ignoring unemployment & even worse underemployment.
They keep pumping money into a rapidly increasing entitlement "voter" base,'cause they can't see it from their hoods. It's turning us into a gheto nation. We are litterally paying all the wrong people to multiply. It's inturn creating a gang infested crime wave for "We the peons"
I guess they will section 8 their glutonous housing grab.
If these elitists in Washington wanted to fix the country, they would have enforced rules & regulations on their rich buddies.
With the $ we handed Aig alone, we could have handed every legal citizen 18 & older enough cash to start a housing & automoblie buying frenzy.
All of these trillions are circulating amongst the the wealthiest people in America (& a few foriegn investors) Not the PEOPLE!
no wonder there's a 4 year waiting list for multi- million dollar yachts.
If you want to fix America, you remove all lobbyists immediately!!!!
you have to drop the bad bank (black hole of wasteful spending) concept & put back the Glass-Stegal act. It was put in place in 1933 & removed in 1999. We desperately need to take "Walstreet" out of banking. Go back to the old fashioned commercial banking services. We are moving in the opposit direction. We need to hold people accountable for failure,fraud witholding info.etc.
We need to consider re-arranging the 1995 CRA "loose loans act" add the regulations & restrictions back. This housing mess is from greed. They artificially propped up the mkt through loose regulations, while Flooding the markets with toxic CDO's. Then they profited on the backside with credit default swaps. These systems were diabolically manipulated. Nobody has been held accountable in a court of law.
I never thought I'd see the day when ceo's cfo's & their boards of self appointed directors handed themselves 480 million (Richard Fuld example)bankrupting the co's. All this while the people who did the work lost everything 401ks,jobs,benefits,everything . This isn't a rational democratic society anymore.
We need to enforce the Reg - sho proposals to stop fail to delivers & naked shorting in our markets. Nobody knows how many shares are outstanding anymore.
We aren't fixing anything, we are just spending money! Wait till we are forced to deal with our "D" grade infrastructures. Wait till we need double the energy resources within the next 50 yrs (too many people)