Karl Rove speaks at Canisius College

The Political Science Lecture Series that is hosted by the Canisius College has had quite a lineup of speakers that have come to Buffalo over the years. President Harry S. Truman in 1962 started it all. Activist Alexander Ginzburg in 1979. President Jimmy Carter in 1993. Activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in 2009. Plus many others. On Monday, former Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush, Mr. Karl Rove, spoke at Canisius College’s Montante Cultural Center about the topic “Understanding America’s Challenges”. 
I have attended this series in the past, and am amazed at how lucky we are here in Buffalo to hear so many different viewpoints, but I have never seen such a large crowd in attendance as this one. My estimate is that there were some 700-800 or so attendees in the main auditorium, in the back room, as well as in a separate room on campus that had closed circuit television. It looked to me that demographically the numbers broke down to around two men per every woman there.
 
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When I was allowed in, I saw some people I knew had to wait in a line, and as it turned out not all of them were able to get in. There were three “Occupy” protesters out in front, not sure that they were going try to go in and hear the speaker. In historical timelines this day marked the one year anniversary of that movement. We were told Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick, who teaches government classes at Canisius College, was going to moderate the Q and A portion of the event with previously submitted written questions. Mr. Rove spoke for about 45 minutes, and the Q and A portion that followed was about 30 minutes.

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Mr. Rove mentioned Buffalo a few times, when he talked about former House of Representative Thomas M. Reynolds, as well as talking about Cansius College, especially when he was telling some anecdotes throughout. But as his main topic was national in scope, his main focus was national as opposed to about Buffalo. Here are some of ideas that Mr. Rove talked about. I wasn’t allowed to record anything, so these are all from my notes and generalities:
 
With presidential elections less than two months away voters were asking themselves if the candidates were up to running the country. The election is about the expectations of the future of our country.
There is a difference between running for office and serving once elected. When running you can say a lot more of what you may want to, but when you are serving you are held accountable.
Why is Governor Romney asked for his plan, while President Obama is not?
 
On the White House
 
There were a couple of things that were not apparent during campaigns, but apparent in office:
1. Decisions are easy to make during campaigns, but much harder to make in the White House.
2. There is surprisingly a lot of structure and process in the White House, but not so much on the campaign trail. 
You better have a clarity of vision when you get to the White House.
In the White House 90% of everything is urgent, and the remaining 10% is important. 
Expect the unexpected.
Time is so precious, that it is important not to fill the president’s calendar to capacity, but to leave time for reflection as well as relaxation.
Compromise starts with the president, rather than not the president. 
The strongest guy in the room is the one that has to say “I’ll give you something”, the weakest guy does not say that.
The President appears more responsible when he takes on more responsibility, and appears weaker when he says something is not his fault.  
The White House was a fun place to work.
 
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The Question and Answer part began:
 
Where is the presidential race right now?
 
We have a country that is divided.
30 years ago you would have one third undecideds, now you have less than half that (blogger note: that would be less than one sixth, meaning less than 17% undecided).
The race is like having two exhausted boxers, beating each other up, but both having accomplished great things.
Our national debt was 40% of our Gross Domestic Product in January 2009, then 54%, then 62%, now around 70%.
We have had over 8% unemployment for over 41 months.
We are in danger of losing the american dollar as the reserve currency of the world.
President Obama has not allowed a debt ceiling when he has had the votes to get it passed. 
To the Occupy people, you are not that important, because everyone else is important too. 
With the XL pipeline issue, you don’t fear Canada, well, in Texas we don’t fear Mexico. 
The media only listens if they believe you are announcing changes, so to get media attention you have to announce your news as if they are changes.
We need to save Social Security and Medicare before it is too late.
Americans do not want us all to live on dependency. 
Social Security nets may collapse.
No matter who you are in America, everyone must be given tools to succeed in the modern world. 
 
Vladimir Putin?
 
I have met Vladimir Putin
He is like Tony Soprano without the charm. 
Socialism, totaliatarianism and communism outcomes have never been attractive ones in history. 
 
What is the impact of the movie 2016?
 
The impact will not be that much. Although it is the second highest grossing political documentary of all time, by election time, if only 3 to 4 million people will have seen it that is small compared to the total amount of voters. v>
 
The Tipping Point?
 
If President Obama raises taxes $30 billion in one year, and has $1 trillion more spending, with no medicare, social security and medicare reform, have we reached the tipping point here?
 
Who are the up and coming female republican stars of the future?
 
Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico
Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina
Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire
Senator Deb Fisher of Nebraska
Senator Susan Collins of Maine
Senator Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina
 
How will President George W. Bush be remember?
 
He kept our country safe.
 
What do you find most memorable in your time in the White House?
 
Telling President Bush that 9/11 had just happened.
 
*Buffalo Rising reader, if you attended, would you please share any comments you have about the event?

About the author  ⁄ RaChaCha

35 comments
JohnMarko
JohnMarko

Waterboarding was deemed torture by the USA and was one of the main successful prosecutions for WAR CRIMES by the Nazi's and Japanese - until the WAR CRIMINALS of the bush* regime re-embrased it as policy.

My father and uncles fought a war to stop scum like Rove and bush*.

* selected - never elected.

JohnMarko
JohnMarko

Riiiight - the comparison to Pearl Harbor would be apt if the proper response to Pearl Harbor was to invade Mexico.

Again - for you dummiesj - THERE WERE NOW WMD IN IRAQ!

And bush didn't keep us "safe" - WTC happend on HIS watch in spite of all the EXPLICIT WARNINGS to the contrary!!!

And we are stil paying dearly for his WAR CRIMES!!!

JohnMarko
JohnMarko

Why ius this WAR CRIMINAL still not in Prison?!!!

WHy woiuld snyone waste time on what that evil creature has to say...

Rand503
Rand503

And i gather your point is that waterboarding is not really torture, but it makes for a good revenge fantasy.

If your point is that we need torture to get information out of people, the evidence is quite thin. In fact, most people will say anything to get you to stop torture. It's why the Nazis discarded torture. You don't get good infomration.

If, however, your point is merely to inflict pain upon other people, which I believe is your main point, then sure, torture accomplishes that goal quite admirably.

Rand503
Rand503

And i gather your point is that waterboarding is not really torture, but it makes for a good revenge fantasy.

If your point is that we need torture to get information out of people, the evidence is quite thin. In fact, most people will say anything to get you to stop torture. It's why the Nazis discarded torture. You don't get good infomration.

If, however, your point is merely to inflict pain upon other people, which I believe is your main point, then sure, torture accomplishes that goal quite admirably.

Rand503
Rand503

WAterboarding has been deemed torture by all intenrational organizations, and they did so long before W ever approved of it. Indeed, Phylis Shafley expressly stated that waterboarding is torture -- at least when communists did it against catholic clergy.

However, if you believe it isn't torture, we welcome you to under go it to prove your point.

biniszkiewicz
biniszkiewicz

You're rigth: it was Kaine. I find Carville's wife equally partisan to Carville, but neither offend me. I don't agree with her, but she doesn't roil my blood like Rove does. Good for him for speaking out about Palin.

And part of my antipathy toward Rove is misplaced: I have an odd quirk sometimes, where I meld two people in my head even though they're very different. With Rove I sometimes do this with Cheney. As I was writing about Rove, some of my thoughts drifted to Cheney. No excuse for it . . . Same thing happens when I listen to Paula Poundstone on Wait Wait Don't Tell Me. I hear Paula Poundstone, but half the time I picture Rosie O'Donnell. Don't know why.

saltecks
saltecks

So in the end we removed Saddam Hussein who was actually the only counter balance to Iranian dominance in the mideast. IMO not a smart strategy. Plus your contention that 9/11/01 'changed everything' doesn't explain why we did not invade Iraq until march 2003. Congress was well aware that Saddam did not tolerate Al Qaeda on his soil, but in the end were swayed by now discredited Intelligence reports.

benfranklin
benfranklin

Democrats in the senate voted 29 to 21 to go to war with Iraq. 9/11 changed everything. If the chance were 1 in a 100 that Iraq could have developed a dirty bomb that might have fallen into terrorist hands, the decision had to be made.

benfranklin
benfranklin

The democrat was Tim Kaine of Virginia. With all due respect, if they found Rove saying anything overly positive about Palin...well, it hasn't happened too often. He was one of the stronger voices during this current election cycle saying that she wasn't qualified.

Karl Rove is a bit like Pat Kaletta for the Sabres. If he's on your team you love him, if he's not, you hate him.

For every Rove on the right, there's a Carville on the left. They both achieved notoriety for being able to see through the polling data, and get their candidate elected. Your car's broke, you go to a mechanic, you want to win an election, you see one of these guys. Hoping they have some statesman like quality is wishing for too much.

saltecks
saltecks

Actually we didn't invade Iraq because of 9/11. We eventually went into Afghanistan because of 9/11 because they were harboring Al Qaeda. The rational for invading Iraq was that Saddam was producing yellow cake uranium for nuclear weapons. Remember the 6 year search for WMD's. Do you remember Valerie Plame the CIA operative who was outed by Dick Cheney because her husband, ambassador Joe Wilson contradicted the administration. He identified the document which was being used to support the claim that Saddam possessed yellow cake as fraudulent?

biniszkiewicz
biniszkiewicz

as to the 'writers of the comedy show', let me expand: what they would do is simply show videotape of Rove saying one thing when it applied to Republicans and then saying exactly the opposite whenever it applied to Democrats. The writers didn't 'write' a thing at all. Maybe I should have said 'producers', or 'Jon Stuart'. All they did was play tapes of Rove being Rove, back to back so the hypocrisy was fully displayed. Those segments were hilarious, because they showed him to be a completely unprincipled scurrilous partisan.

For example, at one point a Democratic VP contender was the former mayor of a Carolina city, I believe, of 200,000 people who'd recently become governor. Rove excoriated the possibility of this person ascending to the presidency as patently ridiculous. A small town mayor such as this, with scant gubernatorial experience of a second tier state, Rove went on and on, just showed the bankruptcy and naivete of Democrats in even considering such an obvious lightweight for the most important political position in the world. Someone on this minor scale, Rover assured viewers, could not possibly be presidential material, at least not for the foreseeable future.

Then, only a few months later McCain selected Palin. And Rove extolled to the heavens her qualifications for the presidency, stressing her outstanding experience in the trenches as mayor of Wasilla (population 8,000) and how that extraordinary experience as well as her year on the job as governor of a small population state more than fully qualified her to step immediately into the president's shoes if the need arose.

The 'writers' didn't write a damn thing. All they did was show Rove saying one thing with respect to Democrats, and then showing that back to back with him a few months later saying precisely the opposite with respect to Republicans. It was far from the only example of theirs. He is shameless. Positively, despicably shameless in his partisanship and that is why he is so wretchedly disgusting, even sans the torture and misguided paranoia. He has zero scruples. He is party-first, right or wrong, country-first, right or wrong, despicable bigot.

Unprincipled partisanship is simply wrong. Period. If you have principles and fight for them, that's one thing. Ron Paul is a nut case. But he's sincere and consistent. No dishonor to that. Rick Perry stands for lots of stuff at the opposite end of the political spectrum from me, but he believes what he says. I can live with that. Time and again the Daily Show demonstrated that Rove simply did not believe what he said (Gingrich is another unscrupulous such partisan). Rove only said what he thought would be convincing to his partisans, not what he believed to be the truth. He is not a truth teller. He is a manipulator of truth. Add to that his horrid judgment (hello Iraq invasion) and you find the level of antipathy evidenced here in this blog in response.

Chenango
Chenango

Somebody buy BBTie a bus ticket to Alabama, so you can lick your wounds with your brethren 47 days from now.

ByronBrownsTie
ByronBrownsTie

The only way to have made this speech better was to name it "Liberals Are A Bunch of Fools."

Aptly named after the city he was in, being filled to the brim with foolish liberals.

Chenango
Chenango

"If you repeat a lie often enough, it becomes the truth"

- Joseph Goebbels (Adolf Hitler's Nazi Propaganda Minister)

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

You and I agree on the city, preservation, work ethic, and other areas but boy do we differ on politics, that is a good thing in that our country needs to explore different ideas.

benfranklin
benfranklin

Good to know you're still around, hadn't heard from you in a bit. Thought Mr. Rove might bring you out.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

Work is good, I have been working for over 40 years. I was fortunate to have been raised with values that celebrated a comfortable but modest lifestyle, not caught up in the false chase of materialism and greed.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

We can't control crazy fanatics from doing horrible things but we should be able to control our own government from stooping to the same level.

benfranklin
benfranklin

Funny that I can agree with most of your description, but come to a different conclusion. If your side didn't have such a negative view of greed, we'd have an unemployment rate well below where it is. Work is good after all, isn't it?

LouisTully
LouisTully

And on Clarke's book and Rove's safety comment. If indeed W. kept America safe then Rove was certainly swimming against that current.

benfranklin
benfranklin

Let me choose....water in the nose, or slowly burned to death on the 105th floor where I went to work everyday. Not really a choice, is it?

LouisTully
LouisTully

This guy is a huge sack of nuts.

Anyone who likes this guy should read Dick Clarke's "Against All Enemies" and then tell me how much you like him.

benfranklin
benfranklin

Compromise is difficult to reach when the two sides have a fundamental difference on the role of government. If your wife say's I'd like to spend $200 on a pair of shoes, and your position is we don't have the money to spend... well, good luck on the compromise.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

"Not a bucket of water to the face", wow, you think waterboarding is that simple? Waterboarding is forcing large quanities of water into your nose and mouth until you almost drown. We are still waiting for Sean Hannity to make good on his pledge to be waterboarded but we aren't holding our breath waiting. Torture demeans our country, demeans those that take part, and forces us to surrender the high ground we claim to hold as Americans. Bini is right on, Karl is scum and any reasonable Republican knows that.

Black Rock Lifer
Black Rock Lifer

This man is the face of all that is wrong in America today. He is a ruthless partisan with no decency or honesty. He mastered the art of distorting the truth and repeating lies until the low information voters were convinced they were facts. He represents the greed, arrogance, and elitism that has become the face of the modern Republican Party. He is in no way a statesman or even a credible political advocate, why would Canisious give him a forum?

benfranklin
benfranklin

You're basing your view on the writings of a comedy show? I should probably stop at that. What's next, a discussion on science based on The Jetson's?

Torture is a car battery hooked to your testicles, or a needle in the open eye (which in the immediate aftermath of 9-11 I'd have thought justified...I'll accept your label of scum, but better that than more innocent people dying), not a bucket of water to the face.

No one advocated war until after planes were flown into our buildings. Perhaps you think that was planned by us? Would the proper response to Pearl Harbor have been a strongly worded letter?

I'll accept you don't like the guy, or republicans in general. Odd though that in non-political matters, you seem quite even keeled.

suburban_hillbilly
suburban_hillbilly

I did not attend. I did not want to be in the same room as this dude. In my opinion, the partisan divide in Washington is the biggiest problem we face as a nation. Being an idependent, I don't advocate for either party because I agree and disagree with both on different issues. It maddens me to listen to people like Karl Rove who have no remote sense of compromise and mindlessley tow their party line without any objective viewpoint what-so-ever. Karl Rove is the personification of partisan politics bull$h@t.

biniszkiewicz
biniszkiewicz

any man who advocates for torture is scum. I loathe his political views. I loathe his partisan hypocrisy (so deftly exposed, on numerous occasions, by the writers at the Daily Show). But in his advocacy for war, extraordinary renditions, foreign prisons and particularly for torture, he descends (my opinion) to nothing less than scum.

benfranklin
benfranklin

Scum? Really?

When David Axelrod comes to Buffalo, I may disagree with almost every word I've ever heard him utter, but I wouldn't call him scum, just misguided.

Thanks to BR for reporting this without injecting the sophmoric liberal spin that readers here seem to lap up.

Travelrrr
Travelrrr

I sure hope we can look forward to seeing more of good-ol' Karl (aka "turd blossom") around town, as he is investing in Buffalo real estate via Sinatra. At Spot? Five Points? (Speaking of which, why does it appear he just ate Five Points, like the entire store?)

Karl is one evil, evil dude.

buffaloroam
buffaloroam

Yeah, GW kept us safe. Does he not know that 9/11 happened on his watch??? And what about secret prisons, never charging detainees, torture, the outing of a CIA agent, lying to lead the United States into an unnecessary war, and a secret illegal wiretapping of his fellow American citizens. He should be in prison for life, not on the public speaking circuit. Shame on Canisius for bringing in such a sinner.

Chenango
Chenango

Rove is famous for his double speak.

Coined words like: "Patriot Act", "Clean Air Act", "No Child Left Behind", "Fair & Balanced" all the exact opposite of what they portend.

Obama was a "Racist" and at the same time he was a country club "Elitist".

"Entitlement" is the scurge of moochers, while banks too big to fail, ExxonMobile can't get enough tax breaks and Congressmen are set for life, after just one term.

And my favorite: "George W. Bush kept us safe".

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