5/27/2009

Karl Rove vs. James Carville


Last night, I attended the debate between Karl Rove and James Carville at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. Charlie Rose served as referee.
A small group of protesters milled around outside, calling for Rove's indictment for war crimes. Maybe the forecast of rain kept them away. In any case, no one seemed to care. One of the security guards even did a little hip sway in time with their chanting.

Inside the packed auditorium, we were exhorted to be respectful of others' opinions and to "behave." Aside from a few protesters disrupting the proceedings--most notably, a woman who strode onstage brandishing a pair of handcuffs, then mugged for the cameras as she was sandwiched by security guards and pushed into the wings--we New Yorkers kept our cool. Mostly.

Karl Rove put his foot in his mouth early on when Charlie Rose asked him his opinion about President Obama's nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court.

Rove stated that she will be confirmed, but demurred when Charlie said Sotomayor is very bright. When Charlie protested that she had graduated from Princeton and Yale Law, Rove said, "I know lots of stupid people who went to Ivy League schools." I found myself laughing and yelling "yes, you do" while most of the crowd roared at the unintended hilarity of Rove's statement.

When Charlie asked about the current scandal regarding Nancy Pelosi and the CIA, Rove went on about how gravely important this issue is, that the documents must be brought to light and made one of many straight-faced references to following "the rule of law."

Carville turned to the audience and said, "Why don't we name an agent?" He was referring to Rove's own dealings with the CIA in naming Valerie Plame as a CIA agent. Plame's husband was a journalist who had reported that there were no signs of WMDs in Iraq.

Sadly, Carville's words got lost amid an exchange between Rose and Rove. My husband asked me what he'd said because I was clapping. Unfortunately, Carville didn't repeat himself and turned to saying it was a meeting that happened seven years ago and doesn't matter. When Charlie asked him how he would have advised Pelosi, he said he would've had her say "I don't recollect being told..." which reminded me of Bill Clinton's famous parsing of what "is" is.

The Katrina issue finally got Rove and Carville yelling and pointing in each other's faces, as Rove insisted that Bush had responded immediately by informing the governor of Louisiana that he was in charge. He also criticized the mayor of New Orleans.

Carville pounded his armrests, shouting that there was video of Bush being told that he was going to lose a city and that he didn't ask a question, that he left in the middle of the meeting to go ride a bike. He also said, "The mayor couldn't do anything. He was under eight feet of water." When Rove responded sagely that since then, Louisiana had elected another Republican governor, I wanted to scream, "That's because there was no one left to vote against him!"

I held my tongue so I wouldn't get bounced and got to hear Carville return to his favorite theme for the evening: Republican excuses. Clinton had left the country with a surplus but somehow the economy was his fault. The war was Clinton's fault. Bush's deficit was now Obama's fault."Take responsibility," he said. "It's bad for the children to see this."

When Rove stated that Clinton would be nothing more than a footnote in history, Carville laughed and said that Bush would certainly never be a footnote and said his presidency would be remembered for "massive incompetence."

I didn't get to hear Carville utter his famous line--originally about Hamilton Jordan--"I wouldn't piss down his throat if his heart was on fire." But Carville's words of sympathy for Rove at the end of the evening were just as satisfying.

"I know what it's like for Karl. He's got to defend Bush, just him and Cheney. I have to defend eight bad minutes. He has to defend eight bad years. I feel for you, buddy."

7 comments:

  1. I believe Stomayor is a grad from Yale Law.

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  2. none of your effin businessMay 27, 2009 at 4:12 PM

    how sad for you that zero is such a f**k-up....
    don't worry, be happy!

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  3. @Anonymous: Sotomayor did indeed graduate from Yale Law. I must've been scribbling too fast to realize it. I'll fix the mistake but keep your comment so as not to seem to you like I'm cheating.

    @none: It was interesting to be in the same room with Bush's brain. I'm still recovering.

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  4. Clinton had left the country with a surplus but somehow the economy was his fault. The war was Clinton's fault. Bush's deficit was now Obama's fault."Take responsibility," he said. "It's bad for the children to see this."

    I agree with the above statement 100%.

    When Rove stated that Clinton would be nothing more than a footnote in history, Carville laughed and said that Bush would certainly never be a footnote and said his presidency would be remembered for "massive incompetence."

    I think that Clinton might be remembered more for his infidelity than the good that he did. I think that Bush is painted far too sympathetically by the media in Texas. He's just a "good ol' boy" who got caught up in 9/11. They focus more on his lovely wife & daughters and his dogs, Spot & Barney.

    During the recent election, we switched back & forth between CNN & Fox News all night to show our daughter how radically different two sides can see the same issue. Fox News was obviously pro-McCain while CNN seemed more pro-Obama.

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  5. @Pamela: Yeah, when Rove tried to say that people didn't like Bush because he was from Texas and people didn't like his accent, Carville reminded him that Clinton is from Arkansas.

    I like what Carville said about having to defend Clinton for a bad 8 minutes, not 8 years. It's true that's what Clinton will be remembered for. I believe if he'd kept his zipper up, Al Gore might have become president. I think in that way Clinton has affected our country most profoundly. Without that, there might have been no Bush presidency at all.

    I used to watch CNN for unbiased reporting. I can't remember how many years ago it started to turn into an entertainment network. It sickens me now, to tell the truth.

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  6. clinton wont be remebered for his infidelity , it will because while he was recieveing a " lewinski"
    bin laden plotted 911 .
    as for his legacy of leaving a " surplus " it seems so many of the ideological coolaide drinkers forget about the .COM boom, or the fact that the republicans controlled congress for the first time in 40 years .
    few questions , did Viet nam attack america ? did North Korea attack us ? were THOSE wars un provoked ? hmmm which presidents got us into those conflicts ?
    didnt we lose like 58k in korea ? keep drinkin the coolaide it'll be all you can afford after the Obama - Pelosi presidency.

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  7. @Anonymous: Dubya, is that you? Put the beer down and take a nap. You can work on your English as a Second Language lessons tomorrow.

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