Karl Rove entertains crowd at 100th KLA Convention
By Doug Rich
The 100th convention of the Kansas Livestock Association began in style with 600 people jammed into the ballroom at the Hyatt in Wichita, Kan., to hear Karl Rove.
Rove was senior advisor to President George W. Bush from 2000 to 2007 and deputy chief of staff from 2004 to 2007.
After the recent election that sent President Barack Obama back to the White House, Rove said he was no long suicidal but merely despondent. Like the myths surrounding the Old West, Rove said the demographic shift being touted by the media contained a little bit of truth. Instead of a major demographic shift occurring, Rove said Democrats won an election with a smaller turnout by getting out more of their vote than the Republicans.
Rove pointed out that turnout for this election dropped by 7.9 million voters to 123.6 million compared to 131.5 million in 2008. It was the first decline in a presidential election in 16 years and only the sixth time that a president was elected to a second term with a smaller percent of the vote than the first time he was elected.
"Less than 52 percent of the eligible voters actually voted in this election," Rove said.
Rove said three events worked against Mitt Romney. They were the Republican primaries, the negative ad campaign run by Obama, and Hurricane Sandy.
"The primaries worked against Romney," Rover said. "Romney was a wounded candidate after the Republican primaries."
The negative ad campaign by Obama denigrated Romney in the minds of Americans. Rove said Romney's character and record were undermined by relentless personal attacks that went mostly unanswered. This concentrated effort in battle ground states consumed 20 percent of the Obama election budget.
The October surprise better know as Hurricane Sandy also worked against Romney at a critical time in the campaign.
"It gave President Obama an opportunity to look presidential," Rove said.
During a short question and answer session after his presentation Rove was asked if the Republican Party needed to change its stance on certain social issues. Rove said he did not think social issues splintered the Republican Party.
"But we need to avoid appearing judgmental and callous on social issues," Rove said. "Moderate and right-wing portion of the party needs to exhibit a little forbearance and tolerance. We need leadership to create that environment."
Looking at the "fiscal cliff" facing this nation Rove stressed that the U.S. government has a spending problem not a revenue problem. Rove said the federal budget has increased $650 billion above the 2008 baseline for each of the first three years of Obama's first term. During that time period federal revenue has gone up but the budget deficit has gone up faster.
The public portion of the $16 trillion deficit is now $11 trillion. Rove said four years ago it was $5 trillion.
"There is no European Union to bail us out like Greece had," Rove said. "We have made promises we can't keep."
The economic crisis in this country combined with high unemployment has been detrimental to the American dream. Rove referenced his Norwegian ancestry and the dream of success that that brought them to America.
"Something has happened to the opportunities that have been available to us in this country," Rove said. "There is some thing that happens to the soul when you have been out of work for six months."
Rove is not overly optimist that Obama and Congress will be able to avoid the fiscal cliff facing this country, but he is still confident in the will of the American people.
"Somehow or another the American people always step up and get it done," Rove said.
Doug Rich can be reached by phone at 785-749-5304 or by email at email@example.com.