Karl Rove Gets Cheered and Jeered in Aspen

July 10 2006, 8:32 AM
Karl Rove spoke at the Aspen Ideas Festival Sunday. Aspen Daily News reporter Troy Hooper has the full run-down. There's vintage Karl:
Karl Rove praised the military and civilian leadership's flexibility in managing the Iraq war, which has required field commanders to adapt to unconventional combat styles and means of rebuilding communities. Rove noted that his own cousin has served three tours of duty over there.
There's Rove in spin mode on Iraq:
"You know it's not going to be U.S. style. It's not going to be a Midwest small-town atmosphere. It's going to be Iraq with deeply felt sectarian strains with bad guys and people with lots of guns, but it is going to be a functioning society. It already is a distinct improvement on the society that existed."
There's hyperbolic Rove, giving Bush credit for outing North Korea as a danger:
Rove took exception to [Walter] Isaacson's suggestion that the United States has taken a soft line against North Korea, insisting the world is even cognizant of North Korea because Bush identified it as part of the "axis of evil."
There's double-speak Rove, on the Supreme Court Decision in the Hamdan case that declared the miltiary tiribunals Bush had planned at Guantanamo ilegal:
It gives us not a clear path of what the court would find acceptable but it gives us some guidance as to what the court would find acceptable.
There was even an honest Rove:
"I'm a hothead. I admit it.
Then there was Rove in snarly mode , when the audience made known its disagreement with his portrayal of the estate tax as helpful to the little guy and small business.
While defending the Bush administration's designs to repeal the estate tax, Rove reversed the common conception that nixing the tax would benefit only the nation's wealthiest, arguing it would have its greatest benefits on small- and medium-sized business owners and their families. When some audience members made their disagreement audibly known, Rove snapped at them: "With all due respect to the people who fly in and out of Aspen on your jets, hey you've got accountants and smart-thinking guys who can help you construct your estates so it has a minimal (tax) impact, good for you."
Finally, there was Rove on global warming, making Bush out to be a great environmentalist:
"We're investing in the reduction of greenhouse gases in the most cost efficient way we can which is providing technologies to developing countries. For example, we're partnering with the Indians on the development of the first zero-emissions coal plant because India has vast coal reserves and they are going to use them. ....He added that Bush is dedicated to financing global-warming research and he advocated nuclear power.
How did the crowd react to all these Roves:
Throughout the discussion -- attended by an eclectic mix of big thinkers including Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer, Gen. Colin Powell and Washington Post vice president Benjamin Bradlee -- a portion of the audience booed, hissed and laughed in mockery at Rove while another portion of the crowd lent Rove unswerving support. Still others in attendance displayed mixed reactions, clapping on some Rove points and voicing their disapproval of others.
One other interesting note: During one of the festival's meetings, Rove said he wasn't sure when birth begins, a comment that must have raised big eyebrows among his evangelical followers.