"You cannot qualify war in harsher terms than I will. War is cruelty, and you cannot refine it; and those who brought war into our country deserve all the curses and maledictions a people can pour out." - William Tecumseh Sherman

Name: The General
Location: Sacramento, California, United States


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Tuesday, November 09, 2004
  Russert's Interview With Karl Rove
Karl Rove, Bush's senior adviser during both election campaigns, was interviewed by Tim Russert on Meet the Press (MSNBC) last night. Rove is largely credited with the successful strategies that won Bush the primary in 2000 and both elections. I didn't get to see all of the interview, but I did find the transcript. I found it very revealing; Rove is not the bumbler that Bush is, he is calm, confident and well spoken. Here are some interesting tidbits, with my commentary:
Mr.. RUSSERT: But what can a president do about the coarseness of a society?

MR. ROVE: Well...

MR. RUSSERT: There's nothing he can do legislatively.

MR. ROVE: Oh, sure he can. And this president has attempted to do that by putting into place laws that protect the weak and vulnerable, whether it's partial-birth abortion ban or the Laci Peterson law or to pursue a compassionate agenda that allows the great mediating structures of our society, neighborhood and church and community-based organizations to play a fuller role in confronting the despair and poverty that exists in our country. You bet there's a lot. The global AIDS initiative is part of that. There are lots of things that a president can do, and this president is committed to doing so.
I think this will be the strategy employed to slowly slide this country ever more towards theocracy. Banning abortion will be couched in the language of protecting "the weak and vulnerable". Government funding of religion will be put under the header of pursuing "a compassionate agenda" blending church and state.
MR. RUSSERT: Towards the end of the campaign, the president reaffirmed his opposition to gay marriage, but said he was open to civil unions. Would he support federal legislation to honor and respect civil unions with gay couples?

MR. ROVE: Well, my understanding is is that he was referring to civil relationships defined at a state level. He clearly believes that states have the right to define such things as the right to visitation in the hospital or inheritance rights or benefit rights. Those ought to be up to states. But he does believe very fervently that 5,000 years of human history should not be overthrown by the acts of a few liberal judges or by the acts of a few local elected officials. Marriage is and should be defined as being between one man and one woman.

MR. RUSSERT: But no federal law for civil unions?

MR. ROVE: He believes that the definition of relationships ought to be left up to the states and that proper protections can be put in place for the right to visit in the hospital or the right to inherit or other legal contractual questions like that.
The evasiveness of these answers just baffles me. I'd like to see Karl Rove on The O'Reilly Factor - at least Bill would push the issue. Notice how Rove never directly answers the questions here - he doesn't want to alienate the base or provide fuel for the left. As long as he doesn't call it theocracy, he's just protecting the family. And Rove thinks that it's uncontroversial for states to have full discretion in defining relationships for gays, which means that in Jesusland, the policy is "don't ask, don't tell". Until they change it next week, of course.
MR. RUSSERT: Let me turn to the issue of abortion. As you know, Arlen Specter, the Republican senator from Pennsylvania, is on line to be the next chairman of the Judiciary Committee. He said some things on Election Night, and this is how they were reported: "`When you talk about judges who would change the right of a woman to choose, overturn Roe v. Wade, I think that is unlikely,' Arlen Specter said. `The president is well aware of what happened when a bunch of his nominees were sent up, with the filibuster,' referring to Senate Democrats' success over the past four years in blocking the confirmation of many of Bush's conservative judicial picks. `...And I would expect the president to be mindful of the considerations which I am mentioning.'"

What's your reaction to that?

MR. ROVE: Well, I saw his letter statement where he said he was not applying the litmus test and then he upheld his commitment to the president that if he were to become chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, there would be quick hearings, a vote within a reasonable period of time, and that the appellate nominees would be brought to the floor for an up or down vote by the entire Senate. And Senator Specter is a man of his word. We'll take him at his word.

MR. RUSSERT: Is the president comfortable with Arlen Specter being chairman of the Judiciary Committee?

MR. ROVE: That's up to the United States Senate to decide, not the president of the United States. And just as we wouldn't like them to decide who are the staff assistants of the White House, they certainly do not want us determining who's committee chairman on the Hill.

MR. RUSSERT: Is the president obligated to his support from the evangelical Christians to nominate people for the Supreme Court who would overturn Roe v. Wade?

MR. ROVE: The president said during the campaign that in virtually every speech that he gave that he would continue to nominate men and women to the bench who are well-qualified and who would strictly interpret the law, who knew the difference between personal agendas and personal views on the one hand and the strict interpretation of the law. He'll continue to uphold that commitment. He has sent forward some terrific nominees, men and women of tremendous intellectual and legal abilities. And they are people who share his philosophy that judges are to be impartial umpires, not activists, not legislators who just happen to be wearing robes, but to be impartial umpires who strictly interpret the Constitution and apply it.

MR. RUSSERT: Does he think that Roe v. Wade was properly decided?

MR. ROVE: He's going to pick people for the bench and will strictly interpret the law. He's not going to have a litmus test. He's not going to ask judges--potential judges in advance how they would determine cases that might come before them. He thinks that violates the fundamental principle of what judicial nominations ought to be about. He believes that he ought to pick people who will impartially apply--interpret and apply the law, not people who have a political agenda or a personal agenda that they want to pursue on the court.

MR. RUSSERT: Does he think a right of privacy exists under the Constitution?

MR. ROVE: Griswold vs. Connecticut, I'm not sure. I've never discussed Griswold vs. Connecticut with the president.
Again, notice the evasiveness. What are these guys so afraid of. Why won't they be honest and come out and say, "We think Roe v. Wade is an abomination, and all abortions should be illegal." That's their real position. I found it interesting that so many of his answers were negatives. Bush isn't going to do X. He's not going to have a litmus test. The only positive answer he gives is that Bush will nominate judges who will "strictly interpret the constitution." For those not in the know, this means judges who read the constitution and say, "There's nothing in here about abortion, therefore we have the right to make it illegal." These are the type of neanderthals who forgot to read the 9th amendment to the constitution.
The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
While this isn't the best formulation, the point is clear - just because certain rights are mentioned, doesn't mean that those are all the rights men have. Of course, that's also the American concept of rights, not the European one that the conservatives and liberals have swallowed wholesale.

And for those unfamiliar with it, Griswold v. Connecticut was the case that preceded Roe v. Wade and "created" the right to privacy. At the time, Connecticut outlawed not only the use of contraceptives, but anyone counseling or recommending them. In 1961, when a case was brought against it, the Supreme Court refused to rule on it, but called the case "dead words" and "harmless empty shadows". Planned Parenthood and a physician took this as license to open a birth-control clinic. They were subsequently arrested, and the case went to court. Long story short, the court ruled the law violated married couples privacy, and therefore were unconstitutional. Good results, poor reasoning.

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