Karl Rove was here yesterday. He had on off the record conversation with the Ashbrook Scholars, and spoke at our annual dinner to ver 600 people. Great to have him here, the students and everyone else enjoyed it all. You can listen to his talk by clicking here.
You should also read the latest issue of On Principle, which includes articles on Rove and the election by Robert Alt, Steve Hayward, Adam Carrington & James Kresge, and me.
I was very impressed by Karl Rove. I now understand why he is disliked and feared by his political opponents. He is very smart and very balanced. His disposition is entirely normal, he does not radiate the kind of petty tyranny of those who think themselves important. He is very funny. A natural story-teller, a keen observer of all that moves around him. He misses nothing, and has very sound quick impressions of everything. His judgment is superb. It is impossible to dislike the man. He looks you in the eye, pays attention to you, and expects you to do the same. The rest is normal. All this explains why one student noted after being with him for almost an hour, "This guy is a natural teacher." After some conversation it developed that what he meant was that Rove seemed to him to be a natural student; he is interested in everything, his mind is alive and working and you can feel it, almost touch the moving gears. No wonder James Carville wrote (in Time magazine’s "One Hundred Most Influential People") that "If Rove switched parties, I’d take him up on it in a second." No chance of that. The Demos can only hope that he stays out of politics after 2006. No chance of that, in my humble opinion. And I’m glad of it.
If you can tell something about a man by who his friends and long-term associates are, Karl Rove is another reason to think that Bush is a good and smart man. I was entirely impressed. And I thank him for coming.