The Political Science Lecture Series that is hosted by the Canisius College has had quite a lineup of speakers that have come to Buffalo over the years. President Harry S. Truman in 1962 started it all. Activist Alexander Ginzburg in 1979. President Jimmy Carter in 1993. Activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr. in 2009. Plus many others. On Monday, former Deputy Chief of Staff and Senior Advisor to President George W. Bush, Mr. Karl Rove, spoke at Canisius College's Montante Cultural Center about the topic "Understanding America's Challenges".
I have attended this series in the past, and am amazed at how lucky we are here in Buffalo to hear so many different viewpoints, but I have never seen such a large crowd in attendance as this one. My estimate is that there were some 700-800 or so attendees in the main auditorium, in the back room, as well as in a separate room on campus that had closed circuit television. It looked to me that demographically the numbers broke down to around two men per every woman there.
When I was allowed in, I saw some people I knew had to wait in a line, and as it turned out not all of them were able to get in. There were three "Occupy" protesters out in front, not sure that they were going try to go in and hear the speaker. In historical timelines this day marked the one year anniversary of that movement. We were told Erie County Legislator Kevin Hardwick, who teaches government classes at Canisius College, was going to moderate the Q and A portion of the event with previously submitted written questions. Mr. Rove spoke for about 45 minutes, and the Q and A portion that followed was about 30 minutes.
Mr. Rove mentioned Buffalo a few times, when he talked about former House of Representative Thomas M. Reynolds, as well as talking about Cansius College, especially when he was telling some anecdotes throughout. But as his main topic was national in scope, his main focus was national as opposed to about Buffalo. Here are some of ideas that Mr. Rove talked about. I wasn't allowed to record anything, so these are all from my notes and generalities:
With presidential elections less than two months away voters were asking themselves if the candidates were up to running the country. The election is about the expectations of the future of our country.
There is a difference between running for office and serving once elected. When running you can say a lot more of what you may want to, but when you are serving you are held accountable.
Why is Governor Romney asked for his plan, while President Obama is not?
On the White House
There were a couple of things that were not apparent during campaigns, but apparent in office:
1. Decisions are easy to make during campaigns, but much harder to make in the White House.
2. There is surprisingly a lot of structure and process in the White House, but not so much on the campaign trail.
You better have a clarity of vision when you get to the White House.
In the White House 90% of everything is urgent, and the remaining 10% is important.
Expect the unexpected.
Time is so precious, that it is important not to fill the president's calendar to capacity, but to leave time for reflection as well as relaxation.
Compromise starts with the president, rather than not the president.
The strongest guy in the room is the one that has to say "I'll give you something", the weakest guy does not say that.
The President appears more responsible when he takes on more responsibility, and appears weaker when he says something is not his fault.
The White House was a fun place to work.
The Question and Answer part began:
Where is the presidential race right now?
We have a country that is divided.
30 years ago you would have one third undecideds, now you have less than half that (blogger note: that would be less than one sixth, meaning less than 17% undecided).
The race is like having two exhausted boxers, beating each other up, but both having accomplished great things.
Our national debt was 40% of our Gross Domestic Product in January 2009, then 54%, then 62%, now around 70%.
We have had over 8% unemployment for over 41 months.
We are in danger of losing the american dollar as the reserve currency of the world.
President Obama has not allowed a debt ceiling when he has had the votes to get it passed.
To the Occupy people, you are not that important, because everyone else is important too.
With the XL pipeline issue, you don't fear Canada, well, in Texas we don't fear Mexico.
The media only listens if they believe you are announcing changes, so to get media attention you have to announce your news as if they are changes.
We need to save Social Security and Medicare before it is too late.
Americans do not want us all to live on dependency.
Social Security nets may collapse.
No matter who you are in America, everyone must be given tools to succeed in the modern world.
I have met Vladimir Putin
He is like Tony Soprano without the charm.
Socialism, totaliatarianism and communism outcomes have never been attractive ones in history.
What is the impact of the movie 2016?
The impact will not be that much. Although it is the second highest grossing political documentary of all time, by election time, if only 3 to 4 million people will have seen it that is small compared to the total amount of voters.
The Tipping Point?
If President Obama raises taxes $30 billion in one year, and has $1 trillion more spending, with no medicare, social security and medicare reform, have we reached the tipping point here?
Who are the up and coming female republican stars of the future?
Governor Susana Martinez of New Mexico
Governor Nikki Haley of South Carolina
Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire
Senator Deb Fisher of Nebraska
Senator Susan Collins of Maine
Senator Elizabeth Dole of North Carolina
How will President George W. Bush be remember?
He kept our country safe.
What do you find most memorable in your time in the White House?
Telling President Bush that 9/11 had just happened.
*Buffalo Rising reader, if you attended, would you please share any comments you have about the event?