Are you ready for Round 2 of the Sebelius Lecture Series? The first offering in the thought-provoking and debate-inspiring talks at Fort Hays State University featured national political figures Rick Santorum and Howard Dean back in November.
On Tuesday, Karl Rove will take the stage in the Beach/Schmidt Performing Arts Center. Rove is a former White House deputy chief of staff and senior adviser to President George W. Bush. He also is a co-founder of Crossroads GPS, a conservative non-profit group that spends hundreds of millions of dollars attempting to influence elections throughout the country.
As Rove is the lone featured speaker this week, the event will be less debate and more lecture. We don't know what topics the controversial guest will share with audience members, but we don't mind offering a few subjects about which the public would enjoy some insight.
Rove could start by discussing Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies. Registered as a 501(c)(4) social-welfare organization with the IRS in order to keep its donors anonymous, many have questioned how Crossroads is allowed to dedicate so many resources supporting its political aims. Goals of the group include dismantling the Affordable Care Act, preventing liberals in Congress from destroying affordable U.S. energy and jobs, decreasing the tax burden on job-creators, fixing the broken entitlement system, and reforming immigration. While currently operating within legal bounds, how does Rove rationalize so much influence without divulging the identity of his supporters? Isn't his group's primary purpose to elect candidates for federal office?
Another topic we'd appreciate him elucidating would be whether promoting hot-button conservative issues has the potential to backfire. The encouragement and funding provided to red states in order to pass laws dealing with same-sex marriage, Sharia law, reproductive rights, voter fraud and open carry of weapons -- and then have courts eventually finding them unconstitutional -- would appear to set back all of those respective issues. Does Rove acknowledge or accept any responsibility for these movements' likely regression?
Is Rove dueling with the tea party? He has stated a commitment to funding electable candidates, while the tea partyists insist those running for office should hold steadfast to their conservative and grassroots values. Is this division driving the rise of other super PACs currently competing with Crossroads?
Given all his electioneering and political involvement, how did Rove ever believe he could be an objective analyst -- even if it was on Fox News? Was there ever a moment he felt remorse for influencing a viewing public with less than unbiased perspective? Any regret for insisting Fox had erred when it called the state of Ohio for President Barack Obama in 2012, even though it was true? Isn't there an ethical obligation to a gullible public?
Going back even further in time, does he think it was a mistake to reveal the identity of CIA operative Valerie Plame? What about making millions of emails the Justice Department was interested in disappear? How about ignoring congressional subpoenas?
There are so many directions this lecture could take. We'll wait and see if these are the topics Karl Rove wishes to discuss.
Tickets for the events are available online at www.fhsu.edu/sebelius or by calling the Student Service Center at (785) 628-5306. The lecture will start at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Editorial by Patrick Lowry