Halloween isn’t my favorite holiday. I haven’t come up with a decent costume since the early 1980s, when I went to a Halloween party dressed up as Sue Ellen Ewing and shot a J.R. impersonator (my husband, of course) with a cap pistol. He collapsed on the floor and the party hostess almost had a coronary.
Also, the day’s kind of taken a nosedive ever since our kids grew up and stopped trick-or-treating. This means I’ve been robbed of the opportunity to order them to bed and rifle through their stashes of candy; nobody appreciated peanut butter cups as much as I did, I always figured.
This year, though, we had an exciting Halloween premise. Karl Rove, the legendary Bush operative, was speaking to a monthly club we belong to. Karl Rove! Good grief. How scary could you get?
So we showed up and he spoke after dinner. As advertised, he’s physically unprepossessing — pale, stocky, balding. The only thing that stood out was his pumpkin-orange tie. Then he started to talk. It was like entering bizarro world, where black became white, evil morphed into good, gravity yanked you skyward, the earth tilted precariously. Forget the peanut butter cups, baby. Where, oh where, was the valium?
As you might not have suspected, Rove really and truly was rooting for Barack Obama to succeed, since he was our first African-American president and therefore historic. Unfortunately, Obama has disappointed him — and let Karl count the ways. The ineffective stimulus! The rampant partisanship and complete disregard for the goodwill of Republicans in Congress! The deficit! The economy!
Eventually, Rove wound down and questions were asked. Patterns emerged in his lengthy answers. Democrats did bad things. Republicans — with the exception of Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry — did not. Deregulation? Started with the Democrats. War in Iraq minus weapons of mass destruction? Democrats saw the same WMD intelligence the White House did — and, anyway, wasn’t getting rid of Saddam Hussein worth it?
Some audience members booed and hissed. At the table where I was sitting, my friend Sandra and I went from grotesque facial contortions to mutters and hisses.
“Have some common courtesy!” the woman at the next table said to me.
“But he and the Bush Administration ruined our country,” I tried to explain helpfully.
The questions ended, the booing and hissing stopped, one man thanked Karl Rove for his talk and his service to his country, and some people applauded. Today, there is an ongoing controversy as to whether the audience behaved badly.
My personal view is that Karl Rove and his fellow Bush henchmen acted reprehensibly for eight years. They commandeered a disastrous administration that wasted tens of thousands of lives and billions of dollars on a war of choice, benefited only the rich, and squandered the opportunity to inspire and better this nation in the wake of 9/11. I had to live through two terms of their arrogant and disastrous incompetence — but I didn’t have to sit on my hands to hear it defended and others disparaged.
Not to be nit-picky, but I would also like to mention that since Karl Rove loves the word imprimatur so much that he uses it repeatedly, he might want to check its proper pronunciation.
Halloween. Ghouls and monsters. A bad guy who clearly views himself as a patriot and a hero. Nothing but tricks. I’m still waiting for the treats.
(Copyright 2011 by Ruth Pennebaker)
Please read one of my favorite posts, Just for Today, I am Pat Robertson