I just finished listening to Karl Rove speaking. The whole thing reminded me of something I heard recently.
Having a lot of passion for something does not make it right. Someone can be passionate about something that is bad or wrong. The amount of passion that someone has does not determine whether their beliefs are right or wrong. Morals, the law or perhaps some other compass determine what is right or wrong, not how passionate you are about it.
I’m not saying that listening to Karl Rove changed my opinion of the man, but I definitely understand his passion for his subject. Having said that, here are some thoughts about his delivery:
- He was actually a pretty good and entertaining speaker. He definitely has the gift of warming people over to his side. It’s not so much an “aw shucks, I’m just a po’ boy from Texas” schtick, he was genuinely likable.
- He came prepared. He knows his subject, and he knows it well.
- He was not afraid to bring his considerable knowledge of politics and political strategy to bear. I didn’t know that he used to teach political science at the LBJ school of public policy at UT Austin.
- I don’t think that you have to agree or disagree with him, but I do think that you should listen to what he has to say.
- He does a great impersonation of Bill Clinton.
Karl, I’ll take the liberty of calling him that, also revealed a couple of things about himself that I was completely unaware of:
- He used to work at a convenience store. He mentioned that he was one of 2 people that worked at a convenience store to ever give the keynote at the national convenience store owner’s association. He said he was told to mention that he worked at a convenience store, but not to mention that he quit after he was robbed at gun point the second time. The other person to give a keynote was Sinbad the comedian.
- He made light of testifying in front of congress. He said that he would open the floor up for questions after his speech and that he would do his best to dodge all the questions as best he could. He reminded us that he had to do just that in front of congress not that long ago.
The majority of his speech was concentrated on current politics. He used the bulk of time talking about the US election and what he feels each party should do to get their team elected. It was very insightful. Here are some of the brief notes that I took:
- The democrats usually outspend the republicans in the general elections.
- McCain didn’t get the most votes in his race to the nomination
- The current election boils down to a choice between “old and new” and “fresh and been there done that.”
- This is a very volatile election. People that are undecided can swing violently and switch sides on a whim
- This is the first time that the Vice-presidential pick actually matters in an election. Usually, the VP can account for only a +/- 1%, but this year the VP is expected to matter much more than that.
- Any way you slice it, this is an historic election.
- Elections are about: Who you are, what you are about, the issues, and where you’re from.
- Basically, the republicans are going to play the experience and maverick card, versus the democrats playing the change and new hope card.
- With high risk, comes high reward
- The republicans will talk about terror, energy, taxes and spending but not the economy
- The democrats will talk about the economy, health care, jobs, taxes and spending
- Both will talk about taxes differently, but both will nibble around the edges.
As far as strategies to get them elected:
- The democrats will concentrate on a strategy of “enough.” Get enough electoral college votes to get across the finish line. They are counting on getting new voters to come out and vote. They will want to hold on to states that Kerry won, and add an additional 30 votes to that.
- The republicans are counting on all the former Bush supporters.
An interesting fact, is that 2 out of every 3 undecided voters are women. I have confirmed this in my own circle of friends, I know that’s not the most scientific of polls but I think I can vouch for that. Anyway, even though women are half of the total voters, 2/3 of them are undecided. Everyone wants the undecided voters to vote for them.
This election will be a concentrated effort on a limited number of topics. The new media cycle is only about an hour long. In elections past, the media cycle was 24 hours or more.
More people watched the conventions than did the opening night of the olympics. There is a lot of interest in this year’s election. There are only 56 days left until the election. At this point, time is more important than money. Candidates need the time to get their messages out to the voters, no amount of money can buy them more time to do it.
I took a bunch more notes, but this post is already getting long, so I’l cut it off here. I may do a part 2 in the coming days.