Monday, March 10, 2008



Yesterday I introduced a post about Brent Bozell with an old school story of mine involving a lecture I booked at my school that featured Julian Bond and Strom Thurmond. I supposed I teased that it is a wonderful story and that I'd save it for a later day. Events a few days ago at the University of Iowa in Iowa City reminded me that may I should share the story (from around 40 years ago).

I booked Julian Bond, who was only allowed to take his seat in the Georgia legislature after the Supreme Court intervened, and my faculty advisor forced Dixiecrat Senator Strom Thurmond on me to "balance" the program. A week before the event I called Thurmond's office and explained that we're a state university and the budget is tight and that I couldn't pay him the $5,000 I had offered and could he do it for $2,500. They said OK. I then called Bond and explained there was a change in plans and we would have to give him $7,500 instead of the agreed upon $5,000.

The day of the event I picked Julian Bond up at the airport in a fancy rented car and took him to the most exclusive restaurant in Suffolk County. We had an amazing dinner and when we were leaving we were approached in the parking lot by two waiters who said that although almost all the waiters were African Americans this was the first time (1965 I think) an African American had ever eaten there. They both had tears in their eyes.

Earlier I had asked my hospitality committee chairman to walk over to the Long Island Railroad Station and meet Thurmond. I gave him $10 and asked him to take the Senator to a beer and pizza joint down the road from the campus for dinner. I knew Stephen would be very polite and charming to him-- it's in his nature. He was the most flamboyantly gay person I knew at the time.

Julian Bond spoke and the audience gave him a standing ovation. Then Senator Thurmond took the stage and the entire audience-- as one and with no prompting-- got up and walked out of the gym. Ms. Couey, my faculty advisor and Stephen, forever the most courteous guy I had ever run across, stayed to hear Thurmond. No one ever told me what he talked about.

Iowa City students were not happy this week when Karl Rove was invited to their campus-- and paid $40,000-- to speak.
Over 200 people joined in a pre-speech protest inside the South Room of the IMU. One activist dressed in a Rove mask and held a giant $40,000 check asking students to sign it so he could get paid. Other peacemakers dropped colorful banners off a parking garage across the street, some put on a hilarious anti-Rove puppet show, the Radical Cheerleaders performed for the people standing in line for the lecture, the School of Flyentology spun political dance records, and others chanted rhymes like:

We don't want Rove in our community

off the pig

Karl Rove stole our democracy

off the pig

he helped Bush take the presidency

off the pig.

But the real action happened after Rove's speech (he ducked every question thrown at him or retreated to ideological arguments that obfuscated the truth), when the reconnassiance wing of the UI Antiwar Committee received secret intel that the Lecture Committee was treating Rove to dinner and drinks at the bourgeois 126 restaurant.

Student surrounded the place, picketed it and challenged Rove with the use of a bullhorn. The police watched from a distance and didn't interfere with the protest. Eventually Rove slinked off into the night.

Think Progress covered the lecture itself, during which Rove said-- perhaps in jest, perhaps not-- that he fully expects to be indicted by the end of the year. Maybe that's a Republican plan so that Bush can pardon him before the new Administration takes over and tries to hold some of these criminals accountable.
During the lecture, Rove lashed out at hostile questioners, telling one man his comment showed “a simple, stupid mind” and chastised what he said were “stupid statements” from the audience. Rove also said that former Amb. Joseph Wilson “lied” about his 2002 trip to Niger and accused an audience member of “perpetuating libel” on the U.S. military for asking about the real number of deaths in the Iraq war.

...Responding to a question about CIA operative Valerie Plame Wilson’s outing, Rove, seemingly joking, added: "I haven’t been indicted yet, but I fully expect to be by the end of the year."

The University paid Rove $40,000 for the speech and had to agree to limit “recording equipment and flash photography” to “the first five minutes of the lecture.” At the end of the talk, an audience member shouted at Rove: “Can we have our $40,000 back?” Rove replied: “No, you can’t.”

Perhaps Rove needs to keep the $40,000 in expectation of substantial legal fees.

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At 1:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Meanwhile, Governor Eliot Spitzer is involved in some corruption of his own.......

At 1:32 PM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Corruption? I think he was seeing prostitutes. I bet his wife is horrified. It's, more or less, a victimless crime-- and unlike David "Diapers" Vitter-- Spizter doesn't campaign on a platform of fake Family Values. As Attorney General he never prosecuted any clients of escort agencies, just went after people committing crimes that have victims. I'll wait and see what the Bush Justice Department has gathered on him before I jump to any conclusions.

At 1:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want my government back...

Rather than the Republcian Frogwalk, Rove would skip, getting a Bush pardon at the MINIMUM.

Can you even IMAGINE what Karl Rove would have on W?

At 1:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I'll wait and see what the Bush Justice Department has gathered on him before I jump to any conclusions." How much you wanna bet you would be ALL OVER THIS if he had an R next to his name???!??!

At 2:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

OT or ON,

Spritzer is a Clinton Superdelegate, so hopefully this will kick up a little new and old dirt on Little Bill Clinon's little head, and hurt the Republican's FAVORITE CANDIDATE (that they want to run against) BILLARY!

At 4:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymousies are BACK! You were kind of quiet this weekend.

Hey how ABOUT that Bill Foster IL14 victory on the Coattails of Hastert/Bush/McCain?
Denny Hastert's district "handed" to Oberweis?


What's that line again from Michael Clayton?
Right, "you're so fucked", that's the line.

At 6:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who the fuck is Bill Foster? And sorry, you must have me confused with someone else.

At 6:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, even a jackass has to win an election every once in a while. Took a special election on a WEEKEND for him to win. Kinda sad, really. I wouldn't read all that much into it. Although seeing as how Democrats are so desperate to win nowadays, I'm sure you'll spin the hell out of it, claiming it's some kind of symbolic victory. Remember, Hastert wasn't the Speaker when he resigned. And further remember that Tom Foley WAS Speaker AND running for reelection when he was tossed out on his liberal tax-and-spend ass in 1994. The two pale by comparison. But that's just one guys opinion.

At 6:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DWT, I sent you a comment in the Spitzer article. I think there is a family value you may not understand about "victimless crimes." Hope you'll talk to some professionals whose clients have been sexualized through various sexual behaviors of their parents, where no "sexual" contact occurred. I have faith that you can "get it."

At 7:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spitzer's a progressive Democrat, so my guess is that his "getting it" will be unlikely.

At 7:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any by "his" I mean DWT. I can only hope that for Spitzer's sake that he will resign now. Save himself some trouble. The Dems might actually save th governor's mansion in 2010 if he leaves now.

At 7:49 AM, Blogger DownWithTyranny said...

Carol Doty, I'm more than aware about the victimization of prostitutes. These women, making as much as $5-10,000 a night, were probably not more victims than anyone with a crappy job anywhere. In any case, they are adults who made choices and I'm not going to make moral judgments about their choices. I don't mean to defend Spitzer; he broke the law and there is more than a little hypocrisy in him (like most people). The fact that this is the biggest story in the news when FAR FAR FAR more consequential events are happening was my point.

At 9:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You're walking a very fine line with that. One could ALSO say that there were FAR FAR more important thing going on when the Craig and Vitter stories came out. (But they run on platforms of Family Values, you say.) Even so, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. The Spitzer story illlustrates all too well that even progressives are corrupt if put into positions of power.

At 8:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Spitzer was certainly no symbol to me as an Independent. I actually didn't know he was a Democrat, but did remember he was supposed to be crime crusader.
So he IS an idiot and has ruined his legacy and any poltical future he thought he had.

POWER corrupts. The Republicans had all 3 houses and REALLY made a mess of it, now it is the Democrats turn. These are the early LOSERS.
So, Point taken on the focus on Republican losers. This guy is the saddest Democrap I have seen since the guy with the alleged money in his freezer, innocents LOSERS until proven guilty.

At 5:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"innocents LOSERS until proven guilty"

Right...just like Tom DeLay. ;)


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