Sunday, August 23, 2009

Karl Rove? Really?


Karl Rove is now OFF the agenda. Check out the new lineup posted.


This morning I received an invitation to an event next Saturday at Nashville’s Schermerhorn Center, the Third Rail of Health Reform: Cost. It’s billed as an “objective discussion of the facts about one of the critical issues of the health reform debate: what to do about rising health care spending.”

Vanguard Health Systems is hosting the event and Gov. Bredesen and Rep. Jim Cooper will also appear, along with folks from the Rand Corporation, a West Coast think tank. It sounded intriguing and informative so I followed all of the links, whereupon I learned that Karl Rove will be speaking with Rep. Cooper on the topic of “Battling Cost.”

I have a little problem with this. Karl Rove is a divisive, partisan political figure. He has no special expertise in health care or health care costs or anything germane to the issue we are battling. His entire career has been in managing political campaigns.

Karl Rove’s sole expertise is in politics--in particular, the politics of dirty tricks, wedge issues, and political manipulation. He’s a controversial figure, to put it mildly, facing his own barrage of scandals over the U.S. Attorney firings. Putting Karl Rove on a panel on health care costs, of which he knows nothing, is offensive and alienates anyone to the left of George W. Bush.

I can only conclude that this “third rail” event is not intended to be a serious discussion of an important component of the health care debate but rather a political spin exercise.

So thanks, Vanguard Health Systems and Charlie Martin, but no thanks. Karl Rove is the “third rail” of political figures. His presence on a panel of this type tells us everything we need to know about your intentions.