I apologize for not blogging much in the past week, but after a hectic two weeks of classes and travel, I’ve been busy getting caught up (including getting through about 300 accumulated e-mails) and beginning the background reading for my dissertation. Not only that, but for the past two days, have been devoting much of the time I would normally spend to writing blog posts to researching one.
In the wake of the departure of Karl Rove from the White House, I’ve been trying to find evidence to back up the “conventional wisdom” that the man whom the president called the architect of his 2004 re-election victory encouraged putting “marriage referenda on state ballots” in order to increase evangelical turnout and thus guarantee the president victory that year.
And while I have found many bloggers (and even reporters) repeating this claim, I have yet to find one scrap of evidence substantiating it. To be sure, I have found enough articles confirming that he was behind the president’s support of the Federal Marriage Amendment, but nothing linking him conclusively to the state referenda.
I did find confirmation of something I had read shortly after the 2004 election–that the marriage initiatives on state ballots that year didn’t really help the president:
As Hunter College political scientist Kenneth Sherrill noted in a study for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, “the election returns indicate that President Bush did less well in these battleground states with anti-same-sex marriage ballot initiatives than in battleground states that did not have referenda on same-sex marriage”Â
So, if Rove were behind these initiatives, they didn’t really serve to advance the president’s reelection.
It was amazing (well, not really given the nature of the anti-Bush left today) how much bile and mean-spirited rhetoric I encountered in researching this piece — and how little evidence I uncovered to document allegations leveled against Rove (not limited to his alleged involvement in these referenda). It seems their animus against him is based more on their own feelings than actual facts.
I expect to do a followup on this piece, but would appreciate if any of you could help me in my research. Do you have evidence to support the oft-repeated claim that Karl Rove was behind the marriage initiatives in the various states in the 2004 campaign? Please e-mail me with links to articles which could confirm (or disprove) this. Thanks.
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UPDATE: And for those who haven’t yet seen it, make sure to check out Powerline’s post on Bill Moyers’ anti-Rove rant which also lacks “actual facts . . . that one can take hold of and declare to be false.” Moyers’ rant, in the words of Powerline’s John Hinderaker, like much of what I’ve read in researching this, was “just a pure, undifferentiated expression of hatred of a political opponent.”