The promised showdown
between Howard Dean
and Karl Rove
over foreign policy in Portland took place last night — after all the paper airplanes settled.
Here's what happened: Before the event, Joe Walsh
, an unsuccessful
2008 congressional candidate whose platform included impeachment for President Bush, stood outside the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall handing out "arrest warrants" for Karl Rove, (Walsh's list of particulars dealt with the 2000 and 2004 elections as well as the Iraq War). Walsh demanded through his loudspeaker that the nearest police officer carry out the arrest. Then Walsh got inside to his balcony seat, which worked out perfectly with his scheme of letting loose a flurry of paper airplanes – presumably more arrest warrants – during Rove's introductory remarks. To which Rove responded, “I thought people in Portland were kind to people in Portland” as the airplanes cascaded down onto the folks in the reserved seats.
Walsh, no stranger to using props to attack opponents
, was escorted out. (Security seemed unaccustomed to such outbreaks). And after a few more interruptions, such as a man yelling “You gonna invite Hitler to speak too?” (He also got escorted out) the real debate was allowed to begin.
For 10 questions, each speaker took turns answering for two minutes, then responding for one minute and rebutting for an additional minute. The overall tone of the evening was surprisingly amiable and “fair and balanced, in the old sense of the phrase,” as Maria Wulff, president of the World Affairs Council of Oregon
, requested in her introduction. And Fox News only came up once when Dean -who earlier in the day campaigned for Oregon gubernatorial hopeful Bill Bradbury- called Fox a Republican mouthpiece to audience applause.
Here's the round-by-round breakdown as we try to determine a winner between Rove and Dean:
1) NORTH KOREA
– They disagree over Japan's role in the matter, but both agree that China's help is needed to make any serious progress.
– Rove says some weird stuff about constructing walls that make a loud noise but don't hurt when a person is thrown against them.
– Brings up a good point that the American public was lied to about the whole war in the first place. Rove identifies some Democrats who voted for the war.
4) CLIMATE CHANGE / COPENHAGEN
– Dean tries to argue that Copenhagen was a success. Rove calls it a sterile path and pushes energy efficiency instead, giving some good examples.
5) DEBT, ESPECIALLY TO CHINA
– This is as close as we got to any domestic policy issues. Rove went into Fox News commentator posture. Dean blamed Bush.
6) ISRAEL / PALESTINE
– Dean speaks very generally on the issue, while Rove shows his hawkish side and talks about things Bush did where you know it was all Rove.
7) REGRETS DURING POWER
– Rove get biggest laugh of the night saying, “Yeah, I've got regrets, and to find out about them you're gonna have to read my book – available next week at Powell's,” followed by, “and you can find Dean's book on the discount shelf at Powell's.”
8 )NUCLEAR WEAPONS
– Nothing really enlightening about this one. Nuclear weapons are dangerous but necessary.
9) HAITI EARTHQUAKE / RESPONSE TO NATURAL DISASTERS
– Takes the opportunity to criticize way that U.S. gives out aid. Rove responds unconvincingly with a lot of facts and numbers.
10) DREAM FOR THE U.S. IN RELATION TO REST OF WORLD IN TEN YEARS
– Rove lists off top three priorities – win war on terror, aids/malaria on Africa, and expanding democracy. Dean points out that expanding democracy should mean more than just telling other countries what to do.
Joe Walsh: 0
It's a draw! We'll have to schedule a rematch.