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Is Karl Rove the New Kevin Bacon?

By John McDonald  Posted by Rob Kall (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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No one is going to mistake Karl Rove for a movie star, but lately I have been wondering if maybe Rove hasn 't become the new Kevin Bacon. Bacon is the icon of popular culture that, so popular theory goes, is no more than six persons removed from anyone else. In other words, everyone knows someone who knows Bacon. That 's not quite the case with Rove. It 's just that lately wherever there is a political scandal, it seems that there is a connection between the people involved and Karl Rove.

Take for instance the little escapade wafting out of Jack Abramoff 's lobby shop and threatening to engulf the Republican Congress. On Thursday, the mystery woman of the Senate Indian Affairs investigation, Italia Federici is scheduled to testify before the Senate Committee regarding her involvement in the Jack Abramoff/Michael Scanlon Indian Tribe rip-off. Federici it seems cut her political teeth working for Interior Secretary Gale Norton 's U.S. 1996 Senate Campaign. Take one guess who Norton 's campaign consultant was. Well, it wasn 't Kevin Bacon

I know, I know, it 's just a coincidence. As Scott McClellan said about the outing of Joseph Wilson, "Karl Rove was not involved. " But Rove did work with Federici in the Norton campaign and it was Rove 's pal and confidant Grover Norquist who helped Federici and the future Interior secretary Gale Norton form something called the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy (CREA), which is going to be the main exhibit in Thursday 's Senate Indian Affairs debacle.

Maybe someone should make up one of those games people are always playing about Kevin Bacon, except if could feature Karl Rove. It could have a schematic or some kind of visual showing Rove 's connections to all the participants in the Republican scandals threatening to swamp Washington. We could call it "Six Degrees of Karl Rove. " The way you would play is to link any character in a political scandal to Rove. For example let 's use Jack Abramoff. Karl Rove hired Jack Abramoff 's personal assistant, Susan Ralston, to be his executive secretary. Therefore, Jack Abramoff has a Rove score of 2. (Actually, I think Rove and Abramoff have a direct relationship, so Abramoff has a score of 1, but you get the idea). This could be a big hit on the Beltway cocktail circuit.

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Thursday 's hearing of the Senate Indian Affairs Committee would be a great place to play. Not only does Rove know Federici, but he is easy to connect with Ralph Reed, Jack Abramoff, Michael Scanlon, Stephen Griles and others involved in this sordid mess. For more advanced players we could try names like Julie Finley and see if players can connect her to Italia Federici and Rove. (read more to get the answer)

On the other hand, Thursday 's hearing might not be the best place to play. Things might get a little heated and it might be hard to keep your attention on the game.

It should be interesting to hear what Federici has to say. First off, there is the little matter of explaining what exactly the Council of Republicans for Environmental Advocacy (CREA) is and does. It bills itself as an environmental organization, but it puts out press releases saying things like drilling for oil in the Alaska National Wilderness Area Refuge would be good for the environment. It also says on its website that it is a non-profit organization and it collects donations, but Bill Brunson, a spokesperson for the IRS, told the Arizona Republic that the IRS has no record that CREA has been granted tax free status as a non-profit corporation.

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One thing is clear though. Now that it has been alleged that at Jack Abramoff 's instructions the Cushetta Indian tribe paid CREA $250,000 in exchange for assistance in setting up a meeting with Interior Secretary Gale Norton, no one could blame Republicans for doing their best to distance themselves from the organization. But that may not be so easy. According to a March 2005 article in Roll Call, Norton, who together with Federici and Grover Norquist established CREA, attended a dinner for CREA at the house of Republican rainmaker Julie Finley* in the fall of 2001. The event was attended by 60-70 people including representatives from Indian tribes, such as the Coushatta 's. This was after Norton headlined a gala event launching CREA in Washington D.C. According to a January 2001 article published in the Washington Post, the guest of honor at the event was Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott and the keynote address was delivered by House Speaker Newt Gingrich. The sponsors for the gala included none other than the political consulting firm of Karl Rove. *(Game players, Finley 's bio lists her as having served as co-chair of the Republican National Committee's major fundraising arm, Team 100. She is also the national committee woman for the D.C. Republican Committee, a founding member of the Council for Republicans, chairman and founder of the Republican Primary PAC, and a founding member of the WISH List and, lo and behold, the Council for Republican Environmental Advocacy (CREA). See, it 's easy to play.)

As much as the Republican establishment might wish it wasn 't so, Federici and CREA (not to mention others in the Abramoff/Scanlon scandal) are enmeshed in the Washington establishment and connected to the Bush administration. According to documents obtained from the Justice Department by the National Resources Defense Council, CREA provided the Interior Department with public opinion research (dated 5/16/01) from focus groups in several cities suggesting how to talk about energy issues and emphasizing using rising gas prices to promote increased drilling. The research concludes, "language that . . . emphasizes price increases in gasoline and natural gas and the California situation resonates with voters and makes the case that "Gasoline price stability is the single most potent argument for opening up ANWR." I wonder if those discussions are what Gale Norton was referring to?

As for the game "Six Degrees of Karl Rove, " I 'm beginning to wonder if it 's such a good idea. Given the widespread connections of the Republican establishment in Washington D.C. to the burgeoning Abramoff/Scanlon scandal, I 'm going to need a scorecard to keep track.
John McDonald is a writer and consultant in Los Angeles. He writes a political blog called RockThrower http://www.rockthrower.blogs.com

 

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Rob Kall is an award winning journalist, inventor, software architect, connector and visionary. His work and his writing have been featured in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, CNN, ABC, the HuffingtonPost, Success, Discover and other media. He's given talks and workshops to Fortune 500 execs and national medical and psychological organizations, and pioneered first-of-their-kind conferences in Positive Psychology, Brain Science and Story. He hosts some of the world's smartest, most interesting and powerful people on his Bottom Up Radio Show, and founded and publishes one of the top Google- ranked progressive news and opinion sites, OpEdNews.com

more detailed bio: 

Rob Kall has spent his adult life as an awakener and empowerer-- first in the field of biofeedback, inventing products, developing software and a music recording label, MuPsych, within the company he founded in 1978-- Futurehealth, and founding, organizing and running 3 conferences: Winter Brain, on Neurofeedback and consciousness, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology (a pioneer in the field of Positive Psychology, first presenting workshops on it in 1985) and Storycon Summit Meeting on the Art Science and Application of Story-- each the first of their kind.  Then, when he found the process of raising people's consciousness and empowering them to take more control of their lives  one person at a time was too slow, he founded Opednews.com-- which has been the top search result on Google for the terms liberal news and progressive opinion for several years. Rob began his Bottom-up Radio show, broadcast on WNJC 1360 AM to Metro Philly, also available on iTunes, covering the transition of our culture, business and world from predominantly Top-down (hierarchical, centralized, authoritarian, patriarchal, big)  to bottom-up (egalitarian, local, interdependent, grassroots, archetypal feminine and small.) Recent long-term projects include a book, Bottom-up-- The Connection Revolution, debillionairizing the planet and the Psychopathy Defense and Optimization Project. 

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