Karl Rove signs Yampa resident Cathie Voorhees’ copy of his book during Steamboat Institute’s second annual Freedom Conference on Friday night at Thunderhead.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Karl Rove signs Yampa resident Cathie Voorhees’ copy of his book during Steamboat Institute’s second annual Freedom Conference on Friday night at Thunderhead.

Rove says signs look good for conservatives in midterm elections


— Republican strategist Karl Rove told a sold-out crowd that things are looking very good for conservatives in what could be a “monumental election” in November.

Rove, speaking Friday evening to 307 people as part of The Steamboat Institute’s Freedom Conference at the top of the gondola in Steamboat Springs, said some predictions call for historic changes for conservatives. He said according to one prediction, Democrats could lose 70 seats in the midterm election.

“You would have to go back to the Great Depression, the collapse of the Republican Party in the 1930s, to see a loss like that,” he said.

He said he doesn’t expect the Democrats to actually lose that many seats, but he does think Democrats likely will lose a number of seats.

Even so, Rove said the Re­­publican Party has not picked up on all of that momentum.

“It’s not all good news for conservatives and Republicans,” he said. “We have not had a corresponding improvement of attitudes for the GOP, but we shouldn’t expect it.”

He said that President Bar­ack Obama’s popularity is dipping and some of his key policies are proving unpopular but that there is no national-level Re­­pub­­lican to bring that support back to the party.

“There’s no single national (figure). No vivid personality. No dynamic personality that’s captured the imagination of the American people,” he said.

That’s fine for now and for the midterm elections, he said.

“We don’t need to be yet in a place where we have repaired the damage of the public image. It’s sufficiency and adequacy” that will keep Republicans going, he said. “We will have a very good election just by surfing the wave of discontent with Obama,” he said.

He said many conservatives who are stepping into politics — especially into the tea party — are doing so for the first time. He said their convictions are strong but that they are “rough” and in some cases want change more quickly than the Constitution is built for.

Rove’s speech was more than an hour long. He held a Q-and-A session after his remarks, which was “off the record” for the media. According to organizers, national TV media was excluded once Rove began speaking and could not televise the speech.

Conference volunteer and Steam­­boat resident Kay Mak­ens called Rove impressive after his speech.

“He was very quick on his feet and very funny,” she said.

Rove, the man behind the George W. Bush presidential campaigns and many of his policies in office, quickly recalled facts and figures as he spoke without notes, often rattling off several specific poll numbers in a row.

“I thought Karl was right on form,” Steamboat resident Dick Mills said. “He was terrific.”

His wife, Paula Mills, said Rove was “super generous with his time and comments,” after Rove answered several questions from the audience.

Rove also signed copies of his book, “Courage and Consequence: My Life as a Conservative in the Fight,” before and after the speech. Off the Beaten Path Bookstore owners Ron and Sue Krall said they brought 125 copies of the book to the speech and expected to sell out by the end of the night.

High-profile speakers

The Freedom Conference will continue today at The Steamboat Grand.

Organizer Rick Akin said 205 attendees are registered for the full conference. The conference is organized by The Steam­­boat Institute, headed by Jennifer Sch­­u­­­­bert-Akin. The group calls itself a non­­partisan organization that is guided by a conservative set of principles.

Rick Akin said the increase in pop­­ularity of the tea party has not changed the types of speakers the conference hosts, but it has increased the visibility of the movement — to the point that some speakers have limited availability.

Despite that, the conference landed several big-name speakers.

On Friday, Ginny Thomas, wife of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and founder of a political action committee supporting Sarah Palin, was one of the first speakers at the event in the afternoon. After asking the audience to join her in retaking the government, she answered questions from the audience filling two ballrooms at the Grand. No, she said, career politicians aren’t the problem in Washington, and no, an audience member should not throw out a tenant because she’s far-left-leaning, she answered to a round of laughter.

She also spoke about a desire to do a “constitutional audit” and told the audience, “We will not have a conservative majority in House and Senate after the election, I hate to tell you.”

She ended by saying, “We’ve got to stop what’s going on. Won’t you help me?”

Sharron Angle, the Republican opponent of Nev­ada Sen. Harry Reid, told the audience that although she will be elected in Nevada, she sees herself as a representative for everyone in the conservative movement.

During her spe­ech, she reiterated her view that the Department of Edu­­­­­­­cation should be eliminated. She said she tried to home-school her son after he failed kindergarten but that a judge did not allow it, prompting her entry into politics.

“Government came between me and my family,” she said.

Speakers today include Jason Mattera, editor of “Human Events” and author of “Obama Zom­­bies:  How the Liberal Mac­hine Brainwashed My Gen­eration,” a health care panel, and a session about “2010 — The Year of the Conservative Woman” with Kellyanne Conway, president and CEO of the polling company Woman Trend.


freerider 6 years, 7 months ago

The Re-puk-lican party spews once again , eliminate the dept. of education ....wow !!! there's a no-brainer for ya ...you betcha...let's blame everything on the Democraps ...meanwhile the Democraps blame everything on the Re-puks ....meanwhile we all get screwed by both sides with the Fed as acting mob boss !!!.....smoke and mirrors folks ....nothing but a big ol orgie of screw everybody going on in washington ...the sad part is the smoke screen is still working , people actually still think that they have a choice....hahahahahaha ship of fools , doesn't matter who you vote for , they are bought and paid for by corporate America , or I should say muti-national corporate America. Americans don't even have a say anymore it's all controlled by the Not-So- Federal Reserve banking cartel

End the fed End the wars End the IRS Take back your rights

Ron Paul 2012


Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 7 months ago

Thanks, Elmer, for the very telling statement that is plaguing the Republican party:

"“We don’t need to be yet in a place where we have repaired the damage of the public image. It’s sufficiency and adequacy” that will keep Republicans going, he said. “We will have a very good election just by surfing the wave of discontent with Obama,” he said."

This very statement tells you that Rove is saying that nothing about the RNC will win and then legislate thru osmosis. He is stating that Republicans can just pick back up where they left off in 2006...with all the "Conservative" spendthrifts.

Remember- Bush wasn't very conservative himself, and Rove was the guy who "architected" his 2 terms. That's the guy that appeals to TP'ers?

As far as Rove quickly quoting facts and figures without notes or rattling off specific poll numbers...let's remind people of Karl Rove and polling in 2006:


And of course, there are the people who "rattle off" poll numbers...without even mentioning the proper numbers. Some of those people are considered "patriots" by some. I consider them idiots. Potato, potahto.

(I won't even bother to mention how Sharron Angle doesn't even know what's on her website when asked, or about how she wants the media to be her friend...No, I will just post the YouTube videos. Even Carl Cameron, who had his own little on-air captured partisanship debacle a few years ago couldn't keep from laughing.)

or poor Neil Cavuto trying to keep her on track & get actual answers, while having an extremely puzzled/frustrated look on his face...or just gas.

I think that Al Greene guy from South Carolina has spoken about his positions better. LOL!


ybul 6 years, 7 months ago

--Remember- Bush wasn't very conservative himself, and Rove was the guy who "architected" his 2 terms. That's the guy that appeals to TP'ers?--

You are kidding right? I can not imagine anyone thinking that going back to the 2006 shenanigans would be okay. People were upset then and from my aunt who attended she learned more from visiting us than attending the meeting. Same old line and no solutions.

We need solutions, from both sides. The current system is messed up, vote em all out.


NamVet 6 years, 7 months ago

You have to remember Rove got Bush the nomination in 2000 by lying and character assassination. During the So. Carolina primary, when Bush was way behind McCain, Rove let it be known that McCain had fathered black children out of wedlock. This untruth ruined McCain's campaign and insured Bush of the nomination. McCain will not even talk to Rove today and the country will never be the same. Then after 9/11 it was Rove who was behind the misinformation that Sadam was part of the planning of 9/11 and that he had WMD's to justify invading Iraq. This lie has cost this country 35,000 killed and wounded, $1 trillion dollars borrowed from the Chinese, and 87,000 Iraqi's killed. This is why the CEO of FOX, R. Murdoch hired him immediately after leaving the Bush Administration. He is a master of spin and misinformation and was a perfect fit for FOX. Why anyone would waste $250 to listen to his BS is beyond me. When he flies out of Steamboat on his private jet just remember the blood of our men and women in uniform paid for it.


Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 7 months ago

ybul- No, I'm not kidding. Last decade's Republicans spent like they were Democrats, and Rove was the man behind getting Bush elected twice. I can't see how he becomes the TP champion this weekend. Going by some on this forum, blank minds think alike. It's really too bad: those are the people that will bring the TP movement down from the inside because they are the loudest & proudest, but not the most informed. It takes away from those who actually want government to work properly.

I agree- solutions from both sides are needed. One side's set of ideals will never be the way to go. You have to take the ideas from both parties and dissect them in order to figure out how to make them work for everyone. Unfortunately, one side is intent on voting out the people who were willing to actually work with the other side...and the other side isn't actually offering solutions but just more spending. Both sides need their moderates to work together despite and in spite of the extremists of their parties who only want a "my way or the highway" approach.


ybul 6 years, 7 months ago

--It's really too bad: those are the people that will bring the TP movement down from the inside because they are the loudest & proudest, but not the most informed. --

That is my thought on why the money tries to push Palin and Rove, if he really is being thought of as a TP'er. They are there to discredit and ruin the genuine dialogue that people brought forth with ideas on how to right this ship as opposed to the divide an concur mentality provided to us by corporate america (I guess that is globalists now not america as they could care less about the US)


stillinsteamboat 6 years, 7 months ago

The way I see it, the main message of the right is not about the constitution or freedom, nor is it about liberty. It's about money and keeping more of it. Many of Roves followers are very wealthy people, the rest of the followers are just plain gullible and they will never benefit from the rights agenda. Fear is the message and It's wraped in the American flag to make it seem more patriotic.


ybul 6 years, 7 months ago

The message of the constitution should be one in which we all agree upon. I believe there are constitutional ways to address most problems we face today. Those with which we try to fix things through unconstitutional matters tend to fail. Farm subsidies - have had major unintended consequences that destroyed our rural communities. Fanny and Freddie - have helped to bring on the mess we are in today. The federal reserve has facilitated massive deficit spending that has bankrupt our country and the industrial base it once had. The environment can be dealt with via private property rights. Education needs to be dealt with at the local level. The DOEnergy is a complete failure.

The system is a mess and only by returning to the framework of the constitution will we ever regain what made this country great.


Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 7 months ago

First, we should pay down what we owe, in my opinion. Lower taxes are great, but not at the cost of the debt we've accumulated. We've all voted in everyone in both parties who all spent like crazy. It's our own fault.

We need to reinstitute Pay-Go for any additional spending. Once we get a handle on both spending and debt, we reprioritize the spending and maybe the tax system itself. Personally, I'm for the Flat Tax. It's much more fair to everyone.

Before you restructure the IRS, though, you want a stability factor working in your favor. That must be a more stable level of debt. I just don't believe a "wipe it clean all at once" approach can work. This is why I believe the moderates of both parties are the true instigators of progress in Congress.


stillinsteamboat 6 years, 7 months ago

Ybul, nicely said however I have yet to hear a conservative speak who doesn't think all our problems started in November 08. That's the day this country went to hell in a hand basket. Forget the 8 years George Bush, Dick Cheyney and especially Karl Rove spat on our Constitution. Now they think they wrote the darn thing.


Scott Wedel 6 years, 7 months ago

The joke of a flat tax is that if it were to raise the same amount of revenue then it would require increasing the taxes of at least 80% and maybe more than 95% of the population in order to make up tor the reduced taxes paid by the richest 5% that currently pay higher rates.

Easiest way to kill the idea of a flat tax would be to actually propose it. A tax hike for the vast majority of the population is not going to be very popular.


ybul 6 years, 7 months ago

I suppose then you have not actually tried to listen to Ron Paul and his writings for years then. He holds no illusions that our problems started in 08.

I think you ought to put down the conservative liberal banter as that is what the "leaders" want, a house divided, so they can lead us where they want to. Not in the vision of what this country was to be in the eyes of the founders.


Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 7 months ago

ybul- Ron Paul wants the "Fair Tax" version, though. I don't agree with what I've seen when it comes to parsing the percentages on it. Ron was using fuzzy math in order to backward-calculate to counter that his point level was too low when it came to tax-inclusive amounts. It came down to saying that a tax-inclusive amount of $100 would be 10%, making the non-tax amount $90. That's not true, though. As it stands now, we take the base amount- $90- and add 10% of that amount...$9, to equal $99. There's a dollar gone. Otherwise, you have to specify the $100 is the TOTAL amount, and 10% is taken from that to equal $90. That isn't how we currently tax items and I don't know if it's fair to change the mathematics involved.

Scott- with a Flat Tax, you can also get rid of a lot of tax breaks that come from our current system. With thousands of tax breaks currently available, almost none of us pay the current percentage level for our incomes. It's a large problem in our society- there are too many exceptions to the "rule".


ybul 6 years, 7 months ago

Not claiming Ron Paul is the holy grail or has all the answers. None of us do, the point is that we need to quit bickering and listen to others who have opposing viewpoints and find common ground as there is much to be found that we can start to move forward from.


Matthew Stoddard 6 years, 7 months ago

ybul- I agree, but I only listen to people who do not seek to intentionally misinform people for their own benefit. Those types of people are completely deserving of derision.

This is also why I've been looking at 3rd party candidates these last few years. I can't bring myself to vote for those I keep seeing put up by the 2 major parties. I also will not support Tea Party candidates because too many of their loudest ignoramuses always seem to be at the forefront of their message and it spoils it for the ones who aren't completely insane. They also aren't very good about getting the HOW message out when it comes to their goals. It's just NO this and NO that. Sounds like a child not wanting to eat their veggies. They won't tell you what they want to eat; only what they won't.


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