Sep 17, 2015

Karl Rove Talks About His Beautiful Doggie Girl and True Love for Democrats or Republicans

Border Collie
Border Collie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
English: Tri color border collie
English: Tri color border collie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
BC_eye.jpg, Border Collie exhibiting "Col...
BC_eye.jpg, Border Collie exhibiting "Collie Eye" to stare down sheep (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Blue merle Border Collie pup at 15 weeks start...
Blue merle Border Collie pup at 15 weeks starting to use the eye. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Farewell To A Border Collie Underdog

Nan taught compassion, patience and habits of acceptance. And she loved herding goats.

Beautiful, sweet Nan passed away Saturday. Our border collie was diagnosed with cancer in February and given a month. They could operate, the veterinarians said, but it would buy her only weeks and her quality of life would be poor. So we prepared ourselves as best we could and tried to make her last remaining days comfortable.

Instead, we had Nan for almost half a year more than we expected—and for all but a few moments, she was herself: energetic, demanding, loving and life-affirming. Mercifully, when the end came, it came quickly. The last thing we wanted was for her to suffer.

Nan was the runt of her litter. The breeder didn’t even offer her up for inspection since she had lost her tail as a puppy, cut off on a barbed wire fence.

But there was something about that pup. Maybe true underdogs have special appeal. The first few weeks, she sat under the furniture and wouldn’t come out. But after a while, she allowed herself to be petted, then took to jumping onto the bed every night and making her personality’s full force felt.

Nan took a special interest in regularly walking us, insisting on long ambles twice a day for our health. I was expected to use the long, plastic Chuckit with the scoop-end to throw balls to keep my arms limber, which Nan encouraged by retrieving most of the balls.

She demanded squeaky ones, not regular tennis balls, so she could mock me, biting the ball to make noise, then dropping it before snatching it as I went to pick it up.

Nan was something of a survivalist. Fearing a shortage of squeaky balls, she hid a large number of them in the high grass along our walks. Neighbors took to leaving in our mailbox the balls they’d found in their bushes.

Of course, border collies are working dogs. They need employment. So Nan loved our little ranch near Blanco, Texas. There she could herd goats, cows, donkeys and horses. The first three tolerated her; the horses did not. They took umbrage that an animal so small presumed to try to boss around animals so large. But she did.

Her favorites were goats, especially the baby ones. They appreciated leadership and came to associate Nan’s arrival with the appearance of food. Blessed be Nan from whom all pellets come! That was because Nan always accompanied the ranch foreman, Jorge Pichardo, riding shotgun in the four-wheeler or running along side the truck when he fed the animals and inspected the fences. At the ranch, she wouldn’t swim in the pool, but would jump in a water trough to cool off.

Things were different in town. The farm dog became a city slicker, sleeping in one of her two comfy beds when she wasn’t trying to carve out part of ours. She would remove herself to the one in the big closet when she didn’t fancy the late-night movie we were watching, but she preferred the one in the bedroom under her portrait by a certain former president.

No matter how busy she was, Nan was happy to present her belly, back, head or neck to be scratched. She particularly enjoyed the brain massage, a vigorous head-rub accompanied by neck-scratching.

Nan followed other great dogs that I have known. When I was at the White House, I honored Harry Truman’s dictum that if you want a friend in Washington, get a dog. I had two—the ever-loyal Daisy and the whip-smart Gracie. Both passed a few years ago, but even now I feel a twinge when I see dogs that look like my old pals.

Nearly half of all American households are blessed with a dog. Dogs teach compassion and patience, both by what they give and what they require. They encourage habits of acceptance: They are who they are, and we must adapt. We learn true unconditional love from them. And given their lives’ relative briefness, they remind us that we must be grateful for each moment we are given.

“Heaven goes by favor,” Mark Twain once said, for “if it went by merit, you would stay out and your dog would go in.” RIP, sweet Nan.
A version of this article appeared August 27, 2015, in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline Farewell To A Border Collie Underdog and online at

Sweet Nan

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Thank you, Karl Rove, for taking time to share your very wonderful thoughts about your border very, very sorry for your ronnie re.

Numbers Expert Karl Rove Talks The Presidential Debate and Winning The Big Race

Wall Street Journal

The Real GOP Race Has Barely Started

At this point in 2011, Rick Perry was on top—and three others led without winning, too.

The difficulty with a Thursday column after a Wednesday presidential debate is that the newspaper is put to bed hours before the debate starts. But here are a few observations about the GOP contest that don’t depend on how specific candidates fared in their second face-off.

The race is likely to swirl unpredictably for some time to come. On this day in 2011, Texas Gov. Rick Perry led the presidential field with 29.9% in the Real Clear Politics average of polls. Still in the future were the periods during which Herman Cain, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum were each the front-runner. Mitt Romney, the eventual nominee, didn’t grab the lead in the polls for good until Feb. 28, 2012. Several people on stage last night probably moved their numbers—for good or ill—with their debate performances.

Remember, too, that in 2012 the Iowa caucuses were held on Jan. 3. Next year, the caucuses take place on Feb. 1. That makes movement even more likely: 63% of Republicans believe it is too early to make up their minds, according to a Sept. 13 New York Times/CBS News poll.

Conventional wisdom has been that nothing front-runner Donald Trump says hurts him. But there are signs that the contrast between Mr. Trump’s abrasive style and Ben Carson’s soft-spoken demeanor is having an effect. Mr. Trump’s support seems to have topped out, rising only three points, to 27% from 24% in the past two months, according to the New York Times/CBS poll. Perhaps Mr. Trump’s pungent insults are having a cumulative and corrosive effect.

Support for Mr. Carson, meanwhile, rose 17 points, to 23% from 6%. This jump came even though Mr. Carson had a lackluster first debate performance—though his thoughtful closing remarks alone may have caused voters to pay more attention to him.

The danger for Mr. Trump is that his campaign is built around his poll numbers. He obsesses about them in his speeches and gets testy when journalists point out negative ones, like recent Marist/MSNBC/Telemundo poll showing that 70% of Latinos view him negatively. What happens if he loses the lead?

There is also likely to be more volatility as voters become increasingly interested in whether candidates have credible plans to achieve their goals. After the glitter of campaign announcements fades, the time for substance arrives.

If the past is any guide, voters will be increasingly preoccupied with the deeply personal and complex question of whether a candidate is qualified to be president. Especially in the early states, party activists are becoming serious about determining which candidates have the temperament, character and vision to provide effective leadership in the Oval Office.

All of this comes when trust in government is at a historical low. Last year when Gallupasked Americans how much confidence they had in Washington, more than half said “not very much” or “none at all.” Americans are more skeptical of the federal government now than they were even in 2008, during the financial crisis, or in 1976, two years after Watergate. The presidential candidates successful in those years were relatively untested “outsiders”—one-term Georgia Gov. Jimmy Carter and then-first-term Sen. Barack Obama.

Fifty-six percent of Americans want the next president to have experience in the political system, while only 40% want someone from outside the political establishment, according to a Sept. 10 Washington Post/ABC poll. Republicans, however, favor an outsider 58% to 36%. They are so infuriated with the political class that they want a candidate who will throw a brick through Washington’s window.

This points to the challenge for Republican hopefuls who have held office: They need to show that they have effectively challenged the political status quo. Having served outside Washington, governors should have an easier time at this than senators.

There will be four more debates—one a month—before the Iowa caucuses, then three debates in February. Until then, the only thing we know for sure is that the race will be determined by how the candidates conduct themselves. That would be true in any political year; it’s triply true in this unusually volatile era, when many of the usual rules don’t apply. The candidates—and all the rest of us—should buckle our seat belts. We’re in for quite a ride.

A version of this article appeared September 18, 2015, in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline The Real GOP Race Has Barely Started and online at

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Karl Rove shares his thoughts about the passing of his very beautiful and loved doggie girl:

Thanks, Karl Rove, for giving us your take on the debate.