The Daily News of Galveston County, Texas reports that former top Bush aide Karl Rove is scheduled as the keynote speaker at the Texas Realtors Association’s convention in San Antonio this September. When local realtors Karen Derr and Alice Melott heard the news, “they were appalled.”
In fact, Derr, Melott, and other area Realtors have “launched an e-mail campaign to persuade the association’s leaders to strike Rove from the speaker lineup.” “What kind of message are we sending to the public we seek to serve by our very invitation to such an infamous politico?” Melott said in a letter to association leaders.
Another associate noted Rove’s inability to meet the Reators’ ethical standards and stated his intention to protest Rove’s presence at the convention:
“Rove definitely does not embody the ethics we want the public to associate with Realtors,” said Bill Hammond, an agent with Karen Derr and Associates Realty. […]
Hammond said he plans to organize a protest of Rove at the convention. He also said the association’s dues should not be used to pay Rove’s speaking fees, which in some cases are as high as $40,000.
The realtors are concerned that Rove would disrupt the convention. “We don’t need that kind of atmosphere at the meeting,” Derr said. Indeed, Rove tends to attract protesters whenever he appears in public:
— At George Washington University speech last March, Rove was interrupted by a group of protesters who unfurled a banner reading “War Criminal.” One a student asked Rove why some of his detractors believe he is a “fundamentally bad human being.”
— Under heavy pressure from students, New England prep school Choate Rosemary Hall has decided to cancel Rove’s address at its commencement ceremony.
— Rove spoke to a hostile crowd at the University of Iowa last March where students and local citizens protested his appearance at the university and “staged a mock trial” for Rove inside the student union before the speech.
Realtors association chairman Randy Jeffers said that he has no plans to withdraw the offer to Rove to speak at the convention, saying he is proud that the organization will feature “one of the most influential and controversial people in public policy today.”