Figbert Terwilliger, a lecturer in political science at Alamance Community College in Graham, N.C., made history last week when he became the first “impartial” analyst quoted by an American media outlet to say something not 100 percent negative about former George W. Bush aide Karl Rove.
Rove retired last Monday, and in the thousands and thousands of media interviews given by political science professors, political consultants, Washington correspondents, Washington bureau chiefs, retired Washington correspondents, retired Washington bureau chiefs, future Washington correspondents, future Washington bureau chiefs, and bloggers who write for HuffingtonPost.com, Terwilliger was the first analyst not directly affiliated with the Republican Party to have something non-hostile to say about the former White House political director.
Terwilliger was quoted Friday in the Burlington Times-News as saying “You’ll hear a lot about how Karl Rove was a master at winning elections by cynically dividing the American people along cultural fault-lines. But the people already were divided. I think Rove just saw where his side had an edge and exploited the divisions that helped his team, just like any good political adviser would do.”
Told that his comments constituted the first positive non-Republican assessment of Rove’s career, Terwilliger asked that we not do this story.
“I don’t have tenure yet, you fools!” he screamed just before hanging up.
The recognition Terwilliger received for his comments almost went to NYU professor Herbert Veldovsky. But when told that his were the first non-Republican comments about Rove that did not contain the word “Nazi,” “Fascist,” “evil,” “anti-Christ”, “neoconservative,” “boot-licker,” or “Satan’s willing pawn,” Veldovsky said, “You mean they edited out the line about storm troopers? Dammit!”
Terwilliger’s comments prompted an immediate review by his superior, Dean of Social and Behavioral Sciences Gerald Sprupple.
“Alamance Community College promotes, encourages and defends academic freedom,” Sprupple said. “Unless you start praising Republicans.”
Reminded that Terwilliger did not exactly praise Rove, but rather entertained the possibility that Rove might not be the concentrated, earth-bound embodiment of pure evil, Sprupple said, “We’ll let the review get to the bottom of it. In the meantime, have you registered for Poli Sci 301: Karl Rove and the dividing of America?”