Rob Garver

Rob Garver is a freelance journalist living in Springfield, Va., and is currently studying at Georgetown Public Policy Institute.

Recent Articles

Bible Bloc

On March 9, evangelical Christians will converge in Washington, D.C., for the annual convention of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE), which represents various Protestant churches and denominations across the country with a combined membership of between 30 million and 40 million people. Anybody concerned about the increasing influence of religion on U.S. public policy ought to be paying close attention. A key event during the convention will be the release of a 12-page statement of principles meant to serve as guidelines for unprecedented political engagement by U.S. evangelicals. Called For the Health of the Nation: An Evangelical Call to Civic Responsibility , this manifesto for a Bible-based public policy calls on evangelical Christians to recognize that it is their religious obligation to advocate for government policies that support their religious beliefs. The preamble to the document quickly makes clear that the group is not looking to influence policy on the...

Lockhart and Barrel

If there's an enterprising congressional Democrat out there looking to make a splash in the fight against partial privatization of Social Security, he or she ought to call up James B. Lockhart III, deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration (SSA), and ask him to come speak at an anti-private accounts rally. Lockhart, a political appointee and major donor who has given about $20,000 to GOP causes over the past two election cycles, has been appearing at town-hall meetings across the country for the past week with Republican members of Congress, all of whom are pushing President Bush's privatization agenda. An interested citizen attending one of these events might have taken away the idea that, by appearing at an event with a lawmaker aggressively pushing privatization, Lockhart was signaling his -- or even the SSA's -- support of privatization. But Lockhart insists that in all his appearances with pro-privatization Republicans, his role is strictly educational. And,...

Spin Some, Screw Some

It was probably just modesty, but in his 2,700-word, four-byline, full-page farewell to himself in the January 24 New York Times , retiring columnist William Safire forgot to mention many of his achievements during his illustrious career as the Times ' designated right-winger. For instance, he forgot to remind viewers how he won a Pulitzer Prize in 1978 for hounding Bert Lance out of Jimmy Carter's Office of Management and Budget, beating the drum on charges of conflict of interest and corruption until Lance, a Georgia banker (or “bankitician,” as Safire referred to him in 1977) and longtime friend of Carter's, was forced to resign. Nor did he mention that subsequent investigations of Lance by federal law-enforcement agencies, financial regulators, and Congress all failed to find any evidence of wrongdoing. Lance, who says that he and Safire later became good friends, wrote about an exchange he had with the columnist years later in which he asked, “Bill, why did this happen? Why was I...

Slips of Paper

Republicans in the House and the Senate, led by President Bush, are making an all-out push to convince the American people that Social Security is in such a severe crisis that only drastic and immediate action can save it from financial oblivion. After the president finishes his State of the Union address on Wednesday, he's expected to go on the road, touting his Social Security reform agenda across the country. He'll be doing this in part to drum up support among wavering Republican legislators, such as Oregon Senator Gordon Smith, who have been lukewarm in their public statements about the administration's plan to partially privatize Social Security. Hopefully when the president speaks to people across the country, he'll be a little more honest in his tactics than some of his fellow Republicans have been. One of the loudest voices in support of the president has been Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum's. Santorum has been traveling around his home state with a PowerPoint-type slide...

Spin Around

This time four years ago, relentless media focus on Al Gore's sighs had managed to convince the voting public that the vice president had actually lost a debate that the majority of viewers believed he had won. So, it shows just how soundly John Kerry beat George W. Bush last Thursday that instead of spending the last week declaring victory, the Republican spin machine spent its TV time claiming that defeat didn't mater. And to add insult to injury, Bush's spinners have been forced to defend the president' s sighs and mannerisms -- things they were all too happy to blast Gore for in 2000. By Monday, as the media's attention was shifting from the post-presidential debate analysis to previews of Tuesday's vice-presidential debate, it was clear not only that Bush had lost to Kerry but that his talk-show surrogates -- who had done little except play defense for three days -- had lost the battle to spin public reaction in their man's favor. Of course, it took a media cycle or two for the...

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