Like most Poli-Sci majors I used to be a news junkie. It kind of comes with the territory, if you care about government and politics and the Important Issues of Our Times (tm) you need to pay attention to the news. How else are you going to know about that critical House appropriations bill that the evil Republicans are trying to attach some manner of foul rider to, or those chaste and pure Judges who will restore decency to the bench who the vile Democrats are filibustering? Being a news junkie doesn't just involve reading a daily paper or watching TV, of course. You need multiple sources so you can triangulate the truth through the layers of bias, and of course now there are the blogs to pay attention to, bringing you the stories that the mainstream media missed, or refuses to carry.
If it sounds like a big job it is. There's a reason they call them news junkies and not news dabblers. That's not the worst part, though.
The worst part is that when you're a news junkie you actually know what's going on in the world. At least you know the things going on in the world that most people think matter. The vast majority of them are awful. Sure there's the occasional bit of good news when the economy heats up or a previously authoritarian regime takes a few steps towards democracy, but those hardly make up for Sudanese genocide or prognostications of doom based on burgeoning credit card debt. It's depressing. It's scary. It's living in a world where the sun may come up tomorrow, but that will only lead to a spike in malignant skin cancers.
Most news junkies become burnouts or cynics, people who just know that the other shoe is about to drop, and it's going to be a doozy. It's an interesting population, but not one you want to really get to know well. The beltway doesn't corrupt just with nice dinners and corporate getaways, it corrupts because once you see the problems of the mass of humanity, once you understand their scope, everything seems intractable. Why not take the money and run when anything else you try and do is likely to have roughly the same effect?
This whole mess is why I tried to divest myself of my news junkie habits and become more focused on other things. Writing, sports, entertainment, the whole lot of it. Reading about Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes may not be the best use of brainpower mankind has divined, but it probably won't send you spiraling into depression either. Only you also need to stay at least somewhat informed, so you can be a good citizen and an intelligent voter. So I didn't give up the news entirely, I just restricted it to the Times and a few blogs here and there, maybe the San Francisco Chronicle when I wanted to know what those damned hippies are up to. It seemed a decent balance.
For a time. Lately I've been slipping though. I think it started after the election, when I learned that we'd have four more years of Republican rule. And it's only gotten worse since then. Now I find myself upset if I'm not up on what's happening in Tikrit, or unaware of the latest machinations of the Republican Country Destroying machine as it systematically decimates our once proud nation. I need to stop. Because knowing what's going on isn't the same as changing things. Oh sure you can take up a career in public service, or mount a campaign to improve things on a local, state, or even national level. It's not that an individual can't make a difference, but an individual can't make a difference in every arena. Not even a president of the United States. So it's best to focus on the things that matter most to you, understand those issues and fight the good fight, have a passing knowledge of whatever else is going on, and spend the rest of your time focusing on things you can change for the better.
Because being a news junkie is like any other kind of addiction. There's never a point when you have enough, there's always a greater cost than you expect, and ultimately it stands a good chance of destroying you. It's not only possible to have too much of a good thing, it's easy. Easier than you would imagine.
Karl Rove is a proud man and he admits it. He considers himself to be the best of the best at what he does. The best in America, the best in the world, and possibly the best in history. Rove once said that "When you're passionate about something that passion translates into results, and nobody's more passionate about this than I am." When you first hear that quote you might think that it's about running campaigns or setting political agendas. It's not. Karl Rove is good at those things, but as he readily admits, they are just part of his day job as the closest thing modern America has to a Rasputin, a voice in the president's ear guiding him on policy and political issues alike. It's satisfying work for Karl Rove, but it's not part of who he is. It doesn't define him like what he jokingly refers to as his "Night job." You see, when the lights go out in the West Wing and the country goes to bed, another Karl Rove emerges, and this Karl Rove just might be the greatest panty sniffer the world has ever known.
It started when he was 12. His older sister Karen used to have slumber parties where she'd invite friends from school to watch horror movies and pig out on the sorts of foods one might expect. Young Karl was always drawn to these gatherings, both as a boy on the cusp of manhood who felt strange stirrings within him at the sight of so many nubile girls in their underthings, and as a pudgy youngster with a taste for popcorn and Twizzlers. At first Karen and her friends tried to drive the young male intruder away, but he was persistent and refused to be dissuaded by tactics ranging from purple nurples and wet willies to epic wedgies that would often tear his tight white underpants asunder. It was after one such wedgie that a party attendee, one Melinda Casey, mockingly suggested that she would get some underpants to replace Karl's torn ones and pulled a pair of Karen's from the drawer, stretching them over his head. From the first scent of his sister's freshly washed white cotton panties Karl was intoxicated. He happily sat and watched the movie alongside the girls, making no attempt to remove them from his large round head.
This begat a tradition wherein each of Karen's friends would bring a pair of panties, sometimes fresh, sometimes soiled, to the slumber parties and they would take turns sliding them over Karl's head as he sighed contentedly. Sometimes they would cover him with more than one at a time, and on several occasions he was forced to wear panties tied across his nose and mouth, like a desperado's bandanna when they were watching a western. The girls found it amusing to humiliate their friend's young brother, but Karl was having the erotic time of his life. He made attempts to cover up the hardness within his pants by wearing loose trousers or sitting with his hands in his lap, but occasionally the girls would notice and they would mock him and laugh long and hard at his expense. Karl, for his part, would sit there unmoving, breathing deeply of the scent of young womanhood enveloping his head and face.
Eventually Karen moved away to college and Karl found himself both alone and desolate. He had come to depend on those weekly sessions with her friends as almost his sole source of sexual stimulation. Young Karl was not considered handsome, and though his parents wondered why he didn't date they assumed that it was because he was a late bloomer. In fact Karl had tried to go on dates, but found them profoundly unsatisfying. After spending evenings ensconced in the silky underpants of a dozen older girls Karl simply good not get excited about a burger and shake with one his age, even if it was followed by some light petting and awkward kissing. The first time a girl put her tongue in his mouth Karl recoiled, it was strong and slimy, like an angry slug. No comparison for the elegant smoothness of a pair of silk panties, delicately flavored with the taste of pretty Melinda's womanhood.
Junior year of high school was lonely for Karl, but then came senior year and an opportunity. The girls field hockey team needed an equipment manager, and while it was assumed that the ideal candidate would also be a girl none stepped forward, and Karl was able to get the position. As an equipment manager Karl was pretty effective. He always had the goals set up before practice, the sticks polished and ready, and spares of everything in case of a problem. His only flaw was that he tended to lose pieces of the uniforms he was supposed to launder, specifically panties and sports bras. When asked where the undergarments had gone he would shrug and say he must have left it in the Laundromat, or maybe one of the girls had accidentally taken it home with him. Mrs. Werner, the team's coach, suspected the truth but she didn't want to have to bother with all the equipment herself, and Karl was such a bright and friendly young boy, that she never brought it up. For his part Karl found himself in heaven, rescuing precious under panties from the team hamper and taking them home with him in plastic bags, to preserve the sweat and other fluids they had soaked up while on the bodies of the sweaty, hardworking girls. He would get to his room, lock the door, open the bag, take a deep, satisfying, whiff and masturbate furiously. Soon he had a collection of panties and bras from each of the girls on the team, and he kept them under the mattress of his bed, where other boys might keep Playboys. One day after his mother came in to clean he found his collection gone and had to rebuild it from scratch, but Mrs. Rove never brought it up and neither did Karl. Besides, it was exciting to get an entirely fresh batch, each panty scented with an intoxicating mix of vaginal lubricants, sweat, and fresh mowed grass. He tried to stay clear of the panties of girls who were menstruating at this point, and the occasional fecal streak left him with mixed feelings. It would be years before he fully appreciated the varying smells that could come from a single woman's nether regions.
College was a rude awakening for Karl. All the women's teams had female equipment managers, and it was hard for a pudgy socially insecure freshman like him to strike up even an acquaintanceship with a pretty woman, let alone a relationship strong enough for him to be left alone in her room with her underwear drawer. He was kicked out of his first school for getting a girl he was 'studying with' drunk and rifling through her and her roommate's underwear drawers, sticking his head in among the soft cotton panties and stuffing some mementos in his pockets. The roommate and her boyfriend walked in on him doing the dirty deed, and after a brief trial he was asked not to return for the spring semester.
What followed was a series of transfers to various institutions, each of which would accept him on the basis of his strong academic record and charming personality, only to be forced to expel him (or place him on academic probation) shortly afterwards as his campus antics became known. This was a difficult time for Karl. Nobody seemed to understand his need, and while perhaps it could be argued that breaking into the girls' dorm to pillage their laundry room was uncouth, nobody had gotten hurt. He felt dejected and rejected by both society at large and women in particular. Ironically the only thing that could get him out of his funk was the scent of a soiled panty, bringing him back to the halcyon days of his youth and his sister's slumber parties.
Eventually Karl found his way to small Cedar State College in Southern Illinois, where he first encountered the college Republicans. They were to be his saviors. Karl had already become a conservative, as many young men who don't fit in or feel unappreciated do, and so he went to the first meeting looking just to maybe meet some friends and perhaps get a glimpse of the promised land up the skirt of a woman or two. What he found was a group of men, only men, who were in the midst of planning something. Not a campus election or fund-raising activity, not a strategy session or speaking event, but a panty raid.
Rove knew he had found a home.
Using his considerable brainpower Karl Rove managed to convince the CR leadership to let him head up the raid, and based on his experience as a lone operator he was able to draw up plans and strategies that nobody else there had even thought of. The first raid was on the Sigma Delta Pi sorority, and with Rove's strategies in play the Republicans managed to capture over 80% of the panties in the house, with only casualty, a freshman who slipped on a silk brassiere left on the floor and fell down the stairs. He survived but had a broken collarbone. The men returned to the CR home base to divide the booty, and as the leader Karl got the pick of the littler. He ended up with a pair of unwashed panties that had belonged to the head cheerleader on campus and several interesting garments belonging to bookish girls, whose smell he was particularly fond of.
Rove's Raiders, as they became known, continued their efforts in the coming months and were successful on a scale that no panty pirates were before or have been since. At one point their activities were so frenetic that half the girls at Cedar State had to go to classes with no panties on at all. Needless to say this endeared them to the other men on campus and their ranks swelled.
Republican strategist Lee Atwater heard of Rove's successes as an organizer and tabbed him as a potential head of the College Republicans on a national basis. After a fierce campaign against Terry Dolan, Rove was declared the winner after rumors spread that Dolan liked to wear women's underwear. Of course these were based on panties found in Dolan's room, planted by Rove allies from his considerable supply. Rove learned a lesson about the value of dirty play on that day that he would not forget.
Eventually Rove left Cedar State to become a full time political strategist, going from campaign to campaign down in the South helping Republicans win office. Rove was an effective campaign worker, and much in demand, but he had the peculiar stipulation that any campaign that hired him would have to provide him with a steady supply of soiled panties during his stay. Some on the Christian right found this deplorable, but you couldn't argue with Rove's success, so most agreed to his demands.
Rove eventually went to work for the Bush family, lured by a box of Jane Fonda's used underpants that Bush operatives had bought from the North Vietnamese. He was assigned to work with a troubled scion of the great political machine, George W., who was an alcoholic at the time. Karl had a rapport with Bush, since they both suffered from a debilitating addiction, Bush to alcohol and Karl to 'white cotton bliss' and they bonded instantly. During this time Rove married a woman named Valerie Wainright. The marriage didn't last because Wainright grew tired of being forced to go commando almost every day thanks to Karl's insatiable appetite. She also didn't appreciate sharing the house with his collection. "Most men have a mistress" she is reported to have said "Karl has a thousand mistresses, and he licks and sniffs at them almost every night. I can't handle it." When the union was dissolved the official word came to be that Rove was too intensely into politics. Insiders have long laughed at this theory. "If by politics you mean French cut underwear stolen from the locker room of the local country club I guess you could say that." Says one source.
One good thing did come out of the marriage. While Rove had sniffed enough panties, tens of thousands by now, to be able to tell a lot about a woman (Weight, height, ethnicity, point in her reproductive cycle, activity level) by just the scent of her vaginal secretions, his pallet became even more subtle during his time with Wainright. He learned to detect a woman's mood just from how her panties smelled and were bunched in the hamper, and even to a degree what kind of thoughts she had been having. Serious or frivolous? Was she pondering or daydreaming? All this Rove could tell with just a few licks on a fresh pair of panties, and perhaps some sleeping underwear for comparison's sake. This was a skill that came in quite handy during the eventual campaign against Ann Richards.
Eventually with Rove's help Bush got clean and began to climb the ladder of the Texas business community, after failing with a bid for the House of Representatives in '78. Rove was by his side, helping him any way he could, and Bush appreciated that, making sure that Rove was never pantiless. It was a match made in heaven.
Together Bush and Rove managed to defeat incumbent Texas Governor Ann Richards and claim the statehouse for Bush. At this point Rove was already remarried, to a woman who could tolerate his peculiar predilection, and firmly established as a political mastermind. There were rumors that Bush and Rove had had a mole in the Richards camp telling them what she was thinking. In fact what they had done was pay off an employee of Richards favorite Laundromat to give Rove access to her underwear, from which he could piece together what her thoughts of the time were. Nobody caught on.
Rove and Bush ran Texas for 6 years before ascending to the White House in the famous campaign of 2000. At this point Rove's love of panties was an open secret in Washington, and indeed during the first term it was known that if you wanted access to Bush you need to contribute to two funds. His campaign war chest and Rove's panty collection. Women throughout the D.C. area found themselves being propositioned on the street by lobbyists wanting to buy their underpants to send to Rove, and soon his office was flooded with them. Eventually he had to move some of his collection to a nuclear bunker intended for use by the Minority leadership in the House and Senate in case of an attack.
Meanwhile in the White House Rove became more and more arrogant and demanding. Female members of the administration were routinely stopped in the hall and asked to surrender their undergarments to him, and those who refused faced censure or worse. It was rumored that Christine Todd Whitman, a woman he particularly admired, refused to give in. She didn't make it to Bush's second term as EPA administrator.
The re-election of Bush, despite a staggeringly awful first term as president, has cemented Rove's status as a mastermind and given him virtual Carte blanch on the panty-sniffing front. Believing that nothing can hurt him now Rove has not only stepped up his acquisitions but also for the first time openly admitted to some of his behavior. For example Rove says that his entire office is appointed in unwashed, used, women's underpants. The chair upholstery, the carpeting, even the curtains, sewn together from thousands of pairs of panties. He also has said that the military requires female soldiers and officers to completely change their underwear wardrobe every 28 days, sending the discards to be "Recycled" which is code for sent to Rove. "There's something deliciously sweet about the lubricants of a woman who has served in Iraq. I don't foresee us leaving there any time soon." Says Rove. Rove has also had "sniffers" as he calls them sewn into the lapels of all his suits. He was caught recently licking the inside of his jacket on camera, after which he smiled sheepishly and flashed a bit of red velvet fabric.
Does Karl Rove have any regrets about his panty sniffing? "I hate thongs" says Rove. "They get far up into the crack, sure, but there's not enough material to really collect a true scent. It's a very disturbing trend how popular they're getting. We may have to ban them." A trend that some blame Rove for starting, at least in D.C. Several young interns say that they were tired of political operatives stealing their garments to send to Rove and that with thongs at least they don't have to worry about that, even if the coverage isn't as great.
For his part Rove remains defiant to those who call him a deviant. "I have an unusual lifestyle but I am an unusual man. Who is to say that panty-sniffing hasn't made me the man I am today."
Does Rove have a favorite panty or type of panty? "White cotton is always a classic, as are the lacy ones from Victoria's secret, they're so delicate against the nose and on the tongue, something really special there. As for a type of woman, well, a Filipina in her 30's is probably the ideal. They have this citrusy scent that's simply superb, but I don't discriminate. African American, White, Pre-Teen, Octogenarian? Constipated, incontinent? As long as they are female and they wear panties I will sniff them and enjoy them."
As for technique? Rove says it depends on how soaked and soiled a pair is, but normally he likes to stretch a pair of panties out on a flat surface and lower his nose to it, inhaling deeply. After that he makes a few passes over it sniffing, and then licks it gently with his tongue. If it is a particularly nice pair he will lift it with his hands to his face and place it over his nose for a few breaths, or stick a corner into his mouth to get the full flavor. Occasionally the whole panty will go in, but he doesn't like the way cotton and silk threads feel on his palette so that is the exception rather than the rule. After the first sniff a pair of panties will either go into his current rotation drawer, which he uses during the day from time to time, or into storage in the bunker in case it is needed later. He never throws a pair away, considering each pair of panties both a gift from god, and a memory to be treasured forever.
Rumor has it that Rove has even started accepting underpants belonging to transsexuals and the transgendered, but he loudly denies them. Meanwhile Karl Rove continues his life as one of America's best-known political operatives, and the undisputed worldwide king of panty sniffing.
Long may you reign sir, long may you reign.