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June 23, 2005

Comments

The White House has already responded in full support of Rove's mild remarks. Just a little difference of opinion.

I'm so very, very tired of being called a traitor......

Remember everyone on the left: when the terrorists kill you, it was your fault anyway.

Ah, for the ability to swear. Wait... I have my own blog!

I'm so very, very tired of being called a traitor

me too.

if we're all traitors, aren't they obligated to lock us up ? i just wish they'd start the round-ups and get it over with.

zmulls: yes, I just added an update about the White House's defense of Rove's remarks. Typepad is doing its usual interminable 'publish' thing.

And note that he said it in New York. For some reason, that detail took my breath away.

These people have no honor and no shame.

Why would Rove do either? His base agrees with him. His leadership won't sell him out. In the main, the Democratic leadership is afraid to take him on. And he's even got the prior agreement of some putative liberals(see, e.g., Thomas Friedman, and, no doubt, Lieberman).

Just accept this and move on. Getting angry about it only ruins your day.

The Authoritarian Party never needs to apologize, it would make them look weak. On the other hand, they are darn effective bullies when people point out that the actions of the Authoritarian Party have undermined us in world and national affairs, and that if they have their way with Social Security and a renewal of the USA TRAITOR act, they might work on becoming the Totalitarian Party -- of the rich, by the rich, and for the rich with the religious zealots as their fellow travellers.

We have always been at war with Eastasia.

I feel like we've tried to "accept it" and just move on.

What we've got for it is a despoiled environment, a useless war, fiscal irresponsibility, the end of consumer protections and a march towards suppression of unapproved opinions (see Sensenbrenner, James).

Lack of anger and lack of attention have brought us to this moment....

Treason is a capitol offense if I remember correctly. If 49% of the country is treasonous, let's just start building the camps.

After watching Durbin's fold, then watch the White House back up Rove on this 100%, have the dems finally learned that you never apologize? What does it get you? Never, never apologize. Never defend. Always attack.

I'm still waiting for Bird, Von and Sebastian to write lengthy posts on how over the top this is and how the Administration has lost major crediblity over this affair which can never be recovered.

After the outrage at Durbin's remarks, I look forward to conservative anger and condemnation of Rove extrordinary opinions. Extra points for shock photos of therapy sessions.

John Cole's already taken the administration to task. Good for him. Let's hope that Reynolds et al show some spine on this one.

Sadly, what Brian said.

**Sigh**

Never, never apologize. Never defend. Always attack.

Before we go there, let's see how this plays out. If Rove isn't forced to eat his words, then I'm right there with you.

What Durbin should have said *got there via Body and Soul*.

The leadership of the Republican Party already know they can lie and lie and lie and win elections. It's happened before: it will happen again. Their base forgive them everything.

See, I think you should obviously apologize when you are, in fact, wrong. When Democrats have been wrong, I've said so. But we should not apologize when we are not wrong. And I am, for the moment, fresh out of patience with people who go ballistic whenever any Democrat says something they disagree with, and for some reason can't find it in their hearts to condemn Karl Rove when he says something like this.

I mean: there are lots of criticisms of me that I think are accurate, and others that I don't particularly mind. But then there's a category that are altogether different: the kind that are fighting words. Call me a traitor, say I didn't care about 9/11, or that I was enough of an idiot to want to offer therapy to Osama bin Laden: as far as I'm concerned, those are in the same league as calling me, oh, a rapist or a child abuser.

And I am, of course, making it personal because Rove did. "liberals" aren't some vague category composed of unreal, abstract people. They are Edward and Katherine and I and all the rest of us. And if Rove did not mean to accuse us, he should have spoken more carefully.

hilzoy, you should have posted the other offensive quote:

"Let me just put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the movies of liberals." (my enraged emphasis)

First Draft is asking us to write our Republican representatives in both houses. I called and wrote. I know people serving in Iraq. I'm involved in treating the veterans.

This is despicable. He must resign.

Pretty stupid thing to say, I'll agree. But, given the fact that Howard Dean is still your party chairman, I'm not taking the no-more-mister-niceguy oaths all that seriously, nor the outrage.

Opus: yeah, I thought about it, but it would have gotten too long. Because then I would have had to say: this is coming from an administration that went against the advice of their military and sent in too few troops, without any kind of plan to deal with insurgencies; that allowed explosives depots to be looted; that failed to try in any way to work with Iraq's neighbors, however odious, to try to prevent infiltration by foreign fighters, that forgot -- oops! -- to provide enough armored humvees and body armor, and so on and so forth, and now Dick Durbin is putting our troops at risk?

Sheesh.

It is really sad that Bush and Co. want to keep polarizing our country for their political ends.

I too am sick of being called a traitor.

Pretty stupid thing to say, I'll agree. But, given the fact that Howard Dean is still your party chairman, I'm not taking the no-more-mister-niceguy oaths all that seriously, nor the outrage.

Maybe we shouldn't make a fuss about this, as it'll be a useful lever in the future when we call Bush an Iranian deep-cover agent. Faced with conservative anger, we can just point to Rove's statement.

"It is really sad that Bush and Co. want to keep polarizing our country for their political ends."

No, it's standard operating procedure. Wake me when the grown-up Republicans show up.

I'm not taking the no-more-mister-niceguy oaths all that seriously, nor the outrage

I'm with Slart, though from the other side. This isn't the first time that Republicans have said things like this (remember Zell, anyone?). If there were any teeth behind our "no more Mr. Nice Guy" threats, we'd have shown them by now. And, having seen it before, how outraged can we really pretend to be? Does this strike anyone as out of character for Rove, et. al?

At this point, we just have to wait for the accomodationists in our leadership to get bored and retire. Until then, Rove will continue to play our party, as a whole, like a fiddle.

But, given the fact that Howard Dean blah blah blah

Look! Over there! My 1,000,000th Tu Qouque! Isn't it pretty!

Conservatives are white Christians, liberals want to give terrorists therapy and soldiers to die. Yep, seems about the same to me.

The al-Jazeera thing is especially moronic, however.

However, I would be lying if I said I was especially surprised or outraged about this. I shrugged and said "what else is new". Probably not a healthy reaction but there you go. They have been accusing their opponents of treason, lying about our positions, exploiting New York City when convenient and screwing it over when convenient, for a long long time. Words like this--nothing anyone's saying about them is untrue, but they're not new and they're the least of what bothers me about this administration.

None of this is to say this is acceptable. I understand and approve of fighting back, and while demanding insincere public apologies is silly, it seems to be the only story our idiot news media can understand, as they are still capable of reporting as fact:
"Karl Rove said X"
as opposed to:
"Democrats say Karl Rove said X".

Whereas when it comes to actual ACTIONS of the administration its "Democrats say that Bush did X."

So good for Reid, good for Schumer, good for Hill. But as far as Rove, they may, at long last, have lost their ability to surprise me.

Pretty stupid thing to say, I'll agree. But, given the fact that Howard Dean is still your party chairman, I'm not taking the no-more-mister-niceguy oaths all that seriously, nor the outrage.

Stupid, huh? It was stupid of him to say that I, as a liberal, have the "certain" motive of "putting our troops in greater danger"? You don't take my outrage about that seriously. Slart? You yourself are not outraged about that comment?

For me, the comment about 9/11 is offensive, but pretty typical red meat exaggeration, for effect. If you want to equate that with Howard Dean, I'll disagree, but I'll let the families, friends, and colleagues of those killed speak on that. But when a key, influential member of our White House says that my motive, and Senator Durbin's, is to put our troops in greater danger, you should be angry with me. You should, with me, call for him to retract or resign.

P.S. I see that I was enraged enough to type badly when I quoted. "Motives," not "movies."

P.P.S. Just IMO, hilzoy, it would have been worth the length. I'm sick and tired of Rove getting away with slander, in the name of our born-again, culture-of-life, devoted Christian President.

I'm seriously starting to think that it is only a matter of time before the GOP leadershipin Congress actually attempts to have a sitting Democratic Congressman or Senator charged with treason. The snide insinuations are not paying off anymore -- Bill O'Really is actually publicly calling for it -- and it is going to happen. Sometime prior to the 2006 midterms, I'll bet.

I should say: I am not surprised. I posted this for more or less the reasons I post on new torture allegations: they make me angry, and it seems wrong to just let them slide because I am no longer surprised.

Nor, for the record, am I making 'no more Ms. Nice Guy (Gal?)' threats. I did everything I could to defeat Bush in the elections; obviously, it wasn't enough. Any niceness I display is based on my own code of conduct, not on any idea that it will somehow work against Rove.

I think that the only thing that will work is for enough people just to get it about him and this administration: that they are deeply and intentionally divisive; that they are bankrupting the country and breaking the army and have precisely no intention of stopping before the damage they do is irreparable; and that they have no shame at all. I'm not holding my breath, though.

As I see it, the difference here is in the timing -- the Durbin brouhaha is fresh in people's minds, so that's going to be the reference point most people leap to, rather than Dean's intemperate words.

I see that many folks are just "well, whatever. It's Rove. What can you do?"

Perhaps it's the fact that I just saw the son/grandson of a friend go back to Iraq for the third time and I wonder if he will survive it. Perhaps it's the strategy meetings on treatment for the unprecedented numbers of veterans with traumatic brain injuries that I've been participating in.

Even alone, I'm very angry. I don't care who else in what party said what. This man, in this moment, should be made a spectacle. Every citizen should hear or read about his statements and be able to decide for themselves how our Christian President thinks this is acceptable. For once, I'd like to see Karl Rove get some miniscule amount of what he deserves.

I guess I'm just ridiculous. Isn't that sad?

Slart wrote:

Pretty stupid thing to say, I'll agree. But, given the fact that Howard Dean is still your party chairman, I'm not taking the no-more-mister-niceguy oaths all that seriously, nor the outrage.

I agree with you on the second part regarding the faux outrage and the “no-more-mister-niceguy oaths” but not the first. It actually seems pretty crafty of Karl Rove because every mention of what he said castigating the Left carries with it a reminder of the Senate Minority Whip throwing around words like “Nazi” regarding our forces in Gitmo or the ranking Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee comparing our actions in Iraq to the “Holocaust.”

Rove seems to have set up the Democratic leadership for a nice trap in keeping those comments in the news and they seem only too happy to oblige.


nah, I think it's healthier. I just have outrage fatigue and there's no point faking it.

OT: Look who's back!

Look who's back!

his latest work, "Bandwidth Limit Exceeded", just isn't as good as his old stuff.

Rove seems to have set up the Democratic leadership for a nice trap in keeping those comments [of Durbin's]in the news and they seem only too happy to oblige.

But I thought Durbin's comments were putting our troops at risk! Surely Karl wouldn't want to keep them in the news if THAT was true.

TW's reaction is 180 degrees from what I would have thought -- I'd think that Rove's comments would serve to neutralize whatever outrage the Inattentive Middle of the country might feel about Durbin's remarks.

But it's pretty difficult for partisans and political junkies to gauge the ultimate effect of this stuff on average Joe & Jane.

So Thorley and Slarti see nothing outrageous in Rove's remarks, just tactical cleverness or stupidity.

I think anyone who criticized Durbin's remarks and refuses to criticize Rove's is a disgusting hypocrite. Ban me if you like.

btw, Slarti, leaving aside the actual CONTENT of what was said, the main thing that distinguishes Rove's remarks from Dean's is the PURPOSE of them. Dean was trying to get applause and get donations and that's about it. Rove, on the other hand, specifically with the remarks about Durbin--which really do make me angry in a way the idiotic therapy line does not--is to some exent going for money and applause, but he is also in a real way trying to equate opposition to torture with a desire to see American soldiers killed.

This seems to be the strategy they're settling on in response to the torture scandals: Democrats are lying and they're the terrorists' rights party and they hate America and want the troops dead.

Am I wrong about that characterization of the administration strategy? Thorley just basically agreed with me. Can you show me evidence to the contrary? If not, can you see why some people would be genuinely angry about it?

Hey look, I can still get mad after all.

But I thought Durbin's comments were putting our troops at risk! Surely Karl wouldn't want to keep them in the news if THAT was true.

according to a comment at Kevin Drum's raging brush fire thread on this, the RNC is using Durbin's words in commercials.

they can't be that dangerous, if you can broadcast them like that. surely the RNC wouldn't want to give aid and comfort...yadayadayada.

outrage exhaustion is setting in.

"Pretty stupid thing to say, I'll agree."

Stupid? Is that all you can say when the President's top adviser calls Democrats traitors?

The sad thing is, it's anything but stupid. It's false, malicious, divisive, and objectively anti-American, but it's also red meat for the Republican base. This is a calculated provocation.

but he is also in a real way trying to equate opposition to torture with a desire to see American soldiers killed.

Ummm...as some of y'all on your side of the fence have done so ably (and, as I myself have done, doubtless less ably), I'd like for you to tell me exactly where you think he said anything like that. What he did say is likening us to Nazis is not exactly a smart thing to do from a number of perspectives, which is why I find it to be stupid rather than, you know, supportive of torture.

Sorry, I simply cannot summon the outrage. At best, all I can come up with now is a very Daschle-like disappointment.

I was talking about this part:

"Let me just put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals."

Slarti: from the NYT article I linked: "Mr. Rove also said American armed forces overseas were in more jeopardy as a result of remarks last week by Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, who compared American mistreatment of detainees to the acts of "Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime - Pol Pot or others."

"Has there ever been a more revealing moment this year?" Mr. Rove asked. "Let me just put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals." "

But, given the fact that Howard Dean is still your party chairman, I'm not taking the no-more-mister-niceguy oaths all that seriously, nor the outrage.

Once again, I think we have to introduce the distinction between saying things that are true and saying things that are not true.

Rove may have been thinking of http://www.nationalreview.com/york/york200504070810.asp >this when he made his remarks

The next day, Pickering put his thoughts into writing. He drafted a petition imploring President George W. Bush and other world leaders to show “moderation and restraint” in responding to the attacks. He asked Bush “to use, wherever possible, international judicial institutions and international human rights law to bring to justice those responsible for the attacks, rather than the instruments of war, violence or destruction.


That evening, September 12, Pickering sent the petition to about thirty friends, asking that they “sign” the document — electronically, of course — and send it on to others. By the next morning, he told me, there were between 3,000 and 4,000 signatures. Then a friend from the University of Chicago posted the petition on the school’s student server. A couple of days later, there were nearly 30,000 signatures.


One of the people who saw the petition was a young liberal activist named Eli Pariser. A 2000 graduate of Simon’s Rock College of Bard in Great Barrington, Massachusetts, Pariser was working for More Than Money, a left-leaning Cambridge-based nonprofit educational organization. He, too, opposed military retaliation for the terrorist attacks, and he had set up his own website on September 12 — he called it 9-11peace.org — with a message similar to Pickering’s. Looking for a way to attract attention, Pariser e-mailed Pickering to suggest they combine their efforts. Pickering quickly agreed.


That’s when the project took off. Within a month, about 500,000 people, perhaps half of them in the United States and the rest around the world, had signed the petition. Nearly every day, Pariser came up with new statements, and new petitions, to send out, and each of them managed to attract thousands of signatures. A born political rabble-rouser — the child of Vietnam War protesters, he is said to have started his picketing-and-demonstrating career at the age of seven — Pariser aggressively promoted the cause in ways that hadn’t occurred to the introspective Pickering.


The rest of the article talks about the details as to how they then linked up with the founders of MoveOn.org (perhaps you’ve heard of them?) and revitalized that organization as leaders of the anti-war movement.


So let’s see we’ve got a movement with some 500,000 people who in the immediate aftermath of 9/11 were demanding “moderation and restraint” and that we treat this as a law enforcement rather than a military issue. Those people then proceeded to revitalize MoveOn.org which became a staple of left-wing activism particularly within the Democratic Party.


Looks like Karl Rove nailed this one on the head.

I'm still waiting for Bird, Von and Sebastian to write lengthy posts on how over the top this is and how the Administration has lost major crediblity over this affair which can never be recovered.

Ditto.

All of the conservative venting about AI and Durbin, but display nodding acquiescence to this evil. Frankly, if they won't condemn Rove in at least equally strong terms as AI or Durbin, then they are complicit.

Yes. Going along with this sort of thing does make you evil.

Which is the party of hate now? This is a knowingly false message that explicitly is intended to foment hatred, and turn the debate into a public war that verges on the edge of violence.

Oh, for God's sakes, we don't need to call the hosts here evil. I don't know what it takes to get a response other than "meh", but it's not that.

Thorley,

You may want to re-read the language you bolded. If only "perhaps" half are from the US, then the remainder are incredibly likely not to be Democrats.

Thorley,

As I recall, Bush made a big show of going to the UN to get international writeoff on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. If its traitorous to even ASK for such action, as you are trying to insinuate, is it traitorous to TAKE such action?

Sorry hilzoy, Katherine: I still don't see the pro-torture angle in that quote. Even though I've read it roughly a dozen times so far.

Thorley, I thought maybe he had this in mind, given the locale, but since he failed to clue anyone in on what the hell he was talking about, we can only speculate. But what do I know; I'm one of those Republicans who's never made an honest living in my life and who's all about voter suppression, so take my views with a ton of salt.

Cryptic, your handle is spot on. Don't ever change, please.

Who cares what Rove says. Really. This is what he does, Democrats should have realized that a long time ago and not let his spouting off distract them from taking care of business. It's the ineptitude, stupid.

Somebody remind me what Dean said, and what the reaction of the party was to his remarks?

    "...to use, wherever possible, international judicial institutions and international human rights law to bring to justice those responsible for the attacks, rather than the instruments of war, violence or destruction."

vs.

    In connection with the exercise of the authority granted in subsection (a) to use force the President shall, prior to such exercise or as soon there after as may be feasible, but no later than 48 hours after exercising such authority, make available to the Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate his determination that

    (1) reliance by the United States on further diplomatic or other peaceful means alone either (A) will not adequately protect the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq or (B) is not likely to lead to enforcement of all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq

so, when MoveOn asks that we use non-violent means first it's a different thing entirely than when Congress asks for assurance that "diplomatic or other peaceful means" are exhausted first.

good.

If Winston's post about the signature campaign is accurate, then that would be 250,000 people in the US that signed it (assuming that on-line petitions are even accurate, which I doubt).

How many liberals are in the US? (I'm a furriner, so I don't know.) If it's more than 250,000, then what on earth did that lengthy tale sprinkled with bold have to do with anything?

On Topic: whatever. If Rove really thinks that more than half the country wants to get our troops killed, he's either stupid or insane. And stupid or insane people wash out in the end. If he doesn't really think it, he's another polemicist saying stupid things out of partisan rancor, and since when is that newsworthy.

Off Topic: Kelo thread, yes/no? I need a forum to publicly abandon the 'liberal' portion of the SCOTUS and pledge support for such luminaries as Janice Rogers Brown, most likely to overturn such an atrocious interpretation of 'public good'.

Slart wrote:

Thorley, I thought maybe he had this in mind, given the locale, but since he failed to clue anyone in on what the hell he was talking about, we can only speculate.

I thought about that as well but then someone from RedState pointed out that if you googled the specific words used by Karl Rove it actually lead you to the rhetoric that came from the “peace” movement post-9/11. Hence it lead me to the Byron York article (actually it lead me to a MoJo article but York’s had more details) which I cited above.

But what do I know; I'm one of those Republicans who's never made an honest living in my life and who's all about voter suppression, so take my views with a ton of salt.

Likewise my friend.

Sure Thorley,

500,000 people, maybe, sign a petition calling for

"President George W. Bush and other world leaders to show “moderation and restraint” in responding to the attacks [and asking] Bush to use, wherever possible, international judicial institutions and international human rights law to bring to justice those responsible for the attacks, rather than the instruments of war, violence or destruction. ”

and that means that the motives of "liberals" are to put our troops in danger, and to "offer therapy and understanding for our attackers."

Do you have something reasonable to say, or is this bizarre rationalization of Rove's speech all you can come up with?

I'd like to point out that "encouraging restraint" and favoring a law enforcement approach is not the same as wanting to provide understanding and therapy.

But, as I said, those are not the part of his remarks that are resignation-worthy.

Slart, I'm going to assume you're not being deliberately obtuse. I actually take his comments about my motives to be more broadly offensive (the motives of liberals are to put our troops in danger) because that's the impression he surely meant to give.

Katherine and hilzoy, however, are limiting themselves to understanding Rove to say that if liberals make remarks like Durbin's, their motives are to put our troops in greater danger. And that Durbin's motive in making the remarks was to put troops in danger.

I can't imagine what you think he said.

I am saying that the response to the torture scandals is going to be to say that those who oppose it are traitors who want the troops to die. I know it's considered out of bounds here whenever it's inconvenient for conservatives to make statements about their political allies' intent when they don't specifically state that intent, even if they make that intent blatantly, obviously clear. So I suppose you will not agree that that is Rove's intent unless he said, "Durbin opposed our torture policies, and so I am going to respond by insinuating that he wants American troops to die." But to the rest of us, that is silly, and we think that sometimes people's intent can be inferred from their actions. (And, naturally, those giving out "Karnak awards" for inferring Republicans intent from their actions, do not hesitate at all to infer Democrats' intent from their actions, and do not object when others do so.)

So, what basis do I have for suggesting that is Rove's motivation? Well, I hope you will agree with me that Rove was insinuating that "putting our troops in greater danger" is "one of the motives of liberals." And, I hope you will agree with me, that that is a ridiculous and absurd description of Senator Durbin's motivation--so ridiculous, that I tend to think that Karl Rove does not actually believe it, or at least has not thought seriously about whether it was true.

Why then, would he say it?

You also noted at the time, that many of responses to Durbin's remarks were distortions of what he said. Some of these came from the Vice President and the White House Press Secretary. What would be the motivation for those distortions?

Well, let's look at the response to some other calls to investigate the torture scandals, shall we?
For instance, Speaker Pelosi's, which lacked the inflammatory historical analogies of Senator Durbin's, which Charles actually agreed with. Here is what some members of the House Republicans said about that:

Wednesday, Pryce slammed both Durbin and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) for their handling of the Guantanamo Bay issue. "For Leader Pelosi and Senator Durbin, if prison-camp detainees are given anything other than pillow-top mattresses or lean-cut filet mignon, they're being treated inhumanely and our military is to blame," Pryce said....

"Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), who joined Pryce at the press conference, told Cybercast News Service that it "is just inconceivable and truly incorrigible that in the midst of the war, that the Democratic leaders would be conducting guerrilla warfare on American troops.

He also labeled the Pelosi/Waxman proposal for an independent commission "simply another example of some Democrat leaders trusting the words of terrorists over the proven decency of U.S. troops.""

Bill O'Reilly, the highest rated talk show host on the cable news network where the administration most often sits for interviews, gave a more charitable assessment than Rove for Durbin's motives: "His intent wasn't to undermine the war effort, because he never even thought about it. He never even thought about it."

However, he continued:

"But by not thinking about it, he made an egregious mistake because you must know the difference between dissent from the Iraq war and the war on terror and undermining it. And any American that undermines that war, with our soldiers in the field, or undermines the war on terror, with 3,000 dead on 9-11, is a traitor.

Everybody got it? Dissent, fine; undermining, you're a traitor. Got it? So, all those clowns over at the liberal radio network, we could incarcerate them immediately. Will you have that done, please? Send over the FBI and just put them in chains, because they, you know, they're undermining everything and they don't care, couldn't care less."

I could go on. I don't think I will ever convince you that these things are related, but hopefully this is enough to convince you that I think they are. I give you and Charles and Sebastian great credit for, I really really appreciate, your refusal to close your eyes to the reality of the torture scandals. I absolutely do. But there is a political context here that you just don't seem to see EVER, that seems so blatantly and ridiculously obvious to us, that sometimes we find each other very frustrating.

And stupid or insane people wash out in the end.

Generally true, sure. And how much damage do they do before they go?

Everyone washes out in the end. But Rove is neither stupid nor insane, so he's a far greater danger than those who are.

Oh, for God's sakes, we don't need to call the hosts here evil.

I agree, and I am admittedly spouting off in anger, but I am tired of restraining anger in response to those who hatefully and deliberately seek to provoke it. I also think that anyone who silently acquiesces to the remarks of Rove is just as evil as he obviously is.

Sorry -- but that's the appropriate response to Rove hate-mongering. Its also what he intends -- he is forcing an ever greater partisan divide, and those who chose to stay on board with his agenda deserve to be thought of in the same moral vein as him.
______

Looks like Karl Rove nailed this one on the head.

Well, I guess then that Move-On could respond in kind by calling Republicans torture-lovers and Nazis, since this type of rhetoric is now acceptable to the conservative side of the equation.

Abu Aardvark, via Kevin Drum:

"Leaving aside everything else which could and should be said, let me just point out that Senator Durbin's remarks do not currently appear anywhere on the main page or news page of al-Jazeera's Arabic language site. Its search engine produces only one hit for "Durbin" in 2005: a story from June 16 about his remarks and his refusal to apologize.

I haven't been paying enough attention to the broadcasts, or watching regularly enough, to know whether or not the story has been reported more heavily than this on the air (though I haven't heard anything about it this morning since I started paying attention). But I can say with some degree of confidence that Condi Rice's remarks in Egypt about reform has received far more attention on al-Jazeera than has Durbin's remarks about Guantanamo.

Just for the record."

and all those sincerely concerned about the effect of Durbin's speech being broadcast on Al Jazeera can rest easy. I'm sure a correction is forthcoming.

Katherine: great minds...

And here's the transcript of McClellan's press briefing. My favorite bit:

"Q: So will the President ask Karl Rove to apologize?

MR. McCLELLAN: Of course not, Jessica. This is simply talking about different philosophies and different approaches. And I think you have to look at it in that context. If people want to try to engage in personal attacks instead of defending their philosophy, that's their business. But it's important to point out the different approaches when it comes to winning the war on terrorism. And that's all he was doing."

The funny thing is, I think McClellan's remarks are the most telling. He doesn't even pretend to ignore the issue, he just turns up the rhetoric. That is the tactic, folks. This is the communications strategy in action - hammer at the idea that Dems (and/or those who don't want the US to engage in torture) want our soldiers to die.

Wake up, you republicans, your party is just itching to conduct a Stalin-esque purge:

"Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.), who joined Pryce at the press conference, told Cybercast News Service that it "is just inconceivable and truly incorrigible that in the midst of the war, that the Democratic leaders would be conducting guerrilla warfare on American troops..."

I'm sick and tried of this, if we're conducting guerrilla warfare against the troops you should be locking us up. This is the worst kind of wartime leadership ever displayed in the history of the country. If you really want to turn half the country into real traitors this is the way to do it. Uniter not a divider, my ass.

Ah, McClellan of Stepford:

"Talking about different philosophies and different approaches? That's what Karl Rove was talking about. He was talking about the different philosophies and our different approaches when it comes to winning the war on terrorism."

"Well, I would think that they would want to be able to defend their philosophy and their approach...Karl was simply pointing out the different philosophies and different approaches when it comes to winning the war on terrorism."

"I think it's talking about the different philosophies for winning the war on terrorism."

"This is simply talking about different philosophies and different approaches. And I think you have to look at it in that context. If people want to try to engage in personal attacks instead of defending their philosophy, that's their business."

"I think that Karl was simply pointing out the different philosophies when it comes to winning the war on terrorism."

"So he was talking about the different philosophy between conservatives and liberals and different philosophy for approaching the war on terrorism."

"And that's why he was talking about it and telling it like it is when it comes to the different approaches for winning the war on terrorism."

"Again, I just said that he was talking about the different philosophies. The President has talked about the different philosophies when it comes to winning the war on terrorism. And he was speaking to a specific audience about those philosophies and talking about the philosophy that we stand for and the approach that we stand for...."

"Do you disagree that he was simply talking about the different philosophies and different approaches?"

"Karl was simply talking about different philosophies"

"he was talking about different philosophies -- the conservative philosophy and the liberal philosophy and how we're approaching different priorities for the American people."

Ari Fleischer could actually weasel with style. This is more insulting in a way. Why bother showing up to press conferences with a robot?

K: agreed. And besides all that, he's taking the name of my discipline in vain...

OK, so here is a question to ponder: why does Karl Rove think it is necessary to make a comment like this? Why do these Republican members of Congress do the same? I submit that it is the result of the falling public support for the war.

I know Karl Rove supposedly rereads the Prince once a year. I wonder whether he has heard the story of the boy who cried "wolf."

Really makes you long for CJ Cregg, doesn't it?

Slarti; Thorley:

I can say with certainty that the reason some people signed that petition was precisely to avoid putting troops in danger. I think that those in congress who put similar language in the Iraq resolution did so for similar motivations.

Your first mistake was assuming that liberals are collectively anti-military.

ral: I think it's not so much the falling support for the war, as the falling support for everything Bush is trying to do just now. Things are going badly for him, and this is not an administration whose strength is reacting in a flexible and insightful way to adversity.

So I suppose you will not agree that that is Rove's intent unless he said, "Durbin opposed our torture policies, and so I am going to respond by insinuating that he wants American troops to die."

I've got enough problem extracting meaning from what others say, never mind intent. And discerning intent without a clear communication of intent, I submit, requires some modicum of telepathic powers. I'm not saying what his intent isn't, mind you, just that I've got rather too little evidence as to what it is.

Your first mistake was assuming that liberals are collectively anti-military.

Odd. I recall making no such assumption.

"And discerning intent without a clear communication of intent, I submit, requires some modicum of telepathic powers"

No, it really doesn't--unless you accept that you can clearly communicate your intent through your actions as well as your words. If you say that stating "I am doing this because I intend Y", in the presence of witnesses, is needed to prove intent, or telepathy--you are being ridiculously naive. If that were true no one would ever be convicted of crimes they did not confess to, because every crime requires proof of intent. And yet every day in this country, juries find beyond a reasonable doubt that people have this criminal intent--even though they have never confessed to it. Why? Juries assume that people intend their conduct and its obviously foreseeable consequences. That's all I'm doing here.

This "telepathic powers" thing is too often a weak excuse to cut off debates people don't want to have. If they're not trying to imply that critics of the interrogation policies are trying to get soldiers killed, why are they implying it, without any evidence, over and over?

Odd. I recall making no such assumption.

Cool; then I suppose you must disagree with Thorley's thesis, which clearly does make such an assumption.

The Cunning Realist quotes someone who's used Rove's tactics:

Of course the people don't want war. But after all, it's the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it's always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it's a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.

-- Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

Timely, and to the point.

hilzoy: this is not an administration whose strength is reacting in a flexible and insightful way to adversity

Is there a Nobel Prize for understatement?

This "telepathic powers" thing is too often a weak excuse to cut off debates people don't want to have.

I feel exactly the same way about the assertion that being critical of those who are anti-war means that one must automatically be pro-torture. It's a foregone conclusion; of course Rove is being territorial about his rights to inflict suffering on others.

But it isn't. I haven't. I have asked people to lay off the "vote for Bush is a vote for torture" thing all along. It is not a foregone conclusion. I come to conclusions and can't be talked out of them, but I tend to explain how I reached them in excruciating detail.

Rove was not merely criticizing those who were anti-war. He was very clearly implying that a specific politician, who has just been in the news for denouncing the abuses at Guantanamo too strongly, was motivated by a desire to put American soldiers at greater risk. That is a very serious accusation, and an accusation that is certainly false. (Does anyone here want to dispute that it's false?) I am nearly certain that Karl Rove knows it is false. I have suggested a reason for it that I think is quite plausible. Can you explain why it is not plausible, or provide another plausible motive?

Maybe we should just move from a discussion of reasons to a discussion of effects: if Rove is succesful at convincing people that Durbin's remarks prove that liberals want our troops in greater danger of terrorism, if he convinces some people of that and suffers no negative consequences, what effect will that have on other Democratic politician's willingness to demand an investigation on the abuses, or put a stop to them?

BTW, all of this PRECISELY parallels the Supreme Court dispute about violations of the equal protection clause: Scalia and Thomas argue that in order to prove bias, you basically need a signed note from Congres someone saying "I am doing this because I hate your kind!"

I feel exactly the same way about the assertion that being critical of those who are anti-war means that one must automatically be pro-torture.

OK, I gotta ask. Are you suggesting that Katherine getting upset about Rove's comments (after taking a momentary pause for outrage fatigue) means that she claims Rove is pro-torture? Or do you have someone else in mind? Cause my take is that Katherine is pointing out that Rove wants to deflect discussion of torture allegations and policy by pre-emptively attacking liberals. For all we know, he could be as sincerely horrified about torture as Charles appears to be. I suppose this could equal Katherine accusing Rove of being pro-torture using Randian logic, but I'm a bit rusty with that.

I have asked people to lay off the "vote for Bush is a vote for torture" thing all along.

I agree that this is a true statement. OTOH, I recall hearing one of the torture memo authors--John Yoo?--on NPR a couple of month back explicitly arguing that Bush's re-election validated the Administration's policies on prisoner treatment. He didn't quite come out and say "a vote for Bush is a vote for torture," but he came about as close as he could without using those words.

He was very clearly implying that a specific politician, who has just been in the news for denouncing the abuses at Guantanamo too strongly, was motivated by a desire to put American soldiers at greater risk.

Even granting that, the conclusion that Rove is pro-torture and that his motivations were to protect his right to torture don't follow.

if Rove is succesful at convincing people that Durbin's remarks prove that liberals want our troops in greater danger of terrorism, if he convinces some people of that and suffers no negative consequences, what effect will that have on other Democratic politician's willingness to demand an investigation on the abuses, or put a stop to them?

Oh, gosh, now I haven't said that he ought to be immune from any fallout from this, now have I? I'd be happy to give the heave-ho to anyone and everyone in Congress, the administration...hell, in all of government, that's ever said anything stupidly inflammatory. Again, even if Rove is an utterly detestable human being, the notion that he's simply protecting his right to torture doesn't automatically follow.

I come to conclusions and can't be talked out of them, but I tend to explain how I reached them in excruciating detail.

Which is one of the things I admire most about you, Katherine. But the can't-be-talked-out-of part is something it might have been valuable to know at the start. Or not, I'm stubborn.

LJ, what's being discussed is this, by Katherine:

but he is also in a real way trying to equate opposition to torture with a desire to see American soldiers killed.

Well, I don't want to be nitpicky, but
but he is also in a real way trying to equate opposition to torture with a desire to see American soldiers killed.
is not
the assertion that being critical of those who are anti-war means that one must automatically be pro-torture

No reference is made to Rove's beliefs by Katherine, as far as I can see. I hope I'm not returning to grouch mode when I point that out, or when I further suggest that you may know that because you didn't reference anyone when you made your comment. I'm sure that people have made the argument and have made it here in some form. But to try and elide that enough to make it adhere to Katherine is a bit unfair.

rilkefan: Somebody remind me what Dean said, and what the reaction of the party was to his remarks?

Here's a round-up of Deanisms from a hostile source. This column defends Dean (though he leaves out the most objectionable bits) and bemoans the lack of support he got from fellow Democrats. Make of it what you will.

Howard Dean speaks for me. Karl Rove is simply a facist propagandist. Some people enjoy that stuff, apparently.

The White House defended those remarks?

Worst. President. Ever. These guys are making Jackson look good. There is no defending this White House on anything. They could proclaim the sky to be blue and decent human beings will still have to remember when they defended these execrable remarks. Of course, the immediate firing of Rove and McClellan would be a welcome surprise that they have any shreds of humanity.

I remember the petition Thorley cites. I may have even signed it; I don't remember exactly. What I do recall more clearly from the afternoon before that petition circulated is sitting shellshocked in a park overlooking the Hudson, watching tanks and armored cars pull off the Westside Highway, and wondering whether the US was going to turn Afghanistan into glass.

Therapy was not one of the options that crossed my mind--at least not for the terrorists--turning a country into glass seemed like a horrible and real possibility; "restraint" "wherever possible" doesn't sound so unreasonable. And, I would argue, our Afghan campaign was restrained, although the results have not been entirely happy.

All this is beside the point, though, which is that one of the President's top advisors chose to use Limbaugh's rhetoric of demonizing half the country in order to stifle embarassing questions and debate. Haven't we--all of us--had enough of this yet?

BTW, all of this PRECISELY parallels the Supreme Court dispute about violations of the equal protection clause: Scalia and Thomas argue that in order to prove bias, you basically need a signed note from Congres someone saying "I am doing this because I hate your kind!"

Not, unfortunately, if the EP violation in question has to do with counting votes.

Howard Dean speaks for me.

And I couldn't be more shocked.

lj's right: I've got him on general intent, not specific intent--or rather I have intent but not motive: he could be protecting the administration from any scandal because that's what he does, and thinks it's actually unfortunate what the effects will be, or he could be protecting the administration because he actually wants to allow the detainee abuses to continue.

What earthly difference does it make, though, whether he's intentionally protecting the administration and trying to intimidate its critics with false charges of treason although it will lead these awful policies continuing, because it will lead to these policies continuing or with indifference as to whether these policies continue? Switch around those italicized words all day long; they're equally harmful and equally unethical as far as I can tell, and all worse and more harmful than what Dean said.

And I couldn't be more shocked.

And I couldn't be more shocked that you would make an obnoxious comment that added nothing whatsoever to the discussion and was generally intended to insult. How surprising, Slartibartfast. Usually you...well, usually that's all you do.

Katherine:

I think what you may have roughly parallels "objectively pro-Saddam", unless you've made arguments that I've failed to understand. I certainly don't discount that possibility. To clarify, it appears to me that you're arguing that pro-torture is the effect of what Rove has said, rather than intent.

Felix, I'm simply giving you what you give me. You want better responses? Try being someone worthy of better responses.

Felix: posting rules.

Well, Mehlman is straightening out the misunderstanding:

"It is outrageous," [Mehlman] said, "that the same Democratic leaders who refused to repudiate or criticize Dick Durbin's slandering of our military are now attacking Karl Rove for stating the facts. . . . Karl didn't say the Democratic Party. He said liberals."
Well, that's alright then. Lieberman and the DLC folks won't be up against the wall, only us traitorous liberals. Except that the right-wing definition of "liberal" nowadays is "anyone who disagrees with Bush".

I think what you may have [done?] roughly parallels "objectively pro-Saddam"

But the 'objectively pro-Saddam' is something that was thrown on those who didn't think invading Iraq was a great idea, and it was an Instapundit special that was picked up by Sullivan to pound the BBC. This then comes off as you suggesting that Katherine is hypocritical because she is using the same rhetoric that she abhors, which I'm sure you don't mean.

I'd also point out a difference that hasn't been noted, but I have to imagine that Durbin spoke in the well of the Senate in order to try and get people to realize that torture was not something Americans should do, while Rove was speaking at a fundraiser. Now, you could claim that Durbin was simply providing red meat for the base, but it certainly seems belie the facile comparisons that have been made.

In responding publicly to this Rove taunt, don't argue back using the Republican terms of reference. Especially don't get involved in Mehlman's 'liberals not Democrats' b.s. They're aiming at the 60% of Americans who now oppose this war, the almost-60% who disapprove of Bush.

Bush's policies are failing, he's flailing, and instead of facing up to it he sends out Karl to try to blame half the country for his own mess.

On liberals and Democrats, I think Salon got it right:

"In all the defenses we've heard of Karl Rove over the last 24 hours, our favorite comes from the chairman of the National Republican Committee. Ken Mehlman says Rove shouldn’t apologize for saying that liberals wanted to respond to 9/11 with "therapy and understanding for our attackers" because, well, because "what Karl Rove said is true."
And how is it true? Recall for a moment that, just days after 9/11, the Senate voted 98-0 and the House voted 420-1 in favor of a resolution authorizing the president to "use all necessary and appropriate force" against those responsible for the attacks. Among the approximately 250 Democrats in the House and Senate who voted on the post-9/11 resolution, all but one voted yes.

Ah, says Mehlman, but those were Democrats. "Karl didn't say the Democratic Party," Mehlman told the Washington Post. "He said liberals."

Well, that's just great then. Can we now assume that Mehlman and his fellow Republicans have decided that they'll no longer use the word "liberal" to refer to "Democrats" generally? From here on out, will Mehlman insist that his party-mates make a careful distinction between, say, "Democrats" like John Kerry and Hillary Clinton and "liberals" like Michael Moore?

Don't count on it: Republicans have put years of work into making "liberal" a dirty word, and they're going to keep on using it to describe Democrats every time they can. Indeed, Mehlman's careful distinction between "Democrats" and "liberals" didn't even survive the duration of Rove's slanderous speech. After charging that the comments of "Democrat" Dick Durbin were "putting our troops in greater danger," Rove said: "No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals."

But Durbin was one of the "Democrats" who voted in favor of the post-9/11 resolution, so he isn't a "liberal" under Mehlman's definition. So how do Durbin's remarks reveal the true motives of "liberals"? We thought "Democrats" and "liberals" were different things, Ken? Or could it be that Rove was just wrong?"

nevermind. I can't be clearer, I am frankly offended that you would say that about me ("objectively pro-Saddam), I'm not convincing you and you're confirming my belief that no matter WHAT happens you will never actually get past the stage of bemused neutrality. We're talking past each other

wow, excellent typing skills and grammar skills on that last post. Nevermind. Not worth it. Never is.

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