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June 23, 2005

Comments

Sorry, Hilzoy. Didn't see your take until after I posted. You are certainly not "silly", although I'll maintain that your call for Rove to resign is. (Don't take it personally: we all have silly spots (myself more than most!).)

Come on, Von. If all Rove had said was the part you cited, you might have a point. But he said some other stuff, too:

"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."

Is there any way to read that other than a straightforward claim that Senator Durbin and "liberals" are intentionally setting out to put American troops in greater danger? And is there any possible defense for that sort of claim? Accusing your political opposition of treason, pretty much in so many words, ought to be well outside the pale.

Von, all well and true, but for two things.

1. For an elected figure who won by a slim 2% margin, this president's administration has done nothing to govern with any sense that the country is politically divided in two. The polarization is continuing at such a rate that I wouldn't be surprised to hear of street battles in the next couple of years. this feeds the fires.

2. Many of us opposed the invasion of Iraq for good and honest reasons, and for that we have been rewarded in bloggostan with slurs like "dictator-lovers" and "objectively pro-fascist", and this just takes the same nonsense to the upper levels of the government. Insane.

I agree with Hilzoy: Rove is a disgrace, and should resign. Besides, he looks like a roll-on deodorant with glasses.

ummm... with all due respect... ____ ___ . i'm not a traitor.

For an elected figure who won by a slim 2% margin, this president's administration has done nothing to govern with any sense that the country is politically divided in two.

The problem is that fanning the flames of polarization (wow, Friedman would be jealous) is *why* Bush won at all; so, the notion that, having narrowly won, he should chill out, is misplaced. Dividing the country with hateful rhetoric is the only way the Repub Party can win. Most Americans don't buy their domestic agenda; their reputed foreign-policy prowess is a joke. *All that Rove has is hate.*

Look at the pathetic caricature of liberals by Rove. Now realize that this is what a lot of people REALLY BELIEVE. He tells these lies, and Bush voters nod, "yup, that's what liberals do, all right, wanting to send Osama to a shrink and bill it to Medicaid."

It just makes me that much angrier at Durbin. The Repubs have once again shown, in the eyes of their voters, that Dems are wimps and Repubs are tough. Great.

(N.b. that I realize not all Repubs agree with Rove, but however we may cherish Slarti and Bird, their party is indeed governing on the principle of dividing the country and spreading hatred for Democrats.)

Outrage IS dead; we tolerate (and reward) the vilest sorts of lying, pandering, and reality subverting behaviors on the part of our leaders.

We are all, of course, not without our senses and our intuitions in these matters, and so in place of true outrage -- a disposition requiring some minimal amount of empathy with the world; the empathy must be sufficient for our emotion regarding outisde events to feel as a loss of something personal (i.e., the world's dignity overlaps with my own) -- in place of true outrage we have developed a permanently shocked demeanor that let's us pretend to still care, that allows us to play as though some vital piece of our humanity were not lost, all without the untidiness of engagement. Pro forma objections to the grammatical proximity of military and nazi, has replaced any feeling of or for the world (and for that matter ourselves) that we might once have mustered.

So, you're mostly right!

These demands for apologies take so much of our time because "X said Y" is about all the press is comfortable reporting as established fact. All facts more complex or difficult to prove than "X said Y" must be reduced to the form of "X said Y".

When X = a fact that is the subject of political controversy, the press should just report "X." Instead, they tend report "Democrats say X, but Republicans say not-X" (or the other way around, but that's the more usual pattern.)

The demands of resignation are silly only in comparison to the things that have been not only said but done, that are thought not to even warrant a serious investigation.

And, as others have said, the worst part of that whole spiel is the with what he said about "No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals". Claiming that a call for an end to a human rights abuse is a betrayal of the military, motivated by a desire to harm the military, is not your standard, stupid, red meat for the base. There are abuses, they have not been investigated, and the president's highest advisor is portraying a denunciation of those abuses & a call for their end as a betrayal of the army during war time. It isn't harmless, and the Democrats--who know perfectly well that Rove won't resign--are perfectly right to oppose it.

however we may cherish Slarti and Bird, their party is indeed governing on the principle of dividing the country and spreading hatred for Democrats

We always have the wide-open, healing arms of Howard Dean to rescue us.

He tells these lies, and Bush voters nod

it's not just Rove. there's an industry of professional Republicans out there saying this same crap 24/7. Rove simply said the same thing you can hear any time of day, any day of the week, on talk radio or Fox News, or read in a hundred different books, or on a thousand different blogs. Rove is only special in that he's a high-profile quasi-politician, and that he's Bush's political brain.

i hope he says it again tomorrow and the day after, and the day after that. the more ordinary Americans learn that the person the president gets his advice from thinks they're traitors the better.

and then maybe we can talk about the professional mouthpieces who spew the same venom 24/7.

We always have the wide-open, healing arms of Howard Dean to rescue us.

we heard you the first time

we heard you the first time

...also the second, third, and successive times.

Au contraire, von: I am deeply silly. One of the great joys of turning thirty, for me, was (I thought to myself) that such traits as really, really liking all-out squirt-gun fights could no longer be called 'immature', but had instead to be classified as eccentricities.

Still, I take your point, and thanks. Who knows? My reaction could be all wrong. But part of it is that there are certain allegations that I take really seriously, and I tend on principle to take what is said of liberals as being said of me in particular, since I often think the idea is to say really dreadful things about liberals, but get away with it because it sounds as though one is saying them about no one in particular.

von, are there any limits on political discourse?

Should democratic appartchiks start a whisper campaign that the next republican presidential candidate is a rapist and his wife a prostitute?

Or that he is in the pay of the House of Saud and a traitor to the US constitution?

treason, after all, is a serious crime. i'm pretty effing tired of being accused of it and other high crimes and misdemeanors.

and another thing,

CBird's photographs of various atrocities are still available below. just more red meat for the base? or just another distraction from the issue that the US is MURDERING PRISONERS?

ye gods the two of you make a great tag team. on the one hand, oh so reasonable protestations of disappointment coupled with fatigue and a brief mention of history. on the other, mountains of dead people.

yet between the two of you barely a whisper about the fact that Durbin was talking about AMERICAN SOLDIERS COMMITTING WAR CRIMES! AND HE WAS TELLING THE TRUTH!

you are both thoughtful men, but you have both become without shame.

A little rhetorical excess for the base never did no-one any harm, after all

Completely unfamiliar with the history of the 20th century, I take it?

See? I'm ridiculous for being offended. von says so!

(Actually, I'll take lots of images like double-plus's. Roll-on deodorant. Heh.)

I've been preparing for and undergoing a colonscopy the last two days and thus haven't read the last few posts here. I awoke from a stupor to learn of Rove's remarks.

Thanks for asking. Yes, the result was negative, meaning my colon is as pristine as the radio airwaves were before Rush Limbaugh began our long march down the sewer of outrageousness lo those many years ago. Negative means the doctor is "positive" things are normal up there and no bad stuff grows therein. The doctor's name was Dr. Rector, which was lovely.

Anyway, I agree with Rove: "Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attack, and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers."

I'm a liberal. The Bush Administration, the Gingrich brigades in Congress, and the spewing comedians on the airwaves and in the press and on the Internet are, in fact, my attackers. Indictments forthwith, but I will offer therapy and understanding for them on their way to whatever cool punishment can be concocted.

It's true that I should not be outraged and should ignore and lampoon the outrage mongers. Neither tactic seems to work. It was too bad tempers couldn't be cooled between the Hutus and the Tutsis, too, but there I go outrage mongering again.

Re: Cunningham. Seems to me, shortly after the Gingrich revolution back in the Nineties, Cunningham let loose with some "liberals are traitorous Reds" stuff in a hallway at the Capitol, and a Democrat (also a decorated veteran) backed him up against a wall and was pulled off by his fellows. Too bad. Then Cunningham could have learned that Tip O'Neill was wrong. Politics is not just local but personal and has been made systematically so by the lovely Frank Luntz's of the universe.

But I'm not outraged.

That ridiculous political rhetoric has been around for eons doesn't bother me. The massive, systematic organization of the Republican effort is what is awe-inspiring. We liberals are so disorganized and haphazard with out outrage mongering.

Related topic: Read "Annals of Education: God and Country" in the June 27, 2005 New Yorker. It's about the G.O.P. effort to train and hire their ramrod straight cadres throughout the government. Sort of an academy for "those who shall tolerate no deviation." Very tolerable people. Also deviant. Hold the outrage.
It's silly.

But I'm not outraged.

And now I shall newly baptize my certifiably pristine colon and replenish my precious bodily fluids which have been sapped by the enemies within with two margaritas and some Mexican beer.

Might as well begin therapy for Rove where he lives.

I meant to say that more images of Rove-Brand Roll-On will help lower my outrage and make me feel sillier, as von says I should.

But Rove has years and years of slander under his belt and simply put, one day I want to see him pay for it. Enough with pandering to the religious right on the one hand, and having a sleazeball with no moral center as your chief advisor on the other.

It occurs to me that moderate Republicans who dismiss the sheer effectiveness of the splendid slime machine run by their more rabid Republican brethren really are rather ungracious at the opportunity they have been afforded to have their politicians running all three branches of government so that their favorite stuff like privatizing Social Security, implementing a more muscular foreign policy, and reducing taxes and thereby the size of government can be put on the table ad nauseum.

Rove, Limbaugh, Delay, Luntz and the rest have been wonderfully successful at demonizing liberals as Godless, traitorous, socialist, unAmerican scum to gain a 2-point electoral advantage so that your voices could be heard over the media and governmental loudspeaker.

I didn't say "rather outrageous". I said "rather ungracious".

Actually, I'll take lots of images like double-plus's. Roll-on deodorant. Heh.

I stole that from TBogg, I think.

Von

Consider it "silly" by all means (and yes, Slarti, you can point out that the Dems have Howard "only communicates in eldritch screaming for all anyone who has never heard him talk knows" Dean for their boss, if it makes you feel better), but our "outrage" on this side of the aisle is simple, bone-tired fed-upness with the whole thing.

Y'see, from my point of view I'm struggling to see what the actual freaking problem is with the opinion "American soldiers should not torture people," or "the American president is not above the laws of America." But for literally years now, exponentially so since September 11, the noise machine on the right has cranked up the volume and constantly berated people for voicing these simple opinions. Not for marching outside the white house with a No Blood For Oil sign, but for saying "American soldiers should not torture people."

The war in Iraq made us less safe. I ostensibly supported the theory behind it, but thought that in this instance it would be badly executed and that the benefits would be lost amongst the myriad costs. I was right, but voicing those opinions is an automatic qualification for being "Anti-American". Well, I'm fed up with this bull.

I just want someone to stand up and say "fuck you" to Rove. No more bull, no "outrage," no calls for resignations. Just real, serious, no nonsense calling him on the fact that he's talking clean out of his fat, white arse, and that he should just sit down on it before he does himself an injury. I want someone high up to say it, someone with respect and a voice.

But there is nobody. So our only response to the unfairness of the Right Wing whining about every little thing that we do, from asking that they respect the laws and constitution of the country to trying to live our lives in ways that Jesus wouldn't approve of but which are none of their goddamned business, is to occasionally flip out and get "outraged" when they say trash that, not only would they get "outraged" with us about, we'd somehow find a way in our delightfully screwed-up way to tear ourselves apart about.

This is our way of saying "we, the people, did not want Dick Durbin to apologise. We want you to stand up to this bastard when he insults us and the very things we stand for. Y'know, the things you should be standing for, you freakin' morons!" It's not very good, but it's all we've got. Sorry if you don't like it.

We always have the wide-open, healing arms of Howard Dean to rescue us.

Dean arguably represents a Dem effort to match the Repubs' tactics.

However, it is a fact, for instance, that the Republican Party is a white Christian party, whereas it is not a fact that "liberals" thought that therapy was what the 9/11 attackers needed. I would imagine that Dean too has lied on occasion, but the Republicans have made it their #1 resource.

Without lying us into Iraq, lying about Kerry's Vietnam record, lying about the effect of Bush's tax cuts, etc. they would not be in office. And all of these lies are designed to paint the Dems as soft on terror, cowards, and fiscal maniacs, etc. The Repubs can't campaign on "we're better leaders," because they manifestly ain't. Instead, it's "the Dems are traitors."

Still wondering what awful thing Dean said on a par with "My opponents are traitors", assuming that's what Rove meant. (JFTR, I assume Rove didn't intend to convey that despite thinking it.)

Von, what exactly is it that Dean said that you find in any way comparable to Rove's calling liberals traitors? Traitors are, after all, normally hanged or put before a firing squad, so we liberals are understandably touchy about such things.

I'd like to see the person so outraged that he or she would build a giant puppet. But then again, maybe not.

BTW, Rove should apologize or specify what liberals he was talking about. And quickly. Durbin's problem was that he let it fester for six days. Rove may have been gilding the lily as it were, but this is the new reality. If Republicans are going to take Howard Dean to task for his red meat banquets, then Rove is fair game.

I'll add my voice to those asking what Dean said that was on a par with implying that 49% of Americans are traitors. I want less evasion, and more answers. Plenty of you have accused Dean, none of you have cited specifics that you think are as bad as accusing millions of treasonous activities.

Put up or shut up.

Karl Rove is the Goebbels of our time.

Von, he called us all traitors. Defamation per se. With actual malice.

And he did it because his public likes to hear it, just like it liked to hear that Mrs. Clinton was a fascist, and all the other slanders that are popular among a certain strain.

So it's perfectly fair to ask, von, which side are you on: the side of decency or of over-the-top indecency.

Still wondering what awful thing Dean said on a par with "My opponents are traitors"

See my last comment on the "Retract or Resign" thread for a link to some things he said. What qualifies as equivalent to the "traitor" charge depends on one's sensitivities, I suppose; personally, I find this one pretty bad, if the assumption is that we're to take both Dean's and Rove's statements seriously:

In a speech in Kansas on Feb. 25, 2005, Dean said the contest between Democrats and Republicans was "a struggle of good and evil. And we're the good."

CB: If Republicans are going to take Howard Dean to task for his red meat banquets, then Rove is fair game.

I agree wholeheartedly, and vice versa -- seems to me that if it's specifically line-crossing that we're talking about, you have to either condemn both Dean and Rove or neither one.

However, it should be noted that Democratic leaders didn't all fall in line behind Dean.

So it's perfectly fair to ask, von, which side are you on: the side of decency or of over-the-top indecency.

I'd actually strengthen this, without the slightest shred of exaggeration: are you on the side of America and the ideals for which it stands, or are you against it?

"a struggle of good and evil. And we're the good."

I noticed that was the only part of what you cited that was an actual quote from Dean. I also looked it up on google, and the first 30 references only included that small part of the speech, again out of context. Do you have a link to the rest of the quote, in context?

As noted at Americablog and elsewhere:

Republican Party Chairman Ken Mehlman, speaking in Puerto Rico, said there was no need to apologize because "what Karl Rove said is true."

I have to say I agree with at least part of the assessment there, too: this looks like a deliberate, coordinated plan.

Wow I have been through over 30 pages of google results, not one of the wingnut sites I looked at had any part of the Dean speech that kenB cited other than the tiny fragment he quoted nor any link to the context in which it was said. I call BS. Surely you have a link to the full context of the speech before you would make such an accusation, am I correct, kenB?

Ah, but I have a cite! And, interestingly, it is not at all clear, from what they write, that he's talking about Republicans per se.

"And Dean told the Hiebert fund-raiser that gay marriage was a Republican diversion from discussions of ballooning deficits and lost American jobs. That presents an opportunity to attract moderate Republicans, he said.

"Moderate Republicans can't stand these people (conservatives), because they're intolerant. They don't think tolerance is a virtue," Dean said, adding: "I'm not going to have these right-wingers throw away our right to be tolerant."

And concluding his backyard speech with a litany of Democratic values, he added: "This is a struggle of good and evil. And we're the good." "

Note that even 'conservatives' is the reporter's interpolation. He seems to be talking about the intolerant wing of the GOP, which is different. He also doesn't say that people are evil (to me, it would be a lot more OK to say that, say, homophobia is evil than that some person is.)

Fwiw.

There used to be much talk about the death of outrage in America. As the last few years have confirmed, such talk is completely misplaced. Outrage has become a kind of political currency, a perpetual motion (and money) machine for a certain segment of society.

There's a distinction that needs to be made between generic, all-purpose outrage -- which has been the staple of the far right for years, although it's becoming more mainstream -- and directed outrage towards outrageous things, like the sanctioning of torture or the colossal failure that has been the war in Iraq. The former is what you're talking about here, and it's rightly condemned; the latter, however, shouldn't be tarred with the same brush, and frankly we could use some more of it in this country.

But also don't forget that we all deserve this silliness. Outrage is the path that we've chosen.

Whatcha mean "we", paleface?

The heart of the problem with what Rove said is that he's supposed to represent all Americans. He is a member of the White House, a proxy for Bush, and it's not just Republican taxes that pay his salary. It's baloney to suggest that Democratic taxpayers should pay the man to insult them.

When Karl Rove fights to get rid of Social Security, he is (presumably) doing what he thinks is in the best interests of all Americans - not just Republicans. It's appropriate.

When he insults the portion of the taxpayers that he disagrees with he is showing an enormous misunderstanding of just what his duties are in the role he's been given.

It's possible that some of this applies to Pelosi, per your example, although her base is awfully liberal. None of it applies to Dean, who is privately funded.

I would suggest that it's just about impossible for Rove to simultaneously impugn and represent Americans.

He should certainly apologize, and if he refuses, Bush should certainly fire him.

To clarify my 12:20am comment, I'd call the former "outrage" and the latter "anger" to keep the distinct. I'm not sure where von's drawing the line between the two -- in fact, given the post, I'm not sure he's acknowledging the difference at all -- but it's a vital distinction to make.

Charles wrote:

BTW, Rove should apologize or specify what liberals he was talking about. And quickly. Durbin's problem was that he let it fester for six days. Rove may have been gilding the lily as it were, but this is the new reality. If Republicans are going to take Howard Dean to task for his red meat banquets, then Rove is fair game.

You’re correct to an extent in that there is a double-standard here, however I think Rove’s remarks are probably a little more calculated. During the last several weeks we have been treated to the second highest ranking Democrat in the Senate comparing the United States to Nazi German, the Soviet Union, and the Khmer Rouge and before that the highest ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Services Committee compared our actions in Iraq to the Holocaust.

Rove’s remarks put those comments back into the news for another cycle while highlighting that the same Democrats who either defended Durbin and/or Rangels’ remarks or refused to call for their retraction are now upset that he has essentially called them a bunch of wimps.

By all means, let the “outrage” continue.


During the last several weeks we have been treated to the second highest ranking Democrat in the Senate comparing the United States to Nazi German, the Soviet Union, and the Khmer Rouge

That's a lie.

Look, I want US to win. I don't want US to lose. it's as simple as that. All this fuss about name-calling is silly. for goodness sakes, everybody here agrees that Glenn Reynolds is a partisan hack, well just look at the comments, who the heck is partisan? When are the next elections and why all the grandstanding now? I think it's an effort to damage Bush, nevermind whatever damage it does to our effort to replace tyrannys with civil society. I say this as a centrist, you can look up my numbers. It's not the same as 1976. I've changed, I don't trust the well meaning people who give in to Khomeini executing all his opposition for instance.

Go ahead complain. you are confirming my suspicions as well as those of the majority of regular folks.

Silly.

Ha ha ha. Those liberals all just love to kill our soldiers.

I guess its also just silly and good fun to call Republicans torture lovers and Nazis.

Ha ha ha. Its all just silliness.

Oh, and I agree with felixrayman. Thorley Winston has decided to enter the debate by just spouting a lie.

Ha ha ha. Don't those hate-mongering lies just crack you up.
______

Equating this vileness to "silliness" is vomitous.

Thorley says something I agree with: I think Rove’s remarks are probably a little more calculated.

You bet they are. Bush's approval rating is at 42, the war at 39. In the wise words of Grand Moff Texan:

They're scared, they didn't know what they were doing in Iraq, and now that they've blown it they're trying to fob off the blame on us.

DaveC, maybe people are "grandstanding," as you call it, because they don't like being called out and out traitors by the leadership of the Republican Party FOR OPPOSING TORTURE.

You say that this is an effort by a bunch of left-wing echo-chamber partisans (and if that's not what the Glenn Reynolds comment was supposed to mean, please tell me what the heck you _did_ mean) to damage Bush, no matter the consequences. Prove it. I'm dead serious. Show me how objecting to being called traitors FOR OPPOSING TORTURE is an attack on Bush. Show me how opposing torture WEAKENS our efforts to fight tyranny. Show me how attacking the leadership of the Republican Party (that's Ken Mehlman, ladies and gentleman) for calling opposition to torture traitorous is unwarranted and unjustified.

Moreover, what on God's green earth does Khomeini and US policy toward Iran c.1979 have to do with anything that we're talking about? The only possible implication I can draw is that liberals caused us to be too weak then, and the same set of liberals is causing us to be too weak now. The trouble is, the only way I can think of in which liberals would make us "too weak" is by opposing the use of torture by American personnel. Is that what you are claiming?

Finally, are you saying that you and the majority of regular folks believe that Democrats ARE traitors for opposing the use of torture by American personnel? If you're not saying that, what precisely do you mean by your last sentence? What "suspicions" are we confirming?

PS: Thorley, that's a lie.

DaveC: Look, I want US to win. I don't want US to lose. it's as simple as that.

Oddly enough, I think you'll find most Americans agree with you, all political flavors. You might find the odd DonQ (has he been banned, or just wandered off) who wants the US to lose. But I think you need to accept that just as you want the US to win, so does Senator Durbin, and Hilzoy, and Edward. Can you accept that? If not, why not?

All this fuss about name-calling is silly. for goodness sakes .... When are the next elections and why all the grandstanding now? I think it's an effort to damage Bush

I'm sorry, Dave: the two sentences don't make sense put together. If it's silly to to make a fuss about name-calling, it's silly in both directions, right? No damage, no foul. You can't claim it's silly for liberals throughout the US to make a fuss about being called traitors, if at the same time you're going to make a fuss about "grandstanding".

I think that Bush & Co's policies and strategy are ensuring that the US will lose in Iraq (indeed, that it has already lost: it's just a matter of when the US admits defeat and withdraws). Should I, then, feel entitled to call you a traitor and a defeatist for supporting Bush? (The answer's no, by the way.)

You may feel [I am making this up, not actually attributing opinions to you, btw] that the mess in Iraq caused by Bush & Co's idiotic failure to plan the occupation and their foolishness in thinking that reconstruction contracts in Iraq ought to be a fat reward for big American companies rather than awarded to Iraqi companies employing Iraqis, is actually a winning strategy. I would disagree: I think it was profoundly stupid, and it's what has, most of all, made sure the US cannot win the war in Iraq.

You may think [again, I do not suggest you really do think this] that torturing and abusing prisoners in secret prisons is a winning strategy: I would disagree, and further, I'd say it was an abominable strategy and ought to be stopped.

We disagree. That may make you many things, but it doesn't make you a traitor, and it would be wrong of some left-wing equivalent of Karl Rove to call you so.

It would not be wrong of anyone to point out the stupidity of the Bush strategy in Iraq to date, nor to point out that torturing prisoners is abominable and ought never to be allowed.

I think it's an effort to damage Bush, nevermind whatever damage it does to our effort to replace tyrannys with civil society.

Bush's past and current actions damage Bush. That can't be helped, and it's not wrong to point them out and to say so.

Nor is it wrong to point out that Bush's actions have damaged the effort - as far as it ever existed - to "replace tyrannies with civil society". If that's your goal, you should welcome people who attack and expose Bush's actions that damage that effort.

it is vitally important that all rhetoric be proportional and based on sound evidence.

Regardless of all else said (some good/bad), you nailed it on that mark.

Red meat for the base must undergo a special USDA check;

Nice! LOL!

Look, I want US to win. I don't want US to lose. it's as simple as that.

I thought we were supposed to want Iraqis to win? Is that no longer operational?

Phil's completely right, it really has to be about Iraqis. And, as is clear enough, they'll just have to fight their way to some kind of modus vivendi. So I guess the question is whether our presence there attracts more foreign fighters than would be there is we weren't, that is, whether our presence is a net negative in Iraq's struggle to reach whatever state it's going to reach. I've long thought that we're a net negative, rather than a net positive, but that this is not always the case from one month to the next, and of course it always depends on which faction is making the calculation.

We, of course, have an interest in not being seen as having been defeated. As a war aim, this might well remind many of us of a certain war in south eastern Asia, and it's a hard goal to spend one's life for.

And this is a war aim that is not shared by any of our allies within Iraq. Sure there are many who aren't offended by it, but none has it as a primary motivation. When push comes to shove, they'll settle for a modus vivendi that falls short of what we've defined as victory.

Just to be clear, von:

Someone compares Guantanamo to the gulag and you have an extended, self-righteous conniption.

Someone accuses 49% of the country of cowardice and treason, and you chuckle indulgently from your Olympian perspective at the "silliness" on both sides.

Got it.

st,

Exactly. I am still waiting for a grown-up Republican to post here on this topic.

During the last several weeks we have been treated to the second highest ranking Democrat in the Senate comparing the United States to Nazi German, the Soviet Union, and the Khmer Rouge

That's a lie.

Yes. It's a lie.

And BTW, the fact that Charles Bird has come the closest to being a grown-up Republican on this topic is the biggest surprise.

Randy Rhodes had a caller who lost two sons in Iraq. He tells how his sons enlisted after 9/11, wanting to be part of the effort to find bin Laden, but got sent over to Iraq instead. He's a self-declared liberal. Listen the call. It's heartbreaking.

Regardless of what passes for your run-of-the-mill red meat these days, Rove should think about parents like this man must feel when they hear comments like those. Bush should apologize for his "brain," if Rove's not quite human enough to realize why he should himself.

Hilzoy, thanks for the extra info on that reference. However, I still have a hard time imagining a context that would excuse his "good vs. evil" line (from the point of view of civil political discourse). Seems to me that there's not much daylight between calling certain opinions "evil" (e.g. being anti-gay rights) and calling the people who hold those opinions evil.

As far as who exactly is being referred to, unfortunately the real world doesn't have the same rules that ObWi has, and both Dean and Rove commit the sin of the missing quantifier. I really doubt Rove was trying to paint 49% of the country as traitors -- it's much more likely that he thinks of "liberals" as the far-left wing, just as many liberals use the term "conservative" as being synonymous with the far-right Falwell crowd. Granted, Rove's trying to paint Durbin into that category, but that's pretty clearly a political maneuver and probably not an attempt to smear everyone who agrees with Durbin.

I wouldn't say that Rove's and Dean's statements are exactly equivalent -- there's still a decent argument that Rove is being more offensive to the left half of the country than Dean was to the right half (though it's very difficult to measure these things objectively). But I do think that (a) folks here are more willing to work to find an acceptable context for Dean's remarks than they are for Rove's, and (b) Dean's remarks are bad enough that they should be condemned by anyone who's not a partisan.


I completely missed this the first time around:

von: Yet, I have been advised that, in these thin-skinned times, it is vitally important that all rhetoric be proportional and based on sound evidence.

What do you mean "advised"? You were the one playing rhetoric police not one month ago.

Fuck apologies. I don't ask for apologies when some pasty warblogger calls me a traitor on a blog and the Democrats don't need apologies from the likes of Karl Rove. Pasty warbloggers sit with their pants around their ankles and call people traitors--that's what they do. I've had dogs who couldn't help shitting in the house, but I didn't ask for apologies. Democrats do need to point out--loudly--that incompetents like Rove call people traitors--and incompetents like the President let him--because they sure as hell can't do anything else. Three branches of government and the Republicans are still better at name-calling and starting wars than governing and fighting them. The poor losers!

Actually, I don't particularly care for Dean's remarks. When I wrote what I did, I was just surprised, because they were not what I was prepared for.

And I don't believe for a minute that Rove had in mind some distinction between liberals and Democrats. Not when his examples specifically cited the chair of the Democratic party and a Democratic senator, both of whom supported the war in Afghanistan (and so hardly meet his 'they want to give Osama therapy' criterion.)

I really doubt Rove was trying to paint 49% of the country as traitors

that's charitable. trying to paint some other picture with the same language would put him far out of line with the brightest lights of the conservative media.

(and yes, that's a helluva lot of metaphor mixing)

Paul, I tend to agree with you, but please see the posting rules.

KenB, since when have Bush supporters been so restricted in their definition of "liberal"?

Paul: posting rules prohibit profanity. This is partly because we find it helps us in our efforts to keep things civil, but also partly because some people read this at work, and have obscenity filters (or whatever they're called.)

So noted, folks. I revise my remarks with expletives less earthy.

just a theory (and if it turns out to be true, i want credit!) :

last week on CNN.com, they had quotes from some BushCo higher-up saying that they know "exactly" where OBL is.

so, maybe they're planning to pull a certain tall, skinny, dark-skinned rabbit out of their hat soon, and thought it'd be good fun to get the Dems off-balance first.

I've said before, terms like "liberals" and "the Left" expand to include half the country when convenient and shrink enough to be represented by Ward Churchill when convenient. Tricks with levels of generality, nothing more. Not a game worth playing.

And I don't believe for a minute that Rove had in mind some distinction between liberals and Democrats.

I suspect that he wanted to paint Democratic leaders as being far-left liberals, not that he was actively trying to accuse all self-described Democrats or liberals of being traitors (which would be pretty stupid). Just as Dean was trying to paint the entire Republican leadership as being far-right (which seems is closer to the truth, but then I'm biased). But both men phrased their remarks in such a way that the average party member could easily feel insulted by them.

When are we going to wake up? Really, what will it take? Yes, kenB, he characterized the Senate Minority Whip as a traitor in response to the Senate Minority Whip's criticism of human rights abuses authorized by the administration. If the American public decides it cares about the torture scandals and opposes them and wants to investigate them, the administration is screwed, so they can't let that happen. Fortunately for him, the Democrats are still stupid and naive enough not to defend each other in response to attacks, and are still stupid and naive enough to think that when someone lies about what you say you should apologize.

The Republicans, on the other hand, will not apologize. They will all defend Rove's comments. Since the media is incapable of judging the newsworthiness of stories or the truth of statements other than by how many people are repeating it at what volume, if they uniformly defend Rove's remarks, the media will report the story as: "parties differ as to whether Democrats want to kill troops".

Oh, but Katherine, he didn't say the liberals' agenda sought to KILL our troops, he said Liberals sought to make them "less safe." You know, he could have been referring to dental health, or protecting them from Nigerian e-mail scams, or anything else. You don't KNOW he was referring to roadside bombs or other fatal insurgent activities. No Karnak fouls, please. Stop being silly.

The posting rules are a good thing.

But I agree with every word Paul wrote, including the way he spelled them and the order in which he wrote them.

By the way, Thorley Winston wrote upthread that Rove was really calling liberals "wimps". Better to let lies just lie there, I guess.

I disagree with Charles' assessment of what should happen. Durbin should not have apologized, six days after or at any time. Further, Rove and Mehlman will not apologize, ever. It's not in the Bush personality.
You could see that on the child's face during his first debate with John Kerry.

As to Dean's use of the word "evil": The smart folks in the Republican Party have been begging for decades that the word "evil" resume it's place in our parlance. Now it has.

I admit to wanting to giggle a bit when Dean and other Democrats use the word. Like they are trying it out to see how it sounds, not really meaning it. When Republicans use the words "evil" or "traitor" on their fellow Americans, they sound like they really mean it. And, like they might do something about it.

I think they will. I believe all of the rhetorical posturing of recent years is preparing the ground for something exquisite. Something that will cause Obsidian Wings to temporarily suspend its posting rules so that even moderate Republicans can weigh in with their carefully cosseted outrage.

For some reason, the destruction of the tradition of collegiality in the halls of Congress willfully enacted by the Gingrich filth comes to mind. The deliberate strategy of not communicating socially with the "Other"; the deliberate strategy of those chosen people not bringing their families to Washington in fear that they might be corrupted by the "Other".

That was evil.

I congratulate Randy Cunningham, hero in war but pussy in the rest of his life, for bringing someone else's yacht to Washington.

Not evil, merely corrupt.

heh.

I still think, though, that our leaders should be raising a stink about what they're doing, and not the names they're calling us. And I still wish to God that my idiotic mayor had not pressured my normally not-at-all-idiotic senator to apologize.

If Durbin had stood by what he said, and insisted that people deal with what he actually said--look at these three news stories from the last 12 hours or so:

US acknowledges torture at Guantanamo; in Iraq, Afghanistan--UN

Washington has, for the first time, acknowledged to the United Nations that prisoners have been tortured at US detention centres in Guantanamo Bay, as well as Afghanistan and Iraq, a UN source said.

The acknowledgement was made in a report submitted to the UN Committee against Torture, said a member of the ten-person panel, speaking on on condition of anonymity.

'They are no longer trying to duck this and have respected their obligation to inform the UN,' the Committee member said.

'They will have to explain themselves (to the Committee). Nothing should be kept in the dark,' he said'

Cheney Says Prisoners Well Fed

"They're very well treated down there. They're living in the tropics. They're well fed. They've got everything they could possibly want," Cheney said in a CNN interview. "There isn't any other nation in the world that would treat people who were determined to kill Americans the way we're treating these people."

But now, instead of debating whether Durbin was right, or at least that his criticisms were substantively right even if his language was inflammatory, he has done a public self-criticism, and we are debating whether he really was TRYING to hurt the troops or just did so inadvertantly, and whether it is okay that the White House Deputy Chief of Staff has basically accused him of treason. And I can tell you right now, Rove will not apologize.

When will we get it?

that "heh" was at st.

Dean is rude but not slanderous. Rove is rude and slanderous. There is a difference. THERE IS A DIFFERENCE! Yet the Republicans circle the wagons around their own uncivil liars (or at least dismiss criticism as "thin skinned") while Democrats form circular firing squads around their uncivil truth-tellers. We aren't winning these battles by being right and honest and civil. If we have to lose one of these, guess which one I'm willing to discard?

How the hell is this administration winning the PR battle over torture? Is prisoner abuse really less of a moral failing in this country than perceived name-calling? I'd say the Democrats need to get a spine transplant, but they got one in Howard Dean and they are actively rejecting it.

As an aside, can I also say that John Thullen's comments, like Katherine's, are an absolute treasure each and every time I encounter them? You really should be writing your own blog, John.

Yes, kenB, he characterized the Senate Minority Whip as a traitor in response to the Senate Minority Whip's criticism of human rights abuses authorized by the administration.

Actually, this is overstating somewhat -- he characterized Durbin as a traitor in response to the Nazi reference and its presumed value to the enemy's recruiting.

the Democrats ... are still stupid and naive enough to think that when someone lies about what you say you should apologize.

The Republicans, on the other hand, will not apologize.

OK, so if that's the game, then maybe Democrats should play it. But that goes back to my point -- either criticize both Dean and Rove, or neither one. Either this is a game that everyone's playing, or it's despicable when they do it and when we do it.

And I'd also point out that none of us are members of the Democratic leadership, so our "fighting back" in this forum will serve only to turn off the right-leaning posters that we're supposedly so eager to lure in.

I was going to add some choice (or not so choice) posts, but things have been well taken care of.

Dantheman wrote:

>Exactly. I am still waiting for a grown-up Republican >to post here on this topic.

I suggest you bring a book, because you'll be waiting a mighty long time.

Incidentally, via DKos, Trevino has a post up at Redstate presenting a point-by-point take down of Rove's remarks.

I'm going back over to read the comments.

Vern,

It should take so long, as both Trevino (on Redstate) and John Cole (at Ballon Juice) have posts up which are grown-up.

“How the hell is this administration winning the PR battle over torture?”

My guess is most Americans don’t see it the way you do.

Me, earlier: Yet the Republicans circle the wagons around their own uncivil liars (or at least dismiss criticism as "thin skinned") while Democrats form circular firing squads around their uncivil truth-tellers.

Thank goodness there are folks like Trevino and John Cole to prove my generalizations overbroad (of course I meant Powerful Republicans, but my phrasing was sloppy). However, I hope the point is not lost that the fundamental approaches of the two parties to such situations are dramatically different.

Von's comments at Redstate re: Trevino's post are the best of the lot. ;)

We aren't winning these battles by being right and honest and civil. If we have to lose one of these, guess which one I'm willing to discard?

We don't have to lose one of these, of course, it's a false choice. It's only if you overestimate the success of Republicans using unsavory tactics to win over public opinion and underestimate the general public that the aforementioned course of action makes sense.

It doesn't make sense to me, and I'll be discarding myself from the reliable Democratic vote and donation pile if we're just going to be mirror-universe Republicans.

My guess is most Americans don’t see it the way you do.

Most Americans don't think torture is contrary to the core principles of the United States of America?

Most Americans don't think torture is contrary to the core principles of the United States of America?

if it's a vote, put me down for No.

If they do they didn’t bother to tell Rasmussen-

http://www.rasmussenreports.com/2005/Gitmo.htm

Well, it looks like another couple of turns of the http://www.forbes.com/work/feeds/afx/2005/06/24/afx2110388.html>news cycle on torture.

Charley,

And once again embarassing news is released on Friday, in the hopes it will be viewed as old news by the media when people start to pay attention again on Monday.

Charles,

You had requested that Karl Rove specify what liberals he was talking about. I’ve posted a diary entry at Red State (actually it’s now on the front page) which includes http://www.redstate.org/story/2005/6/24/133930/771>his original remarks in their original context. Suffice to say he named names in his original remarks but most of the media excerpts didn’t bother to include it.


Suffice to say he named names in his original remarks but most of the media excerpts didn’t bother to include it.

Suffice it to say, after reading the entirety of his speech, that:

1) Karl Rove was clearly talking about all liberals in that speech.
2) Karl Rove is a liar.
and 3) Karl Rove is a facist propagandist on the level of Goebbels.

Karl Rove is a facist propagandist on the level of Goebbels.

What is this tyrannical rule by faces you keep alluding to? And I am not quite clear on how your denounciation of Rove is somehow better than his of liberals.

Charley, to say nothing of this:

- An Italian judge ordered the arrests of 13 people in the purported CIA abduction of an imam, who then was sent to Egypt, the Milan prosecutor's office said Friday. An Italian official said earlier the 13 were CIA officers involved in U.S. anti-terrorism efforts.

The 13 are suspected of seizing Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, known as Abu Omar, on the streets of Milan on Feb. 17, 2003, and sending him to Egypt, where he reportedly was tortured, Milan prosecutor Manlio Claudio Minale said in a statement.

An Italian newspaper said all 13 were American agents.

What happens now? Honestly, this is not something I would have guessed would happen, I have no idea how the U.S. would respond. But it's not like these were rogue bad apples. I assume they request extradition, we refuse, and Berlusconi decides not to make it a major international incident since we probably told their intelligence agency beforehand?

Jonas Cord: We don't have to lose one of these, of course, it's a false choice. It's only if you overestimate the success of Republicans using unsavory tactics to win over public opinion and underestimate the general public that the aforementioned course of action makes sense.

But Democrats like Daley are discarding some of these principles in favor of "civility". And, in any case, there is the old cliche about the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. We can't keep making nice with folks like Rove, and Delay, and Bush, while they continue to spit in our faces, and expect to suddenly start winning elections. At some point we have to fight back. Kerry wasn't the man to do this, and each and every Democrat out there should have known this.

It doesn't make sense to me, and I'll be discarding myself from the reliable Democratic vote and donation pile if we're just going to be mirror-universe Republicans.

Rove knows neither righteousness, nor honesty, nor civility, so there is no danger of becoming a mirror of his Republican party unless we sacrifice the first two. I want the party to be righteous and honest first and civil when possible, not civil first and righteous and honest when possible. We have been playing defense far too long. If we have to have sharp elbows in order to do the right thing and tell the truth, I'd prefer we do that. I like Howard Dean. I like that he says what he honestly believes, not just what he expects to poll well. I think the people we have a chance of convincing to vote Democratic respect that kind of candor. I don't want a party full of milquetoasts, always ready to meet the Republicans halfway between the moderate-left-wing and the far-right-wing, or halfway between the truth and outright lies, or halfway between defending principle and making nice with those who who oppose us. I don't even want to vote for that sort of politician. Why should I expect a swing voter to do so?

And if the Richard Daleys want to sabotage the party as a whole in order to insure their own electoral security, it might be time for some heads to roll.

Me: Most Americans don't think torture is contrary to the core principles of the United States of America?

Sulla: If they do they didn’t bother to tell Rasmussen-

Were they asked? All I see is a poll asking folks how they thought prisoners in Guantanamo Bay were being treated. How many of those folks even know the prisoners are being tortured? In short, how is that poll even relevant to my question?

And I am not quite clear on how your denounciation of Rove is somehow better than his of liberals.

Because my denunciation of Rove is focused on one person and based on the facts of what his actions are.

he named names in his original remarks but most of the media excerpts didn’t bother to include it.

Well, that's obviously because of the liberal media conspiracy.

According to you, he was merely refering to a MoveOn petition. Thorley, what spooked Rove so much about a (presumably) internet petition that he recalled it so traumatically several years later? Or is he just so obtuse that he thinks a petition is a representative sample? What do you think, Thorley: is Rove terrified or merely stupid?

I mean, if a MoveOn petition is a reliable indicator of what The Democratic Party--and indeed, all liberals--think on a topic, then Rush Limbaugh's "Club Gitmo" t-shirts must demonstrate that Republicans can't wait to move to Cuba and start torturin' some Ay-rabs. Right?

Gromit,

We can't keep making nice with folks like Rove, and Delay, and Bush, while they continue to spit in our faces, and expect to suddenly start winning elections. At some point we have to fight back. Kerry wasn't the man to do this, and each and every Democrat out there should have known this.

I'm not advocating "making nice," not one bit, that would make no sense. Fight back? Of course! But the way Democrats have been fighting back doesn't seem effective. Why call for him to retract or resign? Why not just make clear what an ideological idiot he is for saying such things? For impugning the patriotism of Liberals who are fighting for our country right now?

Demanding an apology strikes me as playing into that wimpy stereotype - even when we fight back hard we look weak. Is Rove going to step down? Be forced out? Hell no.

And sadly, I was not representative of each and every Democrat when I realized that Kerry was a damn lousy choice.

Rove knows neither righteousness, nor honesty, nor civility, so there is no danger of becoming a mirror of his Republican party unless we sacrifice the first two.

Why are we so worried about getting rid of him then? Seems it's better for us to having him spouting off at the mouth so that it becomes clearer to everyone that he is not righteous, honest, nor civil.

I like Howard Dean. I like that he says what he honestly believes, not just what he expects to poll well. I think the people we have a chance of convincing to vote Democratic respect that kind of candor.

Sorry, I don't think people will respect Dean either. Rove has made a career out of pushing his opponents to look like the crazy ones. We could turn the tables on him with this comment. We can't if Dean is being uncivil and ridiculous as well.

I don't even want to vote for that sort of politician. Why should I expect a swing voter to do so?

No one does. But that doesn't mean they are looking for ideological demogogues either.

We must keep the following in mind: the older generations of the German people are still in part influenced by the former bourgeois culture. Despite good will and an openness to the National Socialist outlook, liberal thinking and feelings are still alive in these generations. The better part of the notorious complainers and know-it-alls belong to these older generations. These individuals still take themselves much too seriously.

From:
"Front der Heimat," Folge 2, produced by the Gaupropagandaamt Oberdonau, Linz. It is undated, but the contents suggest that it appeared in October 1939.

http://www.calvin.edu/academic/cas/gpa/heimat.htm

Jonas: And sadly, I was not representative of each and every Democrat when I realized that Kerry was a damn lousy choice.

Can I ask who you thought would have been better?

Seems it's better for us to having him spouting off at the mouth so that it becomes clearer to everyone that he is not righteous, honest, nor civil.

And how has that tactic worked out these last few years?

We can't if Dean is being uncivil and ridiculous as well.

And again you are missing the point that Dean is being righteous and honest, and is showing people all the civility they are due.

Anarch,

Can I ask who you thought would have been better?

Edwards, with policy and strategic assistance from the Clintons, would have had a much better chance in the general election. He had the rhetoric and principles right, but I thought he lacked substance; I wasn't clear how he'd put those principles into practice.

That being said, I think that many Democrats picked Kerry because they thought that his Vietnam service was some sort of magic forcefield that would protect him from any attack. That was delusional.

And again you are missing the point that Dean is being righteous and honest, and is showing people all the civility they are due.

I don't accept that point, Felix, nor do I think many people are prone to either. Meanwhile, many in the Republicans narrow base believe Rove is being righteous and honest. The vast majority of people, I believe, are just annoyed and turned off by all of it.

And given that you believe Rove to be a Fascist, I do not believe that your perspective is in any way representative of what the average voter believes or would be likely to.

Meanwhile, many in the Republicans narrow base believe Rove is being righteous and honest

This reminds me of the whole media deal where if one group says the world is flat the media would report, "Shape of the Earth: Opinions Differ". Rove isn't being honest. He's lying. This is not my opinion.

If that sounds uncivil, well it looks like honesty and civility are mutually exclusive. Pick one.

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