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June 23, 2005
The Crying Game Continues

The one Republican that Democrats hate more than George Bush appeared in New York yesterday to talk about the opposition party and how they failed to heed the lessons of 9/11. Karl Rove's criticisms enraged Democrats, who today demanded a retraction:

Karl Rove came to the heart of Manhattan last night to rhapsodize about the decline of liberalism in politics, saying Democrats responded weakly to Sept. 11 and had placed American troops in greater danger by criticizing their actions.

"Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers," Mr. Rove, the senior political adviser to President Bush, said at a fund-raiser in Midtown for the Conservative Party of New York State.

Citing calls by progressive groups to respond carefully to the attacks, Mr. Rove said to the applause of several hundred audience members, "I don't know about you, but moderation and restraint is not what I felt when I watched the twin towers crumble to the ground, a side of the Pentagon destroyed, and almost 3,000 of our fellow citizens perish in flames and rubble." ...

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."

While many of us on the Right think that this analysis is spot on, especially given all the hue and cry (literally, from Dick Durbin) over detaining terrorists at Guantanamo Bay, these words have Democrats steaming. Despite the fact that Senator Durbin still has not retracted his original statement analogizing the military's management of Camp X-Ray to the Nazi concentration camps, the Soviet gulags, and the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge, Democrats now want Rove to apologize for being ... divisive?

Democrats are demanding that White House adviser Karl Rove immediately retract and apologize for comments that liberals responded to the Sept. 11 terrorist strikes by wanting to "prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." ...

Schumer said Democrats were drafting a letter asking Rove to retract his remarks. Jim Manley, spokesman for Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., also called on President Bush to "immediately repudiate Karl Rove's offensive and outrageous comments."

Would this be the same Harry Reid who called George Bush a loser and a liar, and later said that he would only retract the "loser" comment? Could this be the same party that has its chairman calling Republicans people who never did an honest day's work in their lives, the party of "unfriendly ... white Christians" and who "hates Republicans and everything they stand for"? Surely the party that has stood up and demanded civil trials for captured terrorists instead of the military detention they require and bemoaned the loss os sympathy that the world had for us on 9/11 cannot have taken offense at Rove's assertion that "liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers."

What we have here, in this demand for a retraction after a season of personal attacks from Howard Dean, Harry Reid, and the entire leadership of the Democratic Party is pusillanimity at its most hypocritical. Talk about dishing it out and not being able to take it! That the party of Harry Truman has descended to this jaw-dropping level of political cowardice and sheer crybaby status boggles the mind.

Small wonder that the American electorate has shut Democrats out of power during this epic period of national security crises. Who would trust these wimps to defend themselves, let alone anyone else?

UPDATE & BUMP TO TOP: I got this from anonymous CQ readers. Why did Rove say the liberal response was to beg for moderation and restraint? Perhaps it has to do with and its petition drive less than 48 hours after the collapse of the Twin Towers (emphases mine):

Petition 1: "We, the undersigned, citizens and residents of the United States of America and of countries around the world, appeal to the President of The United States, George W. Bush; to the NATO Secretary General, Lord Robertson; to the President of the European Commission, Romano Prodi; and to all leaders internationally to use moderation and restraint in responding to the recent terrorist attacks against the United States. We implore the powers that be 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."

It could also have been these quotes:

Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI), 10/1/01, Roll Call: "I truly believe if we had a Department of Peace, we could have seen [9/11] coming."

Al Sharpton, 12/1/02, New York Times, on the 9/11 attacks: "America is beginning to reap what it has sown."

Rep. Marcy Kaptur, 3/1/2003, Toledo Blade: "One could say that Osama bin Laden and these non-nation-state fighters with religious purpose are very similar to those kind of atypical revolutionaries that helped cast off the British crown."

Have the Democrats actually retracted any of these statements? It sounds to me like truth is an absolute defense for Rove.

UPDATE II: Spare me the faux outrage, e-mailers. Look at the links I've provided and tell me how Rove said anything inaccurate. Howard Dean told radio audiences during the primary campaign that he thought it was possible that George Bush conspired with the Saudis to cover up their involvement in the 9/11 attacks -- and you all made him the chairman of your party, so he could continue calling Republicans evil. Ted Kennedy keeps talking about how Bush cooked up the entire war on terror at his Crawford ranch, and no one's asked him to step down. None of you had anything to say when Dick Durbin, the #2 Democrat in the Senate compared Camp X-Ray to Dachau, the gulags, and the Cambodian killing fields. And now Rove's echoing the words of MoveOn, Al Sharpton, Neil Abercrombie, and others to audiences in New York is "despicable"? Pathetic.

And courtesy of, here are a couple more from the Democrats who now claim that Rove has gone beyond the pale:

Senator Joe Biden, 10/22/01: How much longer does the bombing campaign continue? Biden asked during an Oct. 22 speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. Were going to pay every single hour, every single day it continues. (Miles A. Pomper, "Building Anti-Terrorism Coalition Vaults Ahead Of Other Priorities," Congressional Quarterly Weekly, 10/26/01, no link)

Senator Joe Biden, 10/22/01: The Bombing Campaign, [Biden] Said, Reinforced Existing Stereotypes Of The United States As A High-Tech Bully (Ibid.)

Representative Dennis Kucinich, 9/30/01: Sitting In His Capitol Hill Office Last Week, Near A Window Where He Could See The Smoke Rising From The Pentagon On Sept. 11, Kucinich Insisted He Is More Optimistic Than Ever That People Worldwide Are Ready To Embrace The Cause Of Nonviolence. ... Afghanistan May Be An Incubator Of Terrorism But It Doesnt Follow That We Bomb Afghanistan (Elizabeth Auster, Offer The Hand Of Peace, [Cleveland, OH] Plain Dealer, 9/30/01)

Senator John Kerry, 4/19/04: "I will use our military when necessary, but it is not primarily a military operation. It's an intelligence-gathering, law-enforcement, public-diplomacy effort," he said. "And we're putting far more money into the war on the battlefield than we are into the war of ideas. We need to get it straight." (Washington Times, 4/19/04)

Like it or not, that's the rhetoric we've heard from the liberals since the towers fell. It's not a misrepresentation, and the reason for all this manufactured outrage is (a) the Democrats needed a distraction from Dick Durbin, and (b) they've been proven wrong and don't like that Karl Rove reminded people about it.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at June 23, 2005 12:55 PM

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