June 23, 2005
SOMETIMES I WONDER if Karl Rove is as smart as everyone says. But just as the Durbin affair was dying down, he makes a comment about liberals and the war that leads Democrats -- itching for payback -- to angrily demand his resignation.
Trouble is, those demands just provide an excuse for Republicans to repeat every single stupid or unpatriotic thing that every Democratic politician ever said. And there are a lot of those. Examples can be found here, and here, and here. And, of course, there's this. And because the usual suspects in the media could be expected to pick up on the Rove story much faster than the Durbin story (as they did) now there's a news hook.
Yeah, he's pretty smart.
UPDATE: Michael Totten, on the other hand, thinks Rove is deranged.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Mark Eichenlaub sends this transcript from Hardball as evidence that what's going on is "Rove-a-dope."
It certainly seems to be working.
Tom Maguire is looking at the story in more detail, and it looks as if the Democrats are taking the bait with disastrous results. One observation: Democrats don't usually embrace the "liberal" word these days, but they seem to regard Rove's comments about "liberals" as being aimed directly at Democrats.
Some people have figured it out:
I'm as angry and eager to froth at the mouth as anyone over Karl Rove's recent statements. But after reading back-to-back posts over at TAPPED working up a chorus to that effect, I got a sinking feeling. Turn back. It's a trap!
GayPatriot: "Rove said 'liberals'... not necessarily Democrats. But wow, the Democrats who, in the 2004 Presidential Election couldn't run fast enough from the word 'liberal' now seem to be embracing it wholeheartedly in their 'outrage' I also never saw a Democrat refuse to take campaign money from MoveOn.org and their ilk. . . . Karl Rove was spot on... and the Dems fell for the bait: Hook, Line & Sinker."
Read the whole thing. And there's still more here.
MORE: A reader notes this liberal reaction on 9/11, and this one. But I doubt that they made Karl Rove's reading list. On the other hand, this probably was:
Of course the initial response of left-wing intellectuals to Sept. 11 was one jerking of the collective knee. This was America's fault. From Susan Sontag to Michael Moore, from Noam Chomsky to Edward Said, there was no question that, however awful the attack on the World Trade Center, it was vital to keep attention fixed on the real culprit: the United States. Of the massacre, a Rutgers professor summed up the consensus by informing her students that "we should be aware that, whatever its proximate cause, its ultimate cause is the fascism of U.S. foreign policy over the past many decades." Or as a poster at the demonstrations in Washington last weekend put it, "Amerika, Get a Clue."
Less noticed was the reasoned stance of liberal groups like the National Organization for Women. President Kim Candy stated that "The Taliban government of Afghanistan, believed to be harboring suspect Osama bin Laden, subjugates women and girls, and deprives them of the most basic human rights--including education, medicine and jobs. The smoldering remains of the World Trade Center are a stark reminder that when such extremism is allowed to flourish anywhere in the world, none of us is safe." The NAACP issued an equally forceful "message of resolve," declaring, "These tragedies and these acts of evil must not go unpunished. Justice must be served."
Left-wing dissident Christopher Hitchens, meanwhile, assailed his comrades as "soft on crime and soft on fascism." After an initial spasm of equivocation, The American Prospect magazine ran a column this week accusing the pre-emptive peace movement of "a truly vile form of moral equivalency" in equating President Bush with terrorists. Not a hard call, but daring for a magazine that rarely has even a civil word for the right. . . .
The left's howls of anguish are therefore essentially phony--and they stem from a growing realization that this crisis has largely destroyed the credibility of the far left. Forced to choose between the West and the Taliban, the hard left simply cannot decide. Far from concealing this ideological bankruptcy, we need to expose it and condemn it as widely and as irrevocably as we can.
But now TAP is angry at Rove.
MORE STILL: Yep, I think this was carefully planned. Daniel Aronstein sends a link to a Pew Internet survey that shows that in 2004 51% of Democrats thought the 9/11 attacks might have been caused by American wrongdoing -- though in Sept. of 2001 that number was 40%. But as Aronstein notes, not all Democrats are liberals.