Thursday, June 23, 2005

REUTERS HAS A CURIOUS SPIN on the reaction from liberals and Democrats to Karl Rove's despicable comments in New York yesterday.

Democrats' demands for an apology from Rove came two days after Durbin yielded to criticism and apologized for his remarks about U.S. interrogation methods at Guantanamo.

Say what?

Here is what Rove said:

"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."

And in the same speech:

"Let me put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts to the region the words of Senator Durbin, certainly putting America's men and women in uniform in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals."

Is Reuters implying that Karl Rove's comments were innocuous, ordinary, and nothing that could be expected to bother anyone; and it's the Democrats' demand for an apology that's politically motivated?

I just find this phraseology bizarre. It's not the timing of the demands for an apology that is suspect! Rove's public declaration that liberals don't care about the loss of life on 9/11 and that liberals want to harm their country is what came only two days after Sen. Dick Durbin broadcast his abject, groveling apology to the nation.

Of course, the explosion of outrage over Rove's remarks might be just a tad stronger than what it might have been if a U.S. senator had not been threatened with censure for reading the factual account of an FBI agent describing the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo and then saying that, if they did not know differently, Americans might think such acts had been committed by Nazis or Stalinists, rather than American soldiers.

That U.S. senator spoke from the heart, from motivations of conscience; and he supported his comments with the direct observations of a federal law enforcement agent.

Contrast that with Karl Rove, who presented opinions as if they were fact; who slandered and maligned millions of New Yorkers who lost friends, family, and co-workers on 9/11; and who presumed to know the motivations and feelings of people who went through an experience, personally or collectively, that Karl Rove does not begin to understand, because he did not go through it. And he did all this, not from a place of human feeling and compassion, but from pure malicious hatred and desire for political advantage.

Rove needs to listen to the voices of people like Peter Daou, who know the hearts of New Yorkers on 9/11 from personal experience:

I'm devoting much of today's report to Karl Rove's vile comments denigrating half of the American public. My office overlooks Ground Zero, and I'm looking at the gaping footprint as I write this. My wife and I were in New York that day, on our way to the WTC for a morning meeting. A chance phone call dragged on a few minutes too long and most likely saved our lives. I lost friends in the towers, and when I walk past the site, as I do almost every evening, the pain is as real as it was on September 11th, 2001.

And in an update to the above:

I'll keep it simple: I challenge any of those outraged by Durbin to demonstrate that the senator, in his heart of hearts, thinks our troops are Nazis. It's painfully obvious that he was illustrating a point and used a hyperbolic analogy. In Durbin's case the outrage is feigned, and a political tool. It defies common sense to think Durbin actually believes "all US troops are Nazis." Now the same reasoning doesn't hold true for Rove, who expressed a thought that actually is widely held on the right: that liberals can't or won't defend America. Despite the sheer imbecility of it, many on the right really believe it to be true. And so I'll repeat, to those who question my strength, my convictions, my willingness to defend my family - as I have done my whole life in circumstances far more difficult than what a good number of Rove's cheerleaders will ever face - I thoroughly reject Rove's words. And I'd expect any of my critics to do the same if their patriotism was questioned in so loathsome a manner.

And a note on the term 101st Fighting Keyboardists: I use it specifically as a reference to those who avoid putting their lives at risk, but are quick to sit in judgment of others. Few things in blogland are more despicable...

Here are other responses to Rove's comments:

Barbara O'Brien at Mahablog:

Words cannot express the contempt I feel for Karl Rove and for the chorus of brainless little yappers applauding his recent remarks on liberal reactions to 9/11.

I'd like to ask Karl and his puppies to stand anywhere in the vincinity of Ground Zero and repeat Karl's fatuous, lying remarks to a crowd of New Yorkers.

Whole lotta liberals in New York. Whole lotta those liberal New Yorkers lost someone in the towers. Whole lotta liberal New Yorkers who lost someone in the towers might want to break Karl's jaw today. Karl would be well advised to keep his sorry ass out of New York from now on.

Junior got less than a quarter of the New York City vote last November, as I recall. Yeah, the people most closely affected by 9/11, who are most intimate with it, are less than impressed with Junior and his war on terra.

You have to go away from New York City, to places where people barely remember watching the towers collapse on television, to find people still willing to listen to the crap that spews out of Karl's mouth. All 9/11 means to them is an excuse to advance their hard right agenda and pound the stuffing out of Muslims. And any Muslims will do.

Justice for the dead of 9/11 went on the back burner as soon as Bush decided to invade Iraq. (9/12?)

Kevin Drum:

This is patently more despicable than anything Dick Durbin ever said. But note the Republican response to criticism from Democrats:

The White House defended Rove's remarks and accused Democrats of engaging in partisan attacks. Rove, said spokesman Scott McClellan, "was talking about the different philosophies and our different approaches when it comes to winning the war on terrorism."

In fact, far from backing down, McClellan said that Rove was just "telling it like it is when it comes to the different approaches for winning the war on terrorism."

That's how the Republican party plays the game these days: accuse Democrats of being traitors and poltroons, and then, when they're called on it, turn up the volume even higher while simultaneously pretending that they're just talking about "different philosophies." This is McCarthy level thuggery, and one can only hope that Karl Rove meets the same bad end as the junior senator from Wisconsin.

Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings quotes from CNN's article about the vote in Congress two days after the WTC was destroyed:

Congress overwhelmingly passed a resolution Friday authorizing President Bush to use force against those responsible for Tuesday's terrorist attacks, the same day it unanimously approved a $40 billion emergency spending package.

The House overwhelmingly passed the use-of-force resolution late Friday night by a 420-1 margin. Rep. Barbara Lee, D-California, registered the lone dissenting vote, saying she believed it gave too much of Congress' power to the president and because she was reluctant to approve force that could worsen the situation.

"I am convinced that military action will not prevent further acts of international terrorism against the United States," she said in a statement. "Finally, we must be careful not to embark on an open-ended war with neither an exit strategy nor a focused target."

So Karl Rove lied in every way he could possibly lie:

  • He lied about Democrats in Congress, who joined with Republicans to overwhelmingly approve a resolution authorizing Pres. Bush to use force in any way and against anyone he thought necessary.
  • He lied when he said that the so-called conservative response to 9/11 was the correct one; and that war was the best and only way to address terrorism. Barbara Boxer gets the last laugh, because her stated reasons on September 14, 2001, for voting against the resolution turned out to be so prescient that one wonders if she has psychic powers.


...this is the new strategy on Iraq: blame the critics. We're all Dixie Chicks now.

...Paul Waldman tells Chuck Schumer what he should have said in response:

Karl Rove's comments are even more despicable than what we've come to expect from Republicans. There is no depth to which they will not sink, no tragedy they will not exploit for political gain. The next time Mr. Rove wants to come to New York to lecture us about what September 11 means, he'd better hope this New Yorker isn't in the room.

Josh Marshall:

I remember talking last year to a guy who'd been on shows a few times with Rove. And he told me how when you talk to the guy, there's nothing in his eyes, no soul. Just a machine, an animal.

Read this piece in today's Times, absorb it, give yourself 90 seconds for outrage, then rededicate yourself to wresting a great country from his hands.


Nothing looks odd anymore. Rush Limbaugh was told to cover the topic first, to prepare the ditto market, and then Rove comes out and expresses the same hatred. This is all to do with the bottom ratings of the Bush administration. Whenever this happens the wingnuts look for an external enemy which can be used as a scapegoat, which can be used to redirect the anger of the population. And now the American left is an external enemy. We have come far in a few years of this administration.
As a footnote, Karl Rove just earned a place in the lowest level of Dante's hell. To politicize the 9/11 slaughters in this way is so vile, so unspeakably vile that none of Rove's earlier truly egregious acts comes anywhere close. Did he stand for hours with a photograph pressed against his chest, asking bypassers for any news of a loved one? Did he haunt hospitals for days on end, desperately looking for one specific name? Did he gather together hair from hairbrushes to send in for DNA matching?


Karl Rove must resign, now.

This has got to be the most offensive thing yet to come from the White House.

Karl Rove, the White House chief political adviser, said last night in Manhattan only a few miles from Ground Zero that liberals didn't get 9/11. We didn't see the attacks as "savage." We didn't want to defeat our enemies. We simply wanted to give Osama bin Laden and the 19 hijackers "therapy."

Karl Rove can kiss my God damn ass.

I sat in my Washington, DC apartment on September 11, less than 2 miles from the White House, and watched the Pentagon burn outside my window. I sat in my apartment, alone, wondering if I was going to die, if my country was at war, and what the fuck was happening to the world. My liberal friends on the Hill had to evacuate while I was on the phone with them because there was a report that a plane was coming in. My friend liberal friend David was exposed to Anthrax. My liberal friend in California lost his friend in one of those airplanes. I interviewed the victims of September 11 and their families. I know the pain of September 11, and I don't need a God damn lecture from some White House operative about how I just didn't get it.

How fucking dare Karl Rove and the White House go to New York City, stand within miles of the World Trade Center remains, where nearly 3,000 Americans and foreigners of all political persuasions are forever buried, and say that liberals don't think September 11 was any big deal.

It's bad enough to have Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh and their ilk say that liberals hate America, and it's bad enough that Republicans pull this "liberals hate the military crap," but when the White House says that we don't "get" September 11, that we didn't think the murder of 3,000 innocents on that horrible day was "savage," that we simply wanted to give Osama bin Laden "therapy."

I have fucking had it with this White House. This is a story that we do NOT let die, people. Karl Rove's sorry ass needs to leave that White House or the Democrats in Congress shouldn't let ONE PIECE OF REPUBLICAN LEGISLATION ADVANCE, EVER AGAIN.

It's time to draw the line in the sand. Do our Democratic allies have the balls and self-respect to finally do it? Karl Rove must go.

And one right-wing blogger, because there is something fascinating about the depth of her stupidity. Michelle Malkin writes:

Democrats are now calling on Rove to apologize. Apologize? For what?

For distilling the fundamental difference between the left and the right's approaches to terrorism in the wake of 9/11.

The Dems are having a hissyfit over the comments, as if stating the obvious is on par with slandering American troops and invoking hysterical analogies.

This is apparently what passes for reasoned argument in Michelle Malkin's neck of the woods: The obvious is whatever fits with her politics; if it doesn't fit, it's slander. What else could Malkin mean when she uses such terms? Clearly, she does not understand the actual definitions of words like "slander" and "truth." In her world, it's a lie if a senator reads the eyewitness observations of an FBI agent; and an obvious truth if the president's personal adviser makes a claim with no documentation to back it up. It's obvious to her that Karl Rove is stating an obvious truth when he says that liberals want to give terrorists therapy, because that is what she believes. It's slander when Dick Durbin talks about the memos, reports, photographs, videotapes, and eyewitness observers that document torture and abuse of detainees by men and women in the U.S. military, because Malkin does not believe that anyone in the U.S. military would harm, degrade, humiliate, hurt, or torture any detainee, ever. No matter how many FBI agents testify to what they have seen, Malkin will continue to believe it is not true. And no matter how many times Karl Rove -- with no evidence to back it up -- smears people who were there when planes crashed into the WTC and who lost loved ones in those buildings, Malkin will continue to believe his comments are obviously true.

Because, you see, when you live in a My Little Pony world, you don't need proof or evidence or the ability to think logically. That's what makes it such a pink and pretty place.

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