Democrats Say Karl Rove Should Apologize or Resign

Dems say Rove should apologize or resign (AP)

White House adviser Karl Rove should either apologize or resign for saying liberals responded to the Sept. 11 terrorist strikes by wanting to “prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers,” Democrats said Thursday. Adding to the rancor, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., suggested that Republican charges that Democrats were undermining the war on terror with their criticism of administration policies amounted to an act of desperation. “The president wanted to go to Iraq in the worst possible way and he did,” Pelosi said. “The president is on the ropes.”

Bush’s chief political adviser, Rove said in a speech Wednesday that “liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.” Conservatives, he told the New York state Conservative Party just a few miles north of Ground Zero, “saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war.” Rove said the Democratic Party made the mistake of calling for “moderation and restraint” after the terrorist attacks.

Democrats were quick to respond – and in growing numbers. “Karl Rove should immediately and fully apologize for his remarks or he should resign,” Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said in a statement. “I hope the president will join me in repudiating these remarks.”

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean called on Bush to “show some leadership and unequivocally repudiate Rove’s divisive and damaging political rhetoric.”

Now, having Pelosi, Reid, and Dean chastising someone for rhetorical overreach is rich. I expect Dick Durbin to come out any moment.

This was a silly thing for Rove to say, to be sure, but hardly beyond the pale of a red meat speech delivered to partisans. Goodness knows, Zell Miller has said worse of his party. And this is minor indeed compared to calling the opposition party “evil,” as Dean has done.

Matt Yglesias takes the remarks in the proper spirit:

I wouldn’t presume to speak for Senator Durbin, but Karl Rove sure has my number. Everything I’ve ever written criticizing the mistreatment of detainees at the hands of the American government has been designed to encourage terrorists to defeat the United States of America and set back the cause of freedom

Of course, Rove isn’t saying that the Democrats want the terrorists to win, he’s just overstating their preference for diplomatic rather than military solutions.

Kevin Drum, though, thinks it far more sinister. He has a photo montage comparing Rove’s statements to those of Sen. Joe McCarthy. In a previous post, he writes,

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.

I will agree, though, that this bit from Rove was out of bounds:

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.

The first part of that statement is, sadly, decidedly accurate. Rather clearly, though, that was not what motivated Durbin. Durbin’s statements are actually a pretty good illustration of the tendency that Rove was pointing to–a belief that the Jihadists would love us if only we were nicer–but neither Durbin nor any prominent Democrat I can think of actually want to give our enemies ammunition to be used against us.

Update (1730): Peter Daou thinks Rove’s comments “vile,” adding

I spent my youth in Beirut during the height of Lebanon’s civil war, and I fought the Syrian presence in Lebanon long before the “Cedar Revolution.” I watched young boys give their lives and mothers cradle their dying children in blood-soaked arms. I’ve seen more bloodshed, war, and violence, and shot more guns than most of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists combined. I wouldn’t presume to question the strength or dignity of a stranger, and I pity those who blithely push the right=strong, left=weak rhetoric. It says far more about their inadequacies than it does about the target of their scorn. Today, Karl Rove took that rhetoric to a new, filthy low.

I, too, resent the implication that those who disagree are unpatriotic. I just don’t think Rove was making that charge. Again, the DNC Chair has said far worse about Republicans:

-“This is a struggle of good and evil and we’re the good.” February 25, 2005.

-“I hate the Republicans and everything they stand for, but I admire their discipline and their organization.” January, 2005.

-“You think people can work all day and then pick up their kids at child care or wherever and get home and still manage to sandwich in an eight-hour vote? Well Republicans, I guess can do that, because a lot of them have never made an honest living in their lives.” June 2, 2005.

-“We’ve suffered a couple of serious defeats. But we’re energized, because we know that our vision for America is much better than the dark, difficult and dishonest vision of the Republican party.” June 2, 2005.

-“The Republicans are all about suppressing votes….” June 2, 2005.

-“We have to be rough on the Republicans. Republicans don’t represent ordinary Americans and they don’t have any understanding of what it is to go out and try and make ends meet.” June 6, 2005.

These comments are geared at exciting the base and helping fundraising. Personally, I find them annoying and ultimately counterproductive. But they’re the types of things opposition parties say about one another.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Steve Verdon says:

    Again? You know this demand to “apologize or resign” is kind of stupid by now. Each side always demands that so-and-so either resign, apologize or both for the slightest thing.

  2. Talboito says:

    Bush’s head political advisor calls Democrats traitors and they’re supposed to roll over and play dead?

    When your side does it its alright, blah blah blah, etc…

  3. Scott in CA says:

    It was NOT silly. We are dealing with the results of Democratic pacifism right now in the fight over Gitmo. Serious people are waging a very nasty war right now, and the Dems are worried about loud music. I’m sorry, but Rove said exactly what at least half the country thinks about the Democrats. It’s time somebody said it. Not only should he not back off, he should go on Fox and CNN and say it again, in case some people didn’t hear it the first time.

  4. Geek, Esq. says:

    I guess he missed the 430-1 and 98-0 votes in favor of military action in Afghanistan.

    Either that, or Karl Rove is a despicable McCarthyite, proto-fascist liar.

    Hmmmmm. I know what my guess would be.

  5. pgl says:

    Scott in CA understands what Rove said even if you don’t. Of course, Scott approves of what Rove said – which is of course … PATHETIC.

  6. LJD says:

    Where’s the overstatement about their diplomatic tendencies, even when attacked? I’d say if the shoe fits, wear it. The Dems are in such deep denial, they don’t even know what they’re saying.

    His final comment, that the motives of the Dems are clear, does not necessarily mean that they desire harm to come to our troops. Harsh words ARE due though, for their lack of insght in to the affect their words have on our troops overseas. Certainly, they can smash the Right with more concern for its impact on those with their asses on the line.

  7. Jim Rhoads says:

    This stuff sounds to me like some of the playground sillyness that went on about in third grade:

    “You’re a dirty rat” “am not” “are too” “am not” “are too”.

    “Why don’t you just shut up or go home”. “Will not” “Will too”.

    [Repeat for fifteen minutes], then:

    “Teacher, [Mary/Johnny] called me names”…, etc., etc.

    It’s gotten to that level, and is really getting boring. That highly placed elected officials seem to think this is effective political leadership is pitiful.

  8. Fersboo says:

    I guess he missed the 430-1 and 98-0 votes in favor of military action in Afghanistan.

    I wonder how many voted for the war before they voted against it.

  9. Charlie says:

    What do you mean “out of bounds”? How do you know Durbin’s motive was NOT exactly to prevent us from winning the war?

    I agree with LJD and Scott in CA in comments; as for Talboito – Bush’s head political advisor did NOT call Democrats traitors – re-read the speech.

  10. Lurking Observer says:

    Geek, jr:

    1 out of 430=.23% That’s the percentage of liberals who opposed even going to war with Iraq, at least as reflected in the House vote.

    Evidently, to suggest that such a minute percentage reflects on liberals in general is “outrageous.”

    There have been 129 suspicious or questionable deaths out of 68,000 or so enemy prisoners of war. Of which 29 or so are being investigated as murders or wrongful deaths.

    129 of 68,000 is .18%
    29 of 68,000 is something like .04%

    Evidently, to suggest that such a level of conduct is reminiscent or otherwise evocative of Pol Pot, the Soviet gulags, or the Nazi death squads is understandable.

    Moreover, to question the applicability of such an evocation is to condone murder, torture, and all manner of ills. But to question the appropriateness of a law enforcement mentality in the wake of 9-11 is McCarthyism.

    Interesting way of looking at things.

  11. Charlie says:

    Lurking Observer – wasn’t Durbin speaking about Gitmo? How many deaths there vs. Illinois state prisons?

  12. Lurking Observer says:


    I was trying to be as expansive as possible.

    With reference to Gitmo (aka “The Tropical Kolyma”), the number of dead prisoners is, AFAIK, zero.

    A quick Google search doesn’t tell us how many prisoners die a year in the Illinois system, but this article suggests that the number is substantially higher, since Cook County alone averaged close to 30 deaths a year among prisoners.

    Of course, it needs to be said that wrongful deaths to inmates, Americans or Iraqis, is wrong, should be investigated, and the guilty should be punished.

    The point remains, however, that Cook County jail is no more a gulag than is Gitmo.

    To suggest comparability is to cheapen the suffering of the inmates of Auschwitz, Kolyma, or S-21.

  13. Anderson says:

    I think Rove’s insult must be deliberately timed. Having gotten a Durbin apology, the Bushies now show that THEY don’t apologize.

  14. Lurking Observer says:

    Actually, Anderson, given that Democrats are apparently intent on mounting an investigation into treatment of prisoners, I think that Rove is setting up the Dems to look soft on the terrorists.

    If it turns out, frex, that there are more deaths in the Illinois state prison system than in the entire Iraq/Afghan prison complex; if it turns out that prisoners on average are healthier when they leave than when they enter; if it turns out that important information foiling attacks (e.g., on the Athens Olympics) have been gained from the prisoners, then the Dems will come out of this looking like those who would coddle our enemies.

    And Rove, et. al., will be able to point to their behavior around the time of 9-11 to show that this has consistently been the case.

    The idea of simply “counting coup” on Dems over a Durbin apology would be a case of using a cannon to kill a flea. There’s a deeper game afoot here.

  15. Jim Rhoads says:

    Calling for Rove’s resignation is the height of silliness. Why on earth would he think of doing that? Further, I can’t see one Congressional or Senate seat turning on the burning issue of “whether Carl Rove should have resigned”, or “whether my opponent called for Carl Rove’s resignation”.

    Maybe I am missing something, but what’s the point here that Schumer, Pelosi and Reid are making or trying to make?

  16. Charlie says:

    I agree, Lurker – did you guys see this?

    “It’s outrageous that the same Democrats who stood by Dick Durbin’s libeling of our military are now expressing faux outrage over Karl Rove’s statement of historical fact. George Soros, Michael Moore, MoveOn and the hard left were wrong after 9/11, just as it was wrong for Democrat leaders to stand by and remain silent after Dick Durbin made his deplorable comments.”

    – RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman

    Liberal Third Party Groups Urged Restraint, Blamed America:

    Immediately After 9/11, MoveOn.Org Petition Urged “Moderation And Restraint” And Use Of “International Judicial Institutions.”

    • “We, The Undersigned, Citizens And Residents Of The United States Of America … Appeal To The President Of The United States, George W. Bush … And To All Leaders Internationally To Use Moderation And Restraint In Responding To The Recent Terrorist Attacks Against The United States.” (MoveOn.Org Website, “MoveOn Peace,”…g/ petition.php3, Posted 9/13/01, Accessed 6/23/05)

    • “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.” (MoveOn.Org Website, “MoveOn Peace,”…g/ petition.php3, Posted 9/13/01, Accessed 6/23/05)

    • “[W]e Demand That There Be No Recourse To Nuclear, Chemical Or Biological Weapons, Or Any Weapons Of Indiscriminate Destruction, And Feel That It Is Our Inalienable Human Right To Live In A World Free Of Such Arms.” (MoveOn.Org Website, “MoveOn Peace,”…g/ petition.php3, Posted 9/13/01, Accessed 6/23/05)

    Just After 9/11, Liberal Filmmaker Michael Moore Derided “Terror And Bloodshed” Committed By Americans. (David Brooks, Op-Ed, “All Hail Moore,” The New York Times, 6/26/04)

    • Just After 9/11, Moore Blamed America’s “Taxpayer-Funded Terrorism” And Bush Administration For Terrorist Attacks. “We abhor terrorism – unless we’re the ones doing the terrorizing. We paid and trained and armed a group of terrorists in Nicaragua in the 1980s who killed over 30,000 civilians. That was OUR work. You and me.…Let’s mourn, let’s grieve, and when it’s appropriate let’s examine our contribution to the unsafe world we live in.” (Michael Moore Website Archive, “Death, Downtown,” Posted 9/12/01,, Accessed 7/27/04)

    • Michael Moore Said U.S. Should Not Have Removed Taliban After 9/11. Moore: “Likewise, to bomb Afghanistan – I mean, I’ve never understood this, Tim.” (CNBC’s “Tim Russert,” 10/19/02)

    Liberal Donor George Soros Claimed America Should Have Treated 9/11 Attacks As Crime, Responded With Police Work. “War is a false and misleading metaphor in the context of combating terrorism. Treating the attacks of September 11 as crimes against humanity would have been more appropriate. Crimes require police work, not military action. To protect against terrorism, you need precautionary measures, awareness, and intelligence gathering – all of which ultimately depend on the support of the populations among which terrorists operate. Imagine for a moment that September 11 had been treated as a crime. We would have pursued Bin Laden in Afghanistan, but we would not have invaded Iraq. Nor would we have our military struggling to perform police work in full combat gear and getting killed in the process.” (George Soros, The Bubble Of American Supremacy, 2004, p. 1

    • Soros Said The Execution Of 9/11 Attacks “Could Not Have Been More Spectacular.” “Admittedly, the terrorist attack was a historic event in its own right. Hijacking fully loaded airplanes and using them as suicide bombs was an audacious idea, and the execution could not have been more spectacular.” (George Soros, The Bubble Of American Supremacy, 2004, p. 2)

    • Soros Said War On Terror Had Claimed More Innocent Victims Than 9/11 Attack Itself. “This is a very tough thing to say, but the fact is, that the war on terror as conducted by this administration, has claimed more innocent victims that the original attack itself.” (George Soros, Remarks At Take Back America Conference, Washington, DC, 6/3/04)

    Liberal Democrats Urged Restraint, Blamed America:

    Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH): “‘The Time For Peace Is Now,’ [Kucinich] Declared Optimistically July 11, Two Months To The Day Before Terrorists Hit The Pentagon And The World Trade Center. … 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.” (Elizabeth Auster, “Offer The Hand Of Peace,” [Cleveland, OH] Plain Dealer, 9/30/01)

    • Kucinich: “Afghanistan May Be An Incubator Of Terrorism But It Doesn’t Follow That We Bomb Afghanistan …” (Elizabeth Auster, “Offer The Hand Of Peace,” [Cleveland, OH] Plain Dealer, 9/30/01)

    Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-HI): “Only Now Are We Trying To Figure Out What Is Islam. Maybe If There Was A Department Of Peace, They Would Be Able To Say, ‘Uh-Oh, We’ve Got Some Problems With These People,’ … I Truly Believe That If We Had A Department Of Peace, We Would Have Seen [9/11] Coming.” (Ethan Wallison, “War A Challenge For Peace Caucus,” Roll Call, 10/1/01)

    Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA): “I Am Convinced That Military Action Will Not Prevent Further Acts Of International Terrorism Against The United States.” (Eddy Ramirez, “Calif. Congresswoman Alone In Vote Against War Powers Resolution,” [University Of California-Berkeley] Daily Californian, 9/17/01)

    Al Sharpton (D-NY) Said That The Attacks On The World Trade Center Are Evidence That “America Is Beginning To Reap What It Has Sown.” (Adam Nagourney, “Say It Loud,” The New York Times, 12/1/02)

    Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D-OH) Claimed Osama Bin Laden Could Be Compared To “Revolutionaries That Helped To Cast Off The British Crown.” “‘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 to cast off the British crown,’ Kaptur told an Ohio newspaper, The (Toledo) Blade.” (Malie Rulon, “Lawmaker Compares Osama, U.S. Patriots,” The Associated Press, 3/6/03)

    Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) Said The United States Would “Pay Every Single Hour, Ever Single Day” That Bombs Were Dropped In Afghanistan. “‘How much longer does the bombing campaign continue?’ Biden asked during an Oct. 22 speech at the Council on Foreign Relations. ‘We’re 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)

    • “The Bombing Campaign, [Biden] Said, Reinforced Existing Stereotypes Of The United States As A ‘High-Tech Bully …’” (Miles A. Pomper, “Building Anti-Terrorism Coalition Vaults Ahead Of Other Priorities,” Congressional Quarterly Weekly, 10/26/01)

    Gov. Howard Dean (D-VT) Said Osama Bin Laden Not Guilty. Dean: “I Still Have This Old-Fashioned Notion That Even With People Like Osama, Who Is Very Likely To Be Found Guilty, We Should Do Our Best Not To, In Positions Of Executive Power, Not To Prejudge Jury Trials.” (“Dean Not Ready To Pronounce Osama Bin Laden Guilty,” The Associated Press, 12/26/03)

    Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) To High School Students: “How Would [Muslims] Look At Us Today If We Had Been There Helping Them With Some Of That Rather Than Just Being The People Who Are Going To Bomb In Iraq And Go To Afghanistan? … War Is Expensive Too … Your Generation Ought To Be Thinking About Whether We Should Be Better Neighbors Out In Other Countries So That They Have A Different Vision Of Us.” (Gregg Herrington, “Senator Asks Students To Ponder,” The [Vancouver, WA] Columbian, 12/19/02)

    Sen. John Kerry (D-MA): “[W]ar On Terror Is Far Less Of A Military Operation And Far More Of An Intelligence-Gathering, Law-Enforcement Operation.” (The Iowa Brown & Black Coalition Presidential Forum, Des Moines, IA, 1/11/04)

    • Kerry: “[W]hat We’ve Learned Is That The War On Terror Is Much More Of An Intelligence Operation And A Law Enforcement Operation.” (NPR’s “All Things Considered,” 3/19/03)

  17. Charlie says:

    Remarks of Karl Rove as Prepared for Delivery

    New York Conservative Party

    Wednesday, June 22, 2005

    . . . Let me now say a few words about the state of liberalism. Perhaps the place to begin is with this stinging indictment:

    “Liberalism is at greater risk now than at any time in recent American history. The risk is of political marginality, even irrelevance.… [L]iberalism risks getting defined, as conservatism once was, entirely in negative terms.”

    These are not the words of William F. Buckley, Jr. or Sean Hannity; they are the words of Paul Starr, co-editor of The American Prospect, a leading liberal publication.

    There is much merit in what Mr. Starr writes – though he and I fundamentally disagree as to why liberalism is edging toward irrelevance. I believe the reason can be seen when comparing conservatism with liberalism.

    Conservatives believe in lower taxes; liberals believe in higher taxes. We want few regulations; they want more. Conservatives measure the effectiveness of government programs by results; liberals measure the effectiveness of government programs by inputs. We believe in curbing the size of government; they believe in expanding the size of government. Conservatives believe in making America a less litigious society; liberals believe in making America a more litigious society. We believe in accountability and parental choice in education; they don’t. Conservatives believe in advancing what Pope John Paul II called a “culture of life”; liberals believe there is an absolute unlimited right to abortion.

    But perhaps the most important difference between conservatives and liberals can be found in the area of national security. Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and 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. In the wake of 9/11, conservatives believed it was time to unleash the might and power of the United States military against the Taliban; in the wake of 9/11, liberals believed it was time to… submit a petition. I am not joking. Submitting a petition is precisely what did. It was a petition imploring the powers that be” to “use moderation and restraint in responding to the… terrorist attacks against the United States.”

    I don’t know about you, but moderation and restraint is not what I felt as I watched the Twin Towers crumble to the earth; a side of the Pentagon destroyed; and almost 3,000 of our fellow citizens perish in flames and rubble.

    Moderation and restraint is not what I felt – and moderation and restraint is not what was called for. It was a moment to summon our national will – and to brandish steel.

    MoveOn.Org, Michael Moore and Howard Dean may not have agreed with this, but the American people did.

    Conservatives saw what happened to us on 9/11 and said: we will defeat our enemies. Liberals saw what happened to us and said: we must understand our enemies. Conservatives see the United States as a great nation engaged in a noble cause; liberals see the United States and they see … Nazi concentration camps, Soviet gulags, and the killing fields of Cambodia.

    Has there been a more revealing moment this year than when Democratic Senator Richard Durbin, speaking on the Senate floor, compared what Americans had done to prisoners in our control at Guantanamo Bay with what was done by Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot – three of the most brutal and malevolent figures in the 20th century?

    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.

    Let me end where I began. Forty years ago, Lyndon Baines Johnson, a proud liberal, won the Presidency in a landslide. His party held 68 Senate seats; 295 House seats; and 33 governorships.

    In 2004 George W. Bush, a proud conservative, won the Presidency for the second time, receiving the most votes in American history. His party has now won seven of the last 10 Presidential elections. Republicans hold 55 Senate seats; 232 House seats; and 28 governorships.

    These facts underscore how much progress has been made in four decades. It has been a remarkable rise. But it is also a cautionary tale of what happens to a dominant party – in this case, the Democrat Party — when its thinking becomes ossified; when its energy begins to drain; when an entitlement mentality takes over; and when political power becomes an end in itself rather than a means to achieve the common good. We need to learn from our successes – and from the failures of the other side and ourselves. As the governing movement in America, conservatives cannot grow tired or timid. We have been given the opportunity to govern; now we have to show we deserve the trust of our fellow citizens.

    At one time the conservative movement was largely a reactionary political party – and there was a sense of pessimism even among many of its ardent champions. You’ll recall that Whittaker Chambers, who gave up his affiliation with Communism to join the West in its struggle for freedom, said he believed he was joining the losing side.

    For decades, liberals were setting the agenda, the pace of change, and the visionary goals. Conservatives were simply reacting to them. But times change, often for the better – and this President and today’s conservative movement are shaping history, not trying to stop it. Together we are articulating a compelling vision of a better world — and I am grateful to all of you who are making that better world a reality.

  18. Geek, Esq. says:

    This was nothing less than a declaration of war from the Bush White House.

    The Democrats theme is going to be that there is no limit to how much the Bush Republicans will lie and exploit tragedy, or how low and repulsive they will go.

    The outlook from here is clear: The Dems should, and will, do everything they can to obstruct every single aspect of Bush’s domestic agenda until the 2006 election.

  19. Jim Rhoads says:

    I guess Charley’s point is that truth is an absolute defense. Seems about right to me. I am sure that his audience did not disagree. Who knew that the liberals would be outraged? Who cared?

  20. Jim Rhoads says:


    You mean they wouldn’t have done that anyway?

    I wonder.

  21. Geek, Esq. says:


    Michael Moore did not speak for the Democratic party after 911. Indeed, it wasn’t until Bush moved his attention from Afghanistan to Iraq that Moore had any kind of currency.

    Moore is also no liberal–even he will tell you that. He hates liberals–sees us as sell-outs.

    And to suggest that liberals want our troops to suffer defeat and death is a gruesome lie. Of course we’re going to object to that kind of speech.

    In terms of whether obstruction was appropriate or not, this should remind some DINO’s like Lieberma how the other side plays. Some Dems are still naive enough to think that the best thing for them to do is deal with the Republicans in good faith.

    This should end any such delusions.

  22. Charlie says:


    Did you, or did you not, sign the petition imploring the powers that be to use moderation and restraint in responding to the terrorist attacks against the United States?

  23. Charlie says:

    Also, even apart from Moore, Reid, Pelosi, and Dean, are you really saying that Dennis Kucinich, Neil Abercrombie, Barbara Lee, Al Sharpton, Marcy Kaptur, Joe Biden, Patty Murray, and John Kerry (your party’s last Presidential nominee IIRC) did not speak for the Democrats after 9/11? If the shoe fits . . . if not, then not.

  24. Jim says:

    I am a little confused: did Rove say that Democrats or liberal were so evil? From the transcripts it seems that he applied those labels to liberals and did not specify the democratic party. That sort of logic almost worked for Senator Durbin after all.

  25. Russ says:


    I presume that you got the very same spam from Peter Daou that I got (and that almost assuredly a thousand other bloggers got.)

    But I am surprised that you bothered to quote it, particularly his passing reference to the latest variation of the “chickenhawk” argument. By that sort of logic, one could just as easily call those on the anti-war side of the spectrum “armchair jihadists.” (I wish I could remember who coined that expression.)

    One can justifiably push the right=strong left=weak argument without being “blithe.” Indeed, the simple evidence of experience would make it an apt comparison, and one that bears usage.

  26. Steve Verdon says:

    I gotta say it is amusing that the liberals seem more bent out of shape over Rove’s tossing of red meat to the party faithful than they are about a legitimate undermining of our Constitutional rights–the right to property. Apparently nobody seems to mind when the SCOTUS eviscerates the 5th Amendment.

  27. jami says:

    rove should resign, and if he doesn’t it shouldn’t be because we didn’t say anything:

  28. Matt says:


    The comparison with Dean is apt; sort of the political equivalent of a pub name-calling episode, as I see it.

    That being said, I’m amazed at how many conservatives (or at least the ones who comment on blogs) somehow equate a disagreement with Bush admin. foreign policy with treason or weakness. I suppose it’s easier to tar all liberals with the Michael Moore/Moveon brush than to engage them in substantive argument.

    Everybody that I know on both the left and right is deeply interested in preserving our national security by winning the War on Terror. Terrorists do not discriminate based on ideological affiliation. It is clear by now that nobody knows exactly what to do thus disagreement and debate are vital to our national interest.

  29. LJD says:

    True, disagreement does not equate treason. However the choice of language used to criticize the policy and really, the President, steps way over the line.
    We always hear from the left about the right to free speech, and about dissent being patriotic, but if you really support our troops, speak carefully, respecfully and with forethought. We see to much of “I can say whatever I want because it makes a good soundbite on the nightly news”. The fact is WE are at war, whether an individual thinks we should be or not.
    Nobody is saying that the Dems WANT harm to come to our troops. Their words DO however often bring harm to our troops. They need to stop, take a deep breath, and think about what the hell they’re saying.

  30. Lurking Observer says:

    I do find it weirdly ironic:

    On the one hand, Dick Durbin’s comments are parsed to make clear that he was not comparing US troops to the Soviets, the Khmer Rouge, nor the Nazis. Even if he says that, looking at the US troops’ actions, they could well be attributed to acts of those other regimes. No comparison, no equivalency here.

    On the other hand, Karl Rove says, “No more need be said about the motives of liberals,” and the same people who say that Durbin’s meaning is clear are claiming that Rove meant that liberals are traitors.

    And here I am, thinking words have meaning….

  31. bithead says:

    The bottom line here is Rove has hit on an uncomfortable truth.

  32. Pete says:

    Bush and Cheny, immediately after 9-11, wanted to attack Iraq.

    Luckily, other people in the administration were able to force moderation and restraint on them and investigate who actually attacked us. While no fan of, isn’t that exactly what they were saying: don’t go off half cocked, go after the terroists and not the people of a country they might reside in, get the international community involved. All these things happened, although I doubt had anything to do with it. We even tried to get the Taliban to cooperate and only attacked them when they refused to help.

    Seriously, I think Rove is trying to conflate Iraq with 9-11 again. He was certainly implying the Democrats are who he meant be “liberals”, ignoring the unamimous (except for 1 vote) support for the Afganistan war in both houses. This is part of their desire to create an alternate history.