June 24, 2005

It's a trap!

Fascinating! So Karl Rove really is a genius.


Gerry said...

He's pretty smart, but to be honest, this was an obvious maneuver to make. The reaction of the Democrats and the reaction of the elite newspapers was too easy to predict.

Let's put Durbin aside for a moment. Yes, since he was forced to apologize, it probably did prime the pump for the Democrats to jump and demand that Rove apologize, but Durbin's comments were aimed at the troops (intentionally or not), which made them different.

The better comparison for Rove making controversial comments would be Dean making controversial comments.

Did the Washington Post, or New York Times, give A1 coverage to any of Dean's incindiary rhetoric? Of course not. But was it difficult to foresee they would jump all over anything Rove said? Also, of course not.

So let's look at all Rove's comments did:
1) It puts the focus on security issues.
2) It keeps Durbin's comments in the forefront.
3) As Glenn points out, it gives Republicans a chance to defend Rove's statement using quotations of prominent liberals.
4) It got the Democrats to wrap the label "liberal" on themselves. While most people accept that liberals are Democrats, the Democrats have worked very hard over the past two decades to emphasize that not all Democrats are liberals. But the Democrats yelped when Rove poked liberals. Oops.
5) It gives the Republicans an opportunity, as this will play out, for bringing up every dumb thing that Dean said-- things that cannot be backed with facts the way what Rove said can be.
6) It gives the Republicans another opportunity to point to unequal press treatment, which is something that always plays well to the Republican base in election years.

The one mistake Rove made in this was not using a single word-- either "many" or "most" in front of the word "liberals" in his comments. He did paint with too wide a brush, since his paint got on liberals such as Michael J. Totten, Roger L. Simon, and Christopher Hitchens.

Ann Althouse said...

Maybe that's not a mistake though. It might have been the spark that lit the fire and it forces some liberals to call attention to themselves distancing themselves from their usual allies.

Gerry said...

Perhaps. I think that if he used the word "most", or even if later on in his comments he said "there are exceptions", the Democrats would have jumped anyway. However, we'll never know for sure.

Regarding my point about how it brings Dean's comments into play again, here's an example-- Pataki swipes at Hillary after she tries to hit him with Rove.

F15C said...

I agree with Ann. There is a segment of the Democratic party that are nodding their heads in agreement, if you will, with Rove's statements. By lumping the moveon.org'ers and their ilk with the Democrats that reacted to 9/11 as most Americans did, a schism is highlighted in the party. This schism is very difficult to defend since doing so verifies its exsitence. Something the party so far has been loathe to do.

Goesh said...

The camp that coddles and the camp that crushes now must reconcile - Karl you are such a clever lad!

Kathleen B. said...

The better comparison for Rove making controversial comments would be Dean making controversial comments.

um, no because Rove is a highly paid federal employee.

Sorry if I get offended when my tax dollars go to someone who says that my motives are to kill American troops, just so he can distract people from his own sinking ship.

and sorry folks, but if you read Rove's statements it is very clear that he is talking about Democrats and not trying to make some sort of definitional distinction in an elaborate word play.

It is very simple. Bush is flaming out (seen those poll numbers lately?) and he has got to do something. too bad accusing half of the country of traitorous and homicidal motives was where he decided to go.

Nick said...

I will agree that he's in evil genius if the following words come out of his mouth as part of an "apology":

"I'll resign if all the Democrats who said crappy things resign too."

Meade said...

Kathleen B: Rove said your motives are to kill American troops? I missed that part.

Kathleen B. said...

"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." - Karl Rove

yeah, I guess you missed that.

Gerry said...

I, for one, did miss that part.

Yes, I think that was over the top. I do not think Durbin intended to have Al Jazeera pounce on his words for propaganda purposes.

I do think that Durbin should have realized they would though. I don't think it says anything about Durbin's motives, but it did say a lot about his judgement (and sense of perspective).

Matt said...

A suggestion for political discourse from both sides--can we refrain from saying or implying that our political opponents are Nazis, terrorists, or hate America? If EVERYONE stopped doing that (and there are, without question, guilty parties on both sides) wouldn't political discourse be much more valuable for us all?

brando said...

I have to agree with kathleen b - "genius" or not, Rove's little aside simply underscored the fact that Bush's numbers are tanking. Plain and simple.

I didn't expect the White House to pull out the "liberals are soft on terror" card again until the 2006 election season was in full bloom.

The fact that they had to play it a year ahead of schedule says a lot.

Kathleen B. said...

point well taken, Gerry.

The problem is that Karl Rove is not criticizing Sen. Durbin's judgment, he is clearly saying that liberals motives are to kill our troops, and that is why we do and say what we do. This goes far beyond anyone's opinion about what Sen. Durbin said/did not say, and really should not be equated.

In the words of Duncan Black: "For the record, my motives aren't to get more troops killed. If those were my motives I'd ship them off to a war on false pretenses without sufficient equipment to keep them safe."

Meade said...

Kathleen B: No, I did not miss the part where Rove questioned the motives of what he calls liberals who equate the U.S. military with Nazis, Stalinists, and Communists. But I see now how it was Duncan Black you were citing and not Rove.

This strikes me as the perfect opportunity for liberals and liberal moderates to distinguish themselves clearly definitely from the so-called liberals Rove is speaking of - the Michael Moores, George Soros, and all who supported appeasing the Taliban, al qaeda and Saddam and who now thump the incessant drone of defeatism.

Gerry said...

As I said, Kathleen. He went too far in saying it was their motive of their words and actions rather than just the consequence of their words and actions.

Meade said...

As I meant to say - a perfect opportunity to lop off a diseased infected branch of the otherwise nobel valuable tree of liberalism.

Kathleen B. said...

lmeade: no, I was citing Rove.
and no, Rove neither made, nor intended, any distinction among "liberals who equate the military with Stalin" from "other liberals."

I do think this is the perfect opportunity, lmeade, for conservatives to distinguish themselves clearly definitely from the so-called conservatives who are just partisan hate mongers, and don't actually care about getting this County headed in the right direction and who thump the incessant drone of fantasy.

Kathleen B. said...

In addition to sending our troops to war without a plan or necessary equipment, another thing we "liberals" could do harm the troops would be to underfund the Department of Veterans Affairs. Whoops, guess it was the Republicans who did that. They must be liberals. after all, it is not their intentions, but the consequences of their actions that count, right Gerry?

Gerry said...


I am sure the veterans will be swarming to the Democrats, since the issue is as cut and dried as you present. I bow to your unrelenting partisanship.

Gerry said...

As it happens, I just read the story about which you must have been referring, Kathleen. I know I'll probably regret taking your bait to swirl things off on an unrelated tangent, but what the heck.

"The Department of Veterans Affairs told Congress that its health care costs grew faster than expected and left a $1 billion hole in its budget this year, lawmakers said Thursday."

I see. And later in the article,

"Murray had urged lawmakers to give the VA an extra $2 billion this spring, while they assembled an $82 billion emergency spending bill on war and homeland security, but the VA said it didn't need any more money.

Overall the administration has proposed increasing the Veterans Affairs Department budget by 2.7 percent to $70.8 billion next year."

So the VA said it didn't need more money, Bush proposed a 2.7% increase, and it turns out the VA was wrong and they need more.

I'm a little bit fuzzy on how this gets translated into Republicans underfunding the VA. The VA will get the money they need, just as they got the money they said they needed.

But I will give you that it was a valient effort at coming up with an issue to demagogue. Well done!

Meade said...

A Democrat, a liberal, a Marine who initially was an opponent of OIF who now says we are committed, let's get the job done. Some might call him a 'white' Obama. Some might call him our next JFK. I call him the Democrats' last best hope.

Kathleen B. said...

Gerry: thanks for the compliments, I always like a little praise! seriously though, I have admitted here before that I am totally partisan, but I really don't think that is what my comments in this thread reflect. Rather, I have attempted to call out some hypocrisy where I see it. What I took away as implied in your comments was that criticizing torture conducted by our government had (or could have) the consequence of harming our troops. I preferred to point to some more obvious (in my opinion) examples of causing harm to our troops. It is true that I picked up on that VA story because it was in the news today, but there are numerous others I could post. I won't now since it isn't my blog and seems inappropriate, but obviously could do the research if necessary. I do think it is quite adorable how you appear to view the feds. See, I thought that the VA was a federal agency, and the federal agencies were in the executive branch, and the executive branch was run by Pres. Bush, a Republican. I guess you also believe Bush when he says that he really would send more troops to Iraq, it is just that his generals don't ask for any more. How adorable.

miklos rosza said...

kathleen b's use of the word "adorable" (twice) in what is evidently meant to be clever sarcasm loses her case for me as i don't like the resort to ad hominems.

when you present yourself as relentlessly partisan you also present yourself as untrustworthy and willing to lie to gain momentary advantage. and this is how you come off.

Kathleen B. said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kathleen B. said...

well Miklos, let's hope you feel the same about Karl Rove, or else your comments mean nothing to me but hypocrisy.