Rove gives 'LIbruLz' thorough tongue-lashing. But did he brush his yellow teeth?
By Patrick Martin
25 June 2005
In a heavy-handed effort to intimidate opponents of the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, top White House political aide Karl Rove delivered a speech Wednesday in New York City that all but accused critics of these wars of giving aid and comfort to the terrorists. Rove declared that while the Bush administration responded to the 9/11 attacks by waging war, liberals responded by offering “therapy and understanding for our attackers.”
He denounced recent comments by Senator Richard Durbin of Illinois, who compared the methods used at the US detention camp at Guantánamo Bay to those of fascist and Stalinist dictatorships. The previous day, Durbin had made a sniveling recantation on the floor of the Senate.
Noting that Durbin’s original statement had been rebroadcast on Al Jazeera, Rove said it was “certainly putting America’s men and women in uniform in greater danger.” He concluded, “No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals.”
These remarks were a calculated political provocation. Rove delivered them to a convention of the Conservative Party of New York, a rump organization of ultra-rightists that generally lends its line on the statewide ballot to Republican candidates. He spoke in Manhattan, traditionally a stronghold of Democratic Party liberalism, only a few miles from the World Trade Center site where nearly 3,000 people died.
The tone of the speech harkens back to the worst days of McCarthyite witch-hunting in the 1950s, when Republican—and Democratic—redbaiters sought to criminalize every form of left-wing political activity, branding as spies and traitors those who fought for socialist principles or opposed American militarism, racial injustice and corporate domination.
Rove combined allegations of disloyalty and sympathy towards terrorism with militarist demagogy. September 11 was not a time for “moderation and restraint,” he declared. “It was a moment to summon our national will—and to brandish steel.”"