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June 27, 2005

Barone: The Real Reason For the Left's Anger at Rove's Remarks

He's right, and kudos to Betsy for the quote.

Why are liberals incensed by Rove's remarks? Because it forces them to confront an issue they'd been hoping to avoid-- the split between America-hating leftists and America-tolerating liberals. They've got to keep this alliance intact for political reasons... but ideologically, it's a muddle:

In the liberal narrative, the Democratic Party selflessly supported George W. Bush until he unwisely decided to make war against Saddam Hussein's Iraq. And indeed many of them supported that: Schumer and Clinton voted for the Iraq war resolution in October 2002.

Reading the initial press accounts of Rove's speech, I wished that he had been more specific about which liberals he was denouncing -- except that, as those press accounts failed to mention, he was. "I'm not joking," he went on immediately after the words quoted above. "Submitting a petition was precisely what Moveon.org, then known as 9-11peace.org did. You may have seen it in The New York Times or The Washington Post, the San Francisco Examiner or the L.A. Times. (Funny, I didn't see it in the Amarillo Globe News.) It was a petition that 'implored the powers that be' to 'use moderation and restraint in responding to the terrorist attacks against the United States.'"

One reason that the Democrats are squawking so much about Rove's attack on "liberals" is that he has put the focus on a fundamental split in the Democratic Party -- a split among its politicians and its voters.

On the one hand, there are those who believe that this is a fundamentally good country and want to see success in Iraq. On the other hand, there are those who believe this is a fundamentally bad country and want more than anything else to see George W. Bush fail.

Those who do not think this split is real should consult the responses to pollster Scott Rasmussen's question last year. About two-thirds of Americans agreed that the United States is a fair and decent country. Virtually all Bush voters agreed. Kerry voters were split down the middle.

As Betsy notes, either liberals have to confront the America-haters they are tactically allied with or suffer the political consequences themselves.

Let me put it in terms liberals can understand:

Would you ever in a million years allow conservatives to wink-wink nudge-nudge kinda-sorta ally themselves with racists without noting that fact, and without ripping into them for being sympathetic to racists?

Of course you wouldn't. And you don't. You're real bears on ripping conservatives whenever they use "racist code-words" to signal covert support for racism and to curry political favor from racists (whether those racist code-words are real or largely in your imagination).

So please explain to me why we conservatives should just ignore the fact that you are in a political marriage with those who actively root for American casualties and American defeat.

Mainstream conservatives have done a good, if imperfect, job, of rooting out and repudiating the racists in our midst. Don't forget-- it was largely conservatives who brought down Trent Lott.

Liberals cannot continue their wink-wink nudge-nudge flirtations with the hardcore anti-American left and then express shock when their commitment to winning the war or their love of country is questioned.

The alliance of the hard left and more reasonable liberals has persisted because 1) they try to blur their differences in order to keep the political alliance alive and 2) they paper over these differences by emphasizing the One Big Thing they agree on-- the Unholy Trinity of Bush, Rove, and Cheney must be brought low.

Rove is stirring the pot now, and forcing you to take sides. And you don't like that-- because this is a wedge issue, and if you disavow the America-hatin' left, you lose votes.

Well, sometimes you have to give up the votes of moral monsters (like, for example, racists) in order to do the right thing and keep politically clean.


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posted by Ace at 03:56 PM

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