A very bad man. No, seriously – I really mean it.

As you know by now, last night Bush’s deputy chief of staff Karl Rove said that while conservatives wanted to deal mercilessly with the 911 terrorists, liberals like me wanted to offer them sympathy and therapy. And that we are placing our troops in danger by being critical of them.

I keep saying there have to be some limits, some point at which human decency impels people like Rove and Delay to measure their words and show restraint. But I’m constantly proven wrong. What Rove did today goes beyond slander. To say that literally half of the nation wanted to coddle the murdering 911 terrorists — it’s simply unthinkable. Here’s the president’s own spokesperson, in a moment of equally reprehensible sleaze, during today’s gaggle:

Q So will the President ask Karl Rove to apologize?

MR. McCLELLAN: Of course not, Jessica. This is simply talking about different philosophies and different approaches. And I think you have to look at it in that context. If people want to try to engage in personal attacks instead of defending their philosophy, that’s their business. But it’s important to point out the different approaches when it comes to winning the war on terrorism. And that’s all he was doing.

This is the man who speaks for our president telling us that the liberals’ “philosophy” is to coddle terrorists and encourage the deaths of our soldiers. With no facts and no conscience, he is calling me and all liberals traitors — saying that our very philosophy is one of treason. I expect it from Ann Coulter. When the top people in government say this with no shame and as a matter of fact, leaving all liberals subject to hatred as treasonous swine — well, to call it inexcusable is way too mild.

Too many bloggers have written about this already today, and I know most people here want to talk about China. Let me just quote from my favorite of today’s posts about Rove’s criminal remarks:

I guess we needed more evidence that Karl Rove is the most despicable man on the American political scene today.

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.

Two examples: “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 … Has there ever been a more revealing moment this year? 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.”

Don’t forget that these statements are meant to outrage you. You’re a targeted audience They’re meant to perpetuate a state of maximal polarization in this country — the state of affairs most suited for vampires like Mr. Rove to suck the nation dry.

And please don’t come back and tell me Michael Moore says terrible things, too. He’s not running the controls of the world’s most powerful nation.

Update: As Atrios shrewdly observes,

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.

The Discussion: 45 Comments

Rove Right

Karl Rove nailed the difference between liberals and conservatives in the speech he gave at a fundraiser last night. “Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 in the attacks and prepared for war; liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks…

June 23, 2005 @ 7:58 pm | Comment

those of us familiar with china should recognise this. it’s called saving face, and some people will come up with some truly amusing leaps of logic to attempt it.

June 23, 2005 @ 8:20 pm | Comment

“Rove’s criminal remarks”

Criminal?, Cite U.S. code or retract.

June 23, 2005 @ 8:54 pm | Comment

Norden, I won’t retract. Slander is criminal. He called me a traitor. He said I am helping ensure the deaths of US soldiers. This is unprecedented in American politics, even in this shabby administration.

June 23, 2005 @ 9:07 pm | Comment

Here’s crimnal code
from Kyrgyzstan.

In the U.S. slander and libel are civil torts, Andrew Hamilton settled this in 1734.


June 23, 2005 @ 9:24 pm | Comment

So you want to play a battle of semantics? Call him criminal, call him human scum, call him an unethical fucker, it all boils down to the same thing: this man has slandered a huge number of Americans in a manner singularly unbecoming of a high-ranking government official.

The man is a cheap criminal and a disgrace to America.

June 23, 2005 @ 9:32 pm | Comment

Oh, and Norden, I hope my readers go to your blog and see its mission statement up on top. It speaks volumes. I thought for a moment you were serious! ๐Ÿ™‚

June 23, 2005 @ 9:37 pm | Comment


“Half the nation”???

You wish. Only 20% of Americans identify themselves as “liberals”.

June 23, 2005 @ 10:05 pm | Comment

I guess Howard Dean does not, in fact, have a monopoly on spouting offensive, stupid nonsence.

June 23, 2005 @ 10:06 pm | Comment

What the….I just went to Norden’s blog. I am sore confused!

June 23, 2005 @ 10:10 pm | Comment

/11 is such a cheapass tool for these “Religious” wingnuts. These people have no shame at all. I lost 5 friends on that day. Chinese people seem to think it was hilarious. Now my own government uses it. We really should have two America’s. These people don’t speak for me.Actually, Karl Rove is a cheapass tool!

June 23, 2005 @ 10:26 pm | Comment

I really wish Bill Hicks was still alive. He would at least make me laugh.Bill Hicks was a true American.

June 23, 2005 @ 11:10 pm | Comment

I didn’t mean YOU were boring. I just meant being seen as a generic American all the time is boring.I was really refering to many social situations in the past. I think many American’s have trouble (like the Chinese) separating political distaste from personal.We too are indoctrinated. It’s only one of the traits American’s share with the Chinese.Although I would never admit it to my (Chinese) wife!

June 24, 2005 @ 12:04 am | Comment

Sorry,Wrong forum!

June 24, 2005 @ 12:06 am | Comment

Can’t get there from here. Can you quote Norden’s mission statement.

June 24, 2005 @ 2:16 am | Comment

I’d encourage anyone to listen to this edition of Democracy Now from the end of January this year:


It bears many repeated listens – it features most of Robert Byrd’s testimony to the Senate on the nomination of Condi Rice, and long extracts of a terrifying speech on Iraq by Seymour Hersch. Please please give it a listen, especially the Seymour Hirsch bit towards the end – I promise you you will not regret it.

June 24, 2005 @ 2:46 am | Comment

People like Norden blow my mind. Rove gets up there and insults half the nation, basically cuts america in half and these assholes are like “can you show me where its illegal??”

June 24, 2005 @ 3:18 am | Comment

Please Lulu, give it a rest. It’s just stupid political hyperbole. And if the belief underlying your assertion that half the population of the US is liberal is precisely why the Democrats lost the last election.

June 24, 2005 @ 3:42 am | Comment

Conrad, always ready to assert stupid political hyperbole.

Thanks for a good laugh. But as with the Cambodia bullshit from before the election, the only reason Rove and you resort to this crapola, Conrad, is because the poll numbers suck. Furious George can’t even get 50% for his war on terra. And 20-some% give approval for Furious George’s handling of the economy. {And you thought your man could never challenge Tung for depths of unpopularity.}

June 24, 2005 @ 4:42 am | Comment

I wanna ” Tea Bag” that Rove cat. Make him my biyahtch.Like that dude in OZ,Vern Schillenger treats his lady Beecher REAL proper like.Make “Dubs” watch.It WILL be Biblical.Yeah!,Yeah!………..Yeah!

June 24, 2005 @ 4:57 am | Comment

“Bill Hicks was a true American. ”


June 24, 2005 @ 5:10 am | Comment

Who’s Bill Hicks??

June 24, 2005 @ 8:13 am | Comment

CNN- In general, do you approve or disapprove of the way the US is treating the prisoners being held at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba?

Approve: 52
Disapprove: 37
No opinion: 11
Can you be a modern liberal and approve of Gitmo? Don’t some moderates also disaprove of the horrors of pilaf?

June 24, 2005 @ 8:22 am | Comment

who were they polling, white house staffers?

if you’re gonna pick a political comedian to call ‘true american’ it’s gotta be leary.

June 24, 2005 @ 8:56 am | Comment

Jedi master Rove is at his usual best. By directing the debate to 9/11 (“If we don’t shop, the terrorist has won.”) he diverted our attention from how Rice is uniformly neglected in Middle East, China buys UNOCAL, and “insurgents in their last thros.” See how Nolan and Richard rolled out their legal dictionary? When ethics failed, revert to the Constitution. While I admire Rumsfeld for “we have good days, and we have bad days. You are just talking about the bad days.” Cheney is almost topping him, “If you look up the dictionary for last thros…”
Love this country, its spins, and your blogs.

June 24, 2005 @ 10:00 am | Comment

”We have to get back to the place we were, where terrorists are not the focus of our lives but they’re a nuisance,” Kerry told the New York Times Magazine on Sunday.

“The top Democrat’s words are sure to fuel the impression that he’s unwilling to wage an all-out war against the terrorist threat but instead take a more European view that a certain amount of terrorism is acceptable.”

Is a tolerance for terrorism coddling?

June 24, 2005 @ 10:03 am | Comment

Lola, where is he saying we should tolerate terrorists? Kerry was exactly right — we need to get back to the mentality that terrorism is not life, that it is not all we live for. It must be dealt with, but our goal is to relegate it once again to the status of a problem, a nuisance, that we need to deal with but that does not monopolize ouir brains, causing us to live in a spirit of fear and dementia.

Kerry said this in 2004. Rove is saying that “liberals” wanted to offer therapy and solace to the 911 terrorists. I maintain that no liberals except those at the very hard left, like Joan Didion, Susan Sontag and Chomsky, held such a viewpoint — they were, across the board, in favor of going after OBL with everything we had, John Kerry included. And I challenge you to show us any evidence, any at all, that Kerry wanted to go gentle on the terrorists of 911 or that he wated to offer them solace or therapy. Ball is in your court.

I hate it when people take quotes out of context and distort their meaning. This is exactly what the GOP sharks did with Kerry’s “global test” — take a statement of strength and turn it into one of weakness.

June 24, 2005 @ 10:18 am | Comment

And whenever they get any criticism, it’s hands over the ears and “lalala, I can’t HEAR you!”

June 24, 2005 @ 10:25 am | Comment

From Poor Man:

What we are looking at here is a stark illustration of what political speech is in this country, what the right wing has known for some time, and what liberals and centrists are belatedly coming to understand – it is a way of expressing and exerting power. Iโ€™m not saying that reasoned political debate is useless – it is essential to democracy – Iโ€™m saying that the Oโ€™Reilly-ized political climate is so pathological at this point that to treat political discourse with the right as anything other than an exercise in brute force is to concede without a fight. So, sticking with the torture issue, it is worse than pointless to get into the debates that the right wing wants to have – what if there was a ticking bomb? how can one define torture to infinite precision? what are appropriate and inappropriate historical analogies? – are distractions, and distractions by design. Guantanimo Bay is a fantastic place where all guilty brown people recieve far better than they deserve and anyone who says different hates America; then, lose a few contracts and stir up some bad publicity and, suddenly, there are all these shades of grey you never considered. Amazing, that.

June 24, 2005 @ 11:25 am | Comment

Conrad: Why is it OK for the President’s chief advisor to slander tens of thousands of U.S. troops in a time of war? I’m referring to the tens of thousands of U.S. troops who are Democrats and/or liberals.

June 24, 2005 @ 12:05 pm | Comment

“Only 20% of Americans identify themselves as “liberals”.

And a further 35% or so identify themselves as “moderates.”

Self-identified “conservatives” are a tiny, powerless minority — in the same sense that the 48% of the American electorate who voted for Kerry last November are a “tiny, powerless minority.” Right, Conrad?

June 24, 2005 @ 12:11 pm | Comment

Vaara, where have you been? We really could have used your help throughout this thread.

Conrad, you and I know when he said “liberal” he meant people who are opposed to Bush, and that means at least 49 percent of everyone who voted. Even more, according to the latest polls. Joe Liberman is a liberal, as is Joan Didion. This is part of the Republicans’ badness, lumping us all together as though we all suffer from the same disease.

Only 20 percent of Americans will identify themselves as liberals because Ronald Reagan turned it into a term of vilification, of badness back in the 80s – it actually became an insult. But most Americans still harbor liberal ideals about freedom and justice and equality — they might not call their ideals “liberal” but they are. And as Vaara pointed out, a huge swath of our population identifies itself as moderates, you know, the kind who were disgusted at the Terri Schiavo nonsense and who don’t se torture as the American Way…. Rove insulted and vilified us all. Inexcusable.

June 24, 2005 @ 2:19 pm | Comment

Per someone’s request above, the descriptor on Norden’s blog (typos and all):

Deep Space Bombardment Reasons why we should build a modern version of the Deep Space Bombardment Force. To replaceme our current atomic arsenal and to open the next American Frontier.

Just what we need — to approach “the next frontier” armed to the teeth with atomic weapons.

UPDATE: I notice Norden has fixed the typo in his header and…he also doubled his site traffic thanks to this thread! Glad to be of assistance… ๐Ÿ™‚

June 24, 2005 @ 3:13 pm | Comment

From Mahablog.

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. […]

That karma wheel keeps turnin’ children. Take care.

June 24, 2005 @ 3:44 pm | Comment

So what did you think about Dick (head) Durbin’s recent comments?

June 24, 2005 @ 6:29 pm | Comment

What Durbin said was spot on. He described a specific situation of torture and said it was unbecoming of America, that it was something you would expect from a more brutal regime like Stalin’s, Pol Pot’s or the Nazis’. He was totally right, and it was a great example of someone’s words being twisted. He never compared our troops to Nazis. He saoid that specific situation, in which a human being is degraded and forced to urinate on themselves and lie on the floor in his own filth was not the kind of thing Americans do. There is virtually no comparison with Rove calling me a traitor and saying I was encouyraging the deaths of our soldiers.. If Durbin got up and said American soldiers were the equivalent of Nazis, or that they were traitors, I would call for his resignation.

June 24, 2005 @ 6:44 pm | Comment

Hell, I’m just thankful Rove didn’t pin Iraq on gay marriage somehow.

June 24, 2005 @ 9:30 pm | Comment

Norden wrote:

> “Cite (…) or retract.”

Norden, I can only wish you held Rove to that same standard.

… or the press held him to it. Not likely, outside a scattering of scowling op-ed pieces, I suspect.

I think it’s a pretty safe bet that American liberals won’t be seeing a cite OR a retraction anytime soon.

June 24, 2005 @ 9:58 pm | Comment

I’m coming to this a day late, but better late than never.

You have to see Rove for what he is. He is a professional propagandist. That’s the role he fills in the Whitehouse. “Political strategist” is just a polite euphemism for “propagandist” — Democrats have them too, so don’t work up too big a head of moral outrage.

You have to analyze every single thing Rove says in that context. The funny thing about Rove is that, for all his reputation, he’s becoming a less skilled propagandist as time goes by. Statements like the recent one about 9/11 are ham-fisted enough to be comical, were they not so hateful, and come right out of Propaganda 101 – use of hero and villain words, and Propaganda 102, accusing your domestic political competition of inadequacy before an external enemy. When your statements are obvious enough to be called out the way Rove’s were, you’re making mistakes.

On the other hand, as Goebbels said (I paraphrase), repeat a big enough lie often enough, and people will come to believe it. That’s Propaganda 103. And Rove used that technique to sell an entire war. So maybe he’s better than I give him credit for.

June 24, 2005 @ 10:21 pm | Comment

Will wrote:
> “but better late than never”

Even if I am the only poster to see your comment … it was worth it! Good point about keeping perspective on his job position, and how sloppy he has become. Is it desperation? The poll numbers keep heading south…

This is really a dismal time for the USA. No wonder our old friends now prefer China to the nation of Lady Liberty. Something precious has been so … squandered.

June 24, 2005 @ 11:28 pm | Comment


Durbin never should have apologized, IMO. Detainees have been killed in American detention facilities – literally tortured to death. And I’m not even going to get into rendition (“welcome to Uzbekistan – how hot do you like your bath?”).

Rove and Cheney and Bush have been practicing the Big Lie since they got into office and non-stop since 9/11. “Saddam = Al Qaeda.” “Saddam threatens America.” Etc.

As others have said, it does make a difference why we went to war. If the reason was regime change to bring democracy to the Middle East, then they should have made their case on that basis. But they knew it was a tough sell. How much easier it would be to sell their war with fear.

If they’d asked Americans if they were willing to go to war to bring democracy to Iraq, I’m willing to bet the majority would have said, “no thanks.”

History will judge, and I hope that George W. Bush is wrong, and that he will face his judgment before he dies, not in some textbook written after he’s cold in his grave.

June 25, 2005 @ 1:38 am | Comment

Hell, I’m just thankful Rove didn’t pin Iraq on gay marriage somehow.

He would’ve if he could’ve. Remember, Jerry Falwell pinned 911 on gays and the ACLU.

June 25, 2005 @ 8:49 am | Comment

Thanks Richard for the quote from Norden’s site. A spaceman indeed.

June 25, 2005 @ 11:23 am | Comment

Richard, Bill Hicks ,was in my opinion, the greatest American comedian.Real angry, real funny,really left wing. Tom Waits had this to say about him:”Blowtorch,excavator,truthsayer,and brain specialist,like a Reverend waving a gun around.He will correct your vision.” You can buy his live CD’s from Rykodisc.You will pee your speedo’s.

June 25, 2005 @ 11:27 pm | Comment

BTW,Denis Leary? Denis Leary ripped off Bill Hicks’ WHOLE act.Bill Hick’s once said:” I actually ripped off Leary, but to throw everyone off I wrote the material FIRST!” A comes before B!

June 25, 2005 @ 11:38 pm | Comment

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URL

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.