Democrats call for Rove to resign; WH stands behind him
The White House jumped to the defense of presidential advisor Karl Rove as he continues to take criticism over a statement he made on Wednesday about the Liberal’s response to the September 11th attacks.
White House communications director Dan Bartlett tried hard to spin Rove’s comments into an attack on Moveon.org, a liberal group identified with Michael Moore.
"It's somewhat puzzling why all these Democrats ... who responded forcefully after 9-11, who voted to support President Bush's pursuit of the war on terror, are now rallying to the defense of Moveon.org, this liberal organization who put out a petition in the days after 9/11 and said that we ought not use military force in responding to 9/11," Bartlett said on NBC's "Today" show. "That is who Karl Rove cited in that speech ... There is no need to apologize."
Appearing on CBS's "The Early Show," Bartlett said that Rove was "just pointing out that MoveOn.org is a liberal organization that didn't defend or accept the way that we prosecuted the war in the days after" the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on New York and Washington.
Bartlett told interviewers that he didn't understand why Democrats "are throwing up such a huff."
Barlett has a point. Democrats shouldn’t be so quick to defend Moveon. The organization is out of step with the majority of the Democratic party that responded forcefully to the terrorist attacks on our country.
However, I find it very difficult to believe that, of all people, Karl Rove was not purposefully vague in his comments. Here are his words again:
"liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers." Conservatives "saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war."
If Rove was specifically referring to Moveon.org, it’s not clear in his remarks. And, if he is speaking about the Democrats as a whole his remarks are no less offensive to America than Senator Durbin’s were. The difference is Sen. Durbin's remarks were not designed for partisan advantage (but rather to call out the hypocracy of US treatment of detainees.... yes, there is partisan advantage to be gained here, but I don't believe that was his intent) and, more to the point, Durbin realized that he went to far to prove his point and appologized – something I’m not sure this WH has ever done.
On a related note, isn’t it about time Democrats stop responding so negatively when the Republicans refer to them as Liberals – there is nothing wrong with standing up for your beliefs (and it’s been the Republican strategy to embrace “Conservative” while making “Liberal” into a swear word). The first rule of politics is not to let the opposition define you – and here, the Democrats have failed.