From the New York Post
, this is the passage of Karl Rove’s speech that has sent liberals up the wall. Read it for yourself and ask whether it’s out of bounds by the traditional standards of American political rhetoric. And especially ask: is it anywere close to the comments made by Richard Durbin.
WHY THE LEFT IS LOSING
By KARL ROVE
Below are excerpts of a speech delivered by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Karl Rove at the New York State Conservative Party dinner on Wednesday. Most of the talk focused on changes on the right that have led to the Republicans’ recent national success. But it is these comments on the left that have generated controversy. — THE EDITORS
LET me now say a few words about the state of liberalism. Perhaps the place to begin is with this stinging indictment:
“Liberalism is at greater risk now than at any time in recent American history. The risk is of political marginality, even irrelevance . . . [L]iberalism risks getting defined, as conservatism once was, entirely in negative terms.”
These are not the words of William F. Buckley, Jr. or Sean Hannity; they are the words of Paul Starr, co-editor of The American Prospect, a leading liberal publication.
There is much merit in what Mr. Starr writes — though he and I fundamentally disagree as to why liberalism is edging toward irrelevance. I believe the reason can be seen when comparing conservatism with liberalism.
Conservatives believe in lower taxes; liberals believe in higher taxes. We want few regulations; they want more. Conservatives measure the effectiveness of government programs by results; liberals measure the effectiveness of government programs by inputs. We believe in curbing the size of government; they believe in expanding the size of government. Conservatives believe in making America a less litigious society; liberals believe in making America a more litigious society. We believe in accountability and parental choice in education; they don’t. Conservatives believe in advancing what Pope John Paul II called a “culture of life;” liberals believe there is an absolute unlimited right to abortion.
But perhaps the most important difference between conservatives and liberals can be found in the area of national security. 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. In the wake of 9/11, conservatives believed it was time to unleash the might and power of the United States military against the Taliban.
In the wake of 9/11, the liberals believed it was time to submit a petition. I’m not joking. 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. I don’t know about you but moderation and restraint is not what I felt when I watched the Twin Towers crumble to the ground, the side of the Pentagon destroyed and almost 3,000 of our fellow citizens perish in flames and rubble.
Moveon.org and Michael Moore and Howard Dean may dominate the Democratic Party and liberalism — but their moderation and restraint is not what America felt needed to be done, and moderation and restraint was not what was called for. It was a time to summon our national will and to brandish steel.
Conservatives saw what happened to us on 9/11 and said we will defeat our enemies. Liberals saw what happened to us and said we must understand our enemies. Conservatives see the United States as a great nation involved in a noble cause of self-defense. Liberals are concerned with what our enemies will think of us and whether every government approves of our actions.
Has there ever been a more revealing moment than this year. when the Democratic senator, Democrat Richard Durbin, speaking on the Senate floor, compared what Americans have done to prisoners in our control in Guantanamo with what was done by Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot — three of the most brutal and malevolent figures of the 20th century?
Let me put in this in really simple terms. Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Sen. Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals.