Friday, June 24, 2005

Peter Daou on Rove & Durbin

We can expect to hear from the chattering class today, on the Sunday talk shows, and all next week, that there is no difference between what Senator Dick Durbin said and what Karl Rove said. It's the old, Michael Moore = Ann Coulter, calculus for the non-thinking. Peter Daou explains the huge difference below, but some background first.

Durbin commented on the Senate floor on the treatment of detainees at Gitmo, and went way over the top, describing it as Nazi-like:

"If I read this to you (the description of the treatment e.g shackling and subjecting the prisioner to alternating extreme temperatures) and did not tell you that it was an FBI agent describing what Americans had done to prisoners in their control, you would most certainly believe this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others -- that had no concern for human beings."

These remarks prompted outrage from the GOP Noise Machine and legitimate derision from the Daily Show -- Jon Stewart pointed out that the prisoners in Nazi concentration camps would have been overcome with joy upon hearing the announcement that "Today is Shackling Day."

In an unrelated response, Rove made these remarks a couple of days ago:

"Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers," he said. "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war."

Hillary responded (surely via the cheat-sheet Bill handed her):

"Either he said something in a hasty, ill-conceived, reckless moment ... or he said it deliberately, as part of a continuing effort to divide Americans."

But its Peter Daou's thoughts I want you to read. He gets it.

"My original post about Karl Rove's repugnant comments are in the extended entry... I want to respond to several conservative critics who emailed to say that my quote in today's Chicago Tribune undermines my argument against Rove. Here's an excerpt from the Tribune:

"Peter Daou, who compiles blogs from both the right and the left and summarizes what they're talking about for, said the effect of so much chatter eventually can become overpowering, seeping into the mainstream media.

"What Durbin faced was the bubbling up from the blogs and the pounding of the drums," said Daou, who first began monitoring the bloggers and feeding them information when he worked for Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign. "This is a political tool, and it's manufactured outrage, it's feigned outrage, and it's
extremely effective."

I'll keep it simple: I challenge any of those outraged by Durbin to demonstrate that the senator, in his heart of hearts, thinks our troops are Nazis. It's painfully obvious that he was illustrating a point and used a hyperbolic analogy. In Durbin's case the outrage is feigned, and a political tool. It defies common sense to think Durbin actually believes "all US troops are Nazis." Now the same reasoning doesn't hold true for Rove, who expressed a thought that actually is widely held on the right: that liberals can't or won't defend America. Despite the sheer imbecility of it, many on the right really believe it to be true. And so I'll repeat, to those who question my strength, my convictions, my willingness to defend my family - as I have done my whole life in circumstances far more difficult than what a good number of Rove's cheerleaders will ever face - I thoroughly reject Rove's words. And I'd expect any of my critics to do the same if their patriotism was questioned in so loathsome a manner.

And a note on the term 101st Fighting Keyboardists: I use it specifically as a reference to those who avoid putting their lives at risk, but are quick to sit in judgment of others. Few things in blogland are more despicable...

ORIGINAL POST:I'm devoting much of today's report to Karl Rove's vile comments denigrating half of the American public. My office overlooks Ground Zero, and I'm looking at the gaping footprint as I write this. My wife and I were in New York that day, on our way to the WTC for a morning meeting. A chance
phone call dragged on a few minutes too long and most likely saved our lives. I lost friends in the towers, and when I walk past the site, as I do almost every evening, the pain is as real as it was on September 11th, 2001. I spent my youth in Beirut during the height of Lebanon's civil war, and I fought the Syrian presence in Lebanon long before the "Cedar Revolution." I watched young boys give their lives and mothers cradle their dying children in blood-soaked arms. I've seen more bloodshed, war, and violence, and shot more guns than most of the 101st Fighting Keyboardists combined. I wouldn't presume to question the strength or dignity of a stranger, and I pity those who blithely push the right=strong, left=weak rhetoric. It says far more about their inadequacies than it does about the target of their scorn. Today, Karl Rove took that rhetoric to a new, filthy low."

Absolutely, damn right.