Macchiavelli's The Prince is supposedly bedtime reading for our administration (even Georgie???), so when Karl Rove makes an odd move we all are digging into our own copies to find out exactly what it presages. The current odd move is Rove's recent speech with this message:
Karl Rove came to the heart of Manhattan last night to rhapsodize about the decline of liberalism in politics, saying Democrats responded weakly to Sept. 11 and had placed American troops in greater danger by criticizing their actions.
"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," Mr. Rove, the senior political adviser to President Bush, said at a fund-raiser in Midtown for the Conservative Party of New York State.
Citing calls by progressive groups to respond carefully to the attacks, Mr. Rove said to the applause of several hundred audience members, "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, a side of the Pentagon destroyed, and almost 3,000 of our fellow citizens perish in flames and rubble."
This is very odd, very old hat and imitative of such great orators as Rush Limbaugh, Jerry Falwell and Pat Buchanan. Also, Rove gave almost exactly the same speech in early 2002. So why is he rehashing all this libural-hatred right now?
My answer to this question comes later in Rove's speech. He's trying to tie 9/11 to liberals and progressives, to make the equation terrorism=American left. You might not agree but consider that he said this:
Mr. Rove also said American armed forces overseas were in more jeopardy as a result of remarks last week by Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, who compared American mistreatment of detainees to the acts of "Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime - Pol Pot or others."
"Has there ever been a more revealing moment this year?" Mr. Rove asked. "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."
Nothing looks odd anymore. Rush Limbaugh was told to cover the topic first, to prepare the ditto market, and then Rove comes out and expresses the same hatred. This is all to do with the bottom ratings of the Bush administration. Whenever this happens the wingnuts look for an external enemy which can be used as a scapegoat, which can be used to redirect the anger of the population. And now the American left is an external enemy. We have come far in a few years of this administration.
As a footnote, Karl Rove just earned a place in the lowest level of Dante's hell. To politicize the 9/11 slaughters in this way is so vile, so unspeakably vile that none of Rove's earlier truly egregious acts comes anywhere close. Did he stand for hours with a photograph pressed against his chest, asking bypassers for any news of a loved one? Did he haunt hospitals for days on end, desperately looking for one specific name? Did he gather together hair from hairbrushes to send in for DNA matching?
If everything didn't come back threefold I'd send Rove something to take his mind off politics for the next century or so.