Via Daily Kos diaries, reprinted by permission from author:
Rep. Peter King, Karl Rove, and me
Tue Jul 5th, 2005 at 10:01:47 PDT
When Karl Rove made his intemperate comments about liberals two weeks ago, I sent email to my congressman, Peter King (R-NY) asking if he would rise above partisan trash and take a stand against this divisiveness. Over the weekend, I got my answer. Rep. King sent me a lengthy (two pages typed) note that was, well, I will let the letters speak for themselves. (They're below the fold.)
My email letter to Rep. Peter King:
Subject: How do you view Iraq war dissenters?
Dear Rep. King,
I was quite disturbed by a passage I just read in the New York Times:
"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."
I am a liberal in your district, and I know you as a public servant who is not afraid to take a principled, rather than partisan, stand on issues - even when I don't agree with you. However, I find this statement emanating from a senior member of the White House staff to be deeply offensive and troubling. I am being accused of wanting our troops to die! This is not the sort of rhetoric we need during a time of war, and I strongly resent the idea that I would ever want any of our soldiers to be put in greater danger. Mr. Rove is going beyond mere politics by making personally slanderous and degrading comments like this.
As a constituent of yours, I would like to know, sir, if you agree with Mr. Rove's statements. Does he speak for you? Or are you willing to take a public stand against this type of gross partisan attack?
(name, address and phone supplied)
Rep. King quickly replied via postal mail, and his response was not only long (two typed pages), it was quite clearly not auto-generated. Here's what Rep. King had to say to me. Comments welcome.
Dear (my name):
I am in receipt of your June 23rd e-mail and disagree in toto with your accusations regarding Karl Rove's speech.
If you are capable of such indignant outrage, I am surprised you didn't contact me to express your disgust when Senator Durbin scandalously attempted to juxtapose Guantanamo with Hitler and Stalin.
What Karl Rove did do was deliver a speech which was politically incorrect but entirely factual. He pointed out inter alia that in the immediate aftermath of the September 11th attacks a number of prominent liberals such as MoveOn.org urged "moderation and restraint" in response to the terrorist attacks rather than "war, violence or destruction." Even more egregious was Michael Moore whose "Fahrenheit 9/11" film hypothesized that the war against Afghanistan resulted from collusion between President Bush and the oil industry.
I have been in politics long enough to know that wacko elements are always attempting to attach themselves to our main political parties. This only becomes significant when the political party in question fails to reject that fringe element or, even worse, accepts its support. Responsible political leaders are expected to act quickly and decisively. For instance, in 1948, Harry Truman risked reelection but did the right thing by severing all connections with Henry Wallace and the pro-communists in the Progressive Party. Similarly, in 1962, the conservative movement led by William F. Buckley, Jr. denounced Robert Welch and the John Birch Society.
Considering the horror of 9/11, I would have expected today's Democrats to emulate Harry Truman. Instead, Democratic leaders such as harry Reid, Ted Kennedy and Dick Durbin actually speak at MoveOn rallies, giving encouragement and support to this fringe movement. ("We are depending on you" said Harry Reid; "MoveOn.org, you're changing America for the better," added Senator Durbin.) Democratic candidates have also accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from MoveOn.org's PAC. As for Michael Moore, the Democrats gave him a seat of honor at their national convention-- in a luxury box next to President Carter. (As a New Yorker weren't you outraged that a man who had so shamefully defiled 9/11 was treated with such respect and dignity by the Democratic leaders?) Then, or course there was Howard Dean, the National Chairman of the Democratic Party, saying he didn't want to "prejudge" Bin Laden's guilt prior to a "jury trial."
What all of this means is that too many Democrats, in their zeal to bring down President Bush, are aligning themselves with the most radical left-wing fringe elements and ignoring the damage this could do to our country in time of war. This is why Democrats such as Ed Koch supported President Bush for reelection because he did not believe Democratic leaders "had the stomach" to effectively fight terrorism.
Karl Rove did not challenge the patriotism of liberals. He questioned their judgment and their ability to do what has to be done to win a long and difficult war that must be fought in many place and in many ways.
Democrats should welcome Karl Rove's speech as a clarion call to save their party from the left-wing fringe elements. If they do, perhaps in the future Democrats will not again stand mute when their leaders such as Senator Durbin shamefully slander.
Two years ago Andrew Cuomo wrote that Democrats "handled 9/11 like it was a highway bill instead of a matter of people's lives. We fumbled the seminal movement of our lives- the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The President exemplified leadership at a time when America was desperate for a leader. He deserves credit, as to Congressional Republicans, for recognizing the challenge of 9/11 and rising to it."
The time has come for you to accept the challenge and acknowledge that Karl Rove is right. By doing so, you will save your party, and, much more importantly, your country.
Very truly yous, [sic]
PETER T. KING Member of Congress
P.S. I would suggest that you broaden your horizons and read something besides the New York Times.
A sample of comments that easily refute King's letter:
out of context
This was the intro to his book Crossroads; what is left out is that Cuomo's criticisms are POLITICAL: Democrats lost elections in 2000 and 2002 because "we were lost in time...To voters, we seemed bloodless, soulless and clueless."
In other words, the Dems were really stupid not to pander. This does not question their patriotism.
My favorite parts....
(Not to reply to my own diary, but I'm replying to my own diary.)
My favorite parts of the letter were:
The unnecessary use of Latin phrases to sound learned.
The scolding about terrorism. Don't forget that Rep. King has long been seen as Sinn Fein's strongest proponent in the United States, whether you believe that the IRA is a terrorist organization or not.
The completely gratuitous P.S. he tacked on the end. Dude, I totally read the Guardian and Greg Palast's site too! Besides, if I only had the perspectives offered by the New York Times, I'd have believed that there were WMD in Iraq and that Whitewater was a real scandal.
What Peter King just wrote...
is a talking point that the GOP conspiracy machine is passing around to it's members... I have met (I live in a red state) at least 7 republicans who used exactly the same arguments to defend the remarks made by Rove. So, it looks like they are trying to frame the foreign policy debate for 2006 elections and if Democrats do no counter-attack this kind of msg ASAP, then I'm affraid that we are gonna see the Democrats loose the foreign policy debate once again, despite the obvious foreign policy failure of this administration...
the new mccarthyism
the reference to truman is telling. he's letting us in on the GOP's strategy there.
"For instance, in 1948, Harry Truman risked reelection but did the right thing by severing all connections with Henry Wallace and the pro-communists in the Progressive Party. Similarly, in 1962, the conservative movement led by William F. Buckley, Jr. denounced Robert Welch and the John Birch Society.
Considering the horror of 9/11, I would have expected today's Democrats to emulate Harry Truman."
What he is referring to is truman's capitulation to the republican red-baiting of the time. after signing a law prohibiting communists from government employment, truman declared "no one will be able to call democrats soft on communism anymore." but of course the republicans, led by mccarthy, did exactly that. and democrats took a political hit because they didn't stand up to mccarthy.
it's pretty clear the GOP's strategists are hoping to get history to repeat itself here.
we'd better decide now if we are going to be fearless men or scared boys.— e.d. nixon, montgomery improvement association
My favorite turd from that pile...
"What Karl Rove did do was deliver a speech which was politically incorrect but entirely factual. He pointed out inter alia that in the immediate aftermath of the September 11th attacks a number of prominent liberals such as MoveOn.org urged "moderation and restraint" in response to the terrorist attacks rather than "war, violence or destruction." Even more egregious..."
Whoa- is he actually saying it's egregious that democrats wanted something other than "war, violence or destruction"? Is he on uber-crack? I can't believe these people. This is what this man stands for. It should be paraded in front of every one of his constituents.
When will you be "ready to fight fifty years to win"?
Outrageous and astonishing
This is flawed on so many levels.
Aside from the obvious, which has been pointed out several times already, I noticed he uses the "yes but he did it first" defence, which is meaningless and shows the arguer to be devoid of any solid basis for their actions or beliefs.
In fact, by using this "defence" he basically is attacking his own argument. He decries statements by Michael Moore and Durbin and MoveOn.org while at the same time using this (apparently) as a justification that what Rove said is fine. Well, which is it? How can you hold those up as examples of what is OKAY TO DO while at the same time breaking them down as being WRONG?
If they are related, as he says, and they are bad, then Rove`s are also bad.
If, however, they are not related, then bringing them up as a "yes but he said it first" argument is absolutely null, since they would have nothing to do with each other.
Logically, it cannot be both ways, if these are identical behaviours. Either doing something is right, or it is wrong.
Of course, I do not believe they are the same thing, I am simply pointing out how this idiot cannot even argue logically to defend away Herr Direktor`s ludicrous nonsense, and defend his own attachment to it.
At the very least, this is a blatant - if lengthy - insult, thinly disguised as an attempt to persuade. However, I doubt that these were his intentions, and any doubts I had as to his actual intent were wiped away with the "PS".
Pathetic. Absolutely, completely, and worthlessly pathetic.
It is telling
that King's response to a measured and respectful letter is a malignant rehash of the administration's talking points.
Clearly, he has no interest in representing his constituents, which is certainly something that is newsworthy.
Rather than admit that Rove was over the top, or even that partisan rhetoric on both sides was out of control, he does little but attack you. Sounds like business as usual for the modern neocon.
re: Durbin and Guantanamo. What exactly is king's point? That Durbin was stupid for drawing a (perhaps spurious) parallel? That the quoted FBI agent was actually lying? That the described activities are a-ok? That Durbin's smear of soon-to-be jailed interrogators at Gitmo gives Rove to the right to accuse "liberals" of hating america? And why the hell would you write to mr king re: Durbin's comments anyway?... is mr king suggesting that he has some previously secret special influence with Durbin? That Rove ought to be as much of a man as Durbin and admit that he got a little out of control?... Or was this a complete non sequitor?
re: broad brushing liberals as being anti-american, stupid and evil, is, well, itself anti-american, stupid and evil. If mr rove wanted to complain about Mr Moore and MoveOn, then he could have done so directly. Instead he slandered something like half the country.
re: rewriting history. Perhaps mr king forgets that there was near universal (liberal included!) support of going after ObL/AQ no matter what it took, no matter the cost. Heck, pretty much the whole world was willing to do nearly anything to help us get justice. It isn't at all that liberals have lost the will for getting the job done, it is that we have lost all confidence that the adminstration and the republican establishment is capable of anything more than abject failure. We liberals think "the troops" are doing amazingly well trying to keep the counterproductive orders of the policymakers from becoming a total disaster: as is, W et al have squandered every bit of good will lent to the US post 9/11 and are hard at work alienating our remaining friends and allies.
re: "fringe elements". Gee, I don't see any mention of "fringe elements" in your letter - is mr king merely playing the same transparently partisan smear games, or is he seriously accusing all democrats and all liberals (all non-neocons republicans) of guilt by association?
re: NYT. Wow! mr king must be illegally abusing some pretty serious intelligence resources to know that you read only the NYT! Perhaps he is suggesting that the NYT misquoted Rove? or is this just another attempt to make a bizarre partisan attack on a member of his own constituency?
sigh - who elects these bozos?
"Similarly, in 1962, the conservative movement led by William F. Buckley, Jr. denounced Robert Welch and the John Birch Society."
Send this back to King.
"With the benefit of minute hindsight, Saddam Hussein wasn't the kind of extra-territorial menace that was assumed by the administration one year ago. If I knew then what I know now about what kind of situation we would be in, I would have opposed the war." -- William F. Buckley, Jr., June 29, 2004
Mr. King, you sir are the the modern day poster child metaphor for John Birch Society, and you are wrong on every major point surrounding the war and Rove's hypocritical and disgusting behavior.
Not that this butt-truffle would ever recognize what a hypocritical traitorous scum-bag he is and accept responsibility for his errors and attack against you (and by proxy many of us here) and own up to the disaster he and his party have created.