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Rove's Rhetoric

Saturday, Jan. 21, 2006 12:24 AM

In a speech before the Republican National Committee, Karl Rove fired off harsh criticisms of Democrats, despite his call for a 'return to civility in politics.'

Rove describes the Democrats as having a, "pre-9/11 worldview," while touting the Republicans' "post-9/11 worldview."

He then adds that this, "... doesn't make (Democrats) unpatriotic -- not at all. But it does make them wrong -- deeply and profoundly and consistently wrong."

Fallacy #1

There is no such thing as a pre- or post- 9/11 worldview. The terrorist attack happened to America; it didn't happen to some of us, or only those who hold certain political views. 9/11 is significant, and we must necessarily re-examine assumptions about security for our airways, ports, and landmarks; but the terrorists are no more or less prevalent, no more or less capable.

And, given that Vice President Cheney has argued that the questionable and formerly secret surveillance program created after 9/11 might have prevented the attacks had we had it prior to 9/11 calls into question just who holds what worldview, and when it came to pass.

Fallacy #2

"This doesn't make Democrats unpatriotic," is the old, "Don't think of an elephant," trick. In order to process the sentence, your mind is immediately focused on the meaning and associations of the word elephant.

Topping it off with, "... it does make them wrong -- deeply and profoundly and consistently wrong," is an ad-hominem slider.

But if 'profoundly and consistently wrong' were to fit the Democrats, I can't begin to imagine what adjectives would apply to classic muffs by the Bush Administration like, "... the insurgency is in its death throes," and "... al Qaeda is irrelevant."

The fun continues as both Rove and RNC Chair Ken Mehlman accuse the Democrats of trying to weaken the USA PATRIOT Act, when, in fact, President Bush's authorization ignored both FISA and PATRIOT.

Mehlman asks, "Do Nancy Pelosi and Howard Dean really think that when the NSA is listening in on terrorists .... they need to hang up when those terrorists dial their sleeper cells in the United States?"

Fallacy #3

FISA allows this precise kind of surveillance. It is structured to allow quick response and after-the-incident filing for a warrant. And it's meant to prevent screwups like this.

Fallacy #4

Yup. Terrorists are calling sleeper cells every single day. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

I'm not denying the existence or even the threat potential of a sleeper cell, but playing on fear and lack of knowledge (other than popular fiction and portrayals in media) of 'terrorists among us' is a weak justification for ignoring federal law and the principles which have served this country so well for over 200 years.

The Ministry has received 2 comment(s) on this topic.

Brin - 2006-01-21 03:37:19
Bob, we have to face some facts, the principle one of which is this. The president of the united states is not actually in charge of the country, and probably never has been. He has surrounded himself with military people, which is why the things that are happening are happening. And as we IMed earlier, there's really no point in backpedaling and trying to come up with a rose-colored past. Those people killed on September 11 will still be dead, and we still have a crazy enemy to deal with. When we finally figure out that crazy is only defeated by crazier, then we'll be able to achieve whatever our goals turn out to be in the Middle East -- no matter how nebulous they continue to be. :-P

Bob - 2006-01-21 21:29:43
It's not necessarily fighting crazy with crazier, but being able to recognize that victory in a battle based largely on ideology requires the victor to define the battlefield, which we have not been able to do. Also, just as guerilla-style warfare caused us problems in Vietnam, we have to adapt and overcome (pardon the USMC-speak) the insurgency. It seems the Bush Admin. is too caught up in control, as if we can defeat terrorism by controlling this or that.