Sunday, July 03, 2005

"The Theater of Outrage!" or why this very blog exists

Rove: The politics of outrage - from The Week www.theweekmagazine, page 19 hard copy, 7/1/2005

Even for Karl Rove, said Joe Conason in, it was a low blow. At a fund-raiser in Manhattan not far from the hole where the World Trade Center once stood, the president’s political guru told a crowd of cheering Republicans last week that only the GOP believed in standing up to terrorism. “Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war,” Rove said. “Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.” What “a sickening generalization,” said Andrew Sullivan in After 9/11, the nation—liberals included—united behind President Bush, and nearly every Democrat in Congress endorsed the war in Afghanistan. The war in Iraq, though, was a different matter, and the liberals may have been right. At least three more years of grueling fighting are ahead of us, and the public is getting very restless. By changing the subject back to 9/11, Rove seems to be indicating “some level of panic.”

Boy, did Rove hit a nerve, said Byron York in National Review Online. Liberals deny it now, but the fact is, their leaders balked at going after al Qaida. The founders of, the Democrats’ Internet attack dog, actually circulated a petition after 9/11 calling for restraint, and saying that going to war would “only play into the terrorists’ hands.” And don’t forget, said the New York Post in an editorial, the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate, John Kerry, “declared terrorism to be a law-enforcement problem,” like prostitution. Filmmaker Michael Moore, “the capo di tutti capi of Democratic crackpots,” had the gall to suggest that America brought the attacks on itself with a reckless foreign policy. Democrats are now demanding that Rove apologize. But why should he? He was right.

And so goes another episode in Washington’s “theater of outrage,” said Patrick Healy in The New York Times. Every week or so, someone on one side of the culture war says something that supposedly outrages the other side. Democratic Party chief Howard Dean called Republicans “evil.” House Majority Leader Tom DeLay warned there would be “consequences” for the judges in the Terri Schiavo case. Then Sen. Dick Durbin compared the Guant├ínamo prison to Nazi concentration camps. Should they resign? Apologize? Be given a medal? For the blogs and talk shows, it’s an endless supply of fodder. Since there seems to be no end of these rhetorical excesses in sight, said Dana Milbank in The Washington Post, “perhaps we could arrange for a group apology. It would certainly save time.” [then again, alas, I would have no web log!]


1 comment:

Jeffrey Jones said...