People Calls Democrats “Soft On Terrorism” Because They Are “Soft On Terrorism”

One of the most fascinating things about today’s liberals is that it seems that they can almost always tell you exactly what they’re against, but it’s almost impossible to pin them down on what they’re actually for.

Examples of this phenomenon abound, especially when you’re talking about liberal politicians. They’re against tax cuts, but they don’t want to admit they’re for higher taxes. They vote against any and every bill coming down the pike that might make abortions more difficult to obtain, but they retreat into meaningless jargon about how they’re personally opposed to abortion when they’re called on it. They vote for gun control at every opportunity, but say they support your right to carry a weapon. They’re “personally opposed” to gay marriage, but they oppose doing anything legally to stop it. They voted for the money for the troops, before they voted against it. Etc., etc., etc., it’s like that on so much of the left’s agenda these days.

The same goes for defense issues. Liberals can go into mind-numbing detail describing all the things they don’t like about the way George Bush runs our foreign policy. But then, when you ask for a breakdown of what they’d do differently, it’s all platitudes, generalities, and situations so full of “if & but’s” as to be meaningless for all practical purposes.

Which brings me to E.J. Dionne’s latest hysterical column, “The rebirth of McCarthyism.” It seems E.J. still has his underwear in a twist over Karl Rove slapping around the left for being “soft” on terrorism. Let’s take a gander at what E.J. had to say:

“In the 1950s, the right wing attacked liberals for being communists. In 2005, Karl Rove has attacked liberals for being therapists. Thus is born a kinder and gentler form of McCarthyism.

…Rove’s instantly famous speech last week to the New York state Conservative Party should be read in light of this history and not be written off as a cheap, one-time partisan attack. On the contrary, the address by Rove, President Bush’s most important adviser, provides the outlines of a sophisticated strategy aimed at making liberals and Democrats all look soft on terrorism.

Here are the key passages: “Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and 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. In the wake of 9/11, conservatives believed it was time to unleash the might and power of the United States military against the Taliban; in the wake of 9/11, liberals believed it was time to submit a petition. … Conservatives saw what happened to us on 9/11 and said: We will defeat our enemies. Liberals saw what happened to us and said: We must understand our enemies.”

Liberals and Democrats were enraged by Rove because virtually every office-holding liberal and Democrat closed ranks behind President Bush on 9/11. They endorsed the use of force against the terrorists and, when the time came, strongly backed the war in Afghanistan.

But Rove knows how to play this game. The only evidence he adduces for his therapy charge is a petition in which the current executive director of called for “moderation and restraint” in the wake of 9/11. Rove then slides smoothly from the attack on MoveOn to attacks on Michael Moore and Howard Dean. Finally, Rove tosses in an assault on Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., for his statement that an FBI report on the treatment of prisoners at Guantánamo Bay might remind Americans of the practices of Nazi and communist dictatorships.

…That’s how guilt-by-association works. Make a charge and then — once your attack is out there — pretend that your words have been misinterpreted. Split your opponents. Put them on the defensive. Force them to say things like: “No, we’re not soft on terrorism,” or, “I’m not that kind of liberal.” Once this happens, the attacker has already won.

Respectable opinion treats Rove’s speech as just another partisan flap. It’s much more. It’s the reincarnation of a style of politics that turns political opponents into traitors or dupes who are soft on the nation’s enemies. Welcome back to the ’50s.”

Well certainly, I wouldn’t want to compare the Democrats of today to the Democrats of the early fifties. I mean there may have been Communists infiltrating the highest levels of the Democratic Party back then, but even so, the Dems in those days were still much tougher on America’s enemies than the Democrats of today are.

If you want proof of that, just look at the evidence Democrats offer to prove that they’re not “soft” on terrorism. They point back to their overwhelming support for the invasion of Afghanistan right after 9/11 — as if it would have been something other than political suicide to vote against going after Afghanistan when 90% of the American public was baying for blood in the aftermath of 9/11.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that the Democrats’ vote and the few months of respite they gave Bush on foreign policy issues were purely a political decision, because they certainly weren’t. However, it should be noted that not only did the Democrats not really have much of a political choice, but we’re in the middle of 2005 talking about what “good soldiers” in the war on terror the Democrats were back in late 2001. Gee, what have you been doing for the last 3 1/2 years, fellas? How have you proven you’re not soft against terrorism since then?

By electing Howard Dean, a man who made a name for himself nationally by coming out against the war, DNC Chairman?

By treating the group Karl Rove was specifically talking about, MoveOn, which is the biggest and most influential liberal 527 group, like they’re part of the Democratic mainstream?

By trying to undercut support for the war by convincing the public a draft might be coming when Democrats know that there’s absolutely no chance it’ll happen because a draft is adamantly opposed by the Bush Administration, Congress, and the military?

By nominating John Kerry, a man who made a name for himself as an anti-war protestor and who voted against the gulf war and just about every weapons system that came down the pike?

By embracing Michael Moore, who opposed even the war in Afghanistan, and sitting him next to Jimmy Carter at the Democratic Convention?

By treating strongly pro-war Democrats like Zell Miller, Joe Lieberman, and Christopher Hitchens like pariahs?

By turning on the war in Iraq while our troops are still in the field?

By becoming completely obsessed with treatment of terrorists we’ve captured? By calling for Gitmo to be closed?

By calling for Gitmo to be closed?

Anybody who follows politics can go on and on and on with example, quote after quote, from the last few years that proves the point: Democrats are considered to be soft on terrorism, because they are soft on terrorism — and for people like Dionne to bitterly complain being called out on it represents McCarthyism is just as ridiculous as it would be for Republicans to insist that they’re not the “anti-abortion” party or the party for people who want low taxes.

If Democrats and more to the point, liberal Democrats, don’t like being called “soft on terror,” stop being so “soft on terror.” Stop giving knee jerk support to people who are anti-war, stop worrying so much about the terrorists we’ve captured, and if you don’t like what Bush is doing to fight terror, come up with some constructive suggestions of your own that will help us destroy international terrorist groups with global reach and the regimes that support them. The GOP would be glad to have both major parties in this country committed to the fight against global terrorism instead of having to worry that the Democrats would for all intents and purposes give up the fight if they got back into power…

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