Steven Groopman, writing in TNR Online, says that liberals are playing right into the hands of Karl Rove. Groopman relates that he watched the president's State of the Union address at a gathering
. . . sponsored by the Center for American Progress Action Fund, perhaps the most high-profile liberal advocacy organization in the country. A panel of pundits--which included radio commentator Sam Seder as well as several liberal bloggers--were there to "decode, debunk, and deride" Bush's speech in real time on Air America.Groopman wonders,
A packed house of 100 or so viewers huddled around a few plasma screen TVs to watch the address. Early on, when Bush invoked September 11, the audience let out a loud groan and snickered. Seconds later, the president mentioned "weapons of mass destruction" for the first time. A bell rang, and the audience laughed; then Bush said the words "freedom" and "terror" and bells rang again, followed by more laughter. This ritual was repeated throughout the speech whenever Bush uttered any of these words or phrases.
Why the visceral reaction to these particular formulations?And,
But spreading freedom around the world is--or should be--a paramount goal of liberalism. Meanwhile, terrorism remains a real threat to America, and a source of continuing death and destruction the world over. As for "weapons of mass destruction": A fanatical regime in Iran with a history of sponsoring terrorism and a stated desire to see Israel "wiped off the map" is well on its way to having such weapons. This is not an invention of the Republican imagination; it is reality. Why, then, laugh at Bush's warning that "Dictatorships shelter terrorists, and feed resentment and radicalism, and seek"--get ready for that bell to ring--"weapons of mass destruction"?Groopman hypothisizes that the liberals' visceral hatred of Bush blinds them to the realities of the post 9/11 world. They disagree with Bush's methods and therefore feel compelled to mock his goals. And Groopman says that is a big mistake:
And yet when Bush spoke of "writing a new chapter in the story of self-government," spectators burst into laughter. When he said, "Ultimately, the only way to defeat the terrorists is to defeat their dark vision of hatred and fear by offering the hopeful alternative of political freedom and peaceful change," I heard a mix of bell ringing and belly laughs. Why is the goal of promoting "political freedom" worthy of such derision?Not only must the liberals mock Bush's goals, but,
And any Democrats, like Hillary Clinton or Joe Biden, who oppose the Bush administration yet decline to scoff at the notion that America ought to stand for the spread of human freedom are liable to be labeled weak, neoconservative, or traitorous to their own cause.The result, according to Groopman:
When Democratic bloggers and activists mock Bush for privileging these issues, it may please some liberals. But the person it pleases most is Karl Rove.Liberals seem to have this almost pathological fear of Karl Rove. Groopman seems to be saying that the liberals are really doing it to themselves.
TAGS: Karl Rove, Air America, TNR Online, Steven Groopman