The fact is that the two years or so after 9/11 were a terrible time in America – a time of political exploitation and intimidation, culminating in the deliberate misleading of the nation into the invasion of Iraq.
It’s probably worth pointing out that I’m not saying anything now that I wasn’t saying in real time back then, when Bush had a sky-high approval rating and any criticism was denounced as treason. And there’s nothing I’ve done in my life of which I’m more proud.
Since comments are once again turned off, I’ll use this space to beg the question: Can we please see some examples of this intimidation – these accusations of treason from the Bushies – any of them – Rumsfeld, Rove, Cheney, any Bush Republicans in the wake of 9/11?
The reason I ask is because while I distinctly remember the howls of outrage from Democrats that their patriotism was being questioned, I don’t remember any Republicans in power actually doing it. Who is he talking about? Ann Coulter or Rush Limbaugh? Ann Coulter doesn’t speak for the Republican party, and she certainly didn’t speak for the Bush administration. Limbaugh may call himself “the titular head of the Republican party”, but obviously, he speaks for himself, too. The Democrats’ howls of outrage were directed at the Republican party. I’d like to see some examples of this “terrible” intimidation of which they speak.
Krugman linked to Greg Sargent, who was able to dredge up a few examples of what could be deemed “political exploitation” of 9/11 by Bushies:
Here’s Karl Rove in the runup to the 2002 midterm elections (via Nexis):
President Bush’s top political adviser said today that Republicans will make the president’s handling of the war on terrorism the centerpiece of their strategy to win back the Senate and keep control of the House in this year’s midterm elections.
“We can go to the country on this issue because they trust the Republican Party to do a better job of protecting and strengthening America’s military might and thereby protecting America,” Karl Rove said at the Republican National Committee meeting here.
Here’s Rudy Giuliani, at the 2004 Republican National Convention (via Nexis):
I looked up and seeing the flames of hell emanating from those buildings and realizing that what I was actually seeing was a human being on the 101st, 102nd floor that was jumping out of the building, I stood there; it probably took five or six seconds. It seemed to me that it took 20 or 30 minutes. And I was stunned. And I realized in that moment and that instant, I realized we were facing something that we had never, ever faced before…At the time, we believed that we would be attacked many more times that day and in the days that followed. Without really thinking, based on just emotion, spontaneous, I grabbed the arm of then-Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik and I said to him, ‘’Bernie, thank God George Bush is our president.’’ I say it again tonight, I say it again tonight: thank God that George Bush is our president.
Here’s top McCain adviser Charlie Black, during the 2008 campaign:
A top adviser to Sen. John McCain said that a terrorist attack in the United States would be a political benefit to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, a comment that was immediately disputed by the candidate and denounced by his Democratic rival.
Charles R. Black Jr., one of McCain’s most senior political advisers, said in an interview with Fortune magazine that a fresh terrorist attack “certainly would be a big advantage to him.”
So we have Karl Rove, (the Architect) noting the obvious, and Giuliani’s honest recounting of what he (and a whole lot of people) were thinking on 9/11. What McCain’s adviser said in 2008 was certainly crude, but I thought we were talking about the period of time immediately following 9/11 when this atmosphere of intimidation and gross political exploitation was so palpable.
And I, of course, could cite Democrat operatives saying equally crude things, such as: Obama needs event ‘similar’ to OKC to ‘reconnect’ with voters. Nowhere will we find Republicans scheming with Hollywood to release a movie in October 2004, positioning the “gutsy” President as the hero of 9/11. Now that would be some political exploitation worth mentioning!
Given how the Democrat Media complex really knows how to play up the missteps of Republicans, you would think Google with be rife with examples of Bushies accusing the Krugmans of the world of treason.
Democrats have verbally maligned their opposition in the most shockingly abusive terms imaginable, and much of it has come from Democrats in Congress and in the Obama administration. Yes, they have literally questioned Republicans’ patriotism in very overt, stark, impossible to misread terms.
Within hours of the tragic Tucson shooting in which nine people were shot, six fatal, last January, Paul Krugman himself, leaped to the outrageous conclusion that the shooter had to be a Tea Partier. He blamed conservatives for the attack that critically injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, accusing them of fomenting “a climate of hate.” I can’t think of a more shameful way to exploit a tragedy than to immediately, and without any evidence what-so-ever, blame political opponents for it. You could even call it an attempt to “intimidate” the opposition into silence.
Of course, the Democrats were, as usual, wrong. The gunman turned out not to be a conservative Tea Party supporter. His writings and obsessions indicated if anything, the deranged, disordered mind of a left-wing lunatic.
I’d love to see some similar examples of unhinged venom and hatred against the opposition from Republicans during the Bush era.
But I’m not going to hold my breath. Because it didn’t happen.
As James Taranto noted in 2004:
Surely it is fair for any politician to take issue with his opponent’s official acts. And if those acts were motivated by something other than antipathy toward America–as any fair-minded observer must presume they were–they could have been defended on their merits. Instead, Democrats themselves raised the issue of patriotism by defensively denying that they lacked it. A cardinal rule of political communication is never to repeat an accusation in the course of denying it (“I am not a crook”). These candidates “repeated” a charge no one had even made.
The Democrats doth protested too much.