Karl Rove proved a very salient point last week in his speech to the Conservative Party of New York. The media's reflexes still work. After most in the "news" media spent a week steadfastly ignoring Sen. Richard Durbin's (D-Ill.) hideous statement comparing U.S. detainees to the killing fields of Pol Pot, Rove said liberals were weak on terrorism, and zoom! Rove's remarks rocketed to the front page and with that, the top of the political buzz.
The New York Times set the table by quoting only a few sentences in which Rove explained that conservatives saw Sept. 11 and knew it was time for war, while liberals saw it as an occasion for indictments and therapy and an opportunity to understand our attackers. Liberal politicians like Charles Schumer and Hillary Clinton were outraged. And so were the liberal media.
The bottom line is this: Durbin was ignored because the media agree our Guantanamo detainee practices are savage and dictatorial. Rove was highlighted because those same journalists vehemently disagree with the notion that liberals had the wrong response to Sept. 11. The media's standard of newsworthiness is explicitly a double standard, unmissably ideological and liberal.
Let's grant the offended liberals the point that the vast majority of us wanted to join the Congress in singing "God Bless America" after the attacks. It's also true that a vast majority of Democrats voted to authorize war in Afghanistan. Only one Senate Democrat and about 65 House Democrats voted against the terrorism-fighting Patriot Act. But those votes took place within the first six weeks after Sept. 11. Would any liberal political adviser of sound mind advise voting against those at that time? Do those six weeks get to last forever in defining what liberalism has prescribed for a war on terror?
In turn, liberals must grant the point that Rove was singling out liberals, specifically the MoveOn.org folks and Michael Moore and Howard Dean, not Democrats in general. The extent to which Sen. Clinton and the other offended Democrats have endorsed and promoted, or at least refused to criticize MoveOn and Michael Moore and Howard Dean is the extent to which they are not allowed to take offense at Karl Rove's remarks.