Batten Down the Hatches
Batten Down the Hatches
By Molly Ivins, AlterNet. Posted June 28, 2005.
Setting up a straw man, calling it liberal and then knocking it down has become a favorite form of "argument" for those on the right.
The first thing I ever learned about politics was never to let anyone else define what you believe, or what you are for or against. I think for myself.
I am not "you liberals" or "you people on the left who always..." My name is Molly Ivins, and I can speak for myself, thank you. I don't need Rush Limbaugh or Karl Rove to tell me what I believe.
Setting up a straw man, calling it liberal and then knocking it down has become a favorite form of "argument" for those on the right. Make some ridiculous claim about what "liberals" think, and then demonstrate how silly it is. Limbaugh, Bill O'Reilly and many other right-wing ravers never seem to get tired of this old game. If I had a nickel for every idiotic thing I've ever heard those on the right claim "liberals" believe, I'd be richer than Bill Gates.
The latest and most idiotic statement yet comes from Karl Rove, who is not, actually, an objective observer. He is George Bush's hatchet man. Last week, Rove, in an address to the Conservative Party of New York, made the following claim: "Conservatives saw the savagery of 9-11 in 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."
This seemed to the editorial writers at the San Diego Union-Tribune such a reasonable summary of the liberal position they couldn't figure out why Democrats were "hyperventilating" and getting "bent out of shape."
"What is harder to understand is how Democrats can think they can have it both ways," they wrote. "Even as they beat their chests and profess support for military action, they can't help but criticize the military and do everything they can to undermine the war effort." What a deep mystery. Let's see if we can help the San Diego thinkers solve it. On Sept. 14, 2001, Congress approved a resolution authorizing the president to take military action. The vote in the Senate was 98 to zero; the vote in the House was 420 to one. The lone dissenter was Democrat Barbara Lee of California, who expressed qualms about an open-ended war without a clear target. Find me the offer for therapy and understanding in that vote. Anyone remember what actually happened after 9-11? Unprecedented unity, support across the board, joint statements by Democratic and Republican political leaders. The whole world was with us. The most important newspaper in France headlined, "We Are All Americans Now," and all our allies sent troops and money to help. That is what George Bush has pissed away with his war in Iraq.
The vote on invading Iraq was 77 to 23 in the Senate and 296 to 133 in the House. By that time, some liberals did question the wisdom of invasion because: A) Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11 and B) it looked increasingly unlikely that Iraq actually had great stores of weapons of mass destruction, since the United Nations inspectors, who were on the ground, couldn't find any sign of them -- even though Donald Rumsfeld claimed we knew exactly where they were....