Subject: How do you view Iraq war dissenters?
Dear Rep. King,
I was quite disturbed by a passage I just read in the New York Times:
"Has there ever been a more revealing moment this year?" Mr. Rove asked. "Let me just put this in fairly simple terms: Al Jazeera now broadcasts the words of Senator Durbin to the Mideast, certainly putting our troops in greater danger. No more needs to be said about the motives of liberals."
I am a liberal in your district, and I know you as a public servant who is not afraid to take a principled, rather than partisan, stand on issues - even when I don't agree with you. However, I find this statement emanating from a senior member of the White House staff to be deeply offensive and troubling. I am being accused of wanting our troops to die! This is not the sort of rhetoric we need during a time of war, and I strongly resent the idea that I would ever want any of our soldiers to be put in greater danger. Mr. Rove is going beyond mere politics by making personally slanderous and degrading comments like this.
As a constituent of yours, I would like to know, sir, if you agree with Mr. Rove's statements. Does he speak for you? Or are you willing to take a public stand against this type of gross partisan attack?
(address and phone supplied)
Rep. King quickly replied via postal mail, and his response was not only long (two typed pages), it was quite clearly not auto-generated. Here's what King had to say to me, complete with little personal jabs and unnecessary Latin. Comments welcome.
Mr. Joshua Trupin
Dear Mr. Trupin:
I am in receipt of your June 23rd e-mail and disagree in toto with your accusations regarding Karl Rove's speech.
If you are capable of such indignant outrage, I am surprised you didn't contact me to express your disgust when Senator Durbin scandalously attempted to juxtapose Guantanamo with Hitler and Stalin.
What Karl Rove did do was deliver a speech which was politically incorrect but entirely factual. He pointed out inter alia that in the immediate aftermath of the September 11th attacks a number of prominent liberals such as MoveOn.org urged "moderation and restraint" in response to the terrorist attacks rather than "war, violence or destruction." Even more egregious was Michael Moore whose "Fahrenheit 9/11" film hypothesized that the war against Afghanistan resulted from collusion between President Bush and the oil industry.
I have been in politics long enough to know that wacko elements are always attempting to attach themselves to our main political parties. This only becomes significant when the political party in question fails to reject that fringe element or, even worse, accepts its support. Responsible political leaders are expected to act quickly and decisively. For instance, in 1948, Harry Truman risked reelection but did the right thing by severing all connections with Henry Wallace and the pro-communists in the Progressive Party. Similarly, in 1962, the conservative movement led by William F. Buckley, Jr. denounced Robert Welch and the John Birch Society.
Considering the horror of 9/11, I would have expected today's Democrats to emulate Harry Truman. Instead, Democratic leaders such as harry Reid, Ted Kennedy and Dick Durbin actually speak at MoveOn rallies, giving encouragement and support to this fringe movement. ("We are depending on you" said Harry Reid; "MoveOn.org, you're changing America for the better," added Senator Durbin.) Democratic candidates have also accepted hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from MoveOn.org's PAC. As for Michael Moore, the Democrats gave him a seat of honor at their national convention-- in a luxury box next to President Carter. (As a New Yorker weren't you outraged that a man who had so shamefully defiled 9/11 was treated with such respect and dignity by the Democratic leaders?) Then, or course there was Howard Dean, the National Chairman of the Democratic Party, saying he didn't want to "prejudge" Bin Laden's guilt prior to a "jury trial."
What all of this means is that too many Democrats, in their zeal to bring down President Bush, are aligning themselves with the most radical left-wing fringe elements and ignoring the damage this could do to our country in time of war. This is why Democrats such as Ed Koch supported President Bush for reelection because he did not believe Democratic leaders "had the stomach" to effectively fight terrorism.
Karl Rove did not challenge the patriotism of liberals. He questioned their judgment and their ability to do what has to be done to win a long and difficult war that must be fought in many place and in many ways.
Democrats should welcome Karl Rove's speech as a clarion call to save their party from the left-wing fringe elements. If they do, perhaps in the future Democrats will not again stand mute when their leaders such as Senator Durbin shamefully slander.
Two years ago Andrew Cuomo wrote that Democrats "handled 9/11 like it was a highway bill instead of a matter of people's lives. We fumbled the seminal movement of our lives- the terrorist attacks of 9/11. The President exemplified leadership at a time when America was desperate for a leader. He deserves credit, as to Congressional Republicans, for recognizing the challenge of 9/11 and rising to it."
The time has come for you to accept the challenge and acknowledge that Karl Rove is right. By doing so, you will save your party, and, much more importantly, your country.
Very truly yous, [sic]
PETER T. KING Member of Congress
P.S. I would suggest that you broaden your horizons and read something besides the New York Times.