Fire is the Devil's Only Friend

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In case you missed it, Karl Rove gave a speech last Friday in which he went back on the offensive. He didn't discuss the outing of Valerie Plame or the indictment of Tom DeLay, but rather wanted to talk about the national discussions we need to have.

Many analysts have pointed to this speech as a sneak preview of Republican tactics in the midterm elections. So what does the Republican sage have to say?

It is important to understand the consequences of pulling out of Iraq before our work is done and victory is won....This is an issue worthy of a public debate.

Another is the Patriot Act....Republicans want to renew the Patriot Act - and Democrat leaders take special delight in trying to kill it. This is an issue worthy of a public debate.

Because of a New York Times story, our enemies now know that in the aftermath of the September 11th attacks, President Bush authorized the National Security Agency to intercept communications where one of the parties is outside the United States and there is a reasonable basis to conclude the conversation involves a member of, or someone affiliated with, al Qaeda....

Let me be as clear as I can: President Bush believes if al Qaeda is calling somebody in America, it is in our national security interest to know who they're calling and why. Some important Democrats clearly disagree. This is an issue worthy of a public debate.

|Transcript|(emphasis added)

Forgive me if I'm not impressed. The key advisor to the most secretive administration in at least fifty years thinks we ought to all of the sudden have a national discussion on these issues?

In one breath Rove points out that the only reason the country is discussing domestic surveillance is because someone tattled to the NYT. Then in the next breath he claims we should discuss this nationally. Puh-leeze.

The other rhetorical move that I would highlight in this excerpt is his claim that the Republicans want to eavesdrop on Al-Qaeda while the Democrats want to let them conduct their activities in peace.

The frustrating thing about Al Qaeda is that they don't wear uniforms or list their affiliation in the phone book. If we knew who they were, we would arrest them and then the Republicans would torture them. But they keep their activities secret and try to blend into the civilian population. So, to the Republican mind, that simply means that we should eavesdrop on everyone. In secret.

And when they get caught abrogating the Constitution, well, then it's an issue worthy of bombast.

Since we're discussing issues that need national discussion, I think we ought to come to a national conclusion of how we feel about torturing people who we think might be associated with Al Qaeda. If we decide that is acceptable, then we need to decide how we compensate someone who ultimately turns out to be innocent that we tortured.

I'd like to hear what Mr. Rove has to say on that topic.

UPDATE: James Hamilton sent me a link to MOQUOL's take on the emerging Republican Strategy:

Section One: Karl Rove's "Battle Plan"

1) Terror, terror, terror.

2) DIPSO (Damned Illegal Presidential Spying Operation) is vital, and only mimsy Democrats with a 9/10 mindset don't understand that.

3) War in Iraq is a success.

4) Tax cuts are good for everyone.

5) Bush's judicial appointments are strong and mainstream.

6) Corruption is not a Republican problem, it's a Washington problem

Follow this link to read MOQUOLS's engaging Section Two: How to combat this plan.

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