They’re back, accusing those who disagree with them of being treasonous:
Eugene Robinson in today’s Washington Post:
Democrats “have a pre-9/11 worldview” of national security that is “deeply and profoundly and consistently wrong,” Rove said. The clear subtext was that Americans would court mortal danger by electing Democrats. Go forth and scare the bejesus out of them, Rove was telling his party, because the more frightened they are, the better our chances.
To cultivate fear for partisan gain is never a political tactic to be proud of, but Rove’s prescription of naked fearmongering is just plain reprehensible when the nation faces a shifting array of genuine, serious threats. This is a moment for ethical politicians — and, yes, these days that seems like an oxymoron — to speak honestly about what dangers have receded, what new dangers have emerged, and how the imperatives of liberty and security can be balanced.
The Post editorial board:
THE BUSH administration’s distortion, for political purposes, of the Democratic position on warrantless surveillance is loathsome. Despite the best efforts of Karl Rove, the White House deputy chief of staff, and Ken Mehlman, the Republican National Committee chairman, to make it seem otherwise, Democrats are not opposed to vigorous, effective surveillance that could uncover terrorist activity. Nor are the concerns that they are expressing unique to their party. Republican Sens. John McCain (Ariz.), Arlen Specter (Pa.), Chuck Hagel (Neb.), Lindsey O. Graham (S.C.) and Sam Brownback (Kan.) have expressed legal doubts about the surveillance program. Do they, too, have a “pre-9/11 worldview,” as Mr. Rove said of the Democrats?
Thus said chief presidential adviser Karl Rove last week. True to his partisan form, Rove then went on to claim that ‘some important Democrats clearly disagree.
Rove clearly has that wrong. The objections are not to the idea of spying on al-Qaeda. It’s about the unaccountable, constitutionally dubious way the Bush administration put that idea into practice.
I cannot improve on their words.