- The Washington Times - Friday, June 24, 2005

Liberals woke up yesterday morning wondering what happened to their Democratic Party. Literally overnight, the Democrats had become the President’s staunchest supporters in the war on terror. As much as we welcome the party’s change of heart, we were surprised to see that it was precipitated by the architect himself, Karl Rove.

The White House Deputy Chief of Staff, speaking at a dinner Wednesday night of the New York State Conservative Party, had a few words on “state of liberalism.” In particular, Mr. Rove compared the conservative reaction to September 11 to the liberal reaction. “Conservatives saw the attacks and prepared for war,” he said. “Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers.” Pretty much sums up the last four years for us. Michael Moore, George Soros and MoveOn.org would certainly agree.

Democrats, however, are outraged. Taking the comments personally, six Democrats fired off a letter to President Bush asking for Mr. Rove’s apology. Sen. John Kerry — who last year promised to wage a “more sensitive” war on terror — sent an e-mail to supporters asking them to sign a petition admonishing Mr. Rove for his “purposeful attack on the patriotism of those who dare ask the tough questions.” Apparently, Democrats are just as determined to wage a war against terror as Republicans. Who knew? They might have a point if Mr. Rove had directed his remarks specifically at Democrats. Five of the six signatories of the letter did vote for war against Afghanistan; four against Iraq. Wiser Democrats clearly understand that the American people don’t trust their party when it comes to national defense. There’s no mystery why future presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Clinton, who voted for the both the Afghanistan and Iraq war, sits on the Foreign Relations Committee.

But Mr. Rove didn’t address Democrats; he addressed liberals, specifically MoveOn.org and its like. For a party with a clear image problem, it seems counterproductive that they would rush to Mr. Moore’s defense — which, by their outrage, is essentially what they have done.

Image building aside, the reality is that the Democrats have embraced the “Michael Moore wing” of their party. Earlier this year, MoveOn.org invited the Senate’s top Democrats — Harry Reid, Ted Kennedy, Mrs. Clinton, Barbara Boxer, Dick Durbin and Charles Schumer — to a rally. Last summer, the Democratic National Committee sat Mr. Moore right beside former President Jimmy Carter during the party’s convention in Boston. And, lest we forget, it elected Howard Dean to be the party’s chairman.

This is the side of the Democratic Party Americans see. Democrats should reread Mr. Rove’s comments and realize that he was in fact diagnosing their problem. Instead, they have decided to act like hypocrites. Well played, Mr. Rove.