While Republican elected officials lined up to accept Dick Durban's non-apology, the NY Times reports that Carl Rove differed with them. Link.
"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," Mr. Rove, the senior political adviser to President Bush, said at a fund-raiser in Midtown for the Conservative Party of New York State.
Citing calls by progressive groups to respond carefully to the attacks, Mr. Rove said to the applause of several hundred audience members, "I don't know about you, but moderation and restraint is not what I felt when I watched the twin towers crumble to the ground, a side of the Pentagon destroyed, and almost 3,000 of our fellow citizens perish in flames and rubble." [...]Mr. Rove also said American armed forces overseas were in more jeopardy as a result of remarks last week by Senator Richard J. Durbin, Democrat of Illinois, who compared American mistreatment of detainees to the acts of "Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime - Pol Pot or others."
"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 hope that the Republicans holding their fire is only temporary. In Congress, they have to work with the Democrats, so there is reason for restraint (even though Democrats in both houses see no such reason for restraint).
Come next year, Republican challengers should echo Rove in their attacks of the incumbents they face. If their opponents attacked the Guantanamo guards, tell the voters that they have put our troops in greater danger, and increased the number of casualties we have suffered. If they had called for an immediate withdrawal from Iraq, they should try something like, "My opponent wants to turn Iraq over to the terrorists, where they will have safe camps to train fanatics to come to the US and kill American civilians. I prefer that, if we must have terrorists, they spend their time bombing Iraqis in Iraq, rather than Americans in the US."
For Republican incumbents, they can use the same arguments, just against generic Democrats rather than their specific opponents, until they make similar statements in the campaign, and then attack them specifically.