Watch what you say

It's OK for Karl Rove to slander liberals and MoveOn. But when MoveOn puts out an ad about Iraq? That's an "utter disgrace."

By Tim Grieve
Published June 28, 2005 1:59PM (EDT)

Is it just us, or are the parameters of permissible political speech getting narrower by the minute?

Just a few days ago, it was apparently OK for Karl Rove to declare that "liberals" wanted to respond to 9/11 with "therapy and understanding" and to suggest that the true "motive" of liberals is to put U.S. troops at "greater risk." But now, it seems, it's not OK to debate the merits of bringing those troops home.

MoveOn is launching a new ad campaign on Iraq this morning. One of the ads notes the current U.S. death toll in Iraq, quotes George W. Bush saying that "we're making really good progress in Iraq," quotes Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel saying the White House is "completely disconnected from reality" and appears to be "making it up" as it goes along, then concludes with the words, "We got in the wrong way. Let's get out the right way."

Maybe you disagree with the sentiment, but everyone would agree that it's at least a legitimate expression of political thought, right?

Apparently not.

As NBC's First Read notes this morning, "As if on cue, Sen. Elizabeth Dole sent out a statement yesterday calling the ad 'an utter disgrace.'" Dole wrote: "To politicize the war in Iraq at this critical juncture emboldens the enemy and does so at the peril of our men and women in uniform. I hope my colleagues from both sides of the aisle will join me in disavowing this poisonous ad."

And we're sure they will, too -- right after Dole explains how she's disavowing Chuck Hagel, John McCain, Walter Jones and all of the others on her side of the aisle who have dared to raise questions about George W. Bush's handling of the war in Iraq.

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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