Last night Karl Rove gave New York Democrats running for mayor more fuel for their repeated attacks on Michael Bloomberg’s Republican ties. Speaking at the New York State Conservative Party annual fete, the president’s chief strategist said, “Liberals saw the savagery of the 9/11 attacks and wanted to prepare indictments and offer therapy and understanding for our attackers. Conservatives saw the savagery of 9/11 and the attacks and prepared for war… Conservatives saw what happened to us on 9/11 and said we will defeat our enemies. Liberals saw what happened to us and said we must understand our enemies.”
Those silly liberals! Real ‘mericans misunderstand their enemies, and do so proudly, dammit! Unfortunately for the mayor, New York is a haven for these lily-livered defenders of rationality. So Hizzoner was quick to distance himself from Rove’s remarks.
“9/11 was an attack on all of America. In the hard days and weeks that followed, we came together as a City and as a country, united in our resolve not only to defeat terrorism but also to rebuild Lower Manhattan. Ever since, we have tried to keep politics out of the discussion,” the mayor said in a statement. “We owe it to those we lost to keep partisan politics out of the discussion and keep alive the united spirit that came out of 9/11.”
But according to White House spokesman Scott McClellan, Rove wasn’t playing partisan politics; he was “simply talking about different philosophies and different approaches.” It was the Democrats who, by criticizing Rove, were engaging “in personal attacks instead of defending their philosophy, that’s their business.” Scottie scolded the press, “You want to get caught up in all the process and the back and forth bickering that goes on in this city. We’re going to focus on the issues and that’s what we will continue to do.”
Lucky, that. But Fernando Ferrer — who four years ago was faulted for being divisive for still talking about “the other New York” after the towers fell — said Bloomberg’s failure to condemn Rove by name “is an insult to every New Yorker who lived through that terrible day, especially those who lost loved ones.”