in the media outlets to which I was paying attention during my vacation last week — the Boston Globe and the cable news channels — concerned Karl Rove’s description of the difference between the liberal and reactions to 9/11. I agree with John’s take — Rove provided “a pretty accurate, if slightly hyperbolic, characterization of the opposing camps.” As applied to liberal politicians, Rove’s description was a bit ungenerous. Most of them went along with preparing for war for a while before their distaste for a sustained struggle manifested itself.
During last week’s mini-flap, I came across this passage in Richard Posner’s excellent book Preventing Surprise Attacks:
A defining mark of the modern liberal is an instinctive hostility to the police and the military, and more broadly to governmental use of force both internally and externally, and an abiding belief that threats to national security, especialy when they emanate from left-wing regimes or groups, or from non-Western or formerly colonized nations, are systematically exaggerated.
Judge Posner’s statement is more refined and precise than Karl Rove’s, but I think they were both talking about basically the same phenomenon.