Some much needed perspective from Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA):
Kennedy sparked a political firestorm last week with charges made to the Herald and other news organizations that the president’s war plan was “made up in Texas” to boost the political stock of Republicans.
Republicans accused the senator of hitting below the belt. Bush branded the senator’s charges “uncivil.”
But many Democrats backed Kennedy, charging the White House was seeking to brand critics as unpatriotic.
“If it’s unpatriotic to challenge the leadership of this country, it’s a different America than I grew up in,” said U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano (D-Somerville). “Sen. Kennedy obviously has a big microphone and I’m glad he used it.”
U.S. Rep. Barney Frank (D-Newton) said he disagreed with Kennedy’s charge that the GOP was playing politics with Iraq.
“I don’t think they started the war for political purposes,” Frank said. “I do think that they very demagogically exploited it politically.”
Frank also suggested some Democrats were being overly sensitive to Bush’s criticisms of Kennedy. “Uncivil?” said Frank. “I mean, let’s not overreact. Being called uncivil is not being persecuted. People have a right to defend themselves and argue.”
Calling someone’s remarks ‘uncivil’ is not the crushing of dissent. In this case, as Frank noted, it was merely a defense.
*** Update ***
John Hawkins has some interesting thoughts abut the Democrats attempts to characterize any rebuttal as ‘crushing of dissent.’