Washington- An antiwar Toledo congresswoman who seemed to compare Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaida fighters to heroes of the American Revolution is facing harsh criticism.
In a newspaper interview, Democratic Rep. Marcy Kaptur said many American revo lutionaries were driven by reli gious fervor, as are bin Laden and members of his interna tional organiza tion.
"One could say Osama bin Laden and these non-nation-state fighters with religious purpose are very similar to those kind of atypical revolutionaries that helped cast off the British crown," she was quoted as saying last weekend in The Blade, the Toledo newspaper.
House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, a Texas Republican, yesterday called on Democratic leaders to denounce Kaptur.
"It seems the Democrat leadership dons their earmuffs when it comes to insensitive and extreme rhetoric from their friends," he said. "We know the Democrats want this to go away, but not before we find out if they agree and if they are outraged like we are."
Kaptur, in a statement released last night, said her remark was being taken out of context for partisan purposes. She said she was trying only to convey "the magnitude of the fervor that is being turned against" the United States. Americans understand the "power of revolution," she said, and "it is in that context that I referred to the American Revolution." Terrorism "in the name of revolution" is never acceptable, she added.
On CNN's "Crossfire" program Wednesday night, conservative pundit Tucker Carlson said Kaptur had gone "completely off the deep end" in the newspaper interview. "Washington crossing the Delaware, planes crashing into the World Trade Center - they're all atypical revolutionaries, says Marcy Kaptur." Talk show co-host Paul Begala, a Democrat who worked at the Clinton White House, called Kaptur's remark "disgraceful" and "insane."
At first blush, it appears that Kaptur used a "terrible analogy," said Ohio State University history professor Saul Cornell. Leaders of the American Revolution were products of the Enlightenment, he said, a philosophical movement based on rational thought and skepticism. Bin Laden is a fundamentalist who stands against those ideals and wishes to impose Islamic law and traditions on others, Cornell said.
Yet, he allowed, there is a "kernel of truth" in Kaptur's remark in that many religious and secular revolutionary movements were driven by zealots who thought they could remake the world. "If you look closely at the rhetoric of certain American revolutionaries - Patrick Henry would be a good example, and there is a body of scholarly work on this - it is infused with a kind of evangelical style," Cornell said.
Lucas County Republicans, unable to field a strong candidate against Kaptur for years, jumped at what they saw as a political opening.
"It has been my contention that she is out of touch with the district with a lot of her views - and this is over the edge," said Lucas County Republican Chairwoman Bernadette Noe. Lucas County Auditor Larry Kaczala, a potential rival in 2004, called on Kaptur to resign.
Former Ohio Democratic Chairman James Ruvolo, a Kaptur confidant, did not defend the remark, but said "Marcy's heart is in the right place." He predicted voters will give more weight to her good intentions and years of service than to one "unfortunate analogy."
While I think it funny that Tom DeLay, the king of being an insensetive fool, would lead the criticism, I think the criticism is absolutely justified. It's just idiotic to think this.
Funny, Marci has always been pretty level-headed. Too bad she's not in my district, or else I'd vote her butt out of office.
Jaysit From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 1231 times:
Actually Marcy Kaptur is far from a liberal and is very moderate on most issues. She has always been construed as a social moderate and an economic meat-n-potatoes blue collar liberal (pro-minimum wage, keep American manufacturing jobs in America, anti-globalization, etc).
Her analogy may be a good controversial topic to debate for a history paper just to get a rise out of students, but is an idiotic one for a politician to make. Of all the politically dumb analogies in the world, she found the dumbest.
Superfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 40011 posts, RR: 74
Reply 3, posted (11 years 8 months 3 weeks 3 days 7 hours ago) and read 1127 times:
So JetService, are you saying that her comments really came out of your a$$?
Marcy Kaptur's comments may have been a strech but she still a jewel in the house. I still like her position on economic issues.She isn't afraid to speak up for those who can't afford to buy lobbiest to grease to pockets of scumbags the vote to send jobs over-seas.
Marcy Kaptur is still the best thing out Ohio since John Glenn.