Friday, February 24, 2006


The thing I continue to find disturbing about the Bush Administration is the way it treats criticism from the right. When conservative critics disagree with the administration, it seems that President Bush and his advisors almost reflexively slip into the kind of argumentation you'd expect from the Left. Instead of dealing with substantive objections, they impugn the motives and morality of their conservative critics and ratify all the tired old liberal tropes about conservatives being racist, sexist Neanderthals

That's strange behavior for a supposedly "conservative" administration.

When conservatives were enraged that Bush nominated to the Supreme Court his unqualified friend Harriet Miers, who had no judicial record and no discernible judicial philosophy, the administration's initial response was to act like liberals: they labeled the opposition "sexist," thus slandering them and dismissing their legitimate judicial complaints. Now when conservatives (and pretty much everyone else) are opposing the UAE/ports deal, the administration's immediate response is to end the discussion by implying that the critics are "Islamophobic" and racist toward Arabs.

(Incidentally, for the record, I'll be happy to come right out and admit I am "Islamophobic," as is any person in his right mind. Despite Bush's incessant "religion of peace" nonsense, Islam has left only a bloody trail of violence everywhere it has ever been in history. Anyone who's not afraid of it is an idiot. So even if the opposition is "Islamophobic," does simply labeling it relieve the administration of the responsibility for addressing those fears? It's not as if they're illegitimate fears; I drove by a huge hole in the ground in Lower Manhattan the other day that tells me they are legitimate. The burden should be on the administration--considering recent world events--to explain to me why my "Islamophobia" is misguided, rather than simply marginalizing and dismissing it with a pejorative label.)

To act as if concerns about Arab nations owning American ports is simply xenophobic, red-necked bigotry--as if there's not even a conceivable difference to reasonable people between our ports being owned by an English company and our ports being owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates--is disingenuous at best and malicious at worst.

My friend Brad (a strong supporter of the president's, by the way), puts it brilliantly. Though he still hopes against hope that Bush is masterminding some brilliant political move here, he says:
If there's nothing else behind this than stupidity, I'd suggest we outsource his Secret Service security to a Middle East country- give him a little Justice Souter treatment.
Surely the president wouldn't object, would he? I mean, he's not some kind of xenophobe, is he?

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