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Saturday, March 07, 2009
An Obviously Impartial Reference

Good lord. The Chas Freeman nomination looks like it's going to crash on the shoals of Freeman's rather absurd "realist" statements, so Steve Clemons gets a recommendation from... Freeman's son.

A cabal of ideological hardliners has orchestrated a remarkable, self-referential smear campaign against my Dad's appointment, dragging Congress and the political process into this non-political sphere. They are wrong to do it, and not just because my Dad is involved.

This brouhaha has come up in the last few days. To me, the Freeman defenders have had far the worst of it, which is why their argument is focusing on the motivations of his opponents and not on Freeman's statements. As Jonathan Chait (not my favorite pundit by a large margin) correctly notes:

And even if you suppose this entire world view is merely a construct to justify support for Israel, there are arguments to be dealt with. Walt refuses to defend Freeman on his ties to Saudi Arabia and extreme defense of China, thinking he can wave it all away by shouting "Israel-lover!" at the critics in the hopes that this will rally liberals to Freeman's side. The method of Walt's argument is vastly more distrurbing than the substance. Walt is arguing that any Jewish-American who does not roughly share his views on Israel (which, of course, disqualifies the vast majority) is presumptively acting out of dual loyalty, is probably coordinating their actions in secret, and should thus be dismissed out of hand. I think Walt has come to this conclusion on the basis of his foreign policy worldview rather than out of animus against Jewish people. But it's a paranoid analysis whose consequence is to make the debate about Israel much more stupid and mired in attacks on motive.

And indeed, that is precisely the argument Freedman's son offers up:

His appointment is being challenged these days by a small cabal of folks that believe first and foremost in the importance of allegiance to Israel as a core U.S. priority. Putting aside my natural instinct as a son to want to punch some of these guys in the face for some of the things they are saying about my father, for heaven's sake, I'm more deeply angry about the lack of guile some of these people have.

It is, as Chait rightly notes, a way of waving away all the other idiotic stuff Freedman's said on 9-11 and on China.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Chait: Now Is The Time for Wasteful Spending!

What a dolt.

Maureen Dowd devotes today's column to fawning over John McCain's anti-pork crusade. There's merit, in general, to the idea of eliminating wasteful spending. But if ever there was a time when we should not care about wasteful spending, it is now, when the economy has a massive failure of demand and anything that circulates money into the economy helps. So the anti-pork crusade is just strangely out of place at this time, a wild missing of the bigger picture.
Ted Kennedy to Be Knighted

Is it too obvious to suggest that he be named Sir Osis of Liver?


Tuesday, March 03, 2009
Limbaugh the Leader?

That's the meme the Democrats are going to be pushing over the next week or so.

"Rush is the bloated face and drug-addled voice of the Republican Party," said Paul Begala, a longtime Democratic strategist who rose to prominence during Bill Clinton's presidency. "Along with lots of others, I intend to continue to turn up the heat until every alleged Republican either endorses or renounces Rush's statement that he hopes our President fails."

Look, he may be the face and voice of conservatism; but the last time I listened to Rush, he was frantically trying to prevent John McCain from becoming the Republican nominee. His face and voice didn't turn out to be as influential as advertised there.
Monday, March 02, 2009
The Hawk Interviews Medved

Good interview. No sparks over the McCain nomination or the direction of the party, I'm surprised and pleased to note.

There are a lot of conservatives out there, probably most of them even, who believe that "America is in the midst of an irreversible moral decline." Would you disagree with that?

I do. In my book, The 10 Big Lies About America: Combating Destructive Distortions About Our Nation, that's the 10th big lie and in many ways, it's the most pernicious -- because if our moral decline is irreversible, then America's weakening and decline is irreversible. That goes against our national ethos. Part of what it means to be an American is that nothing is irreversible for this country. No challenge is too great.

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