Left Behinds

The anti-andrewsullivan.com. Or, the Robin Hood (Maid Marian?) of bright pink Blogger blogs.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

I'm not happy.

It's never fun when your party and most of its grassroots go into a week-long bout of race-baiting hysteria that shows no sign of abating. [UPDATE: At least it's never fun if you're a Democrat.]

It is painfully and transparently obvious that if the situation were reversed -- if the UAE deal had been approved by a Gore administration -- the arguments would simply switch sides. All the Republicans would raise the objections now being made by the Democrats, and the Democrats would easily refute the arguments they now cling to with such fervor.

The excellent Arthur Silber (who would resent being called a Democrat, as he is not one). If you want a good summary of why the hysteria over the DPW ports deal is simply misguided, a user named soj runs it down pretty clearly at the Booman Tribune.

# Dubai Ports World (DPW) will be controlling our ports! - Wrong. That was and always will be the job of the (American) Department of Homeland Security, not just at the ports DPW would operate but at ALL ports nationwide.
# DPW is buying our ports! - No, they are just the port/terminal managers. The ownership remains in the hands of the American government.
# Bush is handing over our critical infrastructure to DPW! - No, being the manager of a port doesn't make you in charge of "critical infrastructure". The people in charge of the ports have ALWAYS been and will always be American law enforcement
# DPW will bring in a bunch of foreigners to take American jobs! - No, the majority of work at ports is conducted by American unionized longshoremen. This will not change if DPW is given the contract.
# I saw a picture of Bush holding hands with the Dubai royal family! - No, actually most of the photos I've seen on the blogosphere in connection with this story were of the Saudi royal family and Bush.
# Two of the 9/11 hijackers were from the UAE! - Yes and even assuming that's accurate, so what? Show me the ties between the Dubai royal family and the 2 UAE hijackers and then I'll get concerned.

The long discussion that follows clearly refutes, point by point, any other objection you might legitimately think of.

But of course my party, and the grassroots liberal bloggers within it, are not really raising legitimate points. Arthur Silber again:

Regardless of whether particular politicians or commentators are racist as individuals, the cumulative effect is the same: it is the unwarranted, indefensible, and altogether disgusting demonization of an entire people.
the port story is exceedingly simple: foreigners are going to take over our ports! And they're not foreigners like us, the way the British are. They're those people. Those people are crazy! They want to kill us! If this deal goes through, we're all going to die! It's pathetic.

For the last couple of months, Silber has been describing in great detail why a war with Iran would be an utter disaster and why this kind of hysteria in our politics seems to make it all but inevitable. I am not quite as pessimistic as he about its inevitability, but I can't see how we on the left are doing ourselves any favors by trying to out-xenophobe Bush.

P.S. If you really want to freak yourself out, stop worrying about DPW allowing terrorists to take over all our ports and consider the far more real possibility of Pervez Musharraf losing his fingernail-hold on power.

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  • At 4:34 PM, Anonymous Solomon Grundy said…

    Yeah, it's a pretty low point for liberals.

    Glenn Greenwald posed an interesting question that elicited interesting responses: Are you willing to do whatever it takes to dethrone the Republicans because Rove has played dirty all these years and beaten us every time? Even if you know the port uproar is meritless and racist?

    I was one of a minority of commenters to say not if it involves racism and xenophobia (and I was called knee-jerk for calling it racist).

    But anyhow, yeah, the context is definitely political. There are major elections in 8 months and the Dems finally see an opportunity to attack Bush on national security. And the Republicans see an opportunity to distance themselves from a very unpopular Bush.

    What's ironic to me is that liberals, once they calm down, are likely to figure out that this whole debate has been xenophobic and racist (you can already see it happening with the pundits Katrina Vanden Heuvel and Fareed Zakaria), which will bother them, so they'll be further disillusioned by the Dems. But the conservatives won't be bothered by Republican xenophobia and racism. So, once again, the Dems will have shot themselves in the foot.

    This was an opportunity to paint Bush as crap on national security because port security is abysmal, a total joke, and every expert has been saying this for years, yet no Bush action. But the Dems, being the brilliant political tacticians they are, decided to go for the "Arabs are taking over" angle instead.

    OK, end of rant.

  • At 7:18 PM, Blogger Antid Oto said…

    I think it's about a third calculated and a third the left's version of ditto-head-ness: the ability to manufacture outrage because everybody else is outraged too, over something one cared exactly zero about two weeks ago. The remaining third is genuine racism.


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