Monday, May 12, 2008

Hamas Manipulates Republicans; Republicans Manipulate You

On Friday, I called John McCain the Manchurian Candidate because he and other Republicans are trying to tie Obama to Hamas even though Hamas and other Isamacist groups in fact support McCain. On cue, in Saturday's Wall Street Journal, Gabriel Schonenfeld, senior editor of Commentary, wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street Journal called "Our Enemies and the Election." Schonenfeld makes the usual "Hamas says they like Obama" accusations. Then he goes on to claim that Hugo Chavez, the Iranian mullahs, and Kim Jung Il don't like McCain, and that this suggests "there is a growing pro-Obama/anti-McCain axis" among America's enemies.

It's hard to know what to make of the many Republicans who spout this nonsense. Are they really so stupid that they take terrorist statements at face value? Or are they deliberately using what is obviously enemy misinformation to deceive and manipulate American voters? Or is the explanation that they're so awed by their own playacting image of toughness that they're blind to what a substantive boon they've become to America's enemies?

Look, Venezuela's economy, and Hugo Chavez's power, is almost entirely dependent on the price of oil. Ditto Iran and the mullahs. President Bush has presided over an increase in the price of oil from about $23 a barrel in 2001 to an all-time high of $126 a barrel now. You don't think Chavez and the mullahs, who owe their continued power -- indeed, their continued survival -- to the price of oil don't thank President Bush every day for what he's done for them? John McCain (and Hillary Clinton, it should be noted) advocates the suspension of the federal gasoline tax, which would increase consumption and drive the price of oil even higher. Obama argues against this windfall wealth transfer from America to Chavez, the Mullahs, and their ilk. And people like Schonenfeld think Chavez and the mullahs are rooting for *Obama*?

If there's one thing that characterizes the modern Republican party (besides secret lawmaking, warrantless surveillance, advocacy of torture, and abrogation of the Fourth Amendment), it's an obsession with appearances and a corresponding blindness to facts. McCain vows to be "Hama's worst nightmare," and for the Schonenfelds of the world, this swaggering boast (which would consist of what, exactly?) trumps -- indeed, eclipses -- McCain's actual promise to fund oil powers like Chavez and the mullahs with additional U.S. billions. In other contexts, we would call this mentality "magical thinking."

Whether they're stupid, lying, or in denial, the self-interested purveyors of Hamas propaganda desperately need a turn out of power to have a shot at returning to principle, to reality, even to sanity. If you're a principled Republican, and you care about the party and your country, do the right thing in November: vote Democratic.


Anonymous said...

There are no more annoying people in the world than desperate people grasping at fading power. Which pretty much describes the current GOP and Hillary Clinton.

When Democratic excesses came to a head in 1980, they pointed at Kennedy and FDR and said, "This is our party." Reagan preached... um... change and got elected.

Now they point at Lincoln (with whom they have little in common), TR, and Reagan, and they have little in common with those presidents as well. How'd they do so well?

Those guys preached the same kind of change as FDR and JFK.

Sorry, but permanent majorities are for places like Burma and Cuba. Last I checked, we were not a Third World country.

Anonymous said...

You don't really think that Bush is somehow responsible for the price of crude, do you?

You can't even really blame the oil companies, as their profit margins are a teeny 9%, and numerous investigations into price gouging has found there's no evidence that any gouging is taking place.

I read the full intervew with the Hamas spokesperson. He did, indeed, say that hamas likes Obama and his vision for America. Does it matter that a foreign terrorist group applauds one foreign policy vision over another? I'd say it matters a little...maybe a lot depending on how many kooks support the platform.

Anonymous said...

Barry, when you say the Islamists "in fact" support McCain, what "fact" are you basing this on? Why is the Hamas support of Obama "obviously" enemy misinformation? You heap scorn on the idea of taking terrorist statements at face value, but when bin Laden explicitly declared war on the U.S. in the late 90's, when Hamas declares they will not rest until the world is cleansed of Jews, when Ahmadinejad announces that Israel will be wiped from the map, when Islamists level death threats against cartoonists and filmmakers and writers and apostates and, well, practically everyone, are we not to take those statements at face value? Or are they only misinformation when it suits your pro-Obama stance?

I personally don't give much weight to the supposed Hamas-Obama connection, because as far as I know this is based on one Hamas spokesman's off-handed comment, not some official Hamas press release. But I strongly disagree with your blanket refusal to listen to what the Islamists are telling us.

Best, Big Shaker

Barry Eisler said...

Taj, do I think Bush is entirely responsible for the price of crude? No. Do you not think his policies have had a major impact?

Shaker, you're right. None of us is psychic, and I was wrong to argue that Hamas "in fact" supports McCain. I should have said that all reasonable evidence and common sense indicate that McCain is the choice of Islamicists. The word "obviously" still applies.

I think from what I've written it's clear I don't subscribe to a "blanket refusal to listen to what the Islamists are telling us." I am listening -- and I hear support for Bush and McCain. Regardless, I'll make up my own mind rather than deferring to Hamas et al.


Anonymous said...

Fair enough, Barry, thanks.

Anonymous said...

I thought about this yesterday at the gym and realized that I completely disagree with the conclusion about Bush and oil prices. A big part of oil's price increase has been demand that is increasing at a higher rate than supply. This demand is coming from places like China and India. The supply of oil could be increased right here in the US by taking advantage of all of the proven reserves in our territories. These reserves are not exploited because of restrictive policies put into place, primarily, by Democratic pols.

The turmoil caused by the US' decision to fight in Iraq (passed by the congress, remember, but led by Bush) is a factor as is speculation.

Anyway, it seems to me that if we are going to talk about "following the money" to who the Islamists (whatever that means) support we should look more closely at the folks who are making oil more expensive by suppressing supply - yep, the team that Obama is running to join.

I am not defending Bush, I have many problems with him, but I do think that the analysis blaming oil prices on Bush's (unstated) policies is a bit narrow.