You would think that rightwing pundits would take exception to terrorist sympathizer* Dinesh D’Souza’s claim that he is a perfectly mainstream conservative pundit. After all, the idea that terrorists are right to hate America isn’t just edging into Ward Churchill territory. It is exactly the Churchillian sin that got these same pundits worked up into such a frenzy not so long ago. If Churchill’s sins were so heinous then Hugh Hewitt, Glenn Reynolds and Michelle Malkin ought to take far more exception when the next Ward Churchill claims to be one of them.
On face value it seems that D’Souza’s claim to mainstream status is, for lack of a better word, perfectly right. He still holds an extremely well-paid post at the mainstream Hoover Institution. His bio lists plaudits from Investor’s Business Daily and an impressive array of prominent media appearances. He served in the Reagan Administration. It is extremely hard to imagine that D’Souza, who finds broad areas of agreement with anti-American terrorists’ about what is wrong with America, does sit squarely in the middle of modern conservatism. Using the Glenn Reynolds rules of punditry, the overall silence from D’Souza’s ideological compatriots indicates quite clearly that they find his ideas largely unobjectionable.
Setting aside other blame America firsters like Pat Robertson and Jerry Flawell, it might still be possible to d’smiss D’souza as a lone nut if his allies kept their agreement to themselves. That was apparently too much to ask Glenn Beck.
“The things that they were saying about us were true. Our morals are just out the window. We’re a society on the verge of moral collapse. And our promiscuity is off the charts.
“Now I don’t think that we should fly airplanes into buildings or behead people because of it, but that’s the prevailing feeling of Muslims in the Middle East. And you know what? They’re right.”
So much for one lone nut. Glenn Beck is essentially saying that he disagrees with al Qaeda on tactics rather than on principle. If bin Laden limited himself to, say, bombing abortion clinics and beating gays then maybe he’d get on board.
As should be clear by now the common causers represent a meaningful slice of the right, extending from the most extreme Christianists to multiple mainstream pundits with extensive media exposure. It seems impossible at this point to consider these reprehensible views in any way isolated or unique. If conservatives want to escape the impression that they willingly harbor within their ranks an element willing to make common cause with terrorists then it seems time to play their cards a little less close to the chest.
(*) Literally. D’Souza sympathizes with terrorists who hate America because, in his view he hates America for the same reasons.
This is an unrelated, probably unfair cheap shot, but conservatives who want to avoid the appearance of making common cause with terrorists should avoid giving them awards.
Read Kevin Drum and Steve Benen for more context and a discussion of why this rhetorical tack would have some appeal.
The good Glenn:
Thus, when one reads any speech given by President Ahmadinejad, it becomes apparent that his views on the dynamics of international affairs and the need to show “strength” — as well as his understanding of what “strength” means — are, at their core, indistinguishable from those who have been governing our country for the last six years. None of that means that there is (or is not) a moral equivalency between the U.S. and Iran. But it does mean that the efforts on the part of our political leaders to descend to the levels of Middle Eastern tyrants and to model our behavior after theirs are proceeding with full force.
Via commenter S., Scott Johnson of Powerline has done the right thing. It will be a happy day when I am obliged to eat my words on this.
Count my friend Rick Moran in as well.