Poor David Brooks. Remaking the Middle East is not turning out as easily as he had hoped. Today in his column, as last night on the Lehrer NewsHour, he blasts away at the “mass hysteria” that has erupted in the U.S. in response to news of the UAE ports deal. His notions of national greatness apparently never had a chance so long as a “reactionary” (“Whatever. You use the word. I won’t use the word,” Lehrer responded) like Michael Savage had any say. But here’s the giveaway quote:
“[T]he point for politicians is at some point you have to be a statesman, you have got to resist when you get this popular tide and nobody on Capitol Hill is doing, that except John McCain.”
“Except John McCain,” Lehrer echoed. (Sigh.)
Actually, there was an earlier giveaway quote, in which Brooks began with a wonderful geographic name drop, “I just came back from Doha where you came across –” At which point Lehrer had him identify Doha as being in Qatar, right next to Dubai. Brooks then continued:
“And a lot of Muslim democrats in the conference over there, and the one thing you heard from them again and again and again, there’s this democratic wave sweeping across the whole region but it’s not warm and sunny. It’s being — the democratic opportunity is being seized by Hamas and other Islamic fanantics and their main argument is that the West is filled with racists…. And what’s happening on Capitol Hill reinforces that. It gives tremendous strength to bin Laden, Hamas, and all the Islamists, and it’s just doing tremendous harm to America’s reputation in the West….”
Forget mass hysteria. How do you unravel the confused emotions racing through that excerpt? (Or when Brooks dismissed opposition to the ports deal as “a broad-based, xenophobic Know Nothing campaign of dressed-up photo-op nativism.”) As it is, I’d love to know more about those Muslim democrats and whether they stand a chance against the Islamic fanatics in their midst. Ever if Americans were unanimously in favor of the Dubai contract, that imbalance wouldn’t change one bit. Brooks will have to look elsewhere for scapegoats.