Over the weekend, Brad Johnson of ThinkProgress filed a distinctly underwhelming report on the sinister SECRET FOREIGN MONEY!!! behind the US Chamber of Commerce. Notably, none of the highlighted contributions amount to more than $15,000 to the Chamber — hardly a significant chunk of the Chamber’s $75 million campaign budget. Also notable: the breathless tone of the revelation that the Chamber’s donors include “even oil companies owned by the Kingdom of Bahrain.”
Well gee whiz, that sure sounds scary — if your knowledge of Middle Eastern geopolitics is limited to a generalized suspicion of the Moozlims. But Bahrain is a staunch ally of the United States — the host, in fact of the US Navy’s 5th Fleet — and while it’s not a liberal democracy by any stretch, institutions critical to democratization are under construction, as yesterday’s parliamentary election demonstrates. Needless to say, it’s unlikely that this incremental opening of an Arab society would be happening if not for the relationship between Bahrain and the US — including the trade relationship that the Chamber of Commerce lobbies to protect.
We are told almost daily that irrational, nativist, know-nothing Islamophobia is an affliction of the American right. It would seem, though, that it’s also a problem on the left — at least among the unprincipled partisan hacks at ThinkProgress.