Thursday, February 23, 2006

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senator for New York

Hillary Rodham Clinton, Senator for New York: Menendez, Clinton, Lautenberg, Boxer Urge Frist to Immediately Consider Legislation to Block Foreign Governments from Controlling Operations at U.S. Ports

Unless the country in question is has more white people?


dcat said...

Seriously, Steve, is that what you think they (Menendez!?) are really arguing?

This seems like an enormously cheap shot, especially seeing how many Republicans are up in arms over this as well. NOW suddenly it is racist to call into question certain aspects of national security when the focus falls on Arab nations? This is as unacceptable as the assertions those people who say that the Iraq war was racist or that American support for Israel is racist.

I'll gladly parse the parties on race if we'd like to have that discussion, but to aver that standing against this port situation makes someone racist is the height of demogoguery. Agree or disagree on the merits -- I'll even concede that it is more complex than it has thus far been presented. But a sly innuendo that someone like Frank Lautenburg (on the board of directors of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, for what it is worth, and so pretty good as far as credentials on terrorism go) is taking the stand that he is on this point because of racism? Beyond indefensible.


Stephen said...
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Stephen said...

The statement said foreign companies. The ports were already owned by a foreign company. This is not a matter of interpretation on my part. They didn't care who owned the ports before. Now an Arab country wants to own some ports and it is an issue. The only difference is that one company is British and the other is Arab. And I don't care how many Republicans are up in arms about this. If they make a similar argument they are wrong too. That statement, as written, is stupid and it is a naked attempt to score political points. I will make my preemptive denunciation of any Republican who makes a similar statement.

And I don't concede for one moment that the Democratic party has done more for nonwhite minority groups than Republicans. In fact, the opposite is true. And by true I mean that it is not a matter of opinion. The record of the Republican Party, since inception is better than that of the Democratic Party.

dcat said...

So are you really asserting that the only difference between Britain and Arab countries is race? Seriously? This is not a question of politics or national security or anything else? It's about skin color? That is crass reductionism. Denounce away. But don't imply that the reason is racism. It is silly when the left does it, and it is just as silly when the right tries to pull that card out of the deck. There is a difference between the United Arab Emirates and Great Britain, and it is wrong to maintain that the only possible point of distinction is race.

In any case, it seems bizarre to me that now Democrats are being accused not only of opportunism (a politician? Opportunistic? I'm shocked. SHOCKED!) But of racism. I think the legislation is shortsighted as well. Dumb, even. But I also have problems with a country from which two of the 9/11 terrorists came, that has its own porous border issues, and that may well be susceptible to some pressures within the region, having this sort of control and access to ports that as it has have been shown to be far too vunerable. This is a reasonable discussion to have. You can disagree. But instead you decide that the only possible reason worth mentioning is racism. You have no evidence of any of these politicians ever being racist; you have no real evidence that the motivations behind this legislation are tied to race and not innumerable other dubious justifications. Instead you go right for the Nazi-light accusation usually proferred by the left -- they are racist! It's an accusation that is hardly better than calling someone a Nazi (I'll gladly compare death totals from the one as opposed to the other; let's start with the global slave trade and slide into a discussion of the Belgian Congo) and that is not intended to foster reasonable discussion. It also diminishes real racism.

And at no point did I say that the history of the Democratic Party was better than the history of the GOP. When I said I'll parse the parties on race I was referring to the two current parties. But if I was not clear I apologize. One would think that my work on race would earn me a bit more credit for an understanding of the histories of the parties on race and racism. I guess not.

As for "facts" versus "interpretations": I happen to agree with your interpretation, and think it is the right one, if absolutely irrelevant to this discussion, but it IS just that, an interpretation, by any definition. We don't need to priviledge "facts" over "interpretation" as if the former is sacrosanct and the latter somehow valueless. But as a general rule, when the terms "better" and "worse" are being tossed about, you are dealing with matters of interpretation, however strongly felt, however correct.

Anonymous said...

Fight, fight, fight, fight....

Stephen said...

I guess, according to those Democratic legislators, yes. Read the way the press release is phrased.

And I am not "the right."

And I think the Republican Party of now is better on race than the Democratic Party of right now-- as of 2/23/2006 at7:09 PM. If I believed that the positions of the Democratic Party on race were better than those of the Republican Party, I would probably be a Democrat.

And two British subjects are convicted al Qaeda terrorists, including the shoe bomber.

Stephen said...

I should say that upon reflection, my initial comment was a pretty cheap shot.