Sometimes ya gotta wonder if Republicans can actually hear themselves when they talk. And then, you hope they don't, because it's infinitely more frightening to think that they do, and that they mean to say things like "We should be more like the Taliban."
Frustrated by a lack of bipartisan outreach from House Democratic leaders, Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee, said House Republicans -- who voted unanimously last week against the economic plan pushed by President Obama and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi -- will pitch a "positive, loyal opposition" to the proposal. The group, he added, should also "understand insurgency" in implementing efforts to offer alternatives.
"Insurgency, we understand perhaps a little bit more because of the Taliban," Sessions said during a meeting yesterday with Hotline editors. "And that is that they went about systematically understanding how to disrupt and change a person's entire processes. And these Taliban -- I'm not trying to say the Republican Party is the Taliban. No, that's not what we're saying. I'm saying an example of how you go about [sic] is to change a person from their messaging to their operations to their frontline message. And we need to understand that insurgency may be required when the other side, the House leadership, does not follow the same commands, which we entered the game with."
Oh well, IOKIYAR. Now if a Democrat said something like that? Well, you can only imagine what we'd be treated to by every right wing talking head who could prop themselves up in front of a television camera or a microphone.
But here's the thing. It's not the first time.
I noted this back in 2007. Dinesh D'Souza (whose book, The End of Racism, I remember picking up briefly because the title fooled me) has been at it for a while now.
At first Dinesh D'Souza considered him "a dark-eyed fanatic, a gun-toting extremist, a monster who laughs at the deaths of 3,000 innocent civilians." But once he learned how Osama bin Laden was viewed in the Muslim world, D'Souza changed his mind. Now he finds bin Laden to be "a quiet, well-mannered, thoughtful, eloquent and deeply religious person." Despite being considered a friend of the Palestinians, he "has not launched a single attack against Israel." We denounce him as a terrorist, but he uses "a different compass to assess America than Americans use to assess him." Bin Laden killed only 3,000 of us, with "every victim counted, every death mourned, every victim's family generously compensated." But look what we did in return: many thousands of Muslims dead in Afghanistan and Iraq, "and few Americans seem distressed over these numbers."
I never thought a book by D'Souza, the aging enfant terrible of American conservatism, would, like the Stalinist apologetics of the popular front period, contain such a soft spot for radical evil. But in "The Enemy at Home," D'Souza's cultural relativism hardly stops with bin Laden. He finds Ayatollah Khomeini still to be "highly regarded for his modest demeanor, frugal lifestyle and soft-spoken manner." Islamic punishment tends to be harsh -- flogging adulterers and that sort of thing -- but this, D'Souza says "with only a hint of irony," simply puts Muslims "in the Old Testament tradition." Polygamy exists under Islamic law, but the sexual freedom produced by feminism in this country is, at least for men, "even better than polygamy." And the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's statement that the West has a taboo against questioning the existence of the Holocaust, while "pooh-poohed by Western commentators," was "undoubtedly accurate." Unlike President Bush, who once said he could not understand how anyone could hate America, D'Souza knows why Islamic radicals attack us. "Painful though it may be to admit," he admits, "some of what the critics or even enemies say about America and the West ... may be true." Susan Sontag never said we brought Sept. 11 on ourselves. Dinesh D'Souza does say it.
Lopez: This weekend, a reviewer in the Washington Post summed up your new book as arguing "Falwell was onto something." Is that a fair nutshell assessment?
D'Souza: Falwell's point after 9/11 was that God was punishing America of its sins. My point is entirely secular: Why did the guys who did it, do it? Surely five years after 9/11, it's reasonable to ask this question. And both the Right and the Left have been operating under illusions. The radical Muslims are against modernity and science and democracy. The radical Muslims are upset because of colonialism and the Crusades. It's all nonsense. That's not what the leading thinkers of radical Islam say. And Bin Laden's own views are quite different. In his Letter to America, issued shortly after 9/11, he said that America is the fount of global atheism and it is imposing its morally depraved values on the world. So Muslims must rise up in defensive jihad against America because their religion and their values are under attack. This aspect of Bin Laden's critique has been totally ignored, and it's one that resonates with a lot of traditional Muslims and traditional people around the world. A second point is that unlike Falwell I don't think "America" is to blame. Muslims in Indonesia and Egypt and Pakistan don't see "America," they see the face of American popular culture that is projected by our television and movies and music. They see the dimension of America that in their view corrupts the innocence of children, and undermines the family, and promotes homosexuality as a normal way of life. In fact, this is the America of the cultural Left. What the Left considers "liberating," much of the world considers a scandalous assault on modesty and decency.
Anti-Americanism from abroad would not be such a problem if Americans were united in standing up for their own country. But in this country itself, there are those who blame America for most of the evils in the world. On the political left, many fault the United States for a history of slavery, and for continuing inequality and racism. Even on the right, traditionally the home of patriotism, we hear influential figures say that America has become so decadent that we are "slouching towards Gomorrah."
If these critics are right, then America should be destroyed. And who can dispute some of their particulars?...
So, the Taliban is worth emulating, and Osama Bin Laden has a couple of points we should consider. Again, if a Democrat had said anything close to it...
And, as I noted after the shooting at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian church, there's plenty more where that came from.