When it comes to terrorism it looks like certain pundits argued against root causes before they argued for them. James Wolcott takes it away:
[Y]esterday I received the galley of Dinesh D’Souza’s new book from Doubleday, The Enemy at Home: The Cultural Left and Its Responsibility for 9/11, to be published in January 2007.
[…] The theme of the book is quite simple, and vile.
“In this book I make a claim that will seem startling at the outset. The cultural left in this country is responsible for causing 9/11.”
Then the qualifiers begin multiplying. The term ‘cultural left’ doesn’t refer to the Democratic Party, nor to all liberals. (Peter Beinart presumably gets a pass.) Nor is he saying that cultural lefties actually brought the towers down. He isn’t so rash as to suggest Molly Ivins piloted one of the planes, parachuting to safety before impact. So what is he saying?
“I am saying that the cultural left and its allies in Congress, the media, Hollywood, the nonprofit sector [profiteers are always patriots, of course], and the universities are the primary cause of the volcano of anger toward America that is erupting from the Islamic world.”
[…] Muslims are angry, D’Souza concedes, but they are mostly angry because their anger has been fueled and fanned by the cultural left.
“Thus without the cultural left, 9/11 would not have happened.”
I like that “Thus,” as if he’s actually proven something.
“I realize that this is a strong charge,” D’Souza writes, “one that no one has made before.”
We have danced this idiotic dance several times already. Ramesh Ponnuru published a stinking culture grenade called Party of Death and then played a game of footsie with critics about whether he specifically meant to impugn the Democratic party. A typical example from Ponnuru’s appearance on the Colbert Report:
Ponnuru: […] I need to explain that not all Democrats are part of the Party of Death, and some Republicans are part of the Party of Death. I’m using that phrase really to refer to all the forces in our politics and culture —
Colbert: Does it say some Republicans on this? No, it doesn’t: it just says “The Democrats, the Media, the Courts” — just probably ran out of ink at some point.
Ponnuru: There’s a lot about the Democrats, a lot about the media, and a lot about the courts in the book.
The rules of this game are pretty simple. The knuckle-chewing targets of Ponnuru’s diatribe will see the book, read ‘Democrats=death” and, one hopes, never vote Dem again. This is a fairly mundane if hilariously stupid effort to poison the well by making folks see the opposing party not just as wrong on some issues but viscerally, fundamentally unacceptable. Evil even. See, who loves death? Evil people. And Democrats. Recent elections show that this stuff works like a charm.
Ponnuru’s problem is that his simplistic “argument” doesn’t hold up to ten seconds of honest scrutiny. So to preserve his credibility Ponnuru plays an elaborate game of denying that he means to say what he is obviously trying to say. From the dust jacket of his book:
Is the Democratic Party the “Party of Death”?
If you look at their agenda they are.
Pretty bald as lying goes. Good for Ponnuru that the womblike environs of a wingnut welfare outfit like NRO rank credibility on the list of important skills right around fire juggling and needlework.
Look for D’Souza to play the same silly game, and then Jonah Goldberg soon after with his book about how liberals are worse than Hitler. Followers will hear that Democrats are horrible evil awful people who want to eat your baby while the authors nakedly lie to the rest of us about what they “really” mean to say.
Another day in the rightwing noise machine.