When a reader tells him that yes, he's wrong, he still can't quite climb down from the lectern ("[F]rankly, I wince when gay men sexualize straight men inappropriately. A little mutual respect is more seemly."). ... 5:07 P.M.
Heather Mac Donald succeeds in demonstrating that there are gaps in border security that increase the risk of terrrorism:
Every week, agents in the border patrol's Swanton sector catch Middle Easterners and North Africans sneaking into Vermont. And every week, they immediately release those trespassers with a polite request to return for a deportation hearing. Why? The Department of Homeland Security failed to budget enough funding for sufficient detention space for lawbreakers.
In May alone, Swanton agents released illegal aliens from Malaysia, Pakistan, Morocco, Uganda and India without bond. Since all these aliens chose to evade the visa process, none has had a background check by a consular official that might have uncovered terrorist connections. All are now at large in the country.
She also reports at least one pre-election episode in which the Bushies seem to have sacrificed security to Hispandering. ... [Just last week you were calling concerns over terrorism a "surface argument" when the "real" concern at the borders was controlling immigration generally--ed Mac Donald has convinced me they're both concerns. But we should be able to publicly discuss both. Right now, "enforcement" advocates like Mac Donald and Michelle Malkin (e.g) reflexively go out of their way to deny that they are anti-immgration. Maybe they aren't. But what's so terrible about being anti-immgration? If you weren't for open borders before the terrorist threat emerged, then there must have been some underlying reason--a reason like boosting low-end wages, assuring assimilation, preserving culture, controlling extremes of income inequality, or preventing a Quebec-like situation. If those are permissable justifications for limiting immigration, it should be equally permissable to say "I think the limits are being reached." And if that's "anti-immigration"--or even "anti-immigrant"--so be it. During the pre-1996 welfare debate, defenders of the welfare system charged that reform advocates wanted to "stigmatize" those on welfare. To which the best response was: "And you're point is ... " That's also the best response to the "anti-iimmigration" charge, it seems to me. ... 4:39 P.M
Thursday, December 16, 2004
Has Hillary committed any "intimate transgressions"? We'll soon find out! Hasn't Bernard Kerik performed a huge service for journalism (and the Republican party)? Because of his sacrifice, we now have a dramatically lowered standard for when the New York Times will report the intimate details of public figures' private lives. Kerik was having "clandestine love affairs" in a Battery Park City apartment he apparently paid for. The Times first reported these "intimate transgressions"--and named one of Kerik's partners, Titian-tressed titan Judith Regan--even after Kerik had withdrawn from consideration as Homeland Security secretary citing an illegal-nanny problem. ... Somwhere, Jeffrey Toobin is turning over in his grave. Toobin argued absurdly that a politician's sex life is off limits to journalists' because it "tells you absolutely nothing about their performance in office." But Kerik wasn't even going to perform in office! He was out. ... The Times, a principled organization, will presumably apply the Kerik precedent in years to come when Democratic figures are involved. I especially look forward to the paper's multiple-reporter investigation of Hillary Clinton's erotic life when she runs for Senate in 2006. All of her housekeepers need to be produced, of course, and if she has any lovers other than her faithful husband we'll find that out too! ... P.S.: Plus, following the Kerik precedent, it will be enough if "someone who spoke to" Hillary about any relationship can vouch for it. Hearsay evidence about sex is good enough for the Times! ... 2:13 P.M.
The Trouble with Beinart III: An alert kf reader emails with another so-obvious-nearly-everyone-else-missed-it point about Peter Beinart's "Fighting Faith," which--in case you've forgotten---envisions a New Republicish Democratic Party that supports with equal vehemence the Iraq War abroad and gay marriage at home:
[I]sn't it also true, and important, that a pro-war/pro-gay-marriage America could never win hearts and minds in the Islamic world? Forget, for a moment, the pro-war part. The spectacle of gay marriage would only confirm the direst warnings of the mullahs including plenty of not-so-radical ones!) about the inherent insanity and decadence of Western culture. And, given the sexual traditions of even moderate Muslims around the world, those warnings would get a very receptive hearing.
Gay marriage is probably about as threatening--not to say insulting--to the core values of Muslims as any of Communism's tenets was to the core values of Americans during the Cold War. I doubt it would be much use arguing freedom and equality, etc., either. Rather, gay marriage would tend to be interpreted by Muslims as proof of the dangers of freedom and equality (i.e., that they inevitably turn into license).
Not that this is a reason to be against gay marriage!
Right. ... And isn't this contradiction a big problem for Andrew Sullivan too? (No wonder he wants to wage war on Islamic fundamentalists rather than win them over. He has no hope of winning them over to his full notion of freedom.) ... [So you would abandon gay marriage to cater to Islamic fundamentalist sensibilities?--ed No. I'd abandon--or rather postpone--it to cater to American fundamentalist sensibilities! In an earlier post-election article, Beinart declared:
But cultural sensitivity is one thing; principle is another. In their attempts to win rural voters, Democrats have already essentially abandoned gun control. That doesn't keep me up at night. But gay marriage is different. The fact that it is widely unpopular cannot obscure the fact that it is morally momentous and morally right. Liberals once lost elections for supporting civil rights as well and now look back on those losses as badges of honor. Eventually, since young people are far more tolerant of homosexuality than their parents, gay marriage will stop hurting Democrats at the polls. Until then, the party should try to win elections on other issues--and look forward to the day when conservatives apologize for trying to deny yet another group of Americans their full human rights. [Emph. added]
Hmmm. When exactly did support for gay marriage become an essential Democratic party principle akin to racial equality? Was it when Anthony Lewis' wife decided to impose it on Massachusetts? Seems like only a few years ago the concept was an entry on the New Republic's"to be assigned" list. (Sullivan got the job.) Now we must embrace it or leave the party? Isn't that rushing things a bit? ...