by Scoobie Davis
Who is Paranoid?
In the Weekly Standard, Stephen Hayes accuses Democrats, particularly Al Gore, of the paranoid style, a concept developed by historian Richard Hofstadter to describe loons on the right such as the John Birch Society. In order to create this impression in his discussion of Gore's speech before moveon.org at NYU, Hayes mentioned socialist and LaRouchie protesters outside the event. Here is about the only substantive thing Hayes said about the speech:
In a broad, rambling lecture that began with and returned many times to Iraq, former Vice President Al Gore toyed with some of the very same conspiracy theories peddled by the crazies outside. In 35 minutes, he managed to squeeze in several bizarre and acidic accusations directed at the Bush administration--recycling the blood-for-oil claim, suggesting the Iraq war was conceived and conducted to "benefit friends and supporters," labeling the administration "totalistic," and, in a reprise of an argument he made last fall, claiming that the Iraq debate had been cooked up to get Republicans elected.
REALITY: Here's what Gore said regarding oil: "Ironically, the principal cause of global warming is our civilization's addiction to burning massive quantities carbon-based fuels, including principally oil -- the most important source of which is the Persian Gulf, where our soldiers have been sent for the second war in a dozen years -- at least partly to ensure our continued access to oil. ..We need to face the fact that our dangerous and unsustainable consumption of oil from a highly unstable part of the world is similar in its consequences to all other addictions." Does this sound like the ravings of a conspiratorial blood-for-oil nutcase? No, it sounds like the truth.
However, Hayes doesn't even address the most important part of Gore's speech: where he addresses the Bush regime's dishonesty:
In any case, what we now know to have been false impressions include the following:
(1) Saddam Hussein was partly responsible for the attack against us on September 11th, 2001, so a good way to respond to that attack would be to invade his country and forcibly remove him from power.
(2) Saddam was working closely with Osama Bin Laden and was actively supporting members of the Al Qaeda terrorist group, giving them weapons and money and bases and training, so launching a war against Iraq would be a good way to stop Al Qaeda from attacking us again.
(3) Saddam was about to give the terrorists poison gas and deadly germs that he had made into weapons which they could use to kill millions of Americans. Therefore common sense alone dictated that we should send our military into Iraq in order to protect our loved ones and ourselves against a grave threat.
(4) Saddam was on the verge of building nuclear bombs and giving them to the terrorists. And since the only thing preventing Saddam from acquiring a nuclear arsenal was access to enriched uranium, once our spies found out that he had bought the enrichment technology he needed and was actively trying to buy uranium from Africa, we had very little time left. Therefore it seemed imperative during last Fall's election campaign to set aside less urgent issues like the economy and instead focus on the congressional resolution approving war against Iraq.
(5) Our GI's would be welcomed with open arms by cheering Iraqis who would help them quickly establish public safety, free markets and Representative Democracy, so there wouldn't be that much risk that US soldiers would get bogged down in a guerrilla war.
(6) Even though the rest of the world was mostly opposed to the war, they would quickly fall in line after we won and then contribute lots of money and soldiers to help out, so there wouldn't be that much risk that US taxpayers would get stuck with a huge bill.
It's odd how Hayes failed to mention this. Perhaps he learned from Weekly Standard colleague Fred Barnes that trying to lie about Gore's criticisms will get you busted. When Barnes was confronted with Gore's accusation about the adminstration's claim that Saddam was working with bin Laden, his reaction was "I think Bush said exactly the opposite, consistently! Exactly the opposite!" This was a lie that was exposed in the media. I guess Hayes thinks that namecalling is a more effective way to avoid discussing the issue. What a dick.