Let me make a prediction. John Dingell will beat his Republican opponent in November by a huge margin. Whew. That was bold. I mean, the guy has held his seat for 50 years already, with few real challanges outside of two primaries. And his only opponent this year is an Ave Maria (fundie law school) student running as a write-in candidate. I'm guessing my prediction is safe.
So why is it that the Republicans have doctored a Dingell interview to make him appear to be a Hezbollah sympathizer?
Yesterday, the popular right-wing blog Powerline smeared Rep. John Dingell (D-MI) as an apologist for Hezbollah using an edited clip from local Detroit television. The post, entitled “Dingell: What’s Wrong With Hezbollah,” features this misleading transcript, complete with edited audio:
Asked, “You’re not against Hezbollah?” Dingell answers, “No…”
Here’s what Dingell actually said:
Q: You’re not against Hezbollah?
Dingell: No, I happen to be — I happen to be against violence, I think the United States has to bring resolution to this matter. Now, I condemn Hezbollah as does everybody else, for the violence.
SadlyNo checks out other blogs and discovers either the nutters are working off of the same talking points, or Assrocket Hinderaker is yet another Republican plagiarist.
Now obviously, someone is trying to invent a new boogeyman, a Democrat with name recognition who they can vilify for calls for fairness in the Middle East. But why Dingell, since it's not like it'll chase him and his 50 years of experience out of Congress?
Well, that chunk SadlyNo found, that appears like it might be an organized talking point, suggests they're going after Dingell because he'll wield a lot of power if (when) we win back the House:
Remember, should the Democrats take over the House of Representatives, Dingell would chair the Energy and Commerce Committee. Dingell is also one of only eight, count ‘em, EIGHT, Democrats who did not chose to vote in favor of the recent House Resolution supporting Israel against terrorist aggression.
So partly its fear that Dingell will ruin their boondoggle fun once he takes over at Energy and Commerce. Still, I suspect the only reason they haven't gone after John Conyers instead of Dingell is because he hasn't been on the TV news talking about Lebanon. After all he, too, voted against the Resolution supporting Israel unquestionably. And the committee he'll run if we win back Congress? Judiciary. And he has already promised he's going after Republicans, hard.
But what the Republicans are doing, with this manufactured smear of Dingell, is to go after the fair representation of Arab-Americans in this country, to delegitimize any action that would suggest both Jewish and Arab-American citizens deserve to have their interests in the Middle East taken into account by their legislators.
You see, Dingell and Conyers' districts split representation of Dearborn, the center of Arab-American population in the state (Conyers' district covers more of the heavily Arab-American eastern part of Dearborn). They were joined in their vote against the Resolution by Carolyn Cheeks-Kilpatrick, who also represents some of southeast MI's many Arab-Americans. Dingell, Conyers, and Kilpatrick voted as they did, no doubt, because it was honest representation of their constituents' interests.
But the attack on the Arab-Americans in SE MI is not new. Before the Americans who chose to had evacuated Lebanon, Conyers said there were 7,000 Michiganders in southern Lebanon. And the wingnuts jumped on those numbers and argued it was not a problem that the Israelis were bombing Lebanon while thousands of American citizens tried to evacuate, because they were all from Dearborn and therefore Hezbollah supporters and therefore it was alright to bomb them.
THE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS IN LEBANON ARE HEZBOLLAH SUPPORTERS.
Most of them are Shi'ite Muslims, many of whom hold dual U.S. and Lebanese citizenship. Many are anchor babies born here to Muslims in the U.S. illegally. Some are illegal aliens who became citizens through rubber-stamping Citizenship and Immigration Services (and its INS predecessor) coupled with political pressure by spineless politicians.
Of the 25,000 American citizens and green-card holders in Lebanon, at least 7,000 are from Dearborn, Michigan, the heart of Islamic America, and especially Shia Islam America. These 7,000 are mostly Shi'ite Muslims who openly and strongly support Hezbollah. Ditto for many of the rest of the 25,000 that are there.
Setting aside the fact that such rants ignore the religious diversity of Lebanon and southeast MI's Arab-American community. Setting aside the unsubstantiated claims that these Americans are not legal Americans. This rant--and the attack on Dingell--attempts to pretend the very real concerns of thousands of citizens of the United States amount to support for Hezbollah.
Gosh, was it only 5 years ago that Bush was cultivating the Arab-American vote?