Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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May 1, 2004
By: Kevin Drum

HYPERSENSITIVITY....I think that my political outrage antennae must not be tuned sensitively enough.

Yesterday I wrote that I didn't really understand why conservatives have been so knee-jerkingly critical of recent press depictions of combat deaths in Iraq. Sure, these words and images can be used by antiwar activists, but they can also be used to demonstrate respect for our war dead, can't they? So why the sidespread and almost unanimous condemnation from conservative elites?

Here on my side of the aisle, Josh Marshall is outraged that President Bush says things like this:

There's a lot of people in the world who don't believe that people whose skin color may not be the same as ours can be free and self-govern. I reject that. I reject that strongly. I believe that people who practice the Muslim faith can self-govern. I believe that people whose skins aren't necessarily -- are a different color than white can self-govern.

But until Josh and a few others mentioned it, it really didn't occur to me that Bush was trying to paint Democrats and/or war opponents as racists. The fact is, there are plenty of perfectly respectable people who have argued that Iraq isn't ready for democracy yet, and Bush is saying in no uncertain terms that he thinks they're wrong. He's phrasing it in the most self-flattering way possible, of course, but that's what politicians do.

There's no need to explain either of these things to me in comments. I understand the critiques perfectly well. All I'm saying is that neither one of them occurred to me until someone else pointed them out.

So: am I an unusual dullard? Or is the world full of people who are hypersensitive to even the subtlest insults? Hmmm.....

Kevin Drum 2:42 PM Permalink | Trackbacks

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