View Full Version : Hyperpartisanship and Deamonization of Regional Experts

11-04-2008, 03:33 PM
***Note to Moderators: You may or may not want to embargo this thread until the election is over.

Taking a cue from Rex Brynen in post #43 of this thread (http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/showthread.php?t=5832&page=3):

One could start an entire thread on how the hyperpartisanship around ME issues (and the demonization of outstanding regional experts like Rashid Khalidi and Rob Malley in the current presidential campaign) inhibits the ability of the USG to effectively pursue its national interests in the region...

To which Tom Odom replied:

Agreed. The boogie man complex is working overtime right now. The Khalidi vilification is especially over the top.

Abu Muqawama has noted (http://abumuqawama.blogspot.com/2008/11/whats-driving-train-lessons-learned.html):

How in the world did Rashid Khalidi become a part of this campaign? Is knowing Palestinians now enough to disqualify one from public office? If so, I'm in big trouble. My dissertation adviser was part of the negotiating teams in the 1990s. I can say goodbye, then, to my dreams of one day leading the breakaway republic of East Tennessee. Oh well. (The Washington Post thinks this is all stupid as well.)

Similarly, but on the flipside of this:
Obama's Neocon in Residence (http://www.antiwar.com/orig/giraldi.php?articleid=13712), by Philip Giraldi. Antiwar.com, 2008-11-04.

Ross is a commentator for Fox News and the Ziegler distinguished fellow at WINEP, which he helped found in the 1980s. He is also chairman of the Jerusalem- based Jewish People Policy Planning Institute. He would only be a spear-carrier in the latest neocon absurdity if it weren't for the fact that he is a major player in the Obama campaign as Obama's top adviser on the Middle East and a key link to AIPAC. Ross reportedly has been helping the Obama campaign formulate positions that AIPAC would be comfortable with. It has been reported that Ross has aspirations to become secretary of state, but he lacks the seniority for that position and may instead focus on the Middle East, either at the State Department or the National Security Council. Ross-watchers believe that if he is put in charge of Middle Eastern policy, he will guarantee that only Israeli security concerns will matter to the new administration, because that is the position he has always taken in the past. If the bipartisan report is any indication, he will be particularly interested in defanging Iran, a position that he has made clear in speeches to Israeli audiences.

My focus on Dennis Ross and what he represents is not intended to single him out for demonization. Rather, it is a word of caution to the electorate not to expect too much from Obama if he is elected, as he is surrounded by people who already have agendas.

11-05-2008, 04:18 AM
With respect, I'm not sure all of this is necessarily unprecedented "hyperpartisanship."

In the 19th century, there was a phrase "raising the bloody rag," referring to attacks on a candidate's patriotism. In many ways (The classic example is currently eluding me), this is not anything new. When you consider that a losing candidate is willing to do anything in the immediate run-up to an election, the demonization of regional experts like Khalidi doesn't appear particularly unique in American history.

Is the American political climate more poisonously partisan than in recent memory? Quite possibly. Are the election partisan politics currently seen a new feature of politics? Probably not.



11-05-2008, 12:17 PM
While partisanship has clearly played a huge role in this election (how many Senators won elections just because voters were punishing the other party?), I don't see this particular issue as partisanship. It is just politically-oriented discourse (emotional appeal) that is intended to influence how people look at certain candidates; personal attacks. Party affiliation is irrelevant.

When someone's view of how we conduct the war is based first on their party affiliation and second upon which alternatives advocated by their party are best (rather than which alternatives among all available are best, regardless of party endorsement) - then that is partisanship. And one can see it plainly by visiting MoveOn or FreeRepublic. The demonization of folks associated with candidates is the result of candidate versus candidate shenanigans, not the standard party versus party circus. It is a campaign tactic, (i.e. Barack Obama hangs out with terrorists and people who do not view the world as we do -OR- John McCain is the right-hand man of the evil George Bush). Partisanship would be "vote for me because I'm a member of the X Party."