Hamas Manipulates Republicans;
Republicans Manipulate You

On Friday, I called John
McCain the Manchurian Candidate
because he and other Republicans are
trying to tie Obama to Hamas even though Hamas and other Isamacist groups in
fact support McCain. On cue, in Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, Gabriel
Schonenfeld, senior editor of Commentary, wrote an op-ed for the Wall Street
Journal called “Our
Enemies and the Election
.” Schonenfeld makes the usual
“Hamas says they like Obama” accusations. Then he goes on to
claim that Hugo Chavez, the Iranian mullahs, and Kim Jung Il don’t like McCain,
and that this suggests “there is a growing pro-Obama/anti-McCain
axis” among America’s enemies.

It’s hard to know what to make of
the many Republicans who spout this nonsense. Are they really so stupid
that they take terrorist statements at face value? Or are they
deliberately using what is obviously enemy misinformation to deceive and
manipulate American voters? Or is the explanation that they’re so awed by
their own playacting image of toughness that they’re blind to what a
substantive boon they’ve become to America’s enemies?

Look, Venezuela’s economy, and Hugo
Chavez’s power, is almost entirely dependent on the price of oil. Ditto
Iran and the mullahs. President Bush has presided over an increase in the
price of oil from about $23
a barrel in 2001 to an all-time high of $126 a barrel now
. You
don’t think Chavez and the mullahs, who owe their continued power — indeed,
their continued survival — to the price of oil don’t thank President Bush
every day for what he’s done for them? John McCain (and Hillary Clinton, it
should be noted) advocates the suspension of the federal gasoline tax, which
would increase consumption and drive the price of oil even higher. Obama
argues against this windfall wealth transfer from America to Chavez, the
Mullahs, and their ilk. And people like Schonenfeld think Chavez and the
mullahs are rooting for *Obama*?

If there’s one thing that
characterizes the modern Republican party (besides secret lawmaking,
warrantless surveillance, advocacy of torture, and abrogation of the Fourth
Amendment), it’s an obsession with appearances and a corresponding blindness to
facts. McCain vows to be “Hama’s worst nightmare,” and for the
Schonenfelds of the world, this swaggering boast (which would consist of what,
exactly?) trumps — indeed, eclipses — McCain’s actual promise to fund oil
powers like Chavez and the mullahs with additional U.S. billions. In
other contexts, we would call this mentality “magical thinking.”

Whether they’re stupid, lying, or in
denial, the self-interested purveyors of Hamas propaganda desperately need a
turn out of power to have a shot at returning to principle, to reality, even to
sanity. If you’re a principled Republican, and you care about the party
and your country, do the right thing in November: vote Democratic.