Tuesday, April 12, 2005

A number of months ago, I wrote how some musicians and actors go and say such stupid things that I have a hard time ever listening or watching them again. Well, I'm afraid I'm going to have a hard time watching Ben Stein after reading his defense of Tom DeLay.

DeLay's defenders tend to take one of three different lines of defense. One is to deny that his offenses are any big deal... he didn't violate any laws, he didn't break any ethics rules, everybody else does it too. The second is to argue that we must stand by DeLay because it is the Democrats and the media that is out to get him... we can't let them win, it will only embolden them, we will never get our agenda passed if we don't stand by DeLay. And the third approach is to argue that DeLay should get off the hook because of the good things he has done.

Stein actually makes all three arguments. Much of what Stein argues is nothing new... it's the Democrats, it's the media, yada, yada, yada. I'll save everybody the trouble of reading my rebuttals to those arguments (you are welcome). But Stein does introduce a new wrinkle which needs to be smacked down. He calls DeLay "morally probably the highest level public servant (Stein) ever met" because, y'all better sit down, DeLay is a big supporter of Israel. Well, Stein is right that DeLay has been (along with much of the religious right) a big supporter of Israel.

But Stein is wrong, wrong, wrong... in even suggesting that this should be a factor in deciding to keep DeLay. Supporting Israel is not synonymous with morality (Ben, I'm just wondering: Nixon was a big supporter of Israel... is he the 2nd most moral person you have ever met?). Nor should DeLay's support for Israel entitle him to a get-off-the-hook-free card.... any more than the other good things that DeLay has done should get him off the hook for his ethical shortcomings.

The biggest problem I have with Stein's comment is that Stein, in making this argument, is playing right into the stereotypes of the American Jew... the person whose loyalties lie first with Israel, and only then with America. Just as Jonathan Pollard and his amen corner placed Israel's interests ahead of America's - and were rightly condemned for doing so, Stein sure seems to be walking down the same street....

Ben, I've got to tell you, DeLay just isn't worth it....