Moral Equivalence and Democrat Leadership

The case of U.S. Rep. John Dingell’s advanced foot-in-mouth disease has been amply covered over at Powerline, so I won’t rehash the Michigan Democrat’s ludicrous remarks – except to re-emphasize the blatant moral equivalence characterized in them.

On a personal level, Dingell is the poster child for career politicians, having held his Congressional seat for nearly 52 years. A friend of many union officials and party leaders, Dingell’s seat is considered one of the safest. His father and namesake held it the 22 years before he did. The last time the U.S. Congress didn’t feature a representative from Michigan named John Dingell, Herbert Hoover was in the White House and the big issue was the Smoot-Hawley Tariff. But I digress.

Dingell’s district also includes significant parts of Dearborn and some of the heaviest concentrations of Arab-American population in the country. How this might have affected his remarks one can only guess.

More importantly, of course, is how the sort of thinking expressed in Dingell’s remarks characterizes the minority party on the Hill and the fact that Dingell would be Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee if the Democrats took the majority. Yes, someone who publicly stated that he is not against Hizballah.

Today, the Detroit Free Press reports on the damage control Dingell and his staff have undertaken in the wake of the fallout from his remarks. Among his visible efforts are attempted meetings with the American Israel Public Affairs Committee and other representatives of the Jewish community. Here is how Dingell tried on Tuesday to straighten out his earlier statement:

On Tuesday, Dingell said, “If you expect me to defend Hizballah, you’re out of your mind.”

But, he said, the conflict is an ancient and complicated one that is “in our interest to resolve before there are more killings and before it gets over here.”

It’s apparently just too hard for the senior Democrat to stray too far from the moral equivalence that hamstrings the thinking of so many in his party. A clear and unequivocal apology and retraction would be too much. Instead we get this:

Dingell’s office issued a statement Tuesday noting his cosponsorship of a resolution urging the European Union to place Hizballah on a list of terrorist groups.

So we know the Democratic Congressman isn’t just stupid or naive. He wants the Europeans to recognize that Hizballah is a terrorist group but isn’t quite sure whether we should be for or against these terrorists.

The Republicans these days have several strikes against them, but at least you can count on them to take a stand for what is right in foreign policy and to have a clear and determined vision of what it takes to protect this country. Just imagining the phrase “Chairman Dingell” sends frightening chills up my spine.

Let’s have some sanity, folks.

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