Quote of the Day

[Trigger warning for racism, xenophobia.]

"I appreciate people's sympathy and interest in democracy, that's an American instinct. But unfortunately in this case, this is the Middle East. And the traditions there do not support their embracing [democracy]."—Terry Holt, on a Fox News panel of three foreign policy experts discussing the revolution in Egypt.

Holt is a former national spokesman for the 2004 Bush-Cheney presidential campaign.

George at Think Progress notes that it's "the height of irony for a former Bush-Cheney spokesman to ridicule the idea of democracy in the Middle East," given that Bush "centered his foreign policy around 'our efforts to help the Iraqi people build a lasting democracy in the heart of the Middle East'."

One of the things I have observed with great but bitter amusement during the revolution in Egypt is the compulsion of many conservatives to make some variation on the point Holt is making here, central to which is the idea that democracy is inherently incompatible with "the Middle East," which is shorthand for "Islam."

These are, of course, the same people who have spent nearly a decade vociferously defending both the Afghanistan and Iraq wars on the premise that we are "spreading democracy" to the Middle East, which, by any reasonable (there's the catch!) measure, implies a belief in the compatibility of democracy and Islam.

Their current position will be even more hilaritragic when and if flourishing democracy does take hold in Egypt and Tunisia, and they begin to bray about how it was the visionary George W. Bush who saw the opportunity to spread freedom in the Middle East.

Despite their vacillations, they do remain spectacularly consistent in their refusal to give even the most cursory acknowledgment of the autonomy and diversity of peoples in the Middle East.

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