Trouble In Wingnut Paradise

by digby

With the Dubai debt crisis on everyone's mind (and nobody knowing if it's going to have serious repercussions) I can't be the only one thinking about the infamous Dubai ports deal which the Bush administration was nearly desperately pushing just four years ago. You'll recall that it was see as some sort of necessary diplomatic initiative and that canceling it would result in a terrible rift with our allies. And he had tons of support:

Editorial support for the deal came from publications including the Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, The Economist and commentators including Tony Snow,[8] Thomas Friedman,[9] Rush Limbaugh,[10] former president Jimmy Carter,[11] John Warner,[12] and Bill O'Reilly.[10]

Why did all these right wingers back the idea that this was an absolutely necessary agreement during a period of extreme anti-Arab paranoia? An email alerted me to this, from Matt Yglesias a while back:

Donna Wiesner Keese, from the Independent Women’s Forum, a conservative anti-feminist group, objected [to the notion that "an active and capable state sector is a necessary precondition for economic growth."]

Madrick’s statement, quoted by the reviewer, that “there really is no example of small government among rich nations,” is unsupported nonsense. Think Dubai, free and rich.

As Rick Hertzberg says this is a bit of a bizarre counterexample:

I mean no disrespect to the 240,000 citizens of Dubai (its other 1.2 million residents are imported workers, hundreds of thousands of whom live in “collective labor accommodations”), but is this the best Mrs. Keene can do? Not even a “nation” but a province of the United Arab Emirates, specializing in real-estate and financial-services bubbledom?

Yeah, I think it is their fantasy of a perfect nation. I recall being startled that one of the Real Housewives of Orange County (guilty pleasure) went on a romantic vacation with her wealthy uber-Republican husband to Dubai, wondering what in the world could possibly be romantic about the place. It is, after all, more ersatz than Vegas, with even less charm --- it's basically a shopping mall with extremely high-end fixtures. But obviously, they loved the place because they thought it was "free and rich," just like them. Of course it was only "free" in the sense that people think buying things with their credit cards is "free" and "rich" in the sense that Bernie Madoff was rich.

As Yglesias explains:

... I understand perfectly well why she describes it as “free” — it’s a straightforward consequence of the right-wing’s sick obsession with reducing the level of taxes rich people need to pay as the prime virtue of politics. For from being free, Dubai is ruled by a dictator, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, dignified with royal title in virtue of the fact that he inherited his political power from relatives rather than seizing it of his own accord. The State Department certainly doesn’t seem to think that his subjects, or those of the other UAE component emirates, are all that free.

Dubai is wingnut paradise.

And I look forward to seeing how they blame liberals for its downfall.