Patterico's Pontifications


The Morality Party

Filed under: International,Politics — DRJ @ 6:27 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

For far too long the GOP has claimed the mantle of the Morality Party but the Democratic Party is finally stepping up to the plate.*

(* Metaphor chosen in recognition of the current baseball playoffs.)

Democrats Nancy Pelosi and Tom Lantos obviously know morality is time-sensitive:

Rep. Tom Lantos says passage of the [World War I-era massacre of Armenians by Turkish forces] genocide resolution would help restore America’s moral authority.

The House Foreign Affairs committee voted 27-21 Wednesday to approve the nonbinding resolution, which declares that the deportation of nearly 2 million Armenians from the Ottoman Empire between 1915 and 1923 — resulting in the deaths of 1.5 million — was “systematic” and “deliberate,” amounting to “genocide.”


Administration officials have lobbied against the resolution, saying good U.S-Turkish relations are vital to U.S. forces in Iraq. The Pentagon says 70 percent of the military’s cargo heading into Iraq either flies into or over Turkey.

But House Democrats view the resolution as part of their mandate to restore America’s moral authority around the world. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Thursday said arguments that Turkey is too vital an ally to alienate has delayed the resolution for too long.

Because Congress can’t wait 1 more day to condemn the Turks when it’s only been 30,660 days since this genocide ended.

H/T Instapundit.


25 Responses to “The Morality Party”

  1. Tom Lantos causes Hungarians more cause for grief than Mohacs. I believe the rumor he is of Hungarian origin is spread by Rumanians.

    Thomas Jackson (bf83e0)

  2. It would be nice if people like Lantos and Pelosi would consider the modern-day genocide that is in the offing if our relations with Turkey sour to the point that we lose their cooperation in preventing it. All so that they can pose with yet another useless nonbinding referendum, this one pertaining to a long-gone Islamic empire—when there’s actually the potential for a resurgent one in our own time. I thought this kind of nonsense was what the UN was for.

    driver (faae10)

  3. Could somebody please explain to me why this condemnation is so important to the Dems, and why the last 20 or 30 Dem controlled Congresses did not address it if it was so important?

    JD (864bd2)

  4. Since the Dems are so interested in tying up loose ends, can we get some resolutions condemning the Japanese, the Germans and the Italians while we are at it. Toss in Russia too.

    What about Sparta? It’s not too late to do something about that is it?

    MagicalPat (440189)

  5. There’s more than one way to lose a war. The cheese-eating surrender monkeys have not been able to cut off funding for it in Congress so they’re looking to cut off the logistical routes for it.

    nk (6e4f93)

  6. Still waiting for the Democrats to condemn their Klu Klux Klan Senator from West Virginia.

    Perfect Sense (b6ec8c)

  7. The Roman Empire did some nasty stuff conquering peoples during their hey day. Why leave them out?

    daleyrocks (906622)

  8. Should I wait for the Republicans to condemn Ann Coulter’s antisemitism?

    Or should I wait for the knee-kerk response that her spewing is “balanced” by any Democrat who has ever questioned Israel abotu anything whatsoeever — which according to Republicans is REAL anti-semitism?

    David Ehrenstein (7f3593)

  9. I’m consistently a Coulter critic, but Coulter’s statement wasn’t anti-Semitic any more than standard Christian doctrine is (i.e. accept Christ or go to hell).

    Patterico (bad89b)

  10. #3…
    Adam Schiff (D-Ca) represents the eastern San Fernando Valley in the L.A. area, where there is a large concentration of Armenians. They used to be concentrated in the Montebello area (where they held an annual picnic – met J.C. Agajanian there once), but that area is now Hispanic and Oriental.
    I think Adam needs a hook for his re-election. Previously, he has been big on gun-control, but that dog doesn’t hunt too well anymore, even in CA.
    This is just another example of the governing philosophy of the Dems: Pander!
    Syle over Substance.

    Another Drew (a28ef4)

  11. Members introduce resolutions all the time condemning inhumane actions or conditions or acknowledging historical events. Sometimes action comes years after the fact, as with the Japanese-American internment camp issue. This isn’t the first time a resolution on this issue has been introduced, either.

    And GWB himself has even referred to the massacre as a “genocide” and campaigned on a pledge that the government would “recognize” the suffering of the Armenian people:

    GWB pledge

    Evidently there is also controversy over whether what happened in 1915 constituted an actual genocide within the meaning of the term …according to the 1948 Genocide Convention, it is the killing or harming of people “with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.” An important distinction to the Turks, I guess.

    Yada yadaNew Yorker article

    The Armenian-American community exercises a rather disproportionate amount of influence in certain states, particularly California. All you have to do is look at some of the names on this list of prominent AA’s who live or work in California to realize that (Deukmeijian ring a bell? How about Kaloogian? Agazarian? Speier?).

    List of Armenian Americans

    In fact, the California legislature introduces a resolution every year designating a “day of remembrance” for the Armenian genocide (yes, it uses that word), with about a zillion coauthors, and which passes without an eye being batted.

    My favorite piece of trivia:

    The state used to sponsor overseas trade/international trade and investment offices all over the world. Bit of a boondogle in most people’s eyes, and eventually the program required private funding for the offices, and then the offices themselves went away.*

    Except for one, authorized but not yet established, with the sunset date getting moved back every few years. Where? Our most important trade partner in Central Asia, Yerevan, Armenia.

    SB 515

    * They’re trying their best to wiggle their way back in, via state agency studies and recommendations, yada yada, but each one would still need to be authorized by legislation .

    Itsme (f1b2da)

  12. Oops, my “yada yada” link was supposed to go under the asterisked bit.

    Itsme (f1b2da)

  13. Sorry, here’s the link to the state resolution, too:

    AJR 15

    Itsme (f1b2da)

  14. Itsme,

    You need to send your information to CNN’s editors because even they questioned the timing on this. (See my link.)

    DRJ (74c23b)

  15. Another Drew #10:

    To be fair, the resolution has 225 co-sponsors. One would assume a few of those would be Republicans (I’d bet from heavily AA districts). In addition, I read that it passed the committee on a “bipartisan” vote.

    Which is not to say nobody is pandering.

    Itsme (f1b2da)

  16. DRJ: I don’t know where I said there was nothing wrong with the timing. Sorry if I implied otherwise.

    The fact is that legislation related to the Armenian genocide has been introduced before, and seemed to rais the same sorts of objections. For instance:

    In 2000 Dennis Hastert had vowed to bring H.Res.596 to the floor for a vote, but withdrew it at Pres. Clinton’s urging.

    ANCA press release

    Evidently something similar was introduced in 2005:

    During the years that Republicans controlled the House, Rep. George Radanovich, R-Mariposa, was denoted the chief author.

    “The United States needs to be firm about recognizing genocide when it occurs,” Radanovich said.

    The committee approved a differently worded resolution in 2005 by a 40-7 margin.

    Lawmakers say this year’s vote was closer because in 2005, committee members knew that House Republican leaders would block it from coming to the House floor. This enabled certain lawmakers to cast a constituent-friendly vote in committee while remaining confident the United States wouldn’t suffer real diplomatic fallout.

    Fresno Bee

    Interestingly, it looks like measures recognizing the suffering of the Armenians were (at least) introduced as far back as 1916. See the four U.S. entries toward the bottom of this list:


    (I understand the word “genocide” wasn’t even in usage until after WWII.)

    Itsme (f1b2da)

  17. PS, there actually seems to be a lot more congressional activity re the Armenian genocide than what I linked to before.

    If you run a Thomas search of the Congressional Record, for instance, using the term “Armenian genocide,” it’s sort of amazing how much you come up with. For instance, this 1990 resolution introduced by Bob Dole:

    SJ Res 212, 1990

    Itsme (f1b2da)

  18. Itsme,

    I thought the point of your comment was two-fold:

    First, to provide helpful information about Armenian genocide and Congressional response to this particular issue, and

    Second, to note that Congress routinely considers resolutions against genocide/atrocities so a resolution about Armenian genocide at this time might be a coincidence. (As you know, some view this resolution as an effort to intensify problems between the Turks, the US, and the Iraqi Kurds.)

    If you were not trying to make the second point, I was wrong and I apologize.

    DRJ (74c23b)

  19. No need to apologize, DRJ. I’m sorry I wasn’t more clear.

    I guess my first thought was to respond to the question of “why now, so many years after the fact”?

    My answer being it’s not so unusual to address things years after the fact, and the Armenia resolution itself isn’t a new idea. I was actually sort of surprised as I researched how far back this stuff went.

    Thinking about what was pointed out in the Fresno Bee article, that folks could vote for stuff in the past knowing it would never pass, I am wondering if Pelosi isn’t finding herself in a hard place.

    Unlike Hastert, she is in a more publicly adversarial position with the administration and doesn’t want to be seen as backing down and so has to talk tough. Maybe she just wishes it would go away.

    On the other hand, there could be some sentiment that this could weaken GWB’s war position… I don’t know enough to comment, but it would seem like the risks to our larger diplomatic interests would outweigh the benefits.

    Who knows.

    I guess the other main point is that historically, it looks like everybody has been pandering on this issue.

    Itsme (f1b2da)

  20. The committee vote was apparently 27-21:

    “Wednesday’s House committee vote highlighted the divisions across party lines on the resolution, with eight Democrats voting against and eight Republicans voting for the measure.”

    daleyrocks (906622)

  21. Patterico, you need to acquaint yourself with the history of anti-semitism specifically as regards to rhetoric. What Coulter spewed was boilerplate anti-semitism.

    David Ehrenstein (7f3593)

  22. David – Suffice it to say that given your history of Chicken Little accusations of racism, homophobia, etc … we might not be paying much attention to your accusation of anti-semitism. If that is so important to you, how can you ever consider voting for a Dem?

    JD (864bd2)

  23. Interesting piece in the NY Times today:

    Pointing to a 20-year history of votes on the Armenian matter being deferred by war or geopolitical considerations, [Pelosi] said, “There’s never been a good time.”


    The vote by the House Foreign Affairs committee on Wednesday was bipartisan, but today Republican leaders roundly condemned the resolution.


    It is unclear whether the Bush administration might yet be able to dissuade Ms. Pelosi from pressing ahead. But she noted today that she had yet to hear directly from Mr. Bush.

    “We’ve never had a conversation about it,” she said. “I’ve heard from the secretary of state and others in the administration, but I’ve never heard from the president.”

    NYT article

    Which leads me to specualte on a few things:

    1. The resolution comes up periodically in one form or another. In the past, members have been able to please constituents by voting on it knowing it would never pass.

    2. Eight Republicans voted for it in committee. I can’t find a list of the names. Maybe they had a strong AA constituency (all 10 Calif. members voted yes), or…is it possible they wanted to put Pelosi on the spot?

    3. Hastert pulled a similar resolution back from a floor vote in 2000, after hearing from Clinton. Is Pelosi hinting that she wouldn’t mind taking that way out?

    Which leads to the perverse question of whether the administration would let the vote proceed in order to make Pelosi and the Dems look bad…but at what cost to our diplomatic relations. I guess we’ll see if GWB himself talks to Pelosi.

    Maybe I’m overspeculating. But …veddy interesting.

    Itsme (85caba)

  24. What

    “history of Chicken Little accusations of racism, homophobia, etc” …

    are you tlaking about?

    The ones you just made up?

    “If that is so important to you, how can you ever consider voting for a Dem?”

    I’m not voting at all. The entire process is a fraud. We have a “choice” between one corporate shill and — another Corporate shill.

    David Ehrenstein (7f3593)

  25. It took Stu Rothenberg 10 days to get to it, but here’s his take, largely agreeing with DRJ…

    driver (faae10)

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