August 07, 2003
WHO WAS JAMES ABOUREZK? Do you remember? No? Well, that's hardly your fault. He was an undistinguished U.S. Senator, whose term in office is remembered by few and celebrated, I suspect, by none. Right now he's cementing his place in history as an exceptionally dumb former U.S. Senator by filing a rather baseless lawsuit against a blog for calling him a "traitor."
My prediction: when it's over, Abourezk will be out some money, and those few who remember him will say "Oh, yeah, the 'traitor' guy." Not much of a capstone for a political career, but some will regard it as fitting, in a way.
UPDATE: In an unusual occurrence, Volokh's permalinks are hosed by the Blogger bug. Just go here and scroll.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Claire Berlinski emails:
I read your post and had a twinge of recollection -- Abourezk, Abourezk, who's he? And then I remembered: Oh, yes, I wrote my doctoral dissertation about him. I went back and had a look at the thing (for the first time in eight years) to see what I'd once decided about him. I don't know whether he's a traitor, but Abourezk is certainly a pest, a well-known exponent of the thesis that Israel controls the United States' foreign policy by means of a secret and sinister Jewish-American cabal. Consider, for example, this 1977 statement: "I have sworn to uphold the government of the United States, but I never dreamed that I would be required to swear allegiance to any other government." He has been cited admiringly by former Congressman Paul Findley, a pest par excellence, as a fearsome adversary of AIPAC, an organization that, Findley holds, "has effectively gained control of virtually all of Capitol Hill's action on Middle East policy ... AIPAC means power -- raw, intimidating power." As any doctoral student of United States arms transfer policy toward the Arab-Israeli antagonists from 1967-1988 (a set of which I am the sole member) can tell you, these ideas may be handily disproved. If Abourezk wishes to sue me, too, my coterie of clannish Jewish lawyer friends are standing by. I got this thesis past my dissertation committee, and I can get it past any jury. Readers eager to consult my dissertation should instead buy Loose Lips, (www.berlinski.com) which is much more entertaining and can be read in an afternoon. It has sex and clever plot twists in it, too, which my dissertation does not.
Useful information, a solid slam, and a book plug -- all in one paragraph! Somebody get this woman a talking-head slot on Fox or CNN!