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October 19, 2006

The Strange Dementia of Chris Shays, Part II
Posted by Shadi Hamid

It appears that Chris Shays is pulling a Lieberman and declaring his independence from all recognized forms of reasoned debate, sanity, and rationality. I didn't think that the beleaguered congressman from Connecticut could do any worse than last week's apology for torture. It appears that I have been proven wrong. I suppose that we may yet be closer to a diagnosis: Chris Shays is slightly deranged. I suspect it might be worse.

Let me also say that I feel bad picking on Shays two weeks in a row, but there comes a point where politicians become so separated from reality, that you really begin to wonder what went wrong and how it went wrong.

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An explanation: I think that when Chris Shays said: "In my judgment we should have gone in [to Iraq] sooner but not for weapons of mass destruction" he had been listening to Michael Signer who wrote: "Would exemplarism have allowed the United States to lead an effort to topple Saddam Hussein’s government in Iraq? The answer is an emphatic yes–though on a different set of prerequisites."
That's it! Shays is a Truman Republican.

As a rule, I think it is pretty poor business to go around ascribing insanity and derangement to public officials.

Sanity is a pretty low bar to clear in any line of work. It is possible, easily, for people to say foolish things and conduct themselves unworthily while remaining quite sane. Since this is widely recognized outside of the community that writes about politics for a living, an accusation of insanity is, absent proof more graphic than public statements one objects to, likely as not to discredit the accuser. As it should, really. People wouldn't consider thoughtfully the charge that Rep. Shays has cooties and BO, either.

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