It's hardly surprising to see Arab-baiting from the direction of the social conservative commentator class, nor did I receive too many simultaneous heart attacks due to learning that Michelle Malkin is not too happy to see an Arab woman who appears to hold Western values ascend to the almighty throne of Miss USA. What is surprising is the extent to which Malkin and her hangers-on in the blogosphere have gone in attempting to vilify a woman who has done nothing wrong other than to have born into an ethnic group that this concordance of Rapture theologians, hawkish pragmatists, and run-of-the-mill racists have targeted for perpetual criticism.
Of course, honest criticism of an individual does not render someone racist or otherwise un-American in one's sentiments towards particular ethnic groups; it is possible that Malkin's objections to Rima Fakih are entirely unrelated to the woman's Lebanese heritage. After all, look at all of the crazy stuff that Fakih did, as Malkin notes:
She nearly tripped over her gown.
She called birth control a "controlled substance."
She argued that contraceptives should be covered by health insurers because they are "expensive" -- and then said you could get them for "free" from your OB/GYN's office.
Well, I'm certainly not going to defend a young woman for having gone so far as to almost fall over, which is certainly atrocious behavior of the sort that ought to immediately disqualify anyone from real or imagined public office. But let us address Malkin's more substantive points, and let us do so quickly and with relative ease insomuch as that her points are not at all substantive and in fact make her look every bit as clueless as she would like to portray this outsider to be.
1. Birth control is indeed a "controlled substance" according to any dictionary one consults and in the parlance of U.S. policy as well; their use is regulated by both the government and the medical apparatus. Despite the controls that still exist in regards to this substance, it is now widely available to women in the U.S. and other Western nations -- although, of course, one could be imprisoned simply for promoting such things through the pubic mails anywhere in the U.S. in the memory of some still living, and access was heavily restricted in the various states up until recently. Of course, it was Malkin's co-religionists in the Catholic Church who fought hardest to restrict the rights of individual citizens to use such things as they chose; today, it is radical Muslims who have done most to enforce this bit of theology-based statism which they hold in common with strict Catholics like Malkin, who of course sees few parallels between the two religions because she is only intelligent in the sense that she is more intelligent than most of her audience and fellow religious bloggers, which is to say she is of slightly above-average intelligence.
2. Contraceptives can indeed be expensive, and they can indeed be free as well, and noting both does not constitute any sort of "gaffe." A number of women pay a not-insignificant amount of money on contraceptives, and others get them for free by way of various programs. Trying to turn these two non-contradictory and entirely true assertions into some sort of hilariously wrong error is itself hilariously wrong, or at least wrong.
Now, we come to the heart of the matter:
Fakih's cheerleaders are too busy tooting the identity politics horn to care what comes out of her mouth
And then Malkin quotes the following damning bit from some newspaper account:
Arab Americans across metro Detroit cheered as Rima Fakih of Dearborn was crowned Miss USA tonight in Las Vegas.
"This is unbelievable," said Rami Haddad, 26 of Livonia, one of Fakih's biggest supporters. "It's a dream come true. I can't express my feelings."
Fakih, of Lebanese descent, is believed to be the first Arab American and Muslim to become Miss USA.
Again, Malkin excerpts this without further comment, presumably because it is so much more damning than the cultural and ethnic self-congratulation inherent to St. Patrick's Day and Columbus Day; but then, Malkin has nothing against the ethnic Irish and Italians and it would never occur to her to question any sort of expression of pride on their or anyone else's part in seeing someone of their own heritage accomplish some notable thing in the context of their participation in American society. Unless, of of course, that someone happens to be a black or a Hispanic or even the stray Arab. Then, it becomes "identity politics" and must be condemned, whereas of course Malkin has had absolutely nothing to say about a popular conservative blogger having been discovered to have written for a white supremacist magazine under a Confederate-inspired pen name, among other things.
Michelle Malkin is a hypocritical fool with a malicious contempt for the natural aspirations of our fellow citizens of Arab descent even at such time as they attempt to participate in the shared heritage of American culture. She is also very popular among religious conservatives, of course.