Blast from the Past: Elliott Abrams on John Lennon


lennon.jpgThere is a brewing storm over Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Elliott Abrams‘ intemperate remarks about Senator Chuck Hagel — arguing that the Secretary of Defense nominee must prove he is not an anti-Semite. We’ll comment on that at another time.

But I just came by this really interesting passage in which Abrams slams John Lennon one week after Lennon’s murder in December 1980 as quoted by Sidney Blumenthal in his book, The Rise of the Counter-Establishment: The Conservative Ascent to Political Power (pp. 161-2):

I’m sorry, but John Lennon was not that important a figure in our times. I do not believe he created the culture of the sixties. Come on! I’ve actually formed a political opinion of this. Why is his death getting more attention than Elvis Presley’s? Because Lennon is perceived as a left-wing figure politically, anti-establishment, a man of social conscience with concern for the poor. And, therefore, he’s being made into a great figure. Too much has been made of his life. It does not deserve a full day’s television and radio coverage. I’m sick of it.

Abrams didn’t think much of John Lennon — but he clearly does think Chuck Hagel deserves a day or two of coverage.

I hope that Abrams rethinks his position and apologizes to Hagel and welcomes a genuine debate, Council on Foreign Relations-style, about their policy differences.

— Steve Clemons


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