Media

"We Are All Hussein."

|

Barack Obama supporters looking for ways to neuter the negative impact of his middle name, Hussein, have taken to using it themselves:

The movement is hardly a mass one, and it has taken place mostly online, the digital equivalent of wearing a button with a clever, attention-getting message….Legally changing names is too much hassle, participants say, so they use "Hussein" on Facebook and in blog posts and comments on sites like nytimes.com, dailykos.com and mybarackobama.com, the campaign's networking site.

The idea of assuming another person's identity as a sign of support is as old as Kirk Douglas in a loincloth:

Some said they were inspired by movies, including "Spartacus," the 1960 epic about a Roman slave whose peers protect him by calling out "I am Spartacus!" to Roman soldiers, and "In and Out," a 1997 comedy about a gay high school teacher whose students protest his firing by proclaiming that they are all gay as well.

Supporters are trying to reclaim the name and drown out subversive accusations that Obama is a practicing Muslim, but one Obama supporter's anecdote reveals that the exercise is better at shocking mommy and daddy than catalyzing a widespread change in social perception:

Ms. Nordling changed her name after volunteering for Mr. Obama before the Kentucky primary. "People would not listen to what you were saying on the phone or on their doorstep because they thought he was Muslim," she said….But when her father saw her new online moniker, he was incredulous.

"He actually thought I was going to convert to Islam," Ms. Nordling said.

Wait—so Hussein does have Islamic significance?

NEXT: The Onion on Heller

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. I am just worried that with a name like “McCain”, how can I trust John McCain to put American ahead of Scotland!? How do we know that McCain isn’t a practicing highlander?

  2. They would probably better served by simply calling their candidate Hussein.

    “W” said in a Texas twang, did not seem to get hurt by it.

  3. Isn’t the fact that your supporters are changing their middle names to yours a hell of a lot more creepy than being a Muslim? If Obama were a Muslim, it wouldn’t bother me. But, attracting supporters who change their middle names to match is, is really creepy and wierd.

  4. “I broke the Dam!”

  5. Isn’t the fact that your supporters are changing their middle names to yours a hell of a lot more creepy than being a Muslim?

    I suppose it could be, if you made a point of not knowing anything about the background here, and assumed that people were changing their names as a gesture of adulation.

  6. How is calling Sen. Obama a homosexual Roman prisoner going to help his image? Does not sound like the Hussein thing is helping much either. His supporters sound like a bunch of Randoids with a less appealing idol.

  7. “joe hussein boyle” has a nice ring to it. Or, at least a better ring than “joe sidney boyle.”

  8. How is calling Sen. Obama a homosexual Roman prisoner going to help his image?

    [conspiratorial whisper]

    Spartacus was crucified. It’s just another ploy to cover up his Muslim heritage by comparing him to the Jesus.

    [/conspiratorial whisper]

  9. joe,

    I suppose it could be, if you made a point of not knowing anything about the background here, and assumed that people were changing their names as a gesture of adulation.

    I disagree. Even with the given context it suggest an over identification with a politician, who we should rightly regard as just a short-hire-contract employee. The idea that people find it acceptable to alter their own identities just to help a politician along is very disturbing. No one should identify with politicians. politics or the State to that degree.

    However, I think a lot of people today do have their individual identities so wrapped up in their political beliefs that such an action seems acceptable to them. They’ve lost the idea that a particular politician is just one person out of a society of equals to which we’ve delegated a specific job.

  10. SF,

    Ah, so this is an offshoot from that Sen. massiah stuff?

  11. Interestingly, a similar strategy was used to protect Prince Abu Ben Bubi, who was a practicing Muslim.

  12. They’re not actually altering their identies, Shannon.

    They’re using screen names.

  13. GM,

    Probably, but it’s not like I take it seriously. The “Obama is a secret Muslim” people have become like 9/11 Truthers to me. It immediately brands them as intellectually suspect and casts a pall over everything else they advocate.

    There are plenty of things for a libertarian or conservative to disagree with Obama about. Making stuff up just makes all the rest of us look silly.

  14. Spartacus wasn’t gay–he was married in real life and shacked up with a woman in the movie. Movie Crassus was gayish, but he probably wasn’t in real life.

    Rex Rhino,

    I’d absolutely vote for McCain if he had a secret, pro-Scotland agenda.

  15. Just kill me now. Please.

  16. “joe hussein boyle” has a nice ring to it. Or, at least a better ring than “joe sidney boyle.”

    Maybe this has nothing to do with islam and simply that people often use other peoples middle names to call them dicks.

    the oft use “W” would be a good example.

    Anyway to test this theory…

    Hey Sidney…you suck.

  17. I was way ahead of the curve on this one.

    It was in the middle of a troll invasion, and I needed something to distract them…

  18. Spartacus wasn’t gay–he was married in real life and shacked up with a woman in the movie. Movie Crassus was gayish, but he probably wasn’t in real life.

    Yea, so why did all of his students say they were gay too? Huh? Huh? Huh?

  19. I would never, ever change my middle initial to “W”…..oh, my middle initial is “W”…….never mind

  20. I’m Brian, and so’s my wife!

  21. The idea that people find it acceptable to alter their own identities just to help a politician along is very disturbing.

    Somebody’s Facebook profile is their identity? Try getting out more, seriously.

    And isn’t the idea that voters would vote against a candidate based on a middle name far more disturbing? It says that people will seize upon any rationalization to avoid voting for a black guy. Who cares about his positions or ability to be president–he’s got a weird name!

  22. the oft use “W” would be a good example.

    Naw, it was the Bush campaign that started calling him “Dubya,” even before the 2000 election, to make the point that he wasn’t like his two-initialed poppy.

    Now, “Dumya,” I’ll grant you – that’s just mean.

  23. Now, “Dumya,” I’ll grant you – that’s just mean.

    It’s only mean if he can figure it out.

    [fingernails clicking on desk for 7 years]

  24. boytoy,

    Somebody’s Facebook profile is their identity?

    I was thinking of an article I read earlier which reported people that claimed to be legally changing their names. Sorry for the confusion.

    Even if we limit the discussion just to peoples nom du internet, I do still find it creepy. I dislike any identification with politicians almost to any degree. People who identify with rock stars, actors or athletes are merely annoying. Doing so with people we grant the power to kill is disturbing.

  25. I am the singer of songs!

  26. “Identifying with” is b.s.

    This isn’t about identifying with him, it’s about taking the sting out of a smear that’s being used against him.

    If there was no mini-industry devoted to “Barack HUSSEIN Obama is a secret Muslim,” nobody would be doing this.

  27. I was way ahead of the curve on this one.

    Interesting the humorless ‘tards that were incapable of getting a good chuckle out of that.

  28. Ironically my middle name is Joseph.

  29. Vote for me. I’m running a respectful campaign.

  30. You know, joshua, that Joseph is just English for “Yusuf” which is an Arab name.

    We’ll have to keep an eye on you….

  31. Speaking of respectful campaigns, just how crazy stupid is Wesley Clark?

  32. Naw, it was the Bush campaign that started calling him “Dubya,” even before the 2000 election, to make the point that he wasn’t like his two-initialed poppy.

    Which is why I think the supporters should not go with the “I am Hussein” meme and should simply embrace the “My candidate is Hussein” meme.

    Anyone that islamaphobic, who can’t deduce the difference between a radical militant islamist and some christian dude who happens to have a common Muslim name, is not going to vote for him anyway.

  33. Speaking of respectful campaigns, just how crazy stupid is Wesley Clark?

    You mean a guy who was relieved of command for attempting to order allied solders to confront Russian soldiers yammering about how a former POW, Naval Aviator, Squadron Commander’s experience really does not count at all against that of a true career politician?

    Or was it something else?

  34. You know, joshua, that Joseph is just English for “Yusuf” which is an Arab name.

    We’ll have to keep an eye on you….

    And the survivors of Jericho say Joshua was the first neocon.

  35. The whole mess is nonsense, of course, but is it wise to play into the Democrats-hate-America meme? Naturally they playfully adopt Obama’s middle name, because they hate America. See what I mean?

    josha corning,

    Yeshua bar Yoseph Corning? ?

  36. Yeshua bar Yoseph Corning?

    In Istanbul they call me Y.Y. Cornball.

    “?”

    Why does this look like a figure from the Video game asteroids when you type it but a smiley face when I type it?

  37. There are probably a dozen or two firefighters and ex-firefighters in my city who’ve performed more acts of heroism than John McCain.

    Maybe we should find one of them to be president.

  38. Looks the same to me.

  39. There are probably a dozen or two firefighters and ex-firefighters in my city who’ve performed more acts of heroism than John McCain.

    IDK that story about him naming off the front line of the Green Bay Packers when the VC forced him to give up the names of his squadron, if true, is pretty fucking heroic.

    Still i am voting for Barr…who as far as I know once shot a cat out of a tree.

  40. Jesus,

    Nah, Charlie don’t block.

  41. I think McCain’s actions while in captivity were heroic, too, joshua.

    As were those of the firefighters who carried people out of burning buildings.

    And when you put those both together, they still don’t add up to the level of executive experience that has accrued to a guy who became a shift manager at McDonalds three weeks ago.

  42. And when you put those both together, they still don’t add up to the level of executive experience that has accrued to a guy who became a shift manager at McDonalds three weeks ago.

    I thought we have been over this…yes we have two senators running for president neither of which have ever been business executives, military generals or Governor. I think Welsh made this point about McCain before he was loosing the primaries…The only one of the remaining two candidates who has not been vetted on this issue is Obama.

    McCain is not great on this issue…Obama is worse.

  43. Yeah, mocking McCain’s experience is the Clark fallacy all over again. If McCain doesn’t have experience, then by God, Obama has nothing at all. Not a winning argument.

  44. My shift managers at Taco Bell didn’t do shit. My first squad leader at my first unit was fucking awful, but I guess it was “executive experience”.

  45. Joe,

    Do you really think enduring years of brutal beatings, and refusing an end to them because it would give your captors a PR victory, equates to an adrenalin-filled two-minute dash into a fire? Not to take anything away from firemen, but McCain wins that one hands down. (He also was injured in the Navy before his capture — leading the fight against a shipboard fire.)

    McCain retired as a Navy Captain, and had commanded a squadron. Those require leadership skills.

    I’m not in the tank for the guy — I have not forgiven him McCain/Feingold, and think he has no use for civil liberties. But your knocks against him don’t hold up.

  46. THE URKOBOLD IS VOTING FOR WHICHEVER CANDIDATE PROMISES HIM THE MOST SHIT.

  47. I think it’s perfect that opponents of freedom and justice in Iraq are naming themselves Hussein.

    They and you Ernst Rhoem wannabes are traitors who admire Saddam Hussein because he modeled himself after Stalin and Hitler. For the b. Hussein Obama supporters, Saddam Hussein is the embodiment of those two dynamic socialisms, International and National Socialism.

    It was a freudian slip by the supporters of the Islamo Marxist, b. Hussein Obama, to name themselves Hussein. I always said that Saddam Hussein was a hero to the antiwar groups and now they’ve proven me correct.

    “There’s no need to fear. Underzog is here!”

  48. They and you Ernst Rhoem wannabes are traitors who admire Saddam Hussein because he modeled himself after Stalin and Hitler.

    Wow, not even the lone wacko manages to compress that much batshit-insanity in a single sentence. It’s like the neutronium of craziness. I am actually impressed.

  49. If Obama supporters want to use their facebook names to help his campaign, they should start groups like this (but with an Obama victory as the condition):

    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=10589665583

  50. Considering how long this name bebate has been going on, I’m glad supports found a way to nullify the smears.

  51. Is everyone nuts?

  52. joshua corning:
    McCain is not great on this issue…Obama is worse.

    Pro Libertate | June 30, 2008, 5:00pm | #

    Yeah, mocking McCain’s experience is the Clark fallacy all over again. If McCain doesn’t have experience, then by God, Obama has nothing at all. Not a winning argument.

    I agree with both of you. But the point is, Obama isn’t running on his experience. McCain, like Hillary, is. Clark was responding to questions about McCain’s experience argument.

  53. Shelby,

    I find the idea of comparing and rating heroism like that to be distasteful. It’s like the argument, what as worse, slavery or the Holocaust? It’s demeaning to even start to think about how one would go about answering the question.

    BTW, I haven’t issued any knocks against McCain in this regard. I just don’t find the argument he makes for himself as impressive as some.

    They and you Ernst Rhoem wannabes are traitors who admire Saddam Hussein because he modeled himself after Stalin and Hitler. For the b. Hussein Obama supporters, Saddam Hussein is the embodiment of those two dynamic socialisms, International and National Socialism.

    It was a freudian slip by the supporters of the Islamo Marxist, b. Hussein Obama, to name themselves Hussein. I always said that Saddam Hussein was a hero to the antiwar groups and now they’ve proven me correct.

    I think that’s exactly what pushing back against ethnic-baiting equates to. Exactly.

  54. Oh come on joe, admit it, you, like us, secretly want to strut around in homemade uniforms, beat up trade unionists and participate in homosexual orgies at night – these motivations are inherent to being opposed to war. It’s a fair cop.

  55. I wrote “more acts of heroism” about the firemen vs. John McCain, and I’ve decided that was poorly stated.

    I shouldn’t have phrased it that way, because it implies that McCain’s was only “so-so heroism,” so to speak, and that was not my intent.

    tar-raaaaan! Shh!

  56. My middle name is actually Hussein. I wholly support this because it reduces the stigma surrounding it.

  57. I don’t this this is going to work.

  58. Ugh – are there no gladiators to whom one can show appropriate support?

  59. So how would it go over if changed my middle name to ‘Secret Muslim’?

  60. Isn’t the fact that your supporters are changing their middle names to yours a hell of a lot more creepy than being a Muslim?

    I don’t think it’s creepy.

  61. FOOLS! THIS WILL NOT FOOL THE WEIBSHUSSEIN. YOUR HUSSAINTS SHALL BE WITHERED. EVEN HUSSEIN BRAND SAFTI-TAINT CANNOT SAVE YOU.

  62. There’s a rumor floating around some righty web sites – I think it was tied to the birth certificate kerfluffle – that Obama’s middle name isn’t actually “Hussein,” but “Mohammed,” and that he changed it to help him with his political career.

    Think about that; he decides that being named Mohammed is going to be a liablity, because it would produce a bad impression. So he decides to change it, and comes up with…Hussein.

  63. joe,

    How silly. What I heard was that his middle name was Hitler ?

  64. I actually saw Wesley Clark make his statement re John McCain’s POW experience. I found I agreed. I consider it to be a valid if impolitic (and probably better left unsaid) statement.

    Mind you, the POW thing does say a lot about the man’s character. It’s just that I don’t see what it adds to his resume of executive experience.

    And there’s plenty in his pre-POW Naval career that suggests that he was a rather reckless, irresponsible and less-than-competent officer.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.