The Untrustworthy Arab

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The novelist Khaled Hosseini, an American of Afghan origin, has written a commentary for the Washington Post condemning the reaction of the Republican candidates when responding to those who use Barack Obama's middle name, Hussein, as a term of abuse. He observes:

Never mind that such jeers are deeply offensive to millions of peaceful, law-abiding Muslim Americans who must bear the unveiled charge, made by some supporters of Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin, that Obama's middle name makes him someone to distrust—and, judging by some of the crowd reactions at these rallies, someone to persecute or even kill. As a secular Muslim, I too was offended. Obama's middle name differs from my last name by only two vowels. Does the McCain-Palin campaign view me as a pariah too? Do McCain and Palin think there's something wrong with my name?

But never mind any of that.

The real affront is the lack of firm response from either McCain or Palin. Neither has had the moral courage, when taking the stage, to grasp the microphone, turn to the presenter and, right then and there, denounce the use of Obama's middle name as an insult. Instead, they have simply delivered their stump speeches, lacing into Obama as if nothing out-of-bounds had just happened.

The commentary came amid reports of mounting rage among Republican voters at the likely victory of the Democratic candidate in November, with Obama's alleged origins frequently being used against him. At a rally in Minnesota this week, for example, one woman told John McCain: "I don't trust Obama. I have read about him and he's an Arab." McCain responded by saying, "No ma'am, no ma'am. He's a decent family man… [a] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. That's what this campaign is all about."

Hossein's point is valid. McCain was trying to be decent, but you would have expected him to answer in a million different ways than the way he did, instead of just focusing on Obama's personal qualities. He could have, first of all, corrected the woman's inaccuracy, the confusion of one fallacy (that Obama is an Arab) with another (that he is a Muslim), before adding: "So what?" Substitute the name of most other ethnic groups for the word "Arab", and the candidate would have been—and quite legitimately so—apoplectic with rage at the bigotry on display. But denouncing someone because he or she is an "Arab" or a "Muslim" all too often seems fair game in American popular political discourse, with little visible backlash.

And if it's not fair game, then it would be useful to see the country's prominent politicians affirm that with a bit more conviction.  

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  1. “Secular Muslim”, there is no such thing, never has been, never will be.

  2. I do remember at least one time when McCain DID denounce someone using his middle name in a negative way. It was at an event in Southern Ohio and a local radio talk show host from Cincinnati used the term in a sneering way and McCain denounced it. I am no fan of McCain but this is not a fair criticism. McCain is many things but an anti-Arab bigot is not one of them. By the way, I agree with anon about secular Muslim being an oxymoron. One can be a secular Arab; I have met a few, but not a secular Muslim. Muslim refers to a person’s religion. It is not an equivalent of the term “Jew” which can either refer to a person’s religion or ethnicity. Muslim refers to religion. It never refers to ethnicity.

  3. “He could have, first of all, corrected the woman’s inaccuracy, the confusion of one fallacy (that Obama is an Arab) with another (that he is a Muslim), before adding: ‘So what?'”

    Nixon would have said, “who cares that he is an Arab Muslim? That is a matter between Obama and his God, or Allah.” Thus invoking the slur, under the guise of disavowing it.

  4. “Some say that Barack Hussein Obama is a crypto-Muslim hippie trying to turn this country over to dope-smoking turban-wearers. I do not endorse that unfair, politically-inspired attack.”

  5. Muslim refers to religion. It never refers to ethnicity.

    But it may refer to culture. I don’t believe in God, but most of my moral views are at least genetically informed by the Judeo-Christian culture in which I grew up. Hosseini may not be a practicing Muslim, but he probably still carries a lot of values from the Muslim culture in which he was raised.

  6. This is wrong.

    Racism should only be accepted as part of a government program.

  7. Next up: we interview a Holocaust survivor on about the insensitivity of those “BUSH=HITLER” posters in our own newsroom.

    Haha! Just kidding!

  8. American VOTERS are mad as HELL at MSM Obama cronies! Like CNN & MSNBC! And is causing the outrage against Obama. MSM is no longer helping their candidate, because they are openly in the bag for Obama, voters are taking that extreme anger out on Obama, the risk you take. MSM, CNN have jeopardized the security of the American people by deliberating continuing to openly hide serious facts and associations of Obama. HOW DARE YOU jeopardize our great but troubled country? Yes Voters are getting extremely angry at Obama, he continues to lie and refuses to answer questions that EVERY person running for leader of the free world would have to answer. Obama keeps reaching back to Chicago political past for policy advisers, and pulling one despicable, vile, and even evil “rabbit” after another out of his hat. The list of Obama’s radical associations is long and it keeps getting longer. Some are now well-known, but many are not.

    VOTERS-STAND UP FOR YOUR COUNTRY, DO NOT LET A TABLIOD CABLE NEWS LIKE CNN and MSNBC decide OUR President!

    DEMAND OBAMA ADDRESS THESE SERIOUS RADICAL TERRORIST CONNECTIONS! TODAY!

    (Bloomberg) — Nigerian Stock Exchange Chief Exec Ofc Ndi Okereke-Onyiuke being investigated holding a fund-raising event for U.S. presidential candidate Obama, Agence France-Press reported U.S. electoral laws forbid donations from foreigners to electoral campaigns. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fQ0cq4Nytu8

    (World News)
    23 years at TUCC with Jeremiah Wright and James Meeks. Racist sermons on You tube.
    He chose the most radical church in the country; Obama chooses to immerse himself and his daughters in hard-core ideological radicalism. Never before has this country considered such a radical leftist for its chief executive.

    Michael Pfleger and his hateful and race-hating ramblings, Obama met while carrying out his own radical social activism as community organizer at ACORN, (radical organization) now under Federal investigation for Voter fraud in helping Obama. No one believed he won the caucuses, now we know why. WASHINGTON: RNC filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against the Obama for an America campaign acceptance of foreign national and excessive contributions. The Obama campaign has failed to comply with federal campaign finance law in its fundraising.

    Penny Pritzker, heads Obama National Finance Committee was president of Superior Bank – massively failed, she literally bought her way out of jail paying $460 MILLION fine; was the very epicenter of subprime loan scandal” that has come to eat this nation’s financial system alive.

    Fannie Mae CEO Jim Johnson, Obama camp advisor and headed Obamas vice presidential selection committee, discovered he benefited from sweetheart loans from subprime king Countrywide and was fired.

    Tony Rezko certainly and his federal indictments and financial dealing with Obamas of course and William Ayers, US terrorist bomber, Obama-co-lecturer, fellow board member, neighbor, and friend.

    Terrorist William Ayers
    Communist Frank Marshall Davis, obama mentor; Saul Alinsky and Gerald Kellman (Kellman’s Woods Fund is how Obama hooked up and began his long relationship with Ayers.

    Chicago lawyer Mazen Asbahi, Obama camp national coord for Muslim affairs also stepped down after news about his stint on the fund’s board – which includes fundamentalist imam – prompting The Wall Street Journal inquiries about relationship with the Muslim Brotherhood and his long personal relationship with Hamas Jamal.

    Obama desperately needs voters to forget hes the son of a Muslim father who served an incredibly brutal and corrupt Kenyan government; to forget he attended a madrassa in Indonesia and practiced Islam; forget that he campaigned in Kenya on behalf of Raila Odinga, who relied upon chaos, corruption, and violence in his campaign; numerous associations with radical Muslims; forget the photographs of Obama in traditional Muslim clothes, hanging with Muslim radicals such as Mazen Asbahi and anti-Semite Rashid Khalidi.

    The mainstream media has frankly put the security of our great country at risk with an Obama coronation media like CNN & MSNBC is the only way Obama managed to steal the Dem nom. It’s extremely concerning that so many Americans could care less about who their candidate really is?? Simply amazing and frankly scary.

    http://www.atlah.org/broadcast/ndnr07-28-08.html

    http://www.dontvoteobama.net

  9. I don’t trust that Tom Cruise, he looks like a Scientologist.

  10. CNN & MSNBC PLEASE EXPLAIN TO AMERICAN PUBLIC! WHY ITS RACIST WHEN WHITE VOTERS DO NOT AGREE OR SUPPORT THE INEXPERIENCED MEDIA MADE OBAMA, BUT IT’S NOT RACISM WHEN 90% PLUS BLACK VOTERS ARE ONLY SUPPORTING THE BLACK CANDIDATE? LIKE OPRAH ETC?
    For a look into the future, just listen to Chris Rock preaching in his show, “If Obama wins, the very next day, DON’T EXPECT BLACKS TO WORK ANYMORE WHITIES!!! That includes OBAMA!!!!

  11. Neither has had the moral courage, when taking the stage, to grasp the microphone, turn to the presenter and, right then and there, denounce the use of Obama’s middle name as an insult.

    Hasn’t McCain very explicitly done so on several occasions?

    Didn’t Obama sit in front of a racist pastor for decades? I bet Hosseini isn’t asking about that.

  12. Whatever. I don’t seem to recall this outrage when the alleged victim was “J. Danforth Quayle”.

    BHO’s name is his name. Alas, it is an old political trick to take advantage of an opponent’s unfortunate name.

    Of course, the fact that JMC’s campaign is reduced to this sort of pettiness indicates that he’s going to lose — and lose big. But, I expect better of REASON than slavishly following the trivial bellyaching of the politically correct classes.

    It is also my belief that Matt Welch should be fired.

  13. Someone wrote: “23 years at TUCC with Jeremiah Wright…He chose the most radical church in the country.” That church was involved i9n huge poutreqach programs to help the poor. Obama joined AFTER getting involved in those outreach programs. I sat on orlando’s Human Crisis Council with a radical and with Benny Hinn’s people –on You Tube you can see what Benny Hinn does that I don’t agree with. But the Human Crisis Council did so many wonderful things for the poor and homeless — in Chicago, the radical churches and former radicals are involved with most of the charities, for whatever reason. Should i have NOT been on the Human Crisis Council because Beny Hinn had people there? And even a Marxist, at one point? You can;t choose who is on a committee, there is often no choice. New blood into these committees clean them up. read Obama’s book. this is the first year I’ve ever been writing, trying to stop some of the poor reasoning going on here.

  14. I suggest a new term in the lexicon.

    “Crackers” will now come in two forms. “Fried crackers” will refer to the traditional variety – southern US based racists with a high affinity for battered, oil-cooked foods. “Baked crackers” will refer to the non-regional collective of people who loathe persons of countries predominated by desert climes and the Muslim religion.

  15. Good god. Now people can’t even call him by his damn name unless it’s said in a tone implying reverie, humbleness, and worshipful manner.

    He’s the one who changed his name to something more fitting with who he wanted to be.

    Bite me, Barack Hussein Obama. I’ll call you whatever the fuck I want to, you lying socialist creep.

  16. Hmmmm…..free speech much?

  17. He’s the one who changed his name to something more fitting with who he wanted to be.

    So the proper translation of Hussein is lying socialist creep. Thanks.

  18. I suspect a lot of these very vocal and visible people at McCain’s rallies lately are plants paid off by the most lowly of the Obama crowd. The ones so lowly that even Obama wouldn’t own up to.

    Oh wait – he doesn’t own up to anyone he knows.

  19. Wow! Somebody opened the moron flood gates.

    Did it over occur to any of you right wing raving lunatics that the MSM doesn’t carry those stories (like the ones listed above) because there simply isn’t sufficient evidence to effectively link them to the person?

    It’s okay. You guys just keep living in that fundy lunatic echo chamber, your collective 15 minutes is up.

  20. But denouncing someone because he or she is an “Arab” or a “Muslim” all too often seems fair game in American popular political discourse, with little visible backlash.

    Oh PLEASE. Name one person who was ever publicly denounced for being Arab.

    As for “Muslim,” boohoo. Christians get denounced all the time (Barack himself said they cling to religion because they’re bitter). Scientologists, Mormons, etc, all get crticized. Jews are unique because they are also considered a race and suffered the Holocaust — oh, and a few hundred million Arabs still want to destroy their country.

  21. “So the proper translation of Hussein is lying socialist creep. Thanks.”

    No, that’s just my personal opinion of him based on his track record. Geez, we are still able to have our own opinions, aren’t we? I mean, the bastard hasn’t been inaugurated yet, has he?

  22. Muslims Offended!
    Dog Bites Man!
    Sun Rises in East

  23. That church was involved i9n huge poutreqach programs to help the poor. Obama joined AFTER getting involved in those outreach programs.

    So is Hizbollah.

  24. So Art, what is it that he was trying to “be” by changing his name?

  25. . Should i have NOT been on the Human Crisis Council because Beny Hinn had people there? And even a Marxist, at one point? You can;t choose who is on a committee, there is often no choice. New blood into these committees clean them up.

    See, if enough good people join Al Qaeda, maybe they can do more community outreach and less 9/11.

    I think we have to try.

  26. Anyone who defends that church as being anything remotely and honestly humanitarian has got to be some leftist lunatic hopping up and down like some damn spastic jumping bean anytime someone dares to criticize anything Obama.

  27. “So Art, what is it that he was trying to “be” by changing his name?”

    You’ll have to ask him that. Or read his book or something.

  28. The comments to the effect that McCain ought to have added to a rebuttal about Obama being either Arab or Muslim a “so what” clause are good points.

    But McCain alone shouldn’t bear that burden. Obama has never made the “so what” point either. I was in a rally in Nevada when the point came up, and he just quietly reaffirmed “I am a Christian,” implicitly reinforcing the idea that being a Muslim would be untenable in a presidential candidate.

    I suppose one has to choose one’s battles, but this is one of the few times when I’ve felt Obama’s integrity has faltered.

  29. “the MSM doesn’t carry those stories (like the ones listed above) because there simply isn’t sufficient evidence to effectively link them to the person?”

    Exactly.

    Now, if you had some memos, that would be different.

  30. Give me a god damned break – If Obama’s middle name was Gerald, nobody would ever use it. When you hear the drooling class say “Hussein,” you can’t deny that the intention is for the listener to associate Obama with “teh scary Muslims.”

    The right has sunken into such a low, disgusting populism, pandering to the lowest common denominator and playing to people’s basest fears. People should be outraged that after the last 8 years the GOP hasn’t learned something and brought forth a real maverick candidacy offering constructive, well reasoned ideas.

    That being said, I somewhat agree with Eric that Obama should be making the “so what” point a little more effectively.

  31. Now people can’t even call him by his damn name

    You’ll have to ask him that.

    You implied that you knew the reason he changed his name, but don’t. And yet you justify this as a basis to invoke the need to use his middle name repetitively not withstanding the uncommon nature of doing so. Do you stand by the notion that this isn’t being done to “scare” the uninformed? Or should I just put you in the “baked” category?

  32. “People should be outraged that after the last 8 years the GOP hasn’t learned something and brought forth a real maverick candidacy offering constructive, well reasoned ideas.”

    Most people are, and they probably don’t like McCain anymore than Bush. But it’s not as though they’re falling for the Obama idolatry either, and actually some of us are quite sickened by the blind ignorance of people so desperate to vote democrat just because they hate Bush.

    So just because someone isn’t worshiping the new messiah, doesn’t mean they’re a GOP worshiper either.

    This IS a libertarian forum, after all.

  33. Italics off last paragraph.

  34. Pandering to mouth-breathing lunatic fringe has unintended consequences.

    Well, I never…

  35. McCain is sadly playing to all this with his “how much do you REALLY know about Barak Obama” campaign ads and statements. It’s a rather blatant play on this kind of ignorance. His campaign is really sad. One minute he is shamelessly aping Obama’s (“CHANGE is Coming”) the next minute he’s pandering to and encouraging morons who think Obama is a “secret Muslim radical.”

    “I was in a rally in Nevada when the point came up, and he just quietly reaffirmed “I am a Christian,” implicitly reinforcing the idea that being a Muslim would be untenable in a presidential candidate.”

    Wow, there’s a less nefarious way to read this isn’t it? As he’s been a Christian for a long time maybe he was, well, simply professing his faith…

    However, as I’ve said many times before, what were the Dems thinking nominating a guy with that name?

  36. So just because someone isn’t worshiping the new messiah, doesn’t mean they’re a GOP worshiper either.

    I agree. And just because someone thinks the GOP is lost in the darkness and has been for years, doesn’t mean they’re now a die hard Democrat.

  37. “Christians get denounced all the time (Barack himself said they cling to religion because they’re bitter).”

    He did? He said CHRISTIANS cling to their religion because they’re bitter. That’s funny, because I have heard this quote where he is explaining why SMALL TOWN PEOPLE in PA and the Midwest “cling to guns or religion or antipathy toward people who aren’t like them or anti-immigrant sentiment or anti-trade sentiment as a way to explain their frustrations.” But surely you didn’t mean that as that’s so different as to be retarded…

  38. I respect McCain for standing up against the non-sense.

    I do think it’s unfair to expect McCain to take the next step suggested. He’s trying to win, calling his audience a bunch of bigots isn’t gonna help.

  39. “You implied that you knew the reason he changed his name, but don’t. And yet you justify this as a basis to invoke the need to use his middle name repetitively not withstanding the uncommon nature of doing so.”

    No, Tbone, I gave my opinion and belief that people can call him by his name if they want to. I can form an opinion of my own with whatever information I’ve read over the past two years of the Obama campaign. I wasn’t stating something as a known public fact. I was just saying that I think he’s full of shit. I don’t have to provide sources for my personal opinion.

    I kind of think you’re full of shit too, and I don’t have any sources to back that up. However, so far in this country, personal opinions don’t require documented sources, but simply our own free will.

  40. Art, we agree.

    You are free to use (or acknowledge that people can use) Senator Obama’s middle name repetitively. I am free to think those who do are racially or politically motivated.

    I don’t think you are full of shit, I think – based on what you wrote – you support these racial or political motivations. You are free to do so – I am free to call you out on it.

  41. “McCain responded by saying, ‘No ma’am, no ma’am. He’s a decent family man… [a] citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with on fundamental issues. That’s what this campaign is all about.'”

    This response is sufficient. It’s not McCain’s job to go out and praise Obama. The lady was wrong, and McCain said, “No ma’am” and even followed up with “he’s a decent family man”. Is McCain supposed to start delivering lectures about genealogy now?

  42. “However, so far in this country, personal opinions don’t require documented sources, but simply our own free will.”

    You’re right Art, a person can hold a strong opinion that is based on no articulable evidence or reason in this country. God Bless America, you tell ’em! lol

  43. such jeers are deeply offensive to millions of peaceful, law-abiding Muslim Americans

    Cry me a river. The irony here is breathtaking: An individual (McCain) is condemned for the actions of a bigoted few? A whole subculture is “offended” because a couple of crackpots make fools of themselves at a political rally? Who made Hosseini the spokesman for those millions of Muslim Americans? Are they a rigid, like-minded tribe? Why, that’s almost…racist!

  44. McCain did right by saying “no ma’am and such.”

    Young’s point I think is that we should spend gobs of money and time to bomb uppity Arabs into submission until they agree with us on Israel and other of our foriegn policy interests.

    Oh, that’s actually a point from some other of his articles (I keed, I keed). In this post his point seems to be that it would be nice if someone would point out that while Obama is not a Muslim it’s “not that there is anything wrong with that” if he were. And that is true to.

  45. Well, Mr. Nice Guy, when you list every single thing you’ve read, seen, and heard that forms your opinions, then I’ll list mine.

    I’ve got 45 years on me, though. Gonna take a while.

  46. “Hosseini may not be a practicing Muslim, but he probably still carries a lot of values from the Muslim culture in which he was raised.”

    So Hugh, could I call you a “Secular Southern Baptist?” or a “Secular Lutheran”? How about a “Secular Mormon” or “Secular Roman Catholic”? I suppose once could add “liberal” to the front of any of those denominations but that is not the same as secular. Secular means “not pertaining to or connected with religion” which would be like adding the prefix “un” to the front of any religion.

  47. ed
    That’s great, I mean it’s a special feat of mental and logical gymnastics you’ve just hit (score: 9.4): it’s the people who point out that implying there is something nefarious about being a Muslim is bound to give offense to Muslims that are the REAL racists because they are making a generalization about Muslims (namely that they will be offended by someone saying being a Muslim is nefarious).

    Bravo buddy, that takes some amazing twisty logic and self-deception…

  48. Art
    I just mean it’s kinda stupid to get on a blog where people argue points and state some strong opinion you have and then resort to “well, I just have this strong opinion and as far as I know I’m free to have it.” Sure, you are, it’s just where did you think you were going with that in, well, a discussion of such points?

    Here, I’ll do my part: I just have this feeling that conservatives are evil and full of shit. Don’t ask me to argue that any further, it’s just how I take ’em after 38 years of living on Planet Earth…

  49. You know who else are real racists, those who back in the 1950’s and 60’s who said that segregation is insulting to blacks. I mean, how can they speak for all blacks? I mean, “Are they a rigid, like-minded tribe?” How racist!

    What a trip!

  50. Alas, group identitification to garner votes is political reality. It works to some extent, but I think the smaller the electorate the better it works. 3 years ago in the mayoral election here in Detroit, something similar occurred.

    From earliy in the year, in a Hit & Run thread titled thread titled Bill Cunningham Is Mad as Hell at John McCain, and He’s Not Gonna Take It Anymore I posted this.

  51. So… Saturday morning is Right Wing Fringe time?

    Do they get up early, or get in really late from Friday night?

  52. If Obama really didn’t like his middle name, he could easily have had it legally changed anytime in the last couple of decades after he reached majority. I mean, he was in low-level politics long enough that he could have done this under the radar, and you’d think an intelligent man like him would have been pondering higher office and thinking about whether that middle name might be a political liability. Hell, you’d think that before he even pulled papers to first run for elected office he should have given serious consideration to a name change if he didn’t want to embrace it. So, hell, he’s chosen this path, and has to live with the consequences. And obviously, WAY too late in the campaign to change names now — that would only ignite the controversy and give it legs.

    That said, McCain seems to be fanning these flames a bit, and at the very least not trying to rein in the more obnoxious elements of the Republican party, and in fact he probably perceives this racism as a net vote-getter.

    Curious to hear ali’s take on this, since he apparently is now frequenting this site again. Welcome back, ali!

  53. John McCain is a damn dirty Peruvian Sandinista.

  54. If Obama really didn’t like his middle name

    And if he didn’t like his skin color, he could just change that, too – like I did.


  55. If Obama really didn’t like his middle name, he could easily have had it legally changed anytime in the last couple of decades after he reached majority.”

    And then they would have said SEE? SEE? HE IS TRYIN GTO HIDE HIS TRUE ORIGINS! HE *IS* A MUSLIM!

    Come on, he can’t win with these nuts.

  56. Here, I’ll do my part: I just have this feeling that conservatives are evil and full of shit.

    Well, I’ll do my part in response, MNG — I know a lot of wonderful, kind, incredibly great human beings who are conservatives. I’m sorry to hear that you are hurting yourself by lugging around this unjustified, obnoxious prejudice, and hope you’ll free yourself of it someday.

    Not saying that all conservatives are good people — plenty of conservative asshats, plenty of liberal asshats, even some libertarian asshats. Asshatdom is not something restricted to a particular ideology.

  57. Me thinks the wingnuts doth protest too much.

    Guilty conscience?

  58. Mr. Nice Guy: “Spokesman for a guilty generation.”

  59. But what about Affirmative Action and The Real Racists?

  60. Remember when the wingnuts used to pat themselves on the back and assert that they, and only they, think that democracy is perfectly consistent with Arab and Muslim culture?

    And accuse everybody else of being racists, who thought that Muslims and Arabs weren’t ready for democracy?

    Gee, my old DeSalle ran great.
    Those were the daaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyys!

  61. Yeah, but then on the other hand they’d write racist stereotypes about Arabs and Muslims while wanting to spread “democracy” at the same time.

    I never did work out that particular contradiction in their rhetoric.

  62. Prole-I was just showing Art how silly it is to get on a discussion board, give a strong opinion on a point, and then say “well hell it’s not like I have some articulable point I just feel strongly this way through my personal experience.”

    As to conservatives, some of my best friends are conservatives :). I will say most I know have a mean streak (kind of a social darwin thing) going on, but plenty are not asshats. I mean, I disagree with you on a lot and you’re not, in my opinion, an asshat.

    “Mr. Nice Guy: “Spokesman for a guilty generation.””
    No ed not much guilt here, though comparatively I imagine more than you might have as from your comments I imagine guilt, self-examination, or seeing the world apart from the stance of someone from a different tribe than yours are something you are in fact not bothered with much.

  63. And then they would have said SEE? SEE? HE IS TRYIN GTO HIDE HIS TRUE ORIGINS! HE *IS* A MUSLIM!

    Come on, he can’t win with these nuts.

    He can’t win with SOME — perhaps most — of these nuts. But, there are plenty of people at the margins who would be less inclined to be suspicious of Obama if he had chosen to change his middle name to something blander like “Marcus”.

    Politics is generally won at the margins, and so are you really saying that if Obama had changed his middle name to something blander prior to entering politics, that he wouldn’t have perhaps an additional 0.1% or 0.3% or whatever of the popular vote?

    Are you really saying that he didn’t hurt his presidential campaign by not choosing to change his middle name a while ago? That there aren’t ANY people on the margin for whom this was the tipping point, and that these people don’t substantially outnumber the Muslims and hipsters and whatnot for whom his middle name tipped it the other way, to a ‘yes’ vote? Seriously? Whisky Tango Foxtrot?

  64. Prolefeed–

    He would have been accused of being “dishonest” and “covering up” his “Muslim origins”.

    Remember the birth certificate thing? And that wasn’t even real.

  65. “Wow, there’s a less nefarious way to read this isn’t it? As he’s been a Christian for a long time maybe he was, well, simply professing his faith…”

    Of course he is, but Obama wasn’t answering a question about his religious beliefs, he was rebutting a slur. That membership in the muslim faith IS a slur to so many people in this country is what bothers me, and I think Obama could have addressed that by saying “While I’m not Muslim, I think this devisive attack is disgusting for its obvious xenophobia,” or something along those lines.

    Similarly, McCain’s response (which I do think was laudable, as far as it went) to the claim that Obama is an Arab was “No, he’s a decent family man.”

    Imagine for a moment that you are a decent, muslim family man. Might you not take issue with this exchange?

  66. Pat Buchanan, in his autobiography, wrote (with come correctness I think) that for a liberal racial discrimination is the worst sin in the world. They look for it all the time and really see it as the worst thing in the world. If only he would have added that to a conservative it’s a thing that, while if brought to their attention they will make some showing of disapproval, is not something they spend much time worrying about.

    It seems to me that most of the human race rightly exists between these two extremes.

  67. Democracy will not work in Anglo-Saxon society. They are used to absolute monarchies and that is the only type of society that they could live in. It would be wrong of us to try to push democracy on these people. Monarchy is all they have ever known and all that will work with their culture.

  68. I see TallDave is back with one of his many handles.

  69. Whoops. Confused my “slurs.”

    Image you are a decent arab family man.

  70. A famous philosopher (my mother) once told me: “Sticks and stones may break your bones, but names can never harm you.” I think she stole that from Aristotle. Anyway, to put this in terms even MNG can understand, it takes the sanction of the intended victim for an insult to be effective. If an person thinks of himself as a member of a group or gang or tribe instead of as an individual, he sets himself up for abuse. Yes, to identify yourself as a Muslim-American or an Irish-American or an Italian-American is to engage in the same primitive bigotry as your detractors.

  71. prole
    I agree with you that a candidate without BO’s name is a stronger candidate. I’ve argued that at length here. But that is one question. Another is, are’nt any persons who would hold the man’s mere name against him cretins of the first order? I mean, what’s troubling is that I have not seen you or any of the other conservatives come out and say this.

    It’s like when you see someone pick on a drunk. I guess one response would be “well if that guy wouldn’t drink he would not get picked on.” But another, and better one imo, would be “man, that guy picking on that drunk is a dick.”

  72. ed
    This is what I’m talking about.

    According to your thought the guy who says “all blacks are worthless ni**ers” and the black guy who says “as a black man I’m offended by that” are equally bigots. And that is as stupid as the day is long and you know that. You’re just weaseling now.

  73. prole
    Yes I read quite a bit of Pat Buchanan. I voted for him for President (and not accidently like those folks in FL). So I can live with a conservative here or there…

  74. prolefeed’s convinced me.

    It would have been both easy and politically smart for Barack Obama to change his middle name to make him appear more acceptable to racial paranoids as he sought political office.

    But he didn’t. He didn’t change who we was, he didn’t turn his back on the name his mother gave him. I think that speaks well of the man.

    Mr. Nice Guy,

    Lacking personal experience with things like compassion, self-reflection, or a sense of fairness, a certain breed of conservative is confused by demonstrations of such things by other people. Searching their own experiences for analogous experiences, the closest one they hit upon is guilt.

    Being accused of guilt, like being accused of hating white people, is a badge of honor. It means you’re doing something right.

    I was frequently accused of both by the roommate who told me that people like him were going to rise up against the niggers, the queers, the Jews, and “the people like you.”

  75. I mean, I disagree with you on a lot and you’re not, in my opinion, an asshat.

    Thanks for clarifying that you were using a bit of hyperbole, MNG. And you’re not an asshat, either, though I also take exception to many of your political views. We’re gonna have to cordially disagree until you have a series of epiphanies and get a better political philosophy. (I keed!) :o)

    FWIW, I’m a right-libertarian, not a conservative, unless you think being fiscally conservative isn’t part of being a libertarian. I could have sworn that being 100% on economic freedom helped move one into the libertarian sector of the Nolan chart. :o)

    And, I’m pretty sure that being in favor of legalizing all drugs and prostitution, reigning in all the wiretapping and domestic spying, voting for Bob Barr, and being in fervent opposition to the Iraq war, etc. ad nauseam isn’t what passes for conservatism these days. It certainly has led to some very awkward silences when I’ve voiced these opinions in the presence of my conservative friends, followed by a hasty, ‘but hey, we still like you, prole’ sort of affirmation.

    Well, not ‘prole’, but it would be SO cool if that WAS my nickname in real life.

  76. Of course he is, but Obama wasn’t answering a question about his religious beliefs, he was rebutting a slur. That membership in the muslim faith IS a slur to so many people in this country is what bothers me, and I think Obama could have addressed that by saying “While I’m not Muslim, I think this devisive attack is disgusting for its obvious xenophobia,” or something along those lines.

    I feel you here, but exactly how many mountains is Barack Obama required to climb simultaneously?

    BDB,

    I see TallDave is back with one of his many handles. Well, he can’t very well proclaim his superior faith in Muslim societies’ capacity for reform AND push the “B. HUSSEIN Obama” shtick using the same handle, now can he?

  77. Anyway, to put this in terms even MNG can understand, it takes the sanction of the intended victim for an insult to be effective. If an person thinks of himself as a member of a group or gang or tribe instead of as an individual, he sets himself up for abuse.

    Yeah, people who are insulted when the word “nigger” is shouted at them have only themselves to blame.

  78. “reining in” not “reigning in” @ 11:04

  79. joe
    I agree.

    I’ve given money and canvassed for petitions and wrote many letters to newspapers and elected officials to fight affirmative action. I’ve spoke against it often here.

    But minorities are discriminated against and have to face prejudice in this country all too much. When an honest and apparent case of this is brought up, to counter by whining about guilt or changing the subject to the “real” racists is terrible. It shows an inability to break with one’s most obvious self interest and a disinterest in basic fairness. Sad.

  80. Yes, to identify yourself as a Muslim-American or an Irish-American or an Italian-American is to engage in the same primitive bigotry as your detractors.

    Hmmmm…no. In fact, no.

  81. I think McCain can kiss the Arab vote goodbye

  82. How man handles will TallDave use on the election night thread?

  83. Arab: He insulted me!
    Ed: How so?
    Arab: He called me “Hussein”!
    Ed: Isn’t that your name?
    Arab: Yes.
    Ed: So how is it an insult?
    Arab: He’s implying that I belong to a primitive, violent religion.
    Ed: Do you?
    Arab: No.
    Ed: So how has he insulted you?
    Arab: You’re engaging in amazing twisty logic and self-deception.
    Ed: I see. Would you prefer that I called you “David”?
    Arab: David! That’s a Jew’s name!

  84. MNG,

    I understand that there are a substantial number of people like you, who oppose affirmative action for reasons having absolutely nothing to do with racism or racial grievance, or who are actually motivated by a desire to fight racism and think taking on affirmative action is a good way to do it.

    I disagree, but I respect where you’re coming from.

  85. Yes, to identify yourself as a Muslim-American or an Irish-American or an Italian-American is to engage in the same primitive bigotry as your detractors.

    What if you identify yourself as an American? Or a Christian? Or a Southerner?

  86. Damn, nothing gets by Lefiti.

  87. and “the people like you.”

    When will people stop persecuting Oompa Loompas? Disgraceful.

  88. I’ve heard people identify themselves as “Catholic” even though they hardly ever attend Church.

  89. ed,

    Bullshit. Way to blame the victim. MNG has it exactly right. The people who worry abpout his names are douchenozzles.

  90. “(and not accidently like those folks in FL).”

    As a Floridian, please let me point out that most Floridians do know how to vote. We simply have a large number of elderly transplants from all 50 states and Canada. Frankly, someone who is suffering from dementia has no business voting. And, the extremely uniformed voters who MIGHT AS WELL be suffering from dementia also have no business voting. Thank you for watching this after school special. The more you know . . .

  91. All I did was call him his middle name.

    This is the equivalent of saying “All I did was use my own kitchen knife in my own kitchen.”

    Well, did you use it to dice some onions, or to dismember the babysitter?

  92. Ed,

    Your kindergarten rhyme works great except when the “names” are used to incite people in the extreme to pick up “sticks and stones”.

    Like “his name is Hussein, we can’t let a muslim terrorist into our White House” or the more direct “we need to kill that (insert perjorative here)”.

    See the difference?

  93. Obama’s middle name is actually handy if you are in the community organizing business in Chicago. Acorn is a wildly pro palistinian organization, and who knows when you may need to ask Louis Farakahn for a job. Not that there is anything wrong with Islam, the Nation of Islam or voter fraud.

  94. Baghdad is ready for democracy, but Chicago isn’t!

  95. James Ard, was that you the other day at that McCain/Palin rally ranting about “hooligans”, “international socialism”, and Rev. Wright?

  96. No BDB, those would be northern zenophobes. I’m just your typical southern GOP racist. Actually, I have no qualms about the middle name or religion of Obama, all I care about is how much he is going to cost me.

  97. prolefeed’s convinced me.

    It would have been both easy and politically smart for Barack Obama to change his middle name to make him appear more acceptable to racial paranoids as he sought political office.

    But he didn’t. He didn’t change who we was, he didn’t turn his back on the name his mother gave him. I think that speaks well of the man.

    I don’t think you’re exactly a undecided voter in a swing state that Obama needs to worry about losing, joe. Liberal Democrats in Massachusetts are totally a gimme for the Democratic nominee, unless you’re about to go down in flames in an epic fail of a campaign. :o)

    And, it is an accepted practice in many Native American tribes to change one’s name at maturity to reflect one’s true nature, rather than the name given at birth that may not be a great fit with who you turn out to be.

    I don’t think it’s either admirable or condemnable to keep your birth name, or to change it. Keeping it is the default for most people. My point is that if Obama thought he might be running for president one day, he should have given serious consideration early on to changing his name. Perhaps he felt ‘Hussein’ was a net asset for running as a Democrat for office in Chicago and Illinois.

    I’m not an Obama fanboy like you, joe. I suspect that Obama might have given this at least a little consideration, and may have decided that it was a slight advantage as a Democrat to have a memorable name for the political offices he was considering in the near future, and that he didn’t really expect that it was a likely contingency that he would be the Democratic nominee for president.

    That is, rather than being an admirable show of character, I suspect it is somewhat more likely that some cold-blooded political calculus and tactics were involved here. Or maybe just an oversight that came back to bite him in the arse a little bit.

    FWIW, we had a candidate for Congress in Hawaii whose last name was Swindle. Seriously. The man ran for office and didn’t change that name. And he did surprisingly well, too, for a Republican in Hawaii.

    Go figgah.

  98. I had a State Senator named Dick Cox.

  99. Georgia had a congressman named Swindal. He seemed like a good republican until he got busted swindling people. FWIW, I voted for Herman Cain for senate, and I wouldn’t hold anyone’s religion against them, unless, of course, it was Scientology.

  100. Let’s just call him Bubba or Toby and be done with it. I mean, if names don’t have any significance, then either of those should be fine. I tend to forget names anyway.

  101. prolefeed,

    And, it is an accepted practice in many Native American tribes to change one’s name at maturity to reflect one’s true nature, rather than the name given at birth that may not be a great fit with who you turn out to be. Barack Obama is not an American Indian.

    I don’t think it’s either admirable or condemnable to keep your birth name, or to change it. I think it depends on the circumstances and motivations. Changing your name to blend in, turn your back on your ancestors, and gain political power would make me think less of somebody.

    That is, rather than being an admirable show of character, I suspect it is somewhat more likely that some cold-blooded political calculus and tactics were involved here. Please, name the other Illinois Senators with Arab or Muslim names.

  102. I think I agree with everyone.

    Yes, people are implying an insult when they make it a point to use his middle name.

    Yes, they are free to do that.

    Yes, they have a point about his name.

    Yes, personal opinions don’t require footnotes.

    Yes, people don’t have to put any merit in your opinions.

    Yes, the democrats chose someone with a Muslim name, and now they have to deal with it.

    Yes, Barack has to deal with it too.

    Graham was right. We are a nation of whiners.

  103. BTW, it’s been a week of the Ayers/”Who is he REALLY?”/”terrorist” strategy. And the polls, if they moved at all, have moved slightly in Obama’s direction.

    I think calling McCain’s strategy in the last week an “epic fail” would be appropriate. Basically, anyone who doesn’t get excited about race war is being repelled by it.

  104. Obama’s middle name is whatever the Chicago machine tells him it is.

  105. Bill Clinton will turn America into ARKANSAS!

  106. For all of this whining from Sarah Palin about people picking on red America, the only place that has been the subject of insults in this entire campaign is Chicago.

    Stop that man; he’s from Chicago! Don’t you know what they’re like in Chicago?

  107. BDB, you are correct, the Ayers strategy is doing more harm than good. On the other hand, there could be some benefit to pinning Obama to Fannie and Freddie.

  108. I’m sure Arkansas got this treatment in 1992.

  109. “BDB, you are correct, the Ayers strategy is doing more harm than good. On the other hand, there could be some benefit to pinning Obama to Fannie and Freddie.”

    There’s tons of good stuff there. Which makes me wonder why he didn’t do it!

  110. I don’t trust that Tom Cruise, he looks like a Scientologist.

    Don’t worry. He’s not a religious Scientologist, just a cultural one.

  111. I’ve been impersonated! I’ve finally made it.

  112. “Don’t worry. He’s not a religious Scientologist, just a cultural one.”

    Lol! Excellent. Nicely done.

  113. “There’s tons of good stuff there. Which makes me wonder why he didn’t do it!”

    Probably because he’s not exactly clean in that area either. I don’t think anyone is congress is. Frankly, I think the Ayres and Acorn thing is pretty powerful, but then that’s just my opinion.

  114. It’s powerful among the Republican base. Who are voting for him anyway.

    It’d be like the DNC talking openly about Diebold.

  115. For all of this whining from Sarah Palin about people picking on red America, the only place that has been the subject of insults in this entire campaign is Chicago.

    Don’t forget about me joe.

  116. Yeah, people who are insulted when the word “nigger” is shouted at them have only themselves to blame.

    Aw shit. I hear people call each other nigger and nigga all the fucking time and nobody gets offended if the speaker is African American.

    God damn, I’m am so tired of this juvenile petty shit from the left and the right, from blacks and whites, Christians and Jews and Muslims, the FSM Church and the Reformed Church of the FSM. Me and most of my friends have gone beyond this fucking dumbass nonsense. We’re working on the easily offended and the obtuse.

    And maybe Obama didn’t change his given name for the same reason I kept my name. I thought about it for a while, but it would have hurt too many people I’m related to and caused me to make innumerable explantations to others. Or maybe it’s for the same reason I don’t dye my graying hair, “that’s part of me, live with it”.

    BTW, I would reflexively support a candidate saddled with the moniker Genghis Adolf Torquemada and bore it proudly.

  117. “It’s powerful among the Republican base. Who are voting for him anyway.
    It’d be like the DNC talking openly about Diebold.”

    But I’m a libertarian, and I find it to be an issue.

    The DNC should be talking about Diebold. Everyone should be talking about the potentials for voter fraud and miscounts all over the place. It’s an issue on all sides.

  118. It seems to me people only talk about vote fraud if they know they are going to lose.

    It’s ultimately self-defeating (“We didn’t lose because we ran a crappy campaign! WE WUZ ROBBED!)

  119. Yep, but really, it needs to be resolved. If our elections aren’t honest, and we know they aren’t, then why have them?

  120. There should probably be a uniform federal standard for elections. That’s one thing that should be the same, everywhere.

  121. Democrats whine about vote fraud after they lose in order to delegitimize the election.
    Republicans whining about vote fraud before the election is their classic and effective tactic of voter suppression.

  122. There should probably be a uniform federal standard for elections. That’s one thing that should be the same, everywhere.

    Constitutional Amendments are hard. That’s what you’re talking about.

  123. So we need a constitutional amendment for a uniform election standard, but not one for a Wall St. bailout?

    Oookaaay. Right.

  124. That wasn’t directed at you, J Sub.

    Just saying what a fucked up political world we live in.

  125. The DNC should be talking about Diebold. Everyone should be talking about the potentials for voter fraud and miscounts all over the place. It’s an issue on all sides.

    No, it’s an issue on both sides. If you don’t care whether Tweedledee or Tweedledum wins, it isn’t really all that much of an issue.

  126. No, it’s an issue on both sides. If you don’t care whether Tweedledee or Tweedledum wins, it isn’t really all that much of an issue.

    If I’m unlikely to win, I still care that those that are likely are cheating.

  127. If I’m unlikely to win, I still care that those that are likely are cheating.

    Win or lose, I’d like to see investigating and prosecuting voting fraud a higher priority than it is. I’d like to see more people go to jail for it. We can let dope sellers out to make room for them.

  128. My opinion is that someone’s name is ambiguous when considering a bi-moral substantiation regardless of tolerance and co-exisiting with an underlying bias towards some parts of an ethnic fluctuation orginating from, not malice, but obfuscation of relevant principles determining a balanced consideration of “sur” and “middle” first expounded by Wilson in a 1965 letter to Jameson explicating causes of racism yet to be accepted by mainstream mores and thus precipitating all preceding spirals in civility when taken at face value.

    Although I could be wrong.

  129. “co-existing”

    Now, it should be much clearer.

  130. William the Conqueror | October 11, 2008, 10:51am | #
    Democracy will not work in Anglo-Saxon society. They are used to absolute monarchies and that is the only type of society that they could live in. It would be wrong of us to try to push democracy on these people. Monarchy is all they have ever known and all that will work with their culture.

    Excellent, good sir!

    I’m very sympathetic to Obama on the middle name business because I have a middle name problem of my own.

    My first name is Celtic in origin, middle is Saxon, and the last is Spanish reflecting my dual heritage. However, that middle name was chosen because it is the name of the city I was born in and that city my mother discovered to her liberal hippie horror only a few years ago was named after a founder of the Ku Klux Klan. Yeah, even if I wasn’t a substance abusing horndog with a vulgar sense of humor and no real religious affiliation who wouldn’t be caught dead repeating that National Socialist pledge of allegiance, I would still have a few problems running for public office.

  131. BLACK HUSSEIN OSAMA.

  132. I am quite tired of those mentioning John SIDNEY McCains middle name! Would you think of the feelings of all the nerds that are being made fun of by repeating John SIDNEY McCains middle name in such a negative fashion?

    John SIDNEY McCain!

    /thinks those that feel it necessary to raise Obama middle name are ignorant fools

  133. Easy there tim. I have ignorant fool relatives. I can call em’ that, not you.

  134. Amazed at how easily distracted Americans are. A theatre commander admits he’s losing a war; a free market conservsative from the top brokerage firm has begun to nationalize the economy as treasury secretary; half the states still don’t know how to run an election, and the other half stopped caring. The real question is no longer who left power lying in the streets, but who picks it up. My hope? No one.

  135. Are people really making the claim that Obama is being cynical by not changing his middle name to something white? Really?

    Man, once Obama wins, it’s going to be the nineties all over again. I await eight years of forwarded chain emails about nonexistent people who have died and other imaginary scandals written in ALL CAPS.

  136. “Amazed at how easily distracted Americans people are”

    there yah go.

  137. “The right has sunken into such a low, disgusting populism, pandering to the lowest common denominator and playing to people’s basest fears”

    The GOP are so addicted to being afraid that they ought to have given their nomination to R. L. Stine.

  138. This is kinda like a XXX arcade owner tellin a guy he can’t rub one out.

    The GOP crowds have been whipped into a frenzy of distrust and disgust. When that makes the logical transformation into hatred and violence, they say ohhhh, you can’t go there.
    The real problem with McCain’s weak rebuke is that he now alienates the dumbasses he and Palin have been inflaming for the last week or two. You live by the sword, you die by the sword.

  139. It’s amazing that McCain isn’t running on his strength. I’ve yet to see an ad that extols his standing up to Bush on torture and Gitmo, for example. Palin could run ads about running the GOP governor of Alaska out of town. Etc.

    But instead he’s playing to the “agents of intolerance” that he bravely decried in 2000. Obama is not “an open book” he’s “risky” “what do you really know about Obama” etc. That’s not how John McCain became a household name…

    Is it because the movement conservatives are such nuts, demanding total comformity and that their candidate match their paranoid Trotskyite meanness or else they will sit on their hands on election day? Jesus, with friends like those…

  140. Q: What do Obama and Osama have in common besides similar sounding names?

    A: They both have friends who bombed the Pentagon!

  141. Way back in the 60’s the GOP ran a man with a Jewish heritage for president, and Romney’s father’s Mormonism was something no one gave a shit about at the time. One of the oddities about all of this is the party of Bush/McCain is much less conservative than the party of Goldwater and at the same time it is less tolerant.

  142. prole
    Is it me or have you still at this point not said that the emphasis of Obama’s middle name to imply he’s a dangerous muslim is something a slimebag would do? You’ve only laid blame so far on Obama for not changing it and the Dems for picking someone with that name (which I agree are practical blunders the latter of which I have ranted about many times before). Practically the latter are just correct, but what about the moral question of attacking a fellow because of the ethnicity of his middle name?

    When a girl with a sexy dress is raped it’s not necessarily bad to say “what was she thinking wearing that dress to that neighborhood late at night” but to say ONLY that and not “what an evil bastard it is that rapes a woman regardless of her wardrobe choice” as well (and foremost) is a bit bad…

  143. mng, lemme fix the last sentence.

    “Those with jesus like friends…

  144. When McCain got his convention bounce it was at a time when he had just bought ad time giving congrats to Obama for making history and gave a very un-partisan convention speech. The John McCain who gets people to cross party lines to vote for him, which is his gimmick, is simply not the one being sold to the U.S. right now…

  145. alan at 2:10 PM.

    Excellent point.

    What changed? It’s pretty obvious, really, but I’m curious what others think.

  146. but, less we forget . . .

    But instead he’s playing to the “agents of intolerance” that he bravely decried in 2000. Obama is not “an open book” he’s “risky” “what do you really know about Obama” etc. That’s not how John McCain became a household name…

    This same story played out in the Democratic primaries as well in the final run. Hillary supporters were sending me the same kind of chain emails of ‘Obama is a Muslim’ in May and June that Palinistas (shudder, I so fucking shudder) are sending me now.

  147. capelza,

    The 70’s happened. The overreaching of Roe v. Wade caused a political backlash we are enjoying to this day (Ruth Bader Ginsburg to her credit once wrote about this), as well as the cultural happenstance of the seventies.

    I’m not blaming what we are seeing at the McCain rallies on the Evangelicals, that sort of populism reflects a reaction to a number of factors, 9-11, Iran hostage crises, pro Israel propaganda in the mainstream media that has demonized Arabs over the last thirty years in many subtle ways, the L A riots, back lash to the PC intolerance in the Multicultural movement, a lot of things are reflected in this anger, and Obama is made out to be the poster boy of all of these factors by his detractors.

  148. Don’t worry. He’s not a religious Scientologist, just a cultural one.

    No, that’s Beck. Tom is a convert and a fanatic. Beck was raised in the church. I’m looking forward to the rise of the Cafeteria Scientologist.

    I find peace and strength in a good going-over with the e-meter; so what if I don’t believe all of that Xenu stuff?

  149. Calling him by his full name is an insult?

  150. “I was frequently accused of both by the roommate who told me that people like him were going to rise up against the niggers, the queers, the Jews, and “the people like you.”

    Did he say when? I want to make sure we…they get that in before the rapture.

  151. Calling him by his full name is an insult?

    I was just using my own kitchen knife in my own kitchen. What’s wrong with that?

    Well, were you using it chop onions, or to dismember the paperboy?

  152. “Calling him by his full name is an insult?”

    Well of course it can’t be!

    J. Danforth Quayle. I mean, the people who chanted that years ago were just innocently stating the guy’s name right?

    Oh Mark, you so coy!

  153. When people play dumb, it’s because they’re losing the argument.

  154. McCain was trying to be decent, but you would have expected him to answer in a million different ways than the way he did…

    Nah, I still give him points for being willing to correct her. It’s likely she and others in the crowd would walk away having taken offense. He was being honorable no matter exactly what contradictory statement he made.

  155. There was nothing wrong with the name Hussein, until I was about 29 years old and that no-talent ass clown became famous and started gassing Kurds and invading Kuwait.
    Why don’t I just go change it?
    No way. Why should I change? He’s the one who sucked.

  156. Arab: He insulted me!
    Ed: How so?
    Arab: He called me “Hussein”!
    Ed: Isn’t that your name?
    Arab: Yes.
    Ed: So how is it an insult?
    Arab: He’s implying that I belong to a primitive, violent religion.
    Ed: Do you?
    Arab: No.
    Ed: So how has he insulted you?
    Arab: You’re engaging in amazing twisty logic and self-deception.
    Ed: I see. Would you prefer that I called you “David”?
    Arab: David! That’s a Jew’s name!

    Genius.

  157. I can kinda sorta see the argument that McCain could have confronted the woman more directly, but I’m not inclined to be stingy here.

    First, I know this game. Why don’t Muslims denounce terrorism. They do, here and here and here and here. OK, but why don’t they do it MORE?

    Second, a yes-no-yes-no dynamic isn’t going to change any minds. McCain was nudging the asteroid onto a different trajectory, not trying to blow it up, and that’s a smarter way to handle it anyway. He was defusing, when a direct confrontation could well have escalated.

    Third, the meat of this attack is that Obama is going to suicide bomb the White House, or secretly side with bin Laden, or otherwise be not just a politician with the wrong beliefs and policies, but an active enemy of the United States. That’s what all of this innuendo builds up to. McCain took on that charge directly instead of the individual bricks used to build the case, and that’s right. As we all learned during the Clinton years, it doesn’t matter if each individual charge is refuted in turn; even if they all are, the people making the charge can still say things like “There’s a cloud…,” “Where there’s smoke there’s fire,” “There are all of these questions…”

  158. Some people are just too ignorant in general to be allowed to speak publicly*. Of course both McCain and Obama are forced to try to appeal to some of these people. McCain went halfway towards acknowledging this, but of course it would be disadvantageous for either candidate to fully express this.

    *No, not me, asshole.

  159. “I would also pray, Lord, that your reputation is involved in all that happens between now and November, because there are millions of people around this world praying to their god – whether it’s Hindu, Buddha, Allah – that his opponent wins, for a variety of reasons,” Conrad said.

    “And Lord, I pray that you would guard your own reputation, because they’re going to think that their god is bigger than you, if that happens. So I pray that you will step forward and honor your own name with all that happens between now and Election Day,” he said.”

    A preacher, opening a McCain rally with a little brayin’.

    ___

  160. “Stop that man; he’s from Chicago! Don’t you know what they’re like in Chicago?”

    Yeah, joe it’s not as if Chicago has a well-deserved reputation of being the paragon of corrupt machine politics. It’s such an unfair slur!

  161. The whole thing reminds me of the Lewinsky thing when Clinton was President. I didn’t like Clinton, but I also thought that the Republicans were attacking him for all the wrong reasons. They couldn’t attack him for most of his real faults, because they were just as bad on most of those issues.

    It’s a similar dynamic here. What’s McCain going to attack Obama on? Obama’s a big spender? His campaign has used the law to restrict the first amendment? Ha ha, good luck.

  162. It’s almost like the only thing that differentiates the Elephant from the Donkey this year is that the Donkey’s guy is black and has a funny sounding name.

  163. Vote for our guy! You still get mostly the same policies only he’s white and doesn’t have a funny name so its not nearly as scary!

  164. Check out the racism from the free thinkers.

    Imagine if someone called their opponent a secret Jew.

    Oh wait, Palin already did that.

    You people should be ashamed of yourselves.

  165. “there are plenty of people at the margins who would be less inclined to be suspicious of Obama if he had chosen to change his middle name to something blander like ‘Marcus’.”

    You mean like Marcus Aurelius, the pagan emperor of Rome?

    Why is Obama a pagan? Why does he hate Christianity?

  166. ARABISM = RACISM

    The global virus of racist Arabism has claimed/claims millions of victims, it includes:

    Kurds (under Saddam or Syria), Berbers, Jews (inside Israel – the genocide campaign since the massacre in 1929 by the Mufti Haj Amin Al Husseini until today, or in the Arab world or on ‘Arab street’ in Europe, etc.), Africans (genocide in Sudan, oppression in Egypt, Slavery in Mauritania, etc.)…

  167. Check out the racism from the free thinkers.

    Yes, because:

    1) Everyone who posts here is a libertarian, including the person who posted the quote above, and…

    2) None of the above comments were meta-level or ironic in any way, shape or form.

  168. Cavanaugh factoid: I have two pending Facebook friends and two existing Facebook friends who at least on Facebook are participating in the change your middle name to Hussein to show your support for Obama campaign.

    How I wish I had Obama’s problems.

  169. On the question of whether Obama should have changed his name: I think it would have been bad to do from a purely political standpoint.

    Which would the people who tend to – even in the slightest – worry about the middle name “Hussein” be more upset about:

    A man whose middle name is Hussein, and who admits this fact.

    Or a man whose middle name was Hussein, but who changed it right before he entered politics.

    I think the second would stir up the whole “secret Muslim” thing a whole lot worse. Because the fact is that when a politician changes his or her name, or has missing records, or what have you, it becomes an issue to those on the opposite side. The people who now are so concerned with Obama’s strange name and time living in Indonesia and pictures in a robe would say “Look, he tried to hide it too! He changed his name! He is a super secret Muslim!”

  170. The folks above who go all innocent and say ‘what’s wrong with calling someone by their name?’ are playing a very silly game. It is a fact that communication consists of more than the literal meaning of each word–if not it couldn’t happen at all. We all know what is meant when someone calls Obama ‘Barak HUSSEIN Obama’–they are conveying an indirect message that Obama is some kind of crypto-Muslim. They are being as obvious as the Monty Python ‘nudge nudge, wink wink’ character, and folks who deny that this is going on probably secretly believe it. Come on, folks–human conversation contains lots of hidden messages, it isn’t hard to learn what rules govern them, and denying simple conversational implicature is a mean-spirited trick.
    McCain was also being disingenuous when he said of Obama ‘he’s a decent guy’
    It’s like the old joke:

    ‘I defended you last night. Somebody said you ate shit sandwiches and I said, no way–I know you don’t like bread’.

    Not denying the implied message is buying into it, and McCain’s so desperate now he’s willing to condone the unspoken message, ‘Obama’s a secret Muslim’. Too bad he can’t attack Obama on economic grounds, but he agrees with him on them. Plus pretty much everything else except Iraq.
    Sigh…

  171. Well SO WHAT – my family is Egyptian. When we moved to a completely white suburb back in the 70’s I changed my name to a hybrid of my given name when I was in middle school.

    I mean, REALLY, my last name was Abdalla, my father is black, my mother white (both Egyptian), I was dark and had kinky hair, we were Muslim – sorry, that just DOESN’T GO DOWN WELL in white suburban America.

    Isn’t being a kid/teenager hard enough without feeling completely like the odd man out? I have NEVER FELT MORE ALONE AND ISOLATED IN MY WHOLE LIFE than at that period of time until I graduated.

    I understand young Barack’s confusion and simply wanting to fit in with everyone else.

    Get over it people – he was a kid trying to find his way.

  172. and BTW as a Muslim – yeah, McCain is offensive – but why the HELL hasn’t Obama said “So FREAKIN’ WHAT??” God knows he has had plenty of opportunity during the primaries.

    Dissappointing at best.

  173. Mr. Nice Guy: ” I’ve yet to see an ad that extols his standing up to Bush on torture and Gitmo”

    Uh, McCain’s final stance was, essentially, that it would have been okay for the North Vietnamese to torture him as long as it was done by intelligence officers.

    Not a big moral victory, that.

  174. Some white guys yelled stupid things at a political rally and I’m so embarrassed, because I’m white, too. Such jeers are deeply offensive to millions of peaceful, law-abiding, non-yelling white Americans.

  175. *Presents Geoff with the Hartmut Haberland award for TEH AWSOME*

  176. Well, they’ve convinced me Barrack HUSSEIN Obama is a super-secret double plus Muslim, and I shouldn’t vote for him.

    Also, I’m not starting Mushin Muhammed on my fantasy football team this week, either – even if the Falcons cornerbacks suck.

  177. Someone upthread claimed that Obama did change his name. This is my favorite Obamaspiracy theory of all.

    You see, he was born “Barack Mohammed Obama,” but his controllers decided that such a name would be a political liability, so they had him change it to something more mainstream: “Barack Hussein Obama.”

  178. hell. let’s solve this middle name controversy once and for all.

    Let’s have Obama change his middle name to Rodham.

    Problem solved.

    (psst. Baked – he’s no longer on the Bears)

  179. BDB | October 11, 2008, 12:16pm | #

    It seems to me people only talk about vote fraud if they know they are going to lose.

    It’s ultimately self-defeating (“We didn’t lose because we ran a crappy campaign! WE WUZ ROBBED!)

    What’s that you say?

    WASHINGTON – The only way Barack Obama can win in Indiana is to cheat, one of John McCain’s stand-ins said Thursday.

    He said votes have already been cast by “people who don’t exist” and that a national voter-registration effort is “trying to steal the election in Indiana.”

    In an interview before headlining the Indiana Republican Party’s fund-raising dinner in Indianapolis Thursday night, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Hoosiers are too smart to vote for Obama.

    Democrats, he said, “can’t win fairly out here.”

    Asked if Democrats could win without cheating, Graham said, “No. They can’t win fairly out here ’cause their agenda is so far removed from the average Hoosier.

    “We could lose, I suppose, if they cheat us out of it,” Graham said of Indiana’s 11 electoral votes. “I think the only way we lose a state like North Carolina or Indiana is to get cheated out of it.”

  180. (sorry for double)

    joe – in other words, he pulled a Van Helsing who changed his name to Rosenberg for professional reasons?

  181. Yeah, Moose – I’d like to say that was planned, to go along with the clueless joke, but really I only remembered he’d been traded after I posted.

    Rodham is good. Milhouse would be better. Maybe both. Barrack Rodham Milhouse Obama.

  182. The beauty of Barrack Hussein Obama is that his white heritage gives him enough ambition for his black heritage to steal the election for the furtherance of Islamic world rule.

  183. Joe, just wow. Once again, the GOP has jumped the shark.

  184. And this wasn’t a Freeper. This was a sitting Senator.

  185. Baked.

    c’est la vie. I like it. Milhouse is good!

    BDB: I misread what you wrote and saw “humped” instead of “jumped”

    [kicks self in taint. wanders off through the meadow]

  186. This just realeased: due to his alledged ties to a radical secessionist group and his involvement in troopergate, Todd Palin has been released by the McCain campaign. It is rumoured that veteran actor Ted McKinley will be taking over the role of “the first dude.”

  187. brotherben: is this “the Very Special Episode” or “They Did It”?

  188. VM, from what I have heard, there will be footage of McKinley photographing the Gov. while she nurses Trig. To me, that has to go under,”Very Special.”

  189. very special, indeed. precious, even

  190. Calling him by his full name is an insult?

    When my mom did it, it was usually the start of a threat, if not outright violence.

  191. Matthew Aloysius* Hogan III, you get in here right now!

    * Just an educated guess.

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