Wednesday, January 09, 2008

When it Comes to Obama, Conservatives Want to be Sensitive

I think I've seen this movie before. In fact I'm sure of it. Once again, some lunk-head is trying to smear Obama because he's almost a Muslim. Sort of. Some doof named Warner Todd Huston offers this insightful bit of commentary:

Daniel Pipes did a little research on the question of Barack Hussein Obama's youthful status as a Muslim. Is he one? Was he one? Was he a practicing Muslim, an indifferent one, not one at all? To Americans, this question seems rather ridiculous. Most would wonder why anyone would care? But, the answer to the question isn't one that affects Americans. It may not even bother American Muslims. However, it may mean quite a lot to Muslims outside our borders. And, it might not be a good thing, at that, making our relations with the Muslim world even more difficult than it now is.

More difficult than with Bush? How is that possible? Have you SEEN Bush?

...few voting Americans would find this childhood obedience to his Indonesian step-father of much concern. He was a kid, after all. Of course a young Barack would occasionally accompany his step-father who was a practicing Muslim to prayers... even if just once. Who could be in the least surprised?

This fact, on its face and in normal times, should be of no concern and should be meaningless in the minds of the electorate. It's merely of general interest, but not in any way a decisive factor in whether one should vote for the man.

But these are not normal times.

I guess Huston has been following Guilliani's campaign. Whatever works, I guess.

To a serious Muslim, once a person accepts the practices of Islam they are a Muslim. Such a person doesn't ever have to become a seriously practicing Muslim. Just accepting the mantle, no matter how brief, solidifies that person as a Muslim permanently. Further, there is no such thing as a "lapsed" Muslim, or one who quit the religion. As far as Islam is concerned you are a Muslim quite regardless if you change your mind or if you never really became a practicing Muslim and just dabbled in the creed.

This raises a troubling situation for Muslims, especially ones of radical bent, where it concerns how they will view a president Barack Obama and, as a matter of consequence, how they will deal with the U.S.A.

So this should disqualify Obama from being electable? Why don't we disqualify Hillary since she doesn't wear the hijab? Or Huckabee? I can't imagine Al Qaeda will be terribly disposed towards a Baptist Minister. The one exception might be Romney; I don't think jihadists really know from the Mormons.

The idea that suddenly conservatives think America should elect its leaders strategically based on who is least likely to piss off radical Mslims isn't just hilarious, it's positively schizophrenic. Practically every Republican is running on a platform of Kicking ass and taking names, especially names that start with "Mohamm" or "Huss."

So, the main question becomes: is it wise to elect as president a man who, regardless of his policies or ideas, is marked for immediate death by peoples with whom we are in delicate negotiations, people with whom we are often in a shooting war?

Is this a smart thing to do?

More like, is this argument even close to being intellectually honest? Aside from Kucinich and Paul, every candidate is trying to appear strong on national defense, and the idea that any of them would be invited to a coffee klatch with Al-Zawahiri is just plain stupid. Gulliani? McCain? I'm sure Al-Sadr would just love to sit down and kibbitz with those two. Yup, the only issue that matters to radical Muslims these days is, "Are you now or were you ever a Muslim-in-Name-only?"

Now, let me say here that I am not interested in bending over backwards to assuage the insane beliefs of Islam nor am I advocating that we check with foreigners before we decide for whom we must vote. However, it IS a factor in our decision, none-the-less. It is something we must think about carefully before we cast that vote.

So you'll be voting for Kucinich or Paul, then? Better yet, why don't we just ask the jihdadists who they want us to vote for? (Incidentally, this is an ironic little reversal from the last election, when we were constantly being told that Bin Laden wanted everyone to vote for Kerry.)

Those who vote for Barack Hussein Obama must be ready to accept that the very fact that he is our president WILL cause peoples with whom we need to dialog to leave the table, not giving us even a first hearing.

And, since Obama is claiming that he will be first and foremost a diplomat, the fact that he is a murtadd to those with whom he imagines he will negotiate, we may find that he is shut out from their negotiations before he even gets started.

So, is it really wise to elect as president a man who has such negatives in the eyes of the entire Muslim world? It is certainly something to think about.

You dishonest political stooge scumbag.

In case you were looking for other reasons not to vote for Obama, Dennis Prager's come up with some. As usual, they aren't very good, but the important thing is that Dennis took the time to scribble them on a napkin.

Dennis starts off, as he so often does, with a loosely-defined and unsourced strawman:

We are repeatedly told by the news media that there is a deep, almost palpable, yearning among Americans for unity. And Sen. Barack Obama's repeated and eloquent claims to being able to unite Americans are a major reason for his present, and very possibly eventual, success in his quest for his party's nomination...

I can only speak for myself, but I'm really not so interested in unity as I am in a reduction of partisan bullshit.

I do not doubt Mr. Obama's sincerity. The wish that all people be united is an elemental human desire. But there are two major problems with it. First, it is not truly honest. Second, it is childish.

First is its dishonesty. Virtually all calls for unity – whether national, international or religious (as in calls for Christian unity) – do not tell the whole truth.

Yeah, personally I don't want unity. I'm not really a big fan of "people," and I tend to be suspicious when I wind up being part of a popular movement or cause. That's actually the only reason I'm voting this year. I couldn't take another year of being part of the "in-crowd" of voter apathy. Posers.

If those who call for unity told the whole truth, this is what they would say: "I want everyone to unite – behind my values. I want everyone who disagrees with me to change the way they think so we can all be united. I myself have no plans to change my positions on any important issues to achieve this unity. So to achieve it, I assume that all of you who differ with me will change your views and values and embrace mine."

Take any important issue that divides Americans and explain exactly how unity can be achieved without one of the two sides giving up its values and embracing the other side's values.

Barack Obama wants American troops out of Iraq now. About half of America believes American troops abandoning Iraq will lead to making that country the world's center of terror and to the greatest victory thus far for the greatest organized evil in the world today. How, then, will Mr. Obama achieve unity on Iraq?

Mr. Obama believes in repealing the tax cuts enacted by the Bush administration. How will he achieve unity on that? Many of us believe that re-raising taxes will bring on a recession.

And what is the "unity" position on same-sex marriage? Either one supports it or one supports keeping marriage defined as the legal union of a man and a woman. The only way to unite Americans on this issue – and I don't know what is more seminal to civilization than its definition of marriage – is to convince all, or at least most, Americans to embrace one of the two positions.

These are all legitimate points, though I don't seem to remember Prager mentioning them during the past seven years of "I'm a uniter, not a divider." Must be my politically-convenient amnesia. Or his.

Oh, and I like how Dennis bashes the concept of unity while ignoring the fact that every single one of his columns argues for an explicitly "my way or the highway" mode of thinking- made all the more irritating because he likes to couch his personal opinions in moral terms. But I guess it's all cool as long as you don't give lip service to stupid crap like unity.

It is fascinating how little introspection Sen. Obama's "unity" supporters engage in – they are usually the very people who most forcefully advocate multiculturalism, who scoff at the idea of an American melting pot and who oppose something as basic to American unity as declaring English the country's national language.

Their advocacy of multiculturalism and opposition to declaring English the national language are proof that the calls of the left-wing supporters of Barack Obama for American unity are one or more of three things: 1) A call for all Americans to agree with them and become fellow leftists. 2) A nice-sounding cover for their left-wing policies. 3) A way to further their demonizing of the Bush administration as "divisive."

Well, actually, the issue here is that you're talking about two different models of unity there, Dennis. At this point people that support multiculturalism do so because they don't think the melting pot model is necessarily viable or preferable. And for those keeping score, no, this doesn't have to invalidate the notion of America as being "united." One of the ideas of multiculturalism is that unity can be achieved through diversity- by recognizing and valuing, for instance, that Americans come from all over the world, as opposed to pretending we're all WASPS.

But Dennis isn't just mad at Obama. He's also got an axe to grind with organized religion trying to present itself as unifying. Can't say I disagree.

For example, one regularly hears calls by many Christians for Christian unity. But how exactly will this be achieved? Will Catholics stop believing in their catechism and embrace Protestant theology, or will Protestants begin to regard the pope Christ's vicar on Earth?

Is this Dennis' way of telling Jews to just suck up the Christ-Killer thing?

Ironically, one reason America became the freest country in the world was thanks to its being founded by disunited Christians – all those Protestant denominations had to figure out a way to live together and make a nation.

Uh... yeah. Sure. America happened because all the Protestants wanted to create a unified nation-state. As opposed to, say, surviving the winter. That was a fun trip to revisionist social studies land.

For nearly eight years the media and Democrats have labeled President Bush's policies "divisive" simply because they don't agree with them. They are not one whit more divisive than Sen. Obama's positions. A question for Democrats, the media and other Obama supporters: How exactly are Mr. Obama's left-wing political positions any less "divisive" than President Bush's right-wing positions?

The issue isn't necessarily with the policies but rather with implementation and attitude. Bush's attitude, as popularly understood by his political opponents, is essentially, "If you disagree with me, go to Hell. Also, Bin Laden loves you." Bush's contempt for an independent media and refusal to accept criticism or alternate points of view from folks in government are prime examples, as are the trickle-down effects of, for instance, the politicization of the Justice Department under Gonzales. The argument might not be that Obama's policies don't have the potential to be divisive (at least as divisive as any government policy tends to be), but rather that he will simply be less of an asshole about pushing things through to get his way.

Second, the craving for unity is frequently childish. As we mature we understand that decent people will differ politically and theologically. The mature yearn for unity only on a handful of fundamental values, such as: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness." Beyond such basics, we yearn for civil discourse and tolerance, not unity.

Wait, Dennis Prager is advocating tolerance? Hilarious. And again, I love that the only thing he can come up with as far as "fundamental unifying values" is the preamble of the Constitution. Geez. Take a creative writing class or something.

And in the end, he seems to undercut his central point. If there's nothing wrong with being divisive, then the only issue with Obama is that he's being dishonest and politically opportunistic- which is a far different issue.

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