Friday, January 19, 2007

What Loaded Questions Should We Ask About Barack Obama?

Many people are tired of the media's focus in recent Presidential elections on petty personal attacks. They want to hear substantive personal attacks on the candidates. They don't want to hear irrelevant trivialities about the men and women running for President; they want to hear about trivialities that affect their lives. That is why the coverage of Barack Obama, who just announced that he is forming a Presidential exploratory committee, thus far has been so inspiring.

The media's job is to raise important questions about the candidates not provide simplistic answers. The American people can provide the simplistic answers on their own. So far the media has raised a lot of important questions about Barack Obama. Who is Barack Obama? Why is his middle name Hussein? Is he secretly a Muslim? Does he smoke? Does he work out? What is he wearing? If he were a tree, what kind of a tree would he be?

No one knows very much about Barack Obama. He has written only two books, which no one has ever read, and given very few interviews. Newsweek's Howard Fineman, in his remarkably insightful column comparing the Presidential race to a high school election, calls him the Mysterious Newcomer. "Presidential elections are high school writ large," says Fineman (his use of the word "writ" cluing you in to the seriousness of his metaphor; Pulitzer Prize judges, take note). As everyone knows about high school elections, the candidates with the least amount of gossip about them wins.

The fact that we know so little about Obama is very suspicious. Ever since the docudrama The Manchurian Candidate was released in 1962, presidential candidates have had to go through rigorous screening to prevent our enemies from slipping someone into the presidency and taking over the country. In the 1968 Presidential election, the first Manchurian Candidate, George Romney, accidentally revealed himself when he remarked that he had been "brainwashed" about the Vietnam War and subsequently turned against the war. Luckily, he was drummed out of the race. But this year there are several potential Manchurian Candidates. There is Romney's son Mitt, who may be trying to carry on the legacy of his father. Apparently, he was "brainwashed" about gay rights. Then there is John McCain, who lost his last Presidential race when patriotic Vietnam War veterans accused him of being brainwashed when he was a POW because he led efforts to make peace with Vietnam. He has since undergone some sort of treatment and is now a patriotic American again, but there are still some who have doubts. The most likely Manchurian Candidate, however, is Barack Obama.

Debbie Schlussel, who fights Muslims with the same passion she brings to her battles against unauthorized use of the airbrushed photo she uses on her website, has publicly accused Barack Obama of being a Muslim Manchurian Candidate. "Is a man who Muslims think is a Muslim, who feels some sort of psychological need to prove himself to his absent Muslim father, and who is now moving in the direction of his father's heritage, a man we want as President when we are fighting the war of our lives against Islam? Where will his loyalties be?"

Although some of Schlussel's critics say that she is not the expert on Islam she claims to be and may, in fact, be mentally unstable, at least when she is not taking her medication, a chain email circulating around the Internet confirms her conclusions. Although Obama says he is a Christian and that his father was not even a practicing Muslim, the email reveals that "Obama takes great care to conceal the fact that he is a Muslim while admitting that he was once a Muslim…. Since it is politically expedient to be a Christian when you are seeking political office in the United States, Obama joined the United Church of Christ to help purge any notion that he is still a Muslim, which, ideologically, he remains today." Although Obama denies that he once admitted that he was Muslim or that he is one today, most people are more likely to trust an email than a Presidential candidate.

The mainstream media, which increasingly is taking cues from bloggers and chain emails, has begun to jump on the story of Obama's secret Muslim identity. Insight Magazine, which is owned by Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, a religion that is not trying to take over the United States, as far as we know, has raised more suspicions that Obama is secretly a Muslim and attended a madrassa when he was young. It has also accused Hillary Clinton's campaign of trying to plant those rumors by quoting unnamed campaign "sources," which as any journalist knows are the most reliable sources of all. With this story Insight cleverly made two candidates look bad, Obama and Clinton, without having to actually prove anything.

Unfortunately, many members of the mainstream media are still operating under the old rules of journalism, which requires two unnamed sources with axes to grind before a story can be printed. So they have had to rely on insinuating that Obama is not one of us by bending facts that are known. Many have pointed out that Obama's middle name is Hussein, which just begs the question, What kind of a person would let his parents name him Hussein? Most of our early Presidents didn't even have middle names. It has only been in the last century that most of our Presidents had middle names, but most of these were good American-sounding middle names like Gamaliel, Delano, Fitzgerald, Baines and Milhous. Two of our Presidents just had the middle initial S, which didn't stand for anything controversial at all.

CNN's Jeff Greenfield expanded on suspicions about Obama by pointing out that he often wears a jacket without a tie, which is the same uniform Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wears. Greenfield then claimed it was a "joke," which makes sense because Greenfield was an alumnus of Harvard Lampoon during the time when it stopped being funny. By making his "joke" about Obama, Greenfield was able to get out the information about Obama's possibly being traitor without having to say it. CNN was following a similar strategy when it "accidentally" mixed up Obama's name with Osama Bin Laden's.

Of course, CNN is not the only mainstream media outfit trying to spread important innuendo about Obama. Fox News, which quickly picked up the Insight story and ran with it, recently asked, "Would you vote for a smoker as President?" It turns out that Obama is also secretly a cigarette smoker though he has never been photographed publicly with a cigarette just as Franklin Roosevelt was never photographed in his wheelchair. Both liberals and conservatives agree that smoking is un-American, which is why we are trying to drive smokers out of their offices and homes. It is no coincidence that countries with the highest number of smokers just happen to be countries that are our enemies.

In the coming months I am sure there will be many other important questions raised about Obama. Do we really want a President who has lived in another country, or even traveled to one, especially a Muslim country? Is Obama too pretty to be President? Does being black make Obama too angry to be President? What negative information is there about his wife? What kind of underwear does he wear? If the hard-hitting reporting we have already had on Barack Obama is any indication, the 2008 Presidential election is shaping up to be the most substantive and rigorous examination of candidates yet.

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Anonymous said...

First. Well done Mr. Swift.

Sporty said...

Excellent point in that last paragraph! Boxers vs. Briefs is the most important conflict of our time and we must have a President who is on the correct side!

MistahCharley said...

I've also heard he's a lawyer.

And some people say he's not really Afro-American -it's true he is part African and part American, but his ancestors were never slaves in the American South - so can he really understand "the black thing"?

Whatever happened to all the buzz about Colin Powell, anyway?

outofcontext said...

Schlussel has a point--It would be very dangerous to have a President who wanted to prove himself to his absent Muslim father. It is important that an American President feel the psychological need to prove himself to a present Christian father. Another post well writ.

small town girl said...

Seeing that your blog gave me a link to one of mine, I had to see why?

I am a member of the American bloggers for inclusive debates.

I am last on the list, as my blog is titled: Lisa for President in '08.

I find this post to be most interesting as Obamas lack of public awarness is becoming such an issue...

I have no public awareness...

RobW said...

An elm.

New Day said...

Jon...I love you.

Smalltowngirl...I don't know if "I have no public awareness" is the very best slogan for a presidential candidate.

Grey Pilgrim said...

"No one knows very much about Barack Obama. He has written only two books, which no one has ever read, and given very few interviews." Are you kidding? Both books were best sellers (meaning a few have read them). Only 2? How many books did Bush write before he ran? He's been a cover story for many national magazines (meaning more than a couple of interviews). In his books and his articles he's given more information about his life than most care to know. He has not hidden a Muslim past (it's in his writings). As for experience, I wonder too. But, experience gave us the gulf war (Cheney, Rumsfeld, etc.). A previous Illinois politician with only two years' experience in DC didn't do too badly (remember A. Linclon?). I'm not on the Obama bandwagon yet. But, let's forget 'loaded' questions and try honest ones.

ecllc said...

"Reasonable conservative" defines you well. As one of the "no ones" who read The Audacity of Hope, your commentary from the "right" is refreshing. The far right is what lost the 2006 elections for the Republicans. Right now (smoker or not), Obama is a well-timed "centrist" (used loosely) who offers a vision that at least of the country feels like it has been lacking. Also, the reality is that Obama doesn't sound like he is full of BS. I think a lot of people would agree with me that we've been hearing BS for a long time now; honesty, regardless of what side you're on, is a plus.

Connecticut Man 1 said...

How did you get that picture of Osama Bin Laden for this post? It looks so recent.

From a loyal CNN/Fox viewer. heh

dave in boca said...

Barack may sincerely have renounced Islam, but remember that that act makes him an apostate, and liable to a fatwa calling for his death by any Muslim fanatic. And you can be sure that a whack-job Imam will emerge and issue just such a Salman Rushdie type fatwa.

Ah, yes. The "Religion of Peace."

Chuck Butcher said...

I needed something like this, all that MSM news has made me tired. A late 17th century outlook was called for.

And thanks for the link

Anonymous said...

Funny stuff...have to wonder how Moon slides behind the curtain - most conservatives or even non net liberals don't know Moon has outspent anyone bringing the right to power in the 80s and 90s in his never ending effort to turn us into a right wing nightmare so the theocrats can flourish.


Buying the right

By the mid-1980s, Moon's Unification Church had carved out a niche as an acceptable part of the American right. In one speech to his followers, Moon boasted that "without knowing it, even President Reagan is being guided by Father (Moon)." Yet, Moon also made clear that his longer-range goal was the destruction of the U.S. Constitution and America's democratic form of government. "History will make the position of Reverend Moon clear, and his enemies, the American population and government will bow down to him," Moon said, speaking of himself in the third person. "That is Father's tactic, the natural subjugation of the American government and population."

or from

U.S News and World Report March 27, 1989
Rev. Moon's Rising Political Influence
His empire is spending big money trying to win favor with conservatives.

On New Year's Day, 1987, South Korean mystic Sun Myung Moon, who considers himself to be the son of God, told his Unification church followers that he wanted to expand the church's political influence in the United States. His aim, Moon said, was "the natural subjugation of the American government and population." ...

...the church has established a network of affiliated organizations and connections in almost every conservative organization in Washington, including the Heritage Foundation, the largest of the conservative think tanks and an important source of government personnel during the Reagan administration.

as Moon, who wants democracy replaced in America, puts it

The famous term “melting pot” is always used to describe America. However, Reverend Moon came to America over twenty-five years ago but he has not become Americanized at all. Rather he has caused America to become Moonized. (Sun Myung Moon - June 5, 1997)

The man spends billions in overseas swindled cash propping up and molding the right yet you will never hear his name spoken by any of the pundits on TV. When are Fox and Rush, and O'reily going to go on FOX and thank Moon for putting them in control of all three branches of the government in 2001?

small town girl said...

new day --

Does "no one know me Yet" sound better"

Interesting points to ponder here...

james higham said...

Brilliant post, Jon. Just this side of left field and very tongue in cheek.

The thing about Manchurian Candidates, one of my specialities, is that they're already in there - Cheney, Kerry, Gore and Co.

There's no need to stack the deck because they created the deck. As for Muslim MC, he wouldn't get anywhere unless he was in with the Finance and it suited their book.

utility comedian said...

Hilarious... really sharp. I'll be back!

dusty said...

Entertaining post. Thank you sir..may I have another?

Anonymous said...

I for one look forward to those substantive questions about Obama's sartorial preferences (earth tones anyone?), whether he discriminates against Mexicans or Chinese in his favorite foods, and whether his name is a contraction of "Of Alabama" indicating a mysterious personal history he has not told us about. Choosing presidents is hard work.


Not Saussure said...

O'Bamargh? Sounds Irish to me, parsec.

melodrama said...

Obama will make a great president, his challenges notwithstanding. He knows it's not going to be easy, the prejudice, lies and low blows, but he's a strong dude. Keep asking the tough questions, makes us know what the guy is about.

Anonymous said...

John Swift,

You may very well be a conservative, but your post about Obama proves that you are an idiot.

BTW, if you must refer to FNS, at least use the correct name; The Faux Noise and Republican Propaganda Channel.

Barack Obama 08 said...

I'm pretty sure that the worst has already been seen for Obama. His opponents should have waited to ambush him and have saved their ammunition for closer to the elections. Now they've run out of easy things to make fun of and Hillary is now running through the gauntlet.

Anonymous said...

I would like to ask Barack Obama why he does not participate in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance? Is it because he does not believe in God or the United States?

Anonymous said...


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