WRONG. . .WRONG. . .WRONG: Obama Lets Muslim Advisor Resign

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obama_believe.jpg
Will anyone notice? Barack Obama’s team just threw its key Muslim advisor under the bus.
Barack Obama needs to make a statement loudly, clearly, and with passion that he embraces Muslims as much as any other Americans of Christian, Buddhist, Jewish or other religious persuasions. It wouldn’t hurt for him to embrace devout secularists like me for that matter.
But I’m irritated and saddened by news that Barack Obama’s Muslim-outreach coordinator, Mazen Asbahi, has resigned “amid questions about his ‘involvement’ in an Islamic investment fund and various Islamic groups.”
Let’s tally up Obama’s Muslim outreach record:

~ Obama campaign apparatchiks ask young Muslim women not to stand in photo with Obama because of head scarves (Obama campaign later apologizes).
~ Barack Obama gives AIPAC speech that manages to run to the right of President Bush and Israel Prime Minister Ohlmert in demanding that “Jerusalem must not be divided.” (Obama later recants after the fact)
~ Barack Obama not only terminates Middle East advisor Robert Malley from his team because of Malley’s views that Hamas should be engaged — but his spokesman, Bill Burton, states that not only is Rob Malley no longer advising Obama “but will never advise Obama”. That’s running the bus over someone and then backing it up to make sure that Malley doesn’t survive and has no chance in an Obama administration. I like to remind folks that Paul Volcker and Ted Sorensen signed the same letter Malley did but have thus far missed the campaign guillotine.
~ Barack Obama gives an inspirational speech to more than 200,000 Germans in Berlin calling for a “World Without Walls.” But Obama is silent in Israel when it is the wall dividing Israelis and Palestinians that is becoming an increasingly worse and impactful global ulcer.
~ Barack Obama spends 30 plus hours in Israel and 45 minutes in Ramallah during his recent trip and meets many Iraelis who have been pro-settilement expansion, solidly violating international law and US policy. Some on Obama’s advisory team turn a blind eye to Israel’s expanding settlements and continue to be associated with and meet with settlement zealots — but Obama keeps ALL of these people on his team.
~ Barack Obama accepts the resignation of a mainstream Arab-American lawyer from his advisory team because eight years ago, Mazen Asbahi served on a board “for a few weeks” that included a muslim fundamentalist imam from Illinois. Asbahi resigned from the board. . .eight years ago.

What? Wait? Obama has had a many years long relationship with Jeremiah Wright — and sat on a board with William Ayers — NEITHER of which I think are disqualifiers for Obama’s candidacy. . .and yet Obama’s political team and Obama himself did not demand from Asbahi that he stay on the team, stand his ground, and fight back against the vile right-wing hit on him and his credibility?!
I think that this is outrageous — and those on the left who appreciate Obama and what he may mean for this country must become as tenaciously committed to what is right and what is good — and fighting for that — because those on the other side of these debates are trying to compel Obama to dilute himself.
Zalmay Khalilzad is an effective and popular MUSLIM Ambassador of the United States to the United Nations. We need more Muslims in our diplomatic corps. We need Muslims on the Supreme Court. We need more Muslims like Keith Ellison in the US Senate and House of Representatives.
Obama should say it. Convince the American public that he’s not setting up a zero sum game between Muslims on one side and Christians and Jews on the other.
Obama is a Christian. I get that. I’m a secularist hard core — but I won’t stand by to watch more good people be flushed down the political drain because they are Muslims trying to work for a balanced and level playing field in America.
This resignation by Asbahi stinks — and Obama and his team should immediately call him back and help him stand up to anti-Muslimism in America.
– Steve Clemons

Comments

212 comments on “WRONG. . .WRONG. . .WRONG: Obama Lets Muslim Advisor Resign

  1. Alice says:

    I agree, that Obama is the best candidate for Muslims in the US.

    Reply

  2. Alice says:

    I agree, that Obama is the best candidate for Muslims in the US. Even if someone tries to besmirch him, we should understand, that it’s all politics! Nobody is perfect, besides. Very often, when voting, you’re just chosing the lesser of two evils. However, this time personally I am sure in my choice. I believe that with Obama ruling our state both foreign policy and financial prosperity of citizens will progress.
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  6. Payday Loan Advocate says:

    The New York Times has run a transcript of John McCain’s stump speech in Dayton, Ohio, and the Arizona senator appears to be in a fighting mood. “I’m an American. And I choose to fight. Don’t give up hope. Be strong. Have courage. And fight,” he says. He issues the call to fight for what’s right for America, for justice and opportunity, for the children. But with items like Issue 5 on the agenda for Ohio voters, McCain makes sure not to gloss over the economic concerns that swirl above like dark clouds. He’s ready and able to point out that “Barack the Redistributor” will spread the wealth but not put policies in place that create more. Obama believes taxes are too low, McCain says, while the senior senator believes spending as was the norm during the Bush administration is too high. Payday loans do not draw McCain’s ire as much as Obama’s promise to bail out Wall Street bankers with $750 billion of taxpayers’ money. The “maverick’s” ultimate plan for the economy is to “get it out of the ditch and back in the lead.” That, he feels, will enable Americans to rest easy, knowing that they’ll be passing on a better life to their children and grandchildren.
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    Reply

  7. the truth says:

    Everyone watch his interview of 9/7/08 with George S. where he says ‘my muslim faith’ – he sputters, stutters hmmmmss and hahsss – because he is a liar. He is a radical islamic plant – for 20 years – with backers like Khalid Al Mansour and his many radical friends who wrote him into Harvard. ITs obvious – he is a liar. why not take a lie detector ? Cause hes a coward.
    Only a fool would risk national security with a radical like this.

    Reply

  8. PacificGatePost says:

    ————————
    IT’S NOT JUST BECAUSE CAMPAIGN ADS ARE NEGATIVE THAT THEY
    ARE A PROBLEM —
    http://pacificgatepost.blogspot.com/2008/07/more-evidence-
    that-republicans-dont.html
    McCain’s campaign may be getting torpedoed by Republicans.

    Reply

  9. Passerby says:

    Hi, Steve,
    I just came across your article on the fly and I have to say, I was pretty impressed and delighted with your balanced perspective!! :)
    Thanks so much for writing the piece you have.
    Honestly, I’m not surprised by Obama’s moves b/c I see this as the ‘accepted policy’ but I’m really glad that others are noticing as well!
    Thanks again.
    Passerby

    Reply

  10. Paul Norheim says:

    Well,
    it`s as if WigWag completely looses her judgment when talking
    about Obama. Now even his supporters are “fanatics”…

    Reply

  11. Sweetness says:

    Paul writes: “WigWag, I interpreted his use of his grandmother as a
    human and concrete example of a regrettable, but common fear
    among white people of her generation, and not as an effort to
    blame her.”
    Of course it was. The whole speech was an attempt to show the
    insidious role race relations play in the US–even among blood
    relatives. He was hardly blaming his grandmother (for what?)

    Reply

  12. krusty says:

    The reasoning behind the Obama team is simple…he aprreciates the Muslim faith and has stated as much ..he cant possibly be anti-muslim with a muslim father…if he publicly embraces Islam his career and candidacy will be over…then how will you whiners feel when Mccain is president..he is definitely NO FREIND of Islam..he was againsts minority rights from way back….just face reality
    NO candidate in his right mind is going to embrace muslim causes not in this climate….best thing to do is quit your bitchin and help get obama elected ..the alternative is ten times worse ..mccain. would bomb every muslim country if you give him the chance
    quit your silly bitchin and vote Obama08
    Krusty

    Reply

  13. arthurdecco says:

    WigWag said: “When I comment, I usually try to be as factual as I can.”
    That’s the rub, isn’t it? “…as I can” – the qualifier that excuses all manner of your rhetorical flourishes and deliberate dishonesties.
    Facts, judging by your growing body of Washington Note commentary, are rubberized – perfectly flexible belief systems, rather than the strong, straight, truisms required for honest dialogue.

    Reply

  14. WigWag says:

    To Rich, sorry you feel that way about my comments, but hey, it takes all types to make a world. Live and let live. When I comment, I usually try to be as factual as I can. If you decide that someday you would like to engage me on some facts instead of just making a general criticism of my morality, I would be delighted to give it a go.
    As for your comment about Gil Scott Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not be Televised” you’re right, I did invert the meaning. Actually I was just joking.
    Jamie, glad I could put a smile on your face. Gil Scott Heron is great, great, great! He is widely considered to be the Godfather of rap and Hip Hop although most of his music is not of those genres per se. Much of his work is highly political and in the 1970s he was considered one of the great musical artists to emerge from the Black Power movement. He credits the poet Langston Hughes as being one of his greatest artistic influences.
    He is probably best known for two classics, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” and “The Bottle” Both swing.
    There are many Gil Scott Heron entries on You Tube. I highly recommend that you check him out.

    Reply

  15. rich says:

    Did I hear someone say, ‘Who is Gil Scott-Heron?’
    Jamie.W, see:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTCQSk2l8bc
    WigWag: How you could watch “The Revolution Will Not be Televised,” and completely invert its meaning is beyond me.
    But then, you’re here pushing some seriously amoral propaganda points, none of which has any basis in fact. Knocking ‘em all back down would be a full-time job, and engaging you and each vicious smear you try to breath life into just isn’t worth it. But, I confess, I do feel sorry for you: it’s a lot of work, hasn’t it!
    DonS: NOT “the context of politics as usual”—the context is hardly standard. I do think Obama is both skilled and transformative.
    He is far more direct than many acknowledge. Most people just don’t listen closely enough to his actual words. They’re used to politicians who by turns bonk them with rhetorical cudgels or slickly lie. Not the case w/Obama; hence the confusion.
    You can’t ask him to be both a martyr and transformative. How about he avoids being crucified (figuratively and literally)—wins, and proceeds to transform a few things once he’s got an official office?
    . But I believe we are in a time that requires a leap in a different direction.

    Reply

  16. DonS says:

    [my last sentence didn't get posted]
    ” . . .whatever stance Obama takes will be attacked negatively.”
    . . . so why not take a principled stance? I can hardly believe I’m writing that with a straight face

    Reply

  17. DonS says:

    Rich, you are right, we disagree. All you say, including “He has to win in a cultural context where insidious SwiftBoating is acceptable” has some truth to it in the context of politics as usual. But I believe we are in a time that requires a leap in a different direction.
    At the margins, any issues on which candidate gets too far out on a limb has potential danger. But across the spectrum, vision and courage have a wide appeal.
    Your points are taken. My rejoinder would be that whatever stance Obama takes will be attacked negatively.

    Reply

  18. Sally says:

    Wow, didn’t expect this site to eliminate someones
    comment because they don’t agree.
    Pure Red is correct

    Reply

  19. Sally says:

    One last comment; If Obama changes his mind on
    this subject (Muslim) and begins to embrace. This
    will be most telling that he is a stealth muslim
    that believes in a socialistic/marxist world.

    Reply

  20. Sally says:

    Red is correct! Obama is a stealth muslim. He
    pushes away islamic people because of the fear
    of being exposed.
    Do remember what he said to Farakahn when he was
    part of the million man march. Obama told Farakahn, THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO GO ABOUT IT.
    Obama is stealth like and calculating. This is one big chess game and all our country can hope
    for is he does not check mate.
    Please Obama followers that have been entranced
    in a field of illusion, READ everything you can
    from the side you are not. I have forced myself
    to read both sides, and I have come to one conclusion, Obama is not honest nor is his wife,
    and they will hurt America.

    Reply

  21. rich says:

    DonS,
    Disagree, in that the onus does not fall on Obama to fix this. He has to win in a cultural context where insidious SwiftBoating is acceptable. One where no Republican holds their peers responsible for going the low road.
    Has Steve Clemons publicly called out John McCain for using methods that appeal to our deepest fears? That fearmonger and race-bait?
    This is McCain’s responsibility—and the only available conclusion is that Steve has conceded Republicans will not live up to the inclusive and tolerant ideals that forged American spirt and law.
    Dont’ get me wrong: I agree with Steve in principle, that Democrats need to fight back and stand up for what America believes in. Yet even Obama is too prudent to commit political suicide.
    We should take heed. Because he’s the only one with the guts and temerity to call a spade a spade.
    McCain’s flip-flopping goes unchallenged. He once denounced smear tactics and pledged to go the high road. Now, he’s adopting the trivializing tactics and rancid ridicule of Karl Rove, courtesy of Steve Schmidt. http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/207543.php
    Shouldn’t McCain be held responsible for the smear tactics, the trivializing and cheap campaign, the lowering of himself? The refusal to offer viable and realistic policy options?
    What does John McCain stand for? What does he offer the country?
    Aren’t John McCain’s shortcomings the real issue here? Not Obama’s?
    I suggest we remember who’s poisoning the well here. It’s not Obama.
    Demanding he fall on the sword of his own principle is not only sily, but self-indulgent.
    Republican leaders have an obligation to call out their own on this. To police their own.
    That includes Lincoln Chafee. Chuck Hagel. Dick Lugar.
    Allowing Rove and Cheney and DeLay to cost the country so much—and virtually kill the Republican Party—will that be pinned on Obama as well?
    I agree it’s a mistake to concede any points used to smear Obama. It’s just fodder for more attacks. But don’t forget how far they’ve already gone. Sen. Obama will go back on the offensive, but in the right way and at the right time.
    , it’s cost their party much credibility as well.
    (& Smith-Rove)

    Reply

  22. Jamie.W says:

    I am a long-time lurker who rarely comments, but I had to give a shout out the the Wigmeister. The thought of Carroll marching back and forth in her Che Guevara tee and her Kuffiya is the funniest thing I’ve ever heard at the Washington Note.
    I’m just afraid that I might have trouble getting the image out of my head.
    Wigs, I do have one question. Who is Gil Scott Heron?

    Reply

  23. WigWag says:

    Carroll Aug 08, 12:51AM accuses me of having “no other source of reference or education to draw from when discussing politics or other subjects.”
    Well Carroll, that’s not entirely true. I do have your insightful comments at the Washington Note and POAs and Arthur Deccos as a source of reference to draw from. They sure are an education.
    By the way on another thread a few days ago, you mentioned that you were trying to remember the name of the head wear worn by some Muslims because you were thinking of wearing one in solidarity. I think the item you were trying to come up with is called a kuffiya. Believe it or not there is a webssite with the URL of http://www.kuffiya.com where you can buy one.
    With you in a kuffiya and all those European leftists in their Che Guevara tee shirts, I know the revolution can’t be too far away. But if you really want to move it along, I suggest you take out your Che Guevara tee shirt and wear it at the same time that you put on your kuffiya. What a political statement that will make! And who knows, you might start a whole new fashion trend. They might even put you on the cover of Vogue or Mademoiselle or even People
    But if it happens, try to stay humble and don’t let it get to your head. You remember what Gil Scott Heron said, “the revolution will not be televised!”

    Reply

  24. DonS says:

    I can’t let this thread go by just watching.
    With all the economic disaster facing this (US)country it is STILL, perhaps more, important to be outraged about social issues, and any pandering to the meanest streak in Americans.
    Steve is absolutely right that Obama, if anyone, should be standing up and lambasting this racist swiftboating, not abetting it. If Obama is too cowardly to do so, what does it say? Surely he doesn’t think people haven’t recognized his “color” by now? Seeking to homogenize himself wins contempt from both ends of the spectrum. Failing to strongly advocate for social/human/religious rights in a hands on way (vs the lapses Steve cites) smells of hypocrisy).
    Failing to act the transformational figure that was Obama’s initial message and generated such energy is failing, period.

    Reply

  25. arthurdecco says:

    Thanks for putting a smile back on my face, POA.

    Reply

  26. rich says:

    Steve,
    I agree with each of your points in principle, for two reasons.
    Obama’s decisions essentially cedes ground, facilitating his rival’s ability to define an issue on which he’ll be attacked in the future. Second, in my view it’s critical to draw a bright clean line on this, for all the right reasons.
    But Obama’s not President yet; this isn’t the height of the Cold War where there’s the unity and stability to evoke high-minded principle.
    And Obama must be keenly aware that he needs to neutralize the insidious fear & smear methods used against him.
    Here’s Josh Marshall at TPM, tracking McCain & Rove’s race- and sex-based ridicule campaign.
    It’s impossible to fight that technique with logic. I don’t see Obama as a flip-flopper right now—just an extremely cautious guy who is no longer running with me or you, Steve, as his primary audience.
    He needs to neutralize the insidious SwiftBoating:
    http://talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/207543.php
    “To me, the presidential race reached a turning point last week when John McCain opted for a ‘s campaign of denigration employing racial stereotypes, sexualized talking points for surrogates (Obama as “internet date”) and copious ridicule. It’s made the curve that much of the media still uses to grade McCain’s more obvious shortcomings all the more conspicuous and significant …”

    Reply

  27. yaman says:

    Thank you for compiling this list that shows that the Obama
    campaign has had no idea how to deal with its Muslim problem,
    and that the resignation/friendly dismissal of Mazen Asbahi is just the latest mistake.

    Reply

  28. PissedOffAmerican says:

    What WigWag doesn’t seem to get is that thats why Hillary lost, she doesn’t symbolize or represent that “change” Carroll talks about.
    (Not that it really matters to him. Its obvious his whole schpeil is just a slimey back door endorsement of McCain, couched in subterfuge and dishonesty.)
    And the other part of the equation that he doesn’t understand is that his constant swiftboating and use of scripted derogatory talking points doesn’t represent “change” either.
    Its just the same tired old shit.

    Reply

  29. Carroll says:

    Posted by wigwag Aug 07, 9:33PM
    But for people who supported him in the primaries and the caucuses, the best word to describe them is narcissistic”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    I am guessing that you came to this description because you spend your time reading ancient literature and try to relate everything to tales of tragedy or erotica because you have no other source of reference or education to draw from when discussing politics or other subjects.
    Worse, it’s not even accurate since most people don’t look in the mirror and see a half black, half white, half muslim heritage and half chrisitan hertiage ex professor, current presidential candidate staring back at them. Maybe you are saying they see themselves in him
    because of his lofty calls to be better people and consider each other..which if that is what you are saying, which is the only thing that could actually apply to people seeing themselves in him…. well then that contridicts the very definition of a narcissist doesn’t it.
    Obama supporters were actually “desperate” and/or “hopeful” citizens looking for change in their government.
    It really is that simple. Whether he delivers or not is another matter.

    Reply

  30. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Tawdry??
    Damn, Arthur, don’t you know “oily” when you read it?
    Tawdry is for fantacizing.
    Oily ya gotta wash off.

    Reply

  31. kovie says:

    “8th century Islam will destroy the Post-Enlightenment West”
    Um, eedjut, 8th century Islam actually SAVED the West…back in the 8th century.
    Read a book or two instead of spending so much time listening to Rush Assboil. Preferably the kind not published by Regnery. I.e. real books, for adults with about room temperature IQs who made it through the 4th grade.

    Reply

  32. WigWag says:

    Sorry Arthur, I’m just not smart enough to be as substantive as you. Thanks for reminding me when I’ve been dumb or silly. It’s great to know I have you around to guide me when I stray from the path that you have blazed.
    Now since you called me tawdry, I’ve selected a poem on the subject to thank you for the effort you are making on my behalf.
    A Tawdry Dance Hall, John Hall Wheelock (1886)
    The dance, the dance, with wild and whirling bodies
    They moved together to the tawdry tune
    He heard it in her dreadful hurried breathing
    Tonight, tonight, oh tonight is soon
    With twenty thousand suns of blaring brilliance
    Glared in his head the barron blaze of noon
    The dance, the dance with wild and whirling bodies
    They moved together to the tawdry tune
    Madder and madder whirled the dance and madder
    The whirling shapes like Maenads to the moon
    Madder and madder with the lights above them
    They whirled together to the tawdry tune
    The lights grew dimmer and the music hurried
    Dance for the day is soon, the day is soon
    The dancers wearied and the music wearied
    Just one last dance togehter to the tawdry tune

    Reply

  33. Paul Norheim says:

    POA,
    as we`ve seen once again, Tahoe seems incapable of
    expressing his own opinions. His metier is linking, spamming
    and propaganda, and stopping him is probably like trying to
    stop a rhino.
    Actually, I remember Steve telling you in a comment some
    months ago that he knew Tahoe, and that he was not hired by
    the republicans, or something like that. Somewhere above in
    this thread I also commented on Steve`s policy:
    “Tahoe,
    Steve has a very liberal policy regarding comments at TWN,
    which I approve. You`re misusing his tolerance and generosity
    by treating the blog as a place to dump your propaganda and
    spam.
    I guess there is nothing we can do about that, except
    expressing our contempt.”
    ——
    I repeat: I like Steve`s liberal policy. He also may have his own
    reasons, unknown to us, not to stop Tahoe from posting. Fine.
    But this does not imply that we, as commentators, may be as
    tolerant of Tahoe`s spamming as Steve is. His role regarding
    the comment section is basically the role of an editor. We are
    the ones who provide the content in the comment section. And
    Steve Clemons` role, per definition, as an editor of his blog, is
    to be more tolerant than us as singular participants in his
    comment section. This is a sound, informal agreement, where
    everybody should try to respect the unwritten rules.
    If I have misinterpreted this, Steve, please correct me. My
    comments against Tahoe are basically not ad hominem attacks,
    but attacks on his disrespect of the general spirit of this blog,
    which certainly does not encourage propaganda or spamming,
    but rational or passionate, calm or provocative arguments,
    reflections and information. I certainly don`t ask for an
    exclusion of Tahoe, but if he continues to treat TWN as a
    convenient place to depose his garbage, I`ll once in a while
    continue to express my deep contempt for his behavior.
    If Steve explicitly asks me not to do so, I`ll respect his wishes.

    Reply

  34. arthurdecco says:

    You would, wouldn’t you?…
    After what I wrote, you replied with THAT?!?
    You know sumthin? Yer shallow, like a chemical spill runoff into the ocean of discourse we’re all part of here…swirlingly colorful and toxic both – a perfect attention grabber for the less-than-informed – a facade without an interior – a movie set on a B movie lot.
    Need I extrapolate further?
    Substance matters, WigWag. Without it you can only be ridiculous.

    Reply

  35. WigWag says:

    Wow, tawdry. I’ve never been called that before. I think I might like it!

    Reply

  36. arthurdecco says:

    Re: WigWag Aug 07, 12:51PM
    One minute you’re posting good sense, a few hours later you’re spewing bloody malevolence dressed up on the cheap to look like reason…and failing miserably…
    wtf?!
    Contrary to what you would have us believe, Dan Kervick’s post was a roaring, passionate success on many, many levels. Your response/rebuttal, (if I can charitably call it that), was tawdry and unconvincing.
    Substance matters, WigWag. All of the time. (Think of your ongoing criticisms of Senator Obama… Don’t those concerns of yours about his conflicting statements apply to you too?) Substance matters!
    Why can’t you stuff your astounding hubris and hostility in a garbage can somewhere and come back and join in the conversation as a constructive contributor? You’ve already established that you have a vibrant brain.
    It’s just that I’m astounded at the ways you find to waste your brain’s capabilities and discredit its calculations in conversations with rational people because of your penchant for dishonesty and willful ignorance as tools for engagement with those with whom you disagree.
    Mirrors can be a self-revelatory tool. Examine yourself and your motivations in the harsh, honest light of an early morning teeth-brushing and then get back to me. Please.
    Jesus supposedly spent 40 days and nights undergoing some kind of voluntary self-examination in the harsh environs of the Palestinian desert. Surely a morning in front of a harshly lit, intellectual mirror isn’t too much to ask of you?
    Peace.

    Reply

  37. WigWag says:

    “I’ve never understood your deep aversion to Obama; it contradicts your intelligence, knowledge and judgements in so many issues where I may agree or disagree with you.”
    Paul I have tried to explain my aversion to Senator Obama as articulately as I know how.
    “But I disagree that Obama should plead guilty because rev. Wright has been his pastor. If you go to church regularly, and your priest happen to express political opinions that you don`t share, you blame the priest, and not those attending his speech.”
    Paul, he could have found a new church or not. But one thing is for sure, his grandmother wasn’t in the pews. If he felt he did nothing wrong, thats what he should have told the American public. Blaming everyone else including his grandmother, but accepting no personal responsibility just doesn’t seem particularly honorable to me. If I had been his place, I would like to think that I could have handled it in a way where my family could have been kept out of it.
    “This statement could perhaps be a sign of modesty instead of messianism. Just a thought.”
    Questions, your interpretation is as logical as mine. Your placing the emphasis on the word “imperfect” I’m placing the emphasis on the word “vessel.”
    You kind of like the guy so your inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt. I dislike him so I am not inclined to do that.

    Reply

  38. Paul Norheim says:

    YB,
    as a European (Norwegian), I regret our shortcomings, but I am
    happy that you can feel “at home” in America regarding these
    issues.
    I`ve often discussed this with one of my brothers, who is a
    teacher in the history of world religions, and we strongly agree
    that the American system is much better than the French.
    Norway is somewhere in between, but we fear that our country
    may glide towards the French solution in the current climate. I
    sincerely hope that this will not happen.
    The situation in Holland is getting worse every day. I hope the
    Germans, and especially Berlin, will resist this temptation of
    aggressive secular intolerance and distortion of the great
    European ideas of the Enlightenment, an heritage we share with
    the Americans.
    Paul

    Reply

  39. Tahoe Editor says:

    In Paul’s tradition of repeating his previous posts:
    Obama offered his Grandma Vignette as payment for his 20-year ride
    on the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Windy City Trinity Train of Racexploitation. I don’t think he footed the bill.
    “The U.S. government created the HIV virus to exterminate blacks.”
    “THAT’S MY PASTOR.”
    “Barack Obama is a politician.”
    “THAT’S NOT THE PASTOR I KNEW.”
    Obama is his own distraction.
    http://www.politicalcartoons.com/cartoon/29db4936-a7d8-4f69-9dde-460c20840dd9.html
    The Practicality of Paranoia
    http://www.politicalcartoons.com/cartoon/5ac55bb8-537d-44ca-98a5-501f2c6881ad.html
    The grass clippings are swirling …

    Reply

  40. Paul Norheim says:

    “The fact that the Senator was more willing to blame his
    grandmother in a speech heard by millions of people than
    accept any responsibility himself tells you everything about the
    type of person the presumptive Democratic nominee is.”
    WigWag,
    I interpreted his use of his grandmother as a human and
    concrete example of a regrettable, but common fear among
    white people of her generation, and not as an effort to blame
    her. I`m surprised that you see this otherwise, but then again,
    I`ve never understood your deep aversion to Obama; it
    contradicts your intelligence, knowledge and judgements in so
    many issues where I may agree or disagree with you.
    And BTW, parts of your comment on rev. Wright was wonderful
    in its simplicity:
    “I believe that the good deeds that Reverend Wright has done
    far outweigh the over the top remarks that he has made.” This
    sums up the lives of many people in the age of mass media.
    But I disagree that Obama should plead guilty because rev.
    Wright has been his pastor. If you go to church regularly, and
    your priest happen to express political opinions that you don`t
    share, you blame the priest, and not those attending his speech.

    Reply

  41. questions says:

    WigWag, on the the vessel remark — there’s another interpretation that’s not at all messianic. With every new administration, people indeed hope that things will get better, and that hope is always channeled through the president. Obama has the sense to call himself “imperfect” as a bearer of that hope. This statement could perhaps be a sign of modesty instead of messianism. Just a thought.

    Reply

  42. Tahoe Editor says:

    Obama’s support for an “undivided Jerusalem” lasted all of 24 hours. Does it even warrant an opinion?
    Ask Zbig what he thinks of Obama’s Afghanistan escalation.
    http://www.cartoonistgroup.com/store/add.php?iid=25258
    http://www.politicalcartoons.com/cartoon/d4ee0aa7-8bb2-4318-b489-ddabf6db8601.html

    Reply

  43. YB says:

    “However, I agree with you regarding head scarfs; I would prefer the American system of dealing with religious freedom to the rigorous French and Turkish ways of implementing a secular society. It´s also obvious that America has had a better hand at integrating muslims into their society than the Europeans. And this is partly due to some core American values regarding religious freedom.”
    Paul, you are absolutely right. I lived in Germany, Netherlands, and Spain for several years, even after 911, I have yet to find a country that matches American values when it comes to integrating minorities and religious freedom. Germany is still trying to deal with its large Turkish community (aprox. 2.5 million), The Netherlands: Indo and Moroccan communities, France: North African and African communities. Second and third generations have yet to be integrated with the society.
    It is because of these core American values people around the world looked at America as the symbol of freedom and human values. Thanks to he who should never be named! he managed to tarnish all this. In a hypothetical world, I imagine if I hire someone who hates America and ask him to tarnish American core values and its image around the world, he would never be able to match the achievements of “he who should never be named”.
    YB

    Reply

  44. Paul Norheim says:

    POA,
    I`ll respond later. But first we`ll see if Tahoe is capable of, or
    brave enough to deliver his own opinion, simple or complex,
    without hiding behind links to other people`s opinions, or his
    routine trick of character assassination.

    Reply

  45. WigWag says:

    StlPastor Aug 07, 12:19AM says “The repeated suggestion that Obama ‘threw his grandmother under the bus’ in his speech on racism is a repeated and in my opinion truly insidious republican narrative.”
    I respectfully disagree. Senator Obama gave his celebrated speech on race specifically in response to the political uproar that ensued when Fox News broadcast a series of incendiary remarks by the Senator’s long time spiritual advisor and mentor Revered Wright. I believe that the good deeds that Reverend Wright has done far outweigh the over the top remarks that he has made, but there is no question that the Senator’s campaign was on a precipice and he needed to do something. But what did the Senator do? Instead of taking any responsibility himself he changed the subject and blamed everyone else. To listen to the Senator, the controversy over the Reverend’s remarks were all the fault of white people being insensitive to black people and black people being insensitive to white people. Only a brain dead press corps could think Obama’s speech was anything more than a huge cliché more appropriate to Oprah or Dr. Phil than to a nuanced discussion about a long standing and abiding American tragedy.
    The one thing absent from the Senator’s speech was any remorse or expression of regret for his own behavior. He’s the one who sat privately in the pews of that church for all those years, not his elderly grandmother. The fact that the Senator was more willing to blame his grandmother in a speech heard by millions of people than accept any responsibility himself tells you everything about the type of person the presumptive Democratic nominee is.
    Susan Aug 07, 9:50AM says “WigWag calls Obama supporters “wide eyed” and “narcissistic.” Why are they any more “wide eyed” and “narcissistic” than McCain supporters or Clinton supporters or Edwards’s supporters or Romney supporters?
    That characterization doesn’t seem fair.”
    Susan, you know Ovid’s Narcissus story. Narcissus is in a forest searching for Echo who has been calling him. During his search he comes upon a pond, catches a glimpse of his own reflection and is so overwhelmed by his own reflected beauty that he stares interminably until he eventually falls into the pond and drowns.
    Supporters of every other candidate, Democratic and Republican could scrutinize their candidate’s record and decide if they liked what they saw. And they could match up their candidate’s rhetoric with his/her actions to determine for themselves if their candidate had been consistent. This is not only true for the major Republican candidates (McCain, Romney, Huckabee, Paul) but also for the minor Republicans. On the Democratic side all of the candidates including Mike Gravel had a record that could be scrutinized. There was only one candidate in the race who had no record to scrutinize and that candidate was Barack Obama.
    Obama himself has acknowledged in his own autobiography that he’s a blank slate on which fans project their own views and hopes. He acknowledged it again in a February, 16, 2007 speech to 7,000 supporters in Ames Iowa when he said “I am an imperfect vessel for your hopes and your dreams.” He’s repeated this phrase on several occasions and he and the enraptured crowds he says it to are apparently oblivious to the creepy, messianic quality of the comment.
    But there you have it. Supporting Obama as the Democratic nominee was a wholly irrational act that cannot be explained by anything other than the self love that Obama supporters saw reflected when they gazed upon his visage.
    Obama supporters will tell you that what differentiated Obama from the other candidates was the bravery he demonstrated in opposing the War in Iraq from the beginning. But Susan, don’t believe it. Obama’s opposition carried little political risk because he was an unknown state lawmaker courting liberal voters in Illinois. Being against the war in his district was about as brave as being against the war in Cambridge, MA, Austin, TX or Berkeley, CA. In his district it would have shown more courage to be for the war. And of course, once he got to the Senate he voted like all his primary opponents.
    I have no problem with people who vote for Obama now. What choice do they have? McCain’s awful. Voting for Obama in the general election may be making the best of a bad situation.
    But for people who supported him in the primaries and the caucuses, the best word to describe them is narcissistic.

    Reply

  46. Paul Norheim says:

    “How many young children and women will we save if we
    quickly and decisively finish our job in Afghanistan and nab the
    guy who started all this?”
    YB, I sincerely hope you`re right, but I`m seriously concerned
    that Afghanistan will become a quagmire during a possible
    Obama presidency (actually, it already is a quagmire, but I am
    afraid that the suffering and fighting will increase in the coming
    years), and that the situation for the civilian population in Iraq
    will be horrible as well in the coming years, regardless of a
    relative American retreat or continued heavy occupation.
    I think the Bush administrations decisions were fatal, and that
    the horrible long term consequences will not be avoided by a
    new president, regardless of his choices or ability to choose.
    This is obviously not a politically constructive point of view, and
    by nature I`m not a pessimist. But in these events, I regard
    pessimism as realism in the short term. I guess long term
    patience is what is required.

    Reply

  47. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Norheim…..
    Honestly, Tahoe bugs the shit outta me too. But, if you’ll recall, Steve once commented about Tahoe, saying he knew who he was, and he described Tahoe as a “true believer”.
    Considering Steve’s comment, my guess would be that he is perfectly capable of communicating with Tahoe, and expressing any displeasure he has with Tahoe’s posting. Trust me, I know from past experience that Steve isn’t shy about lettin’ you know when you’ve crossed his line.
    Point being, I guess; I’m confident Steve would let Tahoe know if his posting is no longer welcome here. Obviously, to date, thats not how he feels about it.

    Reply

  48. james says:

    Your dismay at B.O.’s moves is petty.
    You have two choices this year. One is McCain.
    Stop whining about one man not undoing all the anti-muslim propaganda produced in the US since 9/11.
    He is a politician, not Joan of Arc. Just please stop whining and get behind the man. Or put down your pen.

    Reply

  49. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Every time you have to stand in line and empty your pockets at airport security, thank a Muslim for that. Every time you have to take your shoes off and have your luggage x-rayed and searched, thank a Muslim for that. Every loss of civil liberties, the Patriot Act, domestic spying, FISA, thank a Muslim for that”
    Yeah, and by golly, it only took twelve of them with boxcutters to do it, right? Sorry, but everytime I suffer these anti-american travails you list, I will thank George Bush and Dick Cheney for inflicting them upon us.
    It is the installation and implementation of these fascist doctrines and policies that turned 9/11 into a “success” for the “terrorists”. And that holds true whether you consider the twelve hi-jackers the “terrorists”, or Cheney/Bush the “terrorists”.

    Reply

  50. YB says:

    As an American Muslim I surely feel alienated by this kind of unfortunate events.
    Surely Obama is wrong, no question about it. As a leader he must stand-up for his staff when needs be. Here is how many Muslim Americans including myself rationalize Obama’s actions when we first heard about the two girls who were denied the chance to stand behind him.
    Average American Muslims are well informed about the issues of the hour. Not because they are smarter, but simply because they don’t feel home at home and therefore they must learn day in and day out how to peacefully navigate their way in this ruthless islamophobic landmine. I get up every morning not knowing when the next attack is going to come from. I believe the majority of Muslim Americans would vote for Obama. why? Because they vote on a collection of issues rather than only one issue. How many lives of innocent American soles of young solders and Iraqis will we save if Obama pulls the troops out of Iraq as he promised? How many young children and women will we save if we quickly and decisively finish our job in Afghanistan and nab the guy who started all this?
    Obama is an astute politician who picks his fights. He can’t just jump into the ring of every fight that presents itself. My vote is not because of how he handles Muslims ONLY, but my vote is on how he presents his case on a collection of issues, Muslims is one of them.
    Still hurt by these right wing attacks? Absolutely! However, I can withstand the attacks if the endgame is Change.

    Reply

  51. Paul Norheim says:

    It certainly is the case. And since you`re asking me, let me
    engage you once more:
    What`s your (I repeat: your) opinion on Obamas suggested
    strategy of bringing most of the American soldiers “back home”,
    leaving some soldiers in Iraq, the number depending on “the
    facts on the ground”? And secondly, his suggestion to
    concentrate the “war on terror” on Afghanistan by, perhaps as a
    start, removing some of those troops (10 000, I believe) from
    Iraq to Afghanistan, as well as perhaps unilaterally attacking the
    north-western areas of Pakistan if the Pakistani government
    oppose this?
    If you feel insecure or incompetent in answering on this issue,
    what`s your comment on Obamas support for an “undivided
    Jerusalem”?
    And mind you, no links or spam here, but YOUR OPINION!

    Reply

  52. Tahoe Editor says:

    Ah, if that’s truly the case, why do you engage me, over & over & over?

    Reply

  53. Paul Norheim says:

    That`s correct, Tahoe. I detest propaganda. I don`t want to hear
    it. But I often enjoy arguing with an opponent. Unfortunately
    you`re clever in the propaganda department, but crippled when it
    comes to delivering rational, informed, consistent and convincing
    arguments.
    I could spot your kind of type and methods regardless of who you
    were bashing This is not about being hurt because you`re
    bashing Obama. Bash the devil in your typical insincere ways, and
    I`ll defend him.

    Reply

  54. Tahoe Editor says:

    Every phrase is original, but still you boil down to “I don’t want to hear it.”

    Reply

  55. Paul Norheim says:

    Tahoe,
    the crucial difference between you and me is that I may paste one
    of my comments once, but certainly not 100 times, which in
    essence is what you`re doing.

    Reply

  56. Tahoe Editor says:

    If you copy/paste your own post, does that make it not true?

    Reply

  57. Paul Norheim says:

    Tahoe,
    you`re lying, and you know that. Yesterday I wrote a comment
    on this at an other thread that I`ll quote here:
    “Posted by Paul Norheim Aug 06, 8:06AM – Link
    Tahoe,
    you rarely get involved in any serious discussions with anyone
    here. Thus you assume that anyone who are fed up with your
    frequent spamming and bashing must be an Obama fan.
    If you had read anything I`ve written about Obama recently, you
    would have seen some of my main critical points. Let me repeat
    a handful of them:
    1) His move “towards the center” (the FIFA surveillance issue,
    guns, abortion, death penalty, etc. etc,) –– not much of a
    “change”. In my book that move towards “the center” during the
    last couple of months in several ways represents a move toward
    the extreme right. (But this says more about the current climate
    in American politics than about Obama, who wants to win the
    election. Still depressing).
    2) His support for an “undivided Jerusalem” in his speech to the
    AIPAC delegates. The fact that he does not even try to provide
    the illusion of a “balanced view on the Israeli/Palestinian
    conflict”, is also depressing.
    3) His Iraq position, basically implying that he wants to remove
    some American soldiers from Iraq to Afghanistan – from one
    quagmire to another – believing in a military solution of
    problems that require focus and support of other tools.
    4) He does not criticize the fundamental principles of the
    foolish, manipulative, dangerous and contra-productive “Global
    War On Terror”; he criticizes the tactics within that frame. It
    seems like he will continue, in a modified form, the “war” that
    Cheney and Bush once defined. And it looks like he will let
    some 50 000 (plus/minus) troops remain in Iraq more or less
    permanently. I would guess that George Bush during the last
    months and weeks have reached the conclusion that Barack
    Obama is a man he can trust.
    I frankly don`t care much about his former relationship to Rev.
    Wright, his “lack of experience”, his alleged sexism or playing
    the race card and a lot of other issues you and others have
    obsessed over during the last months. But those four issues I
    mentioned above, make me think that it`s not from Obama we
    may expect the “change” many Americans and people elsewhere
    in the world are hoping for.
    So you`re not hurting the feelings or illusions of a European
    fan, when I read your Obama bashing.
    Actually, I was just as annoyed (and said so) when someone
    recently were bashing the current White House adm. for being
    “facists. Not so much for what he said (I more or less agree),
    but that he seemed incapable of saying much else beyond that,
    and thus repeated his accusations on and on, just like you`re
    doing with Obama.
    You said above: “I don’t have a rosy picture to paint of McCain.
    But if I say he has a bad temper 100 times, does that mean he
    doesn’t?”
    Of course not. But if you repeat that fact, not one, two, five or
    ten times, but 100 times, we have every reason to question your
    motives: Why on earth can someone be so obsessed with this
    fact that he repeats it 100 times?
    And after a while, we stop even being curious, we`re just
    annoyed.
    No moral, political, or intellectual effort or insight is required to
    repeat on and on that someone is an asshole, that the current
    WH is a fascist government, or that some presidential candidate
    is the worst phenomenon we`ve seen since Anti-Christ, Charles
    Manson or John Kerry. And it does not provide the readers of
    any insight. Repeating the same stuff 100 times is simply a
    brain wash technique that is unrelated to concepts like “truth”
    or “reality”.
    If you were fighting The Devil, the Pope, Hitler, Mussolini, Pol
    Pot, or Stalin, I would somehow understand why you were
    obsessed with this stuff. But Obama is not much worse, nor
    much better than Clinton or McCain. And if you really believe
    that this kind of spam and propaganda is necessary for some
    reason, it`s certainly not appropriate at The Washington Note,
    where people usually get your point if you restrict yourself to
    repeating your message five or ten times. Your attitude is not
    provocative or stimulating. It`s just annoying.
    In my view, The Washington Note, thanks to Steve Clemons and
    many of the commentators, is a very important blog. A res
    publica, a rare place where several passionate, informative and
    intellectually stimulating political discussions are allowed to
    unfold. And where some marginalized, but crucial issues often
    are raised and discussed.
    Sometimes (actually quite often, admittedly) we are not able to
    live up to what this blog could have been. But you, Tahoe, treat
    it on a regular basis as one of several places where you can
    dump your spam, just like a Viagra advertiser or a biased
    partisan and propagandist.”
    —————
    So much for your relationship to something called “truth”,
    Tahoe. You think you can get away from lying by repeating the
    lies. And that`s actually what spamming, advertising and
    spamming is about.

    Reply

  58. Tahoe Editor says:

    The GOP made him do it.

    Reply

  59. Kathleen says:

    Obama also cancelled a meeting/event with Congressman Keith Ellison because he is a Muslim… thumbs down on that one, tooo. It’s very sad.

    Reply

  60. Tahoe Editor says:

    Paul, you’ve made it clear that your “spamming” is just stuff you don’t want to hear.

    Reply

  61. Paul Norheim says:

    “I contest the oversimplification that “Obama is right on the
    issues and McCain is wrong””
    Tahoe, I think you`re directly quoting WigWag here, from a
    comment he made above. So why don`t you for Christs sake
    provide some reflection and arguments of your own against
    WigWag, instead of just spamming and linking?

    Reply

  62. Tahoe Editor says:

    Yes, evenhandedness is now the law of the land. Turn in your punch cards for Fairness Doctrine examination and Paul will tally how much contempt you deserve. Tee Hee.
    I contest the oversimplification that “Obama is right on the issues and McCain is wrong” or that Obama is “obviously much preferable to McCain” — as does half the country.
    Victor Davis Hanson:
    If the polls are right, a public tired of Republicans is beginning to think an increasingly bothersome Obama would be no better — and maybe a lot worse.
    http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2008/08/hillarys_growing_shadow.html

    Reply

  63. megacephalus says:

    please!
    1.) BHO needs to get elected first. And the Jews, not the Muslims,
    in the USA dictate the media and have the money he needs…
    2.) no matter HOW ‘P.C.’ one tries to be, 8th century Islam will
    destroy the Post-Enlightenment West. It’s only a matter of giving
    its adherents ‘breeding space’…
    It’s a “clash of cultures’ all to visible here in EUrabia [Berlin] which
    they are subverting and destroying…
    Sad but let’s be realistic, TRUE!
    QED

    Reply

  64. Paul Norheim says:

    Kovie,
    when you look at the whole picture – media coverage, swift
    boating campaigns, money, lobbies… I think POA is right:
    character is an obstacle in US elections.
    Because of this. watch out for people who criticize the character
    or moral of one candidate, while keeping silent or defending his
    opponent.

    Reply

  65. kovie says:

    Sorry, Steve, I agree with all of your points but it’s just not going to happen. Obama has more than amply revealed his “character”–or rather the lack of one, by now. He does not fight. He will not fight. Fighting is simply not within his nature. Nor is standing up for principles that he claims to believe in, at least in words. He is Clinton II, basically, a smart, calculating and smooth-talking politician who says one set of things and then does another, but without any guiding set up underlying principles and values other than to survive and succeed with minimal political injury to him. Sooner or later such people are revealed to be the cowardly phonies that they are, and discredited forever.
    Obviously, he’s still much preferable to McCain, and would likely be a much better president, if only because he’s smarter, more knowledgeable and saner, and tacks more to the moderate center than the generally far-right McCain, and that’s more than ample reason to support him. But the idea that he’s some sort of “different” and “better” politician in any but the purely political sense is just rediculous. Which is why I don’t expect him to alter this marked tendency of his to run away from controversy and combat, even if it means stabbing his supporters in the back. In case there was ever any doubt, FISA made that clear as day. This is not a man to trust, or view as honorable (not that McCain is, of course).
    This election is a choice between two canny and dishonest politicians, one an idiot and a lunatic who’s stuck in the past, the other not. Not the choice we would have wanted to have, but the one that we do have. And the choice is obvious.

    Reply

  66. Paul Norheim says:

    Tahoe,
    Steve has a very liberal policy regarding comments at TWN, which
    I approve. You`re misusing his tolerance and generosity by
    treating the blog as a place to dump your propaganda and spam.
    I guess there is nothing we can do about that, except expressing
    our contempt.

    Reply

  67. Tahoe Editor says:

    For “ridiculous” read: you don’t want to hear it

    Reply

  68. Paul Norheim says:

    “I’ve been wondering of late why/how the right-wing talkers can
    be so full-throated in their defense of McCain and attacks on
    Obama while saying the most ridiculous things. It’s as if they
    can’t hear themselves or don’t care. Anything goes, as long as
    they’re attacking the enemy and defending their guy. Reason or
    thought just doesn’t enter into the discussion unless it’s useful as
    a weapon.”
    This is also a precise portrait of our friend TahoeEditor.

    Reply

  69. Sweetness says:

    “Here is an interesting article from the Tom Paine site about why it
    may be that dems always lose and wonders if Obama is getting bad
    advice about fighting back.”
    This IS an interesting article. I’ve been wondering of late why/how
    the right-wing talkers can be so full-throated in their defense of
    McCain and attacks on Obama while saying the most ridiculous
    things. It’s as if they can’t hear themselves or don’t care. Anything
    goes, as long as they’re attacking the enemy and defending their
    guy. Reason or thought just doesn’t enter into the discussion
    unless it’s useful as a weapon.
    Anyway, this article offers an interesting perspective. Hackett is a
    respective historian, AFAIK.

    Reply

  70. wrensis says:

    Mr. Clemons thank you for that post. It is refreshing to see serious perspective. I appreciate your insights.

    Reply

  71. Steve Clemons says:

    Paul – thanks for the defense, but Dan Kervick’s critique is his -
    - and doesn’t bother me much. I certainly have earned my right
    to be critical and/or disappointed and/or enthusiastic about
    anyone running for higher office. I make no effort to conceal
    the fact that I constantly travel, constantly attend parties,
    buffets, dinners, wine receptions and am part of some of the DC
    insider scene. It’s completely true. The Saudis have paid for my
    hotel when I was there — as did Israelis when I was in Israel.
    Dan doesn’t like this — and I respect where he’s coming from
    but disagree with him. We move on. I will continue to attend
    receptions — and will continue to express enthusiasm for
    Obama and/or McCain when I feel so moved — and to express
    disappointment when they do something wrong — like throwing
    a Muslim outreach advisor under the bus because he didn’t pass
    muster with some right wing bloggers.
    best regards,
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  72. Paul Norheim says:

    “It’s also a bit too conveniently easy for Steve to be a friend of
    Muslims when the Saudi Arabians are paying for his hotel stays,
    panel discussions and buffets. But Obama has to run for
    president of a country filled with people who are the products
    of Republican fear-mongering, and still can’t get over the fact
    that “Obama” rhymes with “Osama.”
    [...]
    Steve hasn’t earned the right to be disappointed with Obama.”
    Dan Kervick, I love your posts here, and consider you one of the
    best commentators at TWN. But in this post I think you`re not
    fair in your attacks on Steve.
    You hate Washington. Fine. But you`re operating with double
    moral standards here. You`re saying that Obama has to do a lot
    of morally dubious things to get elected, and at the same time,
    you seem to demand of Steve to behave morally like Jesus or
    Gandhi.
    True, Steve Clemons is operating on a different level than
    Obama, and is not competing to become the next POTUS. There
    is a lot at stake in the elections. But your highly understandable
    hate of the beltway mentality should not force you to demand
    such a rigorous moral standard from Steve as a political player,
    and at the same time demand of Obamas critics to shut up
    when they judge him to be morally dubious. The same goes for
    your criticism of Hagel (and Steve`s admiration for him): it
    should be possible to disagree strongly with Hagels opinions on
    domestic issues, and at the same time appreciate his actions in
    foreign policy issues – and not demand that he quits his party.
    I find your criticism of Steve Clemons unfair, exaggerated and a
    bit idiosyncratic in this case.

    Reply

  73. Steve Clemons says:

    Robert M — are you referring to me? or to other posters?

    Reply

  74. Robert M says:

    previous should read” your allegiance to the Clintons”….

    Reply

  75. Robert M says:

    Your allegiance makes me distrust anything you say about Obama. With friends like you whom needs Swiftboaters!

    Reply

  76. I_hear_the_voices says:

    Mr. Clemons,
    Let’s be clear here. I’m a registered Democrat, a secular humanist, agnostic, and liberal on just about everything else. I feel just as strongly that the wingnut evangelical Christian Right, as exemplified by James Dobson, Pat Robertson, and the late Jerry Falwell have been bad for the country, and have given the otherwise good aspects of Christianity a bad name.
    I also acknowlege that Muslims in the Middle East have some real legitimate reasons to PO’d at us, since we’ve mucked up foreign policy and backed corrupt dictators for decades.
    I also beleive in separation of church and state and full religious tolerance, as long as any such religion is non violent in its basic creed and affords the same tolerance to other faiths, and you’re a loyal American first (meaning loyal to the Constitution and our core principles, not necessarily the current White House administration), and [name the denomination] second. I believe if you’re an American, whether citizen, be it native born or naturalized, or long term legal resident alien, when it comes to loyalty, the Constitution trumps the Bible, Quran, Torah, Bhagavad Gita or whatever.
    I’ve voted for Dems for president every single time since 1972, with the single exception of 1980 for Reagan’s first term because Jimmy Carter’s administration was such a disaster. Though in retrospect, it was mostly a case of bad breaks and poor PR skills on his part.
    I’m also a strong Obama supporter. I think the Iraq invasion was an unmitigated disaster from the get-go, and Obama was spot on in his opposition in 2002. I think McCain would be absolutely the wrong choice to be the next POTUS. I think Joe Lieberman is an idiot, as are most right wing talkers such as Limbaugh, Hannity, Savage, and Ann Coulter, to name a few. I think the case can be made that the corporate MSM is biased in favor of McCain in particular, and Republicans in general. Why? Maybe they’re all scared of the dreaded “liberal bias” label, maybe they’re lazy and used to being White House stenographers instead of real journalists, perhaps a case of “Stockholm syndrome”, or maybe they just reflect the view of their corporate boards of directors and are afraid to rock the boat.

    Reply

  77. Paul Norheim says:

    “And let’s not forget what the Republicans did to Afghanistan. I
    guess the Muslims really hated that too. But of course this makes
    it hard to explain why Iran, a devoutly Muslim country gave the
    US so much assistance in its invasion”
    WigWag, why are you acting as if you`re ignorant on this issue?
    Some of your statements here may perhaps be effective polemics,
    but lack substance. You are well aware of the fact that the Muslim
    world, like the Christian, the Jewish, or the Buddhist world are not
    monoliths, and contain a huge diversity in faith, sects, opinions
    etc. You also know perfectly well that the Shias in Iran and the
    Salafi zealots in AlQaeda are enemies, and that the leaders in Iran
    were more than happy to see the Taliban go.

    Reply

  78. Carroll says:

    Here is an interesting article from the Tom Paine site about why it may be that dems always lose and wonders if Obama is getting bad advice about fighting back.
    It’s generally about how dems don’t fight back and theorizes that the cultures of the earliest settlers and immigrants to America, which the author divides into the Purtians, the English Calaviers and Scottish Borders are all different and how the heritage of various groups plays a part in how they approach government and politics. There may be something to this theory since the geographical distribution of these settlers fits the current day political attitude of their regions like the north, South and the mid country.
    http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2008083205/why-we-dont-shoot-back

    Reply

  79. Anil Rao says:

    this article very cleverly attempts to distance Obama from muslims and show him as a muslim hater.
    Isn’t that the major problem for Obama with many white americans?,many think that he is a muslim.
    The fact is Obama likes muslims,because his father is a muslim.He converted because of certain advantages…believe me all asian countries with muslim minority population had sufferd and suffering,look at UK..they will NEVER change unless they change no matter what!!

    Reply

  80. Paul Norheim says:

    “Of course European leftists may be as attached to the
    Palestinian cause as they are to their Che Guevara tee shirts, but
    they’re secularists. Cartoons mocking religious figures may be
    second nature to them. It’s in the United States that ridiculing
    religion, including Islam, is considered to be in poor taste.”
    WigWag, those cartoons are highly controversial in Europe.
    Claiming that mocking religious figures “may be second nature
    to [European leftists] is not an exaggeration; it`s simply
    incorrect.
    However, I agree with you regarding head scarfs; I would prefer
    the American system of dealing with religious freedom to the
    rigorous French and Turkish ways of implementing a secular
    society. It´s also obvious that America has had a better hand at
    integrating muslims into their society than the Europeans. And
    this is partly due to some core American values regarding
    religious freedom.

    Reply

  81. Mr.Murder says:

    Ben Franklin helped establish a Mosque and a Synogogue in the nation’s first capital?

    Reply

  82. Tahoe Editor says:

    Don’t hold your breath.

    Reply

  83. Steve Clemons says:

    Note to ‘I hear the voices’ — Normally, I’d be inclined to remove your recent post as its embedded with a bigotry that I find unfathomable. But it is clear to me that you are also rational and your views are consistent with many out there. I’m going to leave it for people to read — because it is the kind of perspective that you represent that I hope Barack Obama has the moral courage and backbone to stand against. I’m quite positive about many aspects of Obama — and not setting up the kind of zero sum game that you call for — would make me appreciate him even more.
    Steve Clemons

    Reply

  84. I_hear_the_voices says:

    “We need more Muslims like Keith Ellison in the US Senate and House of Representatives.”
    You have got to be kidding!?!?! I’m sorry, but as far as I’m concerned, until Saudi Arabia and other such Sharia Law Islamic countries allow religious freedom in their own countries and not go around cutting people’s heads off, blowing people up, and glorifying suicide bomber “martyrs”, Muslims in the U.S. have no standing whatsoever, unless and until they totally embrace our concept of religious freedom and tolerance and specifically renounce the Quranic doctrine on apostasy that states, “Whosoever turns back from his belief [in Islam], openly or secretly, take him and kill him wheresoever ye find him, like any other infidel. Separate yourself from him altogether. Do not accept intercession in his regard.” Sura 4: 88-89.”
    Every time you have to stand in line and empty your pockets at airport security, thank a Muslim for that. Every time you have to take your shoes off and have your luggage x-rayed and searched, thank a Muslim for that. Every loss of civil liberties, the Patriot Act, domestic spying, FISA, thank a Muslim for that.
    See this: http://www.religioustolerance.org/rt_saudi.htm
    And what Muslims think about those who do or want to convert out or Islam to other religions is shown here:
    http://www.religioustolerance.org/isl_apos1.htm
    I’m glad this “Muslim outreach coordinator” resigned. Obama has enough of a problem with his own Islamic sounding name and the false email rumors going around claiming he’s a closet Muslim. There are at most MAYBE 7 million Muslims in the US, with an unkown fraction of those eligible to vote as US citizens, likely no more than 1 million, since they probably don’t let their wives and daughters actually vote.
    The further Obama distances himself from Muslims the better off he’ll be, since every Muslim vote for Obama will be offset by 100s or 1000s more against him if he’s perceived to be too pro Islam. And it doesn’t matter how “inclusive” a candidate really is unless he wins the election.
    Let’s get this straight: ISLAM IS AN ENEMY RELIGION! The only reason we should put up with them at all is a)they have all the oil (and increasingly all our money), and b) 1.25 billion is too many to ignore.
    But under no circumstances do we need to, nor should we embrace Muslims with an “outreach” program, because in their heart of hearts, their loyalty is to Islam and Mohammed, not our Constitution.

    Reply

  85. WigWag says:

    Wow, Dan Kervick has gone ballistic! He’s usually genial and always erudite but tying himself into knots to defend Senator Obama’s flip flops must have become too taxing even for Dan. What other explanation can there be for his post at 12:22 this morning. The most charitable interpretation of his comment is that it is full of half truths; the more realistic interpretation is that it is a full throated rant.
    Dan reminds us that “the McCain campaign, and the entire fucking Republican Party for that matter, has done zero for Muslims in America or elsewhere.”
    But that’s a half truth. If he has evidence that American Muslims have done more poorly under republican administrations than Democratic administrations than anyone else, he should site it. Have hate crimes gone up? Other than the weeks following September 11th the data suggests they haven’t. Have Muslims been denied their civil rights under color of law? If he has evidence to support this proposition he should tell us what it is. What about head scarves or chardors? Can Muslim women in the United States wear them freely in public spaces and government offices? You bet they can. Of course in Europe, countries that are supposedly so much more solicitous of Muslim rights, wearing the head scarf is much more problematic. As Dan knows perfectly well, Muslim women are freer to choose their form of dress in the United States than they are in Muslim Turkey. And in the United States, Muslims aren’t taxed to support a state religion not their own; that is until George Bush announced his faith based initiative. But of course Senator Obama recently called a press conference to announce his support of the faith based initiative too.
    Muslims in the United States don’t have to fear opening the newspaper to find The Prophet insulted. Of course European leftists may be as attached to the Palestinian cause as they are to their Che Guevara tee shirts, but they’re secularists. Cartoons mocking religious figures may be second nature to them. It’s in the United States that ridiculing religion, including Islam, is considered to be in poor taste.
    But I am sure what Dan really means about the Republicans is their terrible and disgusting record of torture at Guantanamo, the degradation at Abu Ghraib and horrible policies like extraordinary rendition. But Dan conveniently forgets to mention that Senator McCain has been amongst the most outspoken and vociferous opponents of torture. Unlike Senator Obama, McCain bucked a president of his own party and the majority of his own caucus to speak out against the Bush policy. Of course Obama opposes torture too. But I can’t help but wonder whose voice Americans find more compelling and persuasive on this issue; the voice of the former part time professor of constitutional law or the man who spent years in a Vietnamese prison camp and was water boarded himself.
    Of course, Dan is also referring to America’s behavior in the Middle East. But here again, his tendency to see everything in black and white obscures the truth as much as it clarifies it. There’s no question that America is deeply unpopular in the Muslim world (as well as the non Muslim world). But it’s also true that the destination of choice for Palestinians who have decided to leave is the United States. That’s also true for thousands of Muslims from other Arab countries, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. And perhaps Dan should check with the Sunnis or Druze in Lebanon right now to ask them if they have more affection for Americans or for their Shia Muslim brethren in the southern part of their country or in Iran.
    If Dan meant the “fucking republicans” never did anything for the Iraqis other than bomb them or torture them, I think he has a point; but again he is only telling half the truth. I think going into Iraq was a terrible mistake and that American behavior has too often been awful. There is universal agreement that the war has been bungled. But while most Iraqis may want the occupation to end, is Dan so sure that the Shia in the South are sorry that the U.S. invaded and deposed Hussein? My guess is that at least a substantial minority are glad we came. And what about the Kurds in the north? Dan knows perfectly well that they considered the American invasion to be a great gift and that they would be happy for the US occupation to go on forever. But the Kurds, while Muslim, tend to be more secular so maybe Dan doesn’t count them as Muslims. Or maybe they just offend him because many of them consider George Bush to be a hero.
    And let’s not forget what the Republicans did to Afghanistan. I guess the Muslims really hated that too. But of course this makes it hard to explain why Iran, a devoutly Muslim country gave the US so much assistance in its invasion
    But the paragraph that really convinced me that Dan needed to get some sleep was when he said.
    “While Barack Obama was trying to help poor folk in Chicago get ahead, Washington’s high and mighty, that whole big ultra-white, townhouse-living, pseudo-intellectual, sinecured gang of “terrorism experts” and “policy entrepreneurs” and “shrewd bureaucratic infighters” with their fatuous “skill sets” that consist mainly in parroting back the prejudices of the patrons who are helping them get ahead, were busy with nothing but their self-satisfied, bigoted circle jerk, and with plotting the next scam for getting less privileged American lads to spill their blood to secure the property rights and burgeoning fortunes of global robber barons and their parasitic “strategic consultants” and think tankers.”
    By now, Dan knows perfectly well that Senator Obama’s definition of helping poor people get ahead was shilling for slum lords. It has been documented more than once that Senator Obama’s attempts to help the poor in his state legislative district were ineffective at best and cynical at worst.
    And Dan, maybe you forgot, but those” whole big ultra-white, townhouse-living, pseudo-intellectual” types are precisely the narcissists I was referring to in my earlier comment. But guess what? They’re all voting for Obama.
    Dan Kervick (who I am sure is a great guy) and people who think like him have delivered to Democrats the most inexperienced, cynical and weak nominee in a generation If you take infidelity out of the equation, Obama is surely the most morally bankrupt nominee we have had in a long time too.
    My guess is that Kervick knows it. No wonder he’s in such a bad mood.

    Reply

  86. Drider says:

    Get em POA…GET EM!!!
    By the way, who is Hannity, sounds like a drunk.

    Reply

  87. PissedOffAmerican says:

    You oughta look around, Hannity fan, and read some archive material. You’re at the wrong site if you want to point the finger of partisan accusation. Particularly if you’re pointing that ignorant digit in my direction. Trust me, I’m an equal opportunity “you’re an asshole” kinda guy.

    Reply

  88. Francis Cleveland says:

    One question that was never asked was what was Obama’s relationship with Bernadine Dohrn? They seemed pretty cozy around the time Obama’s mother was dying of cancer in Hawaii. Cozy enough to prevent Barack from being at his mother’s side when she died.

    Reply

  89. Drider says:

    I’m with you POA but dont let it get to ya.
    Obama is gonna pull that fatty fat Limbaughs license faster than lightning, he can use the fairness doc for that.
    What kinda bums me out is that the R’s get red and the D’s get blue, I would so like that to be reversed but oh well, we all have to pull the wagon and I suppose I’ll have to live with it.
    CHANGE BABY CHANGE, 200+ years and it’s finally almost here!!!

    Reply

  90. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Wow. Who coulda guessed there were this many red necked jackasses paying attention to Steve’s blog?
    That oxy-contin addicted fatass Limbaugh better watch out, he’s got some competition.

    Reply

  91. Tahoe Editor says:

    Those are all great guesses, but the truth is no one knows what Obama would do as president — least of all himself. I’m looking forward to seeing him hold his first hearing as a Senate subcommittee chairman.

    Reply

  92. Drider says:

    Tahoe, Obama is going to send us a check for 1000 dollars and guess what, he wont use a dime in taxpayer dollars to do it.
    He will take it from those greedy Oil barons, who happen to also be citizens who own the companies but dont you see the genius in this??
    He will force people who make too much money to pay thier fair share to us little guys who need it and deserve it.
    This is just a small part of the change, he wont muck up the enviroment with uneeded oil drilling and add another 10 to 25 cents to the gas tax to help fix the roads that cars will drive less on…lowering pollution levels.
    He will “finally” round up all the guns from citizens being those with guns are a threat to our overall society, those guys who wrote the constitution thought that citizens should have the rights to guns in case the goverment became too, too oppresive…how 18th century….it needs to be changed.
    We finally, after 200+ years have a bright future ahead of us….lets not blow it by splitting hairs on what Obama says and/or does.

    Reply

  93. Tahoe Editor says:

    Obama’s post-election lecture series: “How America’s Imperfections Kept Me Out of the White House”
    Yes, when McCain wins, there will be a chorus of voices on the left blaming the pesky American voter for crushing the last Hopeâ„¢ of a “once in a generation ‘leader’.”
    Does anyone else think calling Barack Tissue-Thin-Record Obama a “once in a generation ‘leader’” is an insult to an entire generation? Who’s that desperate?

    Reply

  94. Drider says:

    All you naysayers need to hush up and let Obama do what he has to do.
    The R’s will never lead us into the socialist society that we so deserve.
    All of the stars are aligned in the house and senate being packed with D’s that will take us back into the worlds good graces, with Obama as POTUS we are unstoppable.
    Look, we have no choice in whom we vote for in this race, go R and we get what we always have had for over 200 years, go D and we change it , there is no choice.
    Can you imagine what would happen if Obama was defeated, I mean I dont want to get dramatic or anything but that would just crush so many dreams that it may just get real ugly.

    Reply

  95. Roger says:

    So, somehow after all these actions (behavior), it will be OK if Obama gives a speech (talk). Just like Bush, eh? Talk about groveling. The thoughtful will recognize right off that the point of such a cynical speech would have nothing to do with the treatment of Muslims and everything to do with covering the asses of everyone from Obama (Muslim votes) to people like Clemmons, who are running cover for the Democratic Party, trying to convince liberals to vote for another capitalist “hope.”

    Reply

  96. Mr.Murder says:

    So, Obama gets concerned about appearances.
    Who could have imagined?
    Maybe MoveOn.Org can petition Obama to stop being a bigot.

    Reply

  97. Gautama says:

    Hey, what about Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Bahais, etc? Shouldn’t they be Ambassadors and Supreme Court Justices? Or do the people of these faiths have to resort to terrorism first?

    Reply

  98. Susan says:

    WigWag calls Obama supporters “wide eyed” and “narcissistic.”
    Why are they any more “wide eyed” and “narcissistic” than McCain supporters or Clinton supporters or Edwards supporters or Romney supporters?
    That characterization doesn’t seem fair

    Reply

  99. rich says:

    Wearing Muslim advisors on your sleeve would be a great Republican strategy for a ‘maverick’ candidate trying to prove his ‘centrist’ bona fides, move to the middle, and distance himself from the Bush Administration.
    Holding Obama to HIGHER standard than the Republicans have been measured with for 8+ years is fairly perverse.
    Obama is much more cautious and pragmatic than he’s perceived. He’s immunizing himself against the insidious Swift-boating that questions his religion, etc. Coverage has not been on the up-&-up, explicitly suggesting ‘he has a funny name’, blatantly mis-naming him as a person, as well as his politics.
    So I disagree Sen. Obama can ignore the reality of that media / campaign landscape. Some in the electorate buy into that or ‘heard’ things they’re willing to believe. Rove & Smith know that. So Obama’s not waffling, he’s just knowledgeable.
    Sen Obama can’t really be asked to rescue the country using foolhardy decisions of epic proportions when the Republican Party basically refuses to rescue it’s own Party’s viability, let alone the country, on that same score.
    So there IS a double standard at work here.
    Kervick nails it: Why are Democrats held to a higher standard?
    “.. where are those angry and hysterical “Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!” posts about the true cretins, thugs and butchers in our little national drama?”
    Why do “People who pose as mavericks or doubters . . . lack the guts to quit the Republican Party”? Why do “Democrats …get pilloried for not being more perfect”?
    The notion Obama is flip-flopping or not sticking by his principles while McCain is portrayed as a solid straight-talker is Exhibit A. And it is damning.
    This abuse of the current record needs rectifying.
    Kervick, again:
    “The McCain campiagn, and the entire fucking Republican Party for that matter, has done zero for Muslims in America or elsewhere. Nothing. Squat. Doughnut.”
    “Instead, they are the party that has defended locking them up, water boarding them, brutalizing them and throwing away the key. And that’s when they are not dropping bombs and burning phosphorus on Muslims and their children.”
    There are reasons to stick with your Party, to make it better, work from within, out-maneuver the bad apples. But Kervick’s question requires due consideration. Kervick:
    “And why, oh why, can’t Obama be more like . .. Chuck Hagel, the one who stays loyally attached to an entire party built on bigotry, fear, hatred and xenophobia? Why is Steve never “disappointed” in good old Chuck?”
    Hagel’s become more vocal, at times, in calling Joe Lieberman and the Bush-McCain axis to account, esp in terms of how you go to war and how you manage the military.
    Sometimes MORE vocal pushback within the party is necessary for the good of the country, not less. It’s likely Hagel is working on pushback from within the Party—or at least, I’d like to think so.
    Problem is, Senatorial behavior too-often offers a bit of tactical mealy-mouthed lip-service in public, but never intends to force the issue in practice and behind the scenes. There has to be a concrete cost, esp now, to neocons who continue the game (Lieberman). Not getting concessions in practice requires more pressure, not less, in public.
    IN THAT context, to demand Obama meet a higher standard doesn’t compute. Or really even get real traction.

    Reply

  100. Steve Clemons says:

    Dear Kotzabasis — In this presidential race, we have had competing the first viable female candidate, the first African-American candidate, and the oldest to ever to run as his party’s nominee — This is historic. Yes, if we had a Muslim president, a gay president, an Asian-American president, a Jewish president, a Hispanic president — in our future….America would be well off I think if the person in question could prevail over the challenges of the day.
    Thanks much for your attention, which is always dramatic, and appreciated.
    best, steve clemons

    Reply

  101. Donna Z says:

    The dumping of Rob Malley really bothered me because he was
    accused of doing his job at the ICG. The ICG does laudable work
    because they communicate on the ground. What is it about how the
    ICG operates that Team Obama doesn’t understand? Ticks me off.
    Now this.
    Look, I was a state delegate for Obama, but watching the kicking of
    good people is troubling. I understand being cautious and wanting
    to win. I also understand standing up for the people who are
    willing to stand up for you. Undeserved loyalty is foolish, but I do
    want to see some humanity. What Obama did to Wes Clark was
    horrible because they used right-wing talking points.
    Again, I was an Obama supporter, but the man is making it more difficult
    everyday.
    I’ll keep reading because I really enjoy your insights.
    Thanks,
    Donna Z

    Reply

  102. kotzabasis says:

    If Obama, has a Muslim advisor and America has a Muslim Ambassador to the UN then the corollary to this is, if Clemons follows his logic rigorously, that America whilst is engaged in a mortal fight with Muslim extremists, could also have a moderate Muslim, like Zalmay Khalilzad, as president.
    Is Clemons, as the impresario of the liberal left, staging a burlesque comedy of American politics, hoping the hopeless, that it will have box office success in the present circumstances? (Read the November elections.) But I guess it’s a great virtue and “knightly” intellectual bravery to be optimistic in the most pessimistic circumstances.

    Reply

  103. Alick says:

    Re your post today: “WRONG. . .WRONG. . .WRONG: Obama Lets Muslim Advisor Resign”. I totally, totally, totally agree with you.
    Regards
    Alick

    Reply

  104. Carroll says:

    This is what you get when you play ethnic and religous identity politics. It’s obviously anti semitic since it attacks Cohen for simply being a Jew.
    But I wonder if this blatant Cohen demonizing will be noticed by the Jews (and gentiles) in congress and a lot of the political agenda orgs who have demonized the Arabs and Muslims and Palestines and even a Muslim congressman so shamefully.
    Once the racial and religious demonizing starts everything can become a zero sum game.
    WP Blog:
    Jewish Rep. Cohen Battles Antisemitism and Racism In Re-Election
    If you thought race was an uncomfortable issue in the Democratic presidential primary, wait ’til you get a load of what’s going on in the Democratic primary in the Memphis area’s 9th District of Tennessee, where a shockingly worded flier paints Jewish Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) as a Jesus hater.
    “Memphis Congressman Steve Cohen and the JEWS HATE Jesus,” blares the flier, which Cohen himself received in the mail — inducing gasps — last week.
    Circulated by an African-American minister from Murfreesboro Tenn., which isn’t even in Cohen’s district, the literature encourages other black leaders in Memphis to “see to it that one and ONLY one black Christian faces this opponent of Christ and Christianity in the 2008 election.”
    The flier was sent out by an African-American minister to try to defeat Rep. Cohen. Cohen’s main opponent in the August 5 Democratic primary in his predominantly African-American district is Nikki Tinker, who is black. The Commercial Appeal wrote an editorial in Wednesday’s paper condemning Tinker for not speaking out against the anti-Semitic literature.
    “What does Nikki Tinker think about anti-Semitic literature being circulated that might help her unseat 9th District Congressman Steve Cohen in the Democratic primary next August?” the editorial asked. “The question goes to the character of the woman who wants to represent the 9th District, and 9th District voters deserve an answer. But Tinker declined to return a phone call about the flier.”
    The editorial also noted that last summer Cohen came under attack from black ministers who challenged the congressman’s support for federal hate crimes legislation to protect gay rights. The paper wrote that the “real motive” behind the ministers’ attacks was revealed later by Rev. Robert Poindexter who, according to the Commercial Appeal, said of Cohen: “He’s not black and he can’t represent me, that’s just the bottom line.”

    Reply

  105. miscellany says:

    Very well stated piece. I’ve been blogging about Obama’s clumsy relationship with the Muslim voters in America and this is the first piece that says succinctly what has taken me several entries to say.

    Reply

  106. Carroll says:

    Some interesting stats:
    Islam in the United States
    Official State Department Fact Sheet
    Islam is one of the fastest-growing religions in the U.S. By the year 2010, America’s Muslim population is expected to make Islam the country’s second-largest faith after Christianity.1
    The American Muslim community is a mosaic of cultures, its members having come from all of the five major continents. In fact, a recent survey showed that most Muslims are immigrants — 77.6% versus 22.4% U.S. born.2
    This same survey indicated that the ethnic origins of the Muslim community are as follows:
    26.2% Middle East (Arab)
    24.7% South Asia
    23.8% African American
    11.6% Other
    10.3% Middle East (Not Arab)
    6.4% East Asia
    While there are no official population figures for religious affiliation in the United States, experts estimate that there are approximately six million American Muslims. Other estimates range from four to eight million.3
    The Britannica Book of the Year estimated that, in mid-2000, there were 4,175,000 Muslims in the United States, 1,650,000 of whom are African American in origin. An average of 17,500 African Americans converted to Islam each year between 1990 and 1995.4
    The earliest group of Muslims to arrive in America in significant numbers came from West Africa from 1530 to 1851, because of the slave trade. They comprised an estimated 14% to 20% of the hundreds of thousands of West Africans forcibly removed from their homelands.5
    The next sizable number of Muslims immigrated to the United States during the early 20th century. They came from Lebanon, Syria and other countries across the Ottoman Empire.6
    The post-World War II era, during the 1960s and ’70s, saw the third substantial wave of immigrants from all parts of the Islamic world. This wave included large numbers of Muslims who came to study at American universities.7
    Approximately a third of American Muslims live on the East Coast (32.2%), 25.3% live in the South, 24.3% in the Central/Great Lakes Region, and 18.2% in the West. 8
    There are nearly 2000 mosques nationwide as well as numerous Islamic day schools and Sunday and weekend schools.
    >>>>>>>>
    In that Pew poll I quoted earlier 50%
    of evangelicals held negative views of Muslims. BUT 70% of mainline Christians did not hold negative views of Muslims.
    Sooooooo…50% of evangelical actually don’t hold negative view, plus 70% of mainline christians who don’t hold negative views, plus muslims who probably don’t view themselves negatively seems to equal less people (voters) who hold negative views of Muslims than those who do.
    So what the politicans gonna do when Islam is the second largest religion in the US?

    Reply

  107. Carroll says:

    Posted by Tahoe Editor Aug 06, 7:59PM – Link
    “Obama launched his political career in the living room of two known, unrepentant terrorists.”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Really?….who were these terrorist?

    Reply

  108. Duckman GR says:

    I don’t care what Senator Obama does, you want to kill him with a thousand cuts so McCain can win the White House? Is that the purpose of the this post? Do the dirty work for the GOP?
    Instead of tsk tsking, go after the enemy of our planet, the god damnable republicans.
    Don’t like what Obama does, go emasculate him like that great American Patriotic Democrat, Sam Nunn, did to Bill Clinton, on his first day in office.
    Hey, News Flash Steve. Senator Obama isn’t god, a saint, perfect, or full of all the answers. And if you insist on tearing him down and increasing the chances for a corporate whore tool like John McCain, you are hardly better than the lowest and slimiest Freeper in the land, only worse because you ought to know better.

    Reply

  109. Carroll says:

    Posted by William Aug 07, 12:04AM – Link
    When the young lawyer in Michigan got mad about Obama volunteers not choosing people in headresses for the featured section behind Obama, I wanted to say “AND THIS IS WHY LIBERALS ALWAYS LOSE ELECTIONS!”
    Is there some Constitutional right that people who belong to controversial groups be chosen for photo ops? And there’s a reason that most other Obama surrogates don’t have any ties to controversial investment groups that may or may not fund Islamic terror – in politics, you kind of have to think about how things look to everyone else.
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Er…who is everyone else..besides you?
    People have a constitutional right to wear any kind of headdress they want btw and not have it disqualify them for photo ops. And why is the Muslim woman’s headdress any more controversial than a nun’s habit or that skull cap Jews wear or a Quaker woman’s bonnet? What’s more controversial about Muslim religion? Have you ever read the Koran? It’s not half as bloody as the bible.
    Does anyone know where I can order one of those scarves..can’t remember what they are called…one like the Palestine freedom fighters..opps…Palestine terrorist and Arabs wear?
    I want one for my winter wardrobe. And maybe one of those terrier face mask with just eye holes for sking.
    I predict the next big fashion trend will be an adaptation of the Islamist look. Someone should alert Paris Hilton.

    Reply

  110. JamesL says:

    I sure as hell hope that someone in the Obama campaign is reading these comments. Obama has spoken eloquently and clearly of American ideals in the past. He seems suddenly to have stopped. He can’t if he wants America to survive. This isn’t just another election. Bush has dug a deep hole. Only by speaking constantly, accurately about American ideals can those ideals be resurrected. And I say resurrected because they are currently absent. Kaput. America was founded on a fundamental objection to being ruled by a monarch. Bush has crowned himself and allows no oversight. Either this enlargement of executive powers to the monarchical ceases, or America ceases. Sorry, no two ways about it. Either Obama picks up this ball and runs with it for all he’s worth, or kiss all your American myths goodby. McCain, having had all the opportunity in the world, is now offering up another rasher of ineptitude. I wish it were not so. We need the best men at the top. Obama could possibly be. McCain isn’t.

    Reply

  111. pm317 says:

    Posted by PissedOffAmerican Aug 07, 12:33AM – Link
    William, this goes far deeper than Obama’s people trying to pose politically photogenic backdrops. We are seeing a pattern emerge here, and it seems to strongly imply a lack of conviction and political courage.
    ———————-
    You’re a little slow but you’re catching on. Better late than never but the damage is already done. We needed to pick someone who knows how to fight and outdo the republicans and that is not Obama. Oh hell, Paris Hilton had a better response to McCain ad than this guy.

    Reply

  112. Tahoe Editor says:

    Obama offered his Grandma Vignette as payment for his 20-year ride on the Rev. Jeremiah Wright’s Windy City Trinity Train of Racexploitation.
    “The U.S. government created the HIV virus to exterminate blacks.”
    “THAT’S MY PASTOR.”
    “Barack Obama is a politician.”
    “THAT’S NOT THE PASTOR I KNEW.”
    The grass clippings are swirling …

    Reply

  113. Carroll says:

    Posted by PacificCoastRon Aug 07, 12:27AM
    “Say it over and over again: In a democracy, the politicians are here to serve us, not us to serve them.”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    Yes.

    Reply

  114. PissedOffAmerican says:

    A bit too harsh on Steve though, Kervick.
    And I think you underestimate the complicity of “our party” in abetting the behaviour of the Republicans these last eight years. The underlying “theme” of this thread seems to be political conviction and integrity. And any candidate possessing those two traits, in a truly patriotic sense, would be screaming for Bush and Cheney’s heads on platters.
    Damn, now I need a BLT and a glass of milk.

    Reply

  115. Carroll says:

    Posted by Eli Strums Aug 06, 3:15PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    If I were a Palestine woman instead of a aging Southern debutant I would be in the basement every day baking up bombs to blow the IDF and the Israelis and their illegal settlers to hell.
    If the promised land of the Jews had been in any part of the US in 1948 and the Israelis had carried out the same ‘expansion”, stolen my land and resources, bulldozed my home and livihood, and killed my children Israel would be the shortest footnote in history.

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  116. yonodeler says:

    Obama should be aware that, should he win the election, he will for at least a time be Commander in Chief over US forces that have been assigned the task of upholding, and helping to further develop, a constitutionally Islamic state, Iraq. The troops are in harm’s way in considerable part for Islam, in accord with George W. Bush’s wish. Haven’t the troops been misused and mistreated enough by, on one hand, being fed the portrayal of Islam as the enemy by US politicians and, on the other hand, being assigned the task of upholding an Islamic government? We do not need consecutive presidencies that are duplicitous about Islam and about historic and current US relations with Islamic states.

    Reply

  117. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Damn, pm317 ruined it for me. Now I’m just going to bed pissed again. Oh woe, alas, alas…….

    Reply

  118. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Wow Kervick, just when I thought levity was the only hope for this thread, you made some serious sense. Guess I’ll go to bed now, intellectually satiated. Thank you.

    Reply

  119. pm317 says:

    I posted a comment earlier but had not read any of the others — I just skimmed through them. You all have my sympathies. This is what the liberal left intellectuals look like in this country? I am pretty serious minded myself with a PhD and so forth but can recognize a fraud when I see one. You all got hoodwinked by Obama. He is a regular politician and a pretty weak one at that. He does not know what he stands for; if he did, he would be fighting for it but then again, he lacks courage and conviction. He is Axelrod’s marketing phenomenon you all fell for. How gullible can you be? Funny, I never thought his teleprompter speeches were all that inspiring in the first place — grab a line from other speeches, here and there and make it sound pretty. If it sounds too good to be true, it perhaps is. You have screwed the country yet again because he will not win.

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  120. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “The repeated suggestion that Obama ‘threw his grandmother under the bus’ in his speech on racism is a repeated and in my opinion truly insidious republican narrative”
    Yes it is. Thats why WigWag used it.

    Reply

  121. arthurdecco says:

    Wow! Can I agree unreservedly with your post too, Dan Kervick? Does that mean I’ve had too much wine – or just enough?

    Reply

  122. PissedOffAmerican says:

    William, this goes far deeper than Obama’s people trying to pose politically photogenic backdrops. We are seeing a pattern emerge here, and it seems to strongly imply a lack of conviction and political courage.
    I certainly am no McCain fan, and if waterboarded would probably fess up to putting Obama on top of McCain. Preferably in Monaco or Tahiti. And while they’re sampling that private diversion, I’d be out tryin’ to find us a REAL president.

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  123. PacificCoastRon says:

    Coming late to the discussion as usual, and I scrolled down to comment after about halfway (though I noted arthurdecco going after wigwag near the end, surely even with arthur’s wit that will prove more tiresome than entertaining to investigate.
    People’s reactions to this latest Obama keffluffle, on top of all the previous Obama kerfluffles of centrism, says much more about each individual’s personal background and character than about Obama, and I am sure that the good and bad sides of various character types are evenly distributed among all factions of the debate.
    The situation is pre-determined by the suffocating embrace of the conventional media and the two-party antagonism of American politics, made noxious by the cancer of secret government machinations that have thick in the background, and growing cancerously, since at least Nov. 22 1963 — the first big overt crime against Constitutional government (no matter what the truth eventually turns out to be, there was _something_ going on and a cover-up effort).
    The interests of the (would-be) monopoly media providers intersects with the worst interests of the two political parties, to create the narrative of eternal ideological conflict and constant campaign tension, that obscures a the corrupt bargains that both sides make to allow various economic interests to continue their merry ways of legal favoritism, overt and covert subsidies, graft and corruption to empower political machines, etc, etc. The ideological instincts of the population grow out in every direction, in an ever-expanding “sphere of diversity;” our either-or election systems and brain-dead media types attempt to channel this diversity into 2 opposed two-dimensional lines (and could be easily cured by Instant runoff voting, parliamentary systems, or other deep election reforms, with a more diverse media — that we are hopefully in the midst of creating by ourselves).
    So everyone who is not a brain-dead hard-right Christian Republican empire-builder is urged to put aside their own interesting mix of ideas and ideals, and put their shoulder to the wheel of the Democratic political two-dimensional line, in order to prevent the greater disaster of the Republican political two-dimensional line, and for the hope that the Democratic centrist candidate will be able make significant reforms after the election.
    And sometimes they do, though mostly they don’t.
    So for those of us with great resources of intellectual imagination and diversity of character, it’s always a difficult test. I’ve been around and around on this since the 1968 election; I worked for the Green Party in 2000 and for the Democratic Party in 2004 and 2006, and neither experience has been satisfactory. Though I worked for the Greens in 2000, I fully expected and wished for the Democrats to win, and I believe both sides were guilty of severely under-estimating the Bush crowd’s intention of stealing it (and I still don’t understand why mainstream Democrats aren’t MORE radical on honest elections than Bev Harris, it only sinks of even worse conspiracies afoot).
    Nevertheless, intellect and spirit conspire to make me an eternal optimist: the work is necessary, even if it never pays off in our lifetimes, even as we are constantly betrayed by those with more power in conventional media and political terms. Yet reality is plastic, malleable, the power of our small groups working in obscurity while we power the “glaciers” and “climate changes” of popular attitude that shift civilizations IS the power we must cultivate.
    So: oppose Obama all you want up til Nov. 3rd, criticize him, hold him up to higher standards, advocate for the revolution you’d like to see, and call out the Democrats for the cowardly leeches that most of them are. But hold your nose to make sure you vote for him on Nov. 4th (or earlier if you can vote by mail), and get all your friends to vote for him, and get all your friends to make sure the Republicans don’t steal it again. then on Nov. 5th you can go back to being disappointed in Obama, and in pressuring him and criticizing him with all your might to guide him towards your vision of utopia.
    And one final note. Much of the cancerous problem here is caused by “our” (the general public’s) concentration on Presidential elections, and our tendency to look at possible Presidents as putative Messiahs rather than as prospective job applicants who will have to OBEY US after their selection, not us obey them. I’ve been door-to-door in several areas in several decades. Nobody cares about dogcatcher or city councilman; everyone cares about the President. The media help create this and use it against us. We need to get over it. Say it over and over again: In a democracy, the politicians are here to serve us, not us to serve them.

    Reply

  124. Dan Kervick says:

    I am always surprised that Steve and his readers, who seem to pride themselves so much on their political realism, suddenly turn into the Born Yesterday Club, and start moaning and stamping their feet about their dismay and disappointment, whenever one of these Obama/Muslim issues pop up.
    I guess many would prefer that Obama should go down and out in a blaze of heroic glory defending Palestinians and Muslims everywhere, like Rachel Corrie perhaps, nobly bulldozed under the ground by history’s winners.
    The Obama campaign is purportedly run according to two iron rules: “No leaks” and “No drama.” Yes, it is disconcerting to see the campaign quickly detach from people who are likely to cause them trouble, and generate bad, distracting press, whether through their own misjudged actions or through no fault of their own. But the alternative is to see the campaign detach themselves from these individuals only after a week or two of getting beat up in the press over it.
    It looks like they prefer to bring down the curtain on the drama before the opening act even gets started. It’s ruthless; but ruthlessly necessary. Obama simply can’t afford a couple of weeks of cable news stories filled with the words “Obama”, “Muslims”, “Muslim Brotherhood”, “Obama”, “Muslims”, “Muslim Brotherhood” – repeated over and over and over.
    Of course, maybe Obama doesn’t need to win. We could go for that old maverick John McCain, who in his senescence has become an uber-neo-neocon, and wants to take a flamethrower to every irritant in the Middle East, and Russia to boot. That’ll show that poop Obama! How dare he disappoint us!
    The McCain campiagn, and the entire fucking Republican Party for that matter, has done zero for Muslims in America or elsewhere. Nothing. Squat. Doughnut. Instead, they are the party that has defended locking them up, water boarding them, brutalizing them and throwing away the key. And that’s when they are not dropping bombs and burning phosphorus on Muslims and their children. Almost the only people fighting against this in Steve’s putrid city have been Democrats. Yet where are those angry and hysterical “Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!” posts about the true cretins, thugs and butchers in our little national drama?
    And why, oh why, can’t Obama be more like that perfect God-man, the Adonis Chuck Hagel, the one who stays loyally attached to an entire party built on bigotry, fear, hatred and xenophobia? Why is Steve never “disappointed” in good old Chuck? If Chuck is so damned awesome, why doesn’t he quit his party of ignorant troglodytes, torturers, racists and haters? People who pose as mavericks or doubters, but lack the guts to quit the Republican Party, are profiles in courage in Steve’s book. People who have the sense and decency to be Democrats to begin with get pilloried for not being more perfect.
    The “Well, I expect better of the Democrats” excuse doesn’t cut it. To me, it looks like 90% of the media and the punditry are just scared stiff of Republicans, and so they take out their frustrations on the nicer and less vindictive Democrats. If Steve spent even one third as much time working to defeat the really nasty bad guys, instead of kissing their asses, taking their money and being their fanboy, as he does taking the easy shots at their imperfect and half-good rivals, maybe we would get somewhere is this country.
    It’s also a bit too conveniently easy for Steve to be a friend of Muslims when the Saudi Arabians are paying for his hotel stays, panel discussions and buffets. But Obama has to run for president of a country filled with people who are the products of Republican fear-mongering, and still can’t get over the fact that “Obama” rhymes with “Osama.”
    I’m sick of seeing my party get beaten up by sunshine friends, who tsk tsk the embarrassing Democratic submissions to political reality, but have no problem palling around with the very people who work every day to create that political reality, while they are wringing their bread from other men’s brows. While Barack Obama was trying to help poor folk in Chicago get ahead, Washington’s high and mighty, that whole big ultra-white, townhouse-living, pseudo-intellectual, sinecured gang of “terrorism experts” and “policy entrepreneurs” and “shrewd bureaucratic infighters” with their fatuous “skill sets” that consist mainly in parroting back the prejudices of the patrons who are helping them get ahead, were busy with nothing but their self-satisfied, bigoted circle jerk, and with plotting the next scam for getting less privileged American lads to spill their blood to secure the property rights and burgeoning fortunes of global robber barons and their parasitic “strategic consultants” and think tankers. Oh excuse me, I mean they plotted to get them to spill their blood to secure the “national interest”.
    Steve hasn’t earned the right to be disappointed with Obama.
    And one last thing: I guess I’m a hater too. Because I absolutely hate Washington – passionately.

    Reply

  125. StlPastor says:

    The repeated suggestion that Obama ‘threw his grandmother under the bus’ in his speech on racism is a repeated and in my opinion truly insidious republican narrative.
    For Obama to acknowledge that his grandmother used some racist framings is simply acknowledging reality, just as my grandparents used some racist framings despite working against racial discrimination, and I in a similar way benefit from white privilege. He didn’t say he didn’t love her, that she wasn’t an amazing woman, that she wasn’t a staunch advocate for racial reconciliation-he just admitted that she wasn’t perfect. Why is this controversial? personally, I was impressed that he was willing to confront the racist frames of our culture head on, and recognize them in the people who are closest to him.

    Reply

  126. William says:

    I have a lot of respect for American Muslims (and moderate Muslims everywhere). That said, I can’t believe people are surprised that the Obama campaign is being very, very careful about any perceived connections to radical Islam. Where have you been for the last 8 years?
    When the young lawyer in Michigan got mad about Obama volunteers not choosing people in headresses for the featured section behind Obama, I wanted to say “AND THIS IS WHY LIBERALS ALWAYS LOSE ELECTIONS!” Is there some Constitutional right that people who belong to controversial groups be chosen for photo ops? And there’s a reason that most other Obama surrogates don’t have any ties to controversial investment groups that may or may not fund Islamic terror – in politics, you kind of have to think about how things look to everyone else.
    When I hear liberals and/or Democrats complain about this, I want to ask “do you really not understand how most Americans look at Islam??” I don’t say that to defend the average American’s perception of Islam – but I don’t see why Barack Obama is being asked to be THEIR Jackie Robinson as well as Black America’s Jackie Robinson.
    If Muslim Americans want to vote for the GOP again (for some bizarre reason, the majority voted for Bush in 2000, despite his party’s longstanding, absolute hatred of Muslims, and whose administration ordered things like random detention of Muslims, and Rumsfeld’s torture memo which exploited the “Arab fear of dogs”) . . . that’s their choice.
    In fact, I would ask any Muslim who is angry about not being featured in a special Obama photo op to go test the waters on the other side of the aisle. Show up at any GOP event, and see how you’re treated there.

    Reply

  127. canoe says:

    I think we’ve learned that Obama is a smart, capable politician whose moral compass is pure, unadulterated opportunism. That’s the common denominator of all decisions he has taken since his primary win. And it’s confirmed by Ryan Lizza’s piece in the 8/21 New Yorker on Obama’s political formation in Chicago. So those of us who supported him on the basis that we thought we knew he was basically and viscerally a liberal can just recalibrate our antennae and hope for the best. He’s still better than the alternative, whatever he may turn out to be. By how much is truly an open question.

    Reply

  128. Carroll says:

    Posted by zoltan Aug 06, 6:40PM – Link
    So: Has anyone written something smart imagining what a more
    strong, ballsy, defiant Obama campaign would look like? (as
    opposed to cowering to the perceived needs, fears, and
    prejudices of “the center” and the right) I’d like to read it. The
    big hypothetical for me this election is how the right would react
    to actually being put on the defensive on these issues!
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    If they have I haven’t seen it.
    But I believe a strong, ballsy, defiant candidate is what Americans crave.
    Look how far a imposter like McCain got on his “Mavrick” image.
    I don’t think I am alone in this opinion judging by some other posters.
    Let’s face it, most people aren’t leaders or terribly independent thinkers, they are followers and joiners who can be led. A leader can appeal to the best or worse aspects of human nature and set the tone for the country.
    I am imagining the applause from the audience if Hagel had been in that dem debate when Hillary made Obama embrace Israel and dennounce others and Hagel had delivered his famous line…”I am a AMERICAN senator, not an Israeli senator, my duty is to America and to the constitution”. The roar of approval would have brought the house down.
    Imagine if a candidate instead of cowtowing to the religious fanatics and niche groups told them their personal religon had nothing to do with governing or making laws for this nation and it was ” NOT” their right to demand others follower their beliefs or rules unless they also agreed that others had a right to impose their religious beliefs on them? Imagine if a candidate said to the religous fanatics ilke Hagee that if that was kind of country they wanted they should create their own religious republic country like the ones they complain about in the ME somewhere else besides America.
    You think that your typical “don’t trample on MY rights” american wouldn’t get or like that straight talk?
    Personally I think you can shame the fanatics politicans pander too if you are the right person and in some cases shame them into admitting they are wrong. You can marginalize them at least and make their extremes unacceptable to the majority society.
    This example of Obama caving is a prime example of
    making it “acceptable” for the public to discriminate against a Muslim ( or insert Jew or black or gay).
    He just lowered the bar for American society and democracy by throwing a Muslim under the bus for no justifable reason other then “he can’t handle the job” of telling the American voter the truth and calling out everyone who engages in this shit.
    He is not the speaker everyone thinks he is if he can’t rouse the better angels in the typical american against this sort of thing.
    The only benefit of a doubt I can give him on this and a few other things is that he might be dependent on certain money groups in this general election and is towing their line and throwing out anything or anyone offensive to them, thinking dem voters don’t have any choice but him anyway…which is a whole other problem in this country.
    It’s the same thing I said about Hillary and her moral hypocrisy on foreign policy…if she will throw the Palestine occupation and ethnic cleansing under the bus why wouldn’t she throw Americans under the bus too for her own ambition?
    There is no such thing as selective morality..believe it or not.

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  129. SS says:

    As a Muslim American, I find all the above listed disheartening, but we keep hearing over and over to be patient because he is doing what he can to be elected and then will show a more balanced approach. However the 30+ hours in Israel, and 45 minutes in Palestine spoke volumes as well. The fact that he has given no disapproval to Israel’s desire for a military campaign towards Iran is also alarming. Thanks Steve for seeing things from a different point of view. It is truly a shame that the political climate of this country has become so Islamophobic and that it is not only tolerated but promoted in order to win. It is truly a shame that one cannot even defend someone on principle and truth. In my opinion, being on the board with numerous members, one of which happened to have a suspected but unconfirmed link, may be bad luck but does not implicate him. We have come to the point where a conclusion is predetermined , ie any Muslim link must be associated with terrorism in some way, or form, and then a link is ‘produced/created’. If you make far- reaching and loose associations, you can prove anything you want.

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  130. pm317 says:

    Mr. Clemons, it surprises me that a person of your intellect and insight still thinks Obama is some sort of unique politician who will do the right thing (even if it is unpopular and politically not expedient) on some of these issues. He has time and again shown us that he is a regular politician and in fact, one without principles or convictions. What is with you all? Is it that hard to save your face and admit that your judgment has been wrong? So some of you are rationalizing it by saying he is doing this to get elected — like applauding him for fooling you yet again but to win. Is this all real?

    Reply

  131. Steve Blank says:

    The state of Obama’s campaign is disheartening at best, and the track record of our nation’s electorate is to blame. It’s not the swiftboaters themselves, but the voters who lap up the consistent stream of disinformation they are fed. Based on history, I can’t honestly say that I believe Obama would have a chance in November if he maintained his integrity.

    Reply

  132. Chris says:

    Haven’t read all of the comments. I am hopeful that he is doing what he must to get elected.
    Its a shame that Israel so dominates our countries policies, and now elections.

    Reply

  133. arthurdecco says:

    And now I’m going to spoil it all by pissing WigWag off bigga time, and NOT just to make up for agreeing so whole-heartedly with her earlier post:
    Posted by Eli Strums: “That wall”, (referring to the towering, threatening Juggernaut now destructively weaving it’s way through the West Bank, stealing even more property and resources from the rightful owners of Palestine. [ad]), “is there because nothing else that was tried could stop Palestinians from walking into restaurants and buses or any other public place and blowing up themselves and countless innocent people. So what you are really saying is how dare those Jews not lay down and allow themselves to be slaughtered and mutilated AGAIN.
    Yes, there are wrongs committed by both sides in this endless conflict. But only the Palestinians refuse to abide by past agreements or negotiate meaningful new agreements…”
    I got this far Eli, before I started snorting derisively at your embarrassing and appalling, though in all likelihood, WILLFUL ignorance of the Facts in regards to the ever-escalating conflict between Israel and their supporters – those members of the wider Jewish Diaspora and the avenging arm of the wacky Evangelical movement that enthusiastically support the criminal acts directed at the Palestinians’ property and personal, professional and social security by the Jewish state), and those self-same Palestinians who fight back against this modern, savage Israel with weapons made from plumbing pipe, fireworks and duct tape, along with the apprehensive, timid and conditional support of their much-more modestly-sized and uninfluential Western State supporters. (Because many decent, westernized people, of the kind that want to support the Palestinians in their struggle against who they see as their brutal oppressors, are both embarrassed and repulsed by even the idea of violence, no matter how well-justified or strategically directed, aren’t they?)
    Have I mentioned the too-numerous-to-remember UN resolutions that have been contemptuously ignored by both Israel AND the United States, regarding the internationally recognized, illegal acts of the Israelis against almost ALL of their neighbours.…?…!…?
    You’re a boob, Eli – definitely Jerusalem Post comments section material…

    Reply

  134. Tahoe Editor says:

    I agree with most of WigWag’s post, but I don’t think the issues debate is quite so clear cut. Obama floats policy positions like Tiger Woods tosses blades of grass in the air.
    http://www.politicalcartoons.com/cartoon/76d5b106-4894-414a-909f-cb55295a8cef.html

    Reply

  135. arthurdecco says:

    POA,
    “albeit oily”? caw mon…be fair…
    And don’t all of the candidates for President have contrived platforms – even the idealistic and admirable ones with no hope of winning?
    This time I’m sticking with: “I agreed with every word you wrote.” I’m not sweating WigWag’s peculiar Other opinions. This is an issue by issue thing, doanchanoe! And I agree with her ‘peculiar’ opinions in this thread. lol

    Reply

  136. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Yes Arthur, his post was a good one, albiet quite oily. Too bad it was from a contrived platform. Make no mistake, Wigwag is actively campaigning for McCain.
    And it was quite ludicrous placing McCain’s “character” above Obama’s. “Character” is not what propels a modern day politician to the Oval Office. In fact, “character” is a fatal flaw in today’s Washington. Ask Ron Paul how far conviction and character get you.

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  137. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Wow, this sure fired up some passions, didn’t it? Brought more than a few jackasses out from underneath their rocks too.
    I find it hardly suprising that Obama flushed a Muslim. After all, look how quickly he backpeddled on his “plight of the Palestinians” commentary. And ask Wright how loyal Obama is to politically damaging alliances, never mind the prior closeness of the relationship.
    But hey, we might be better served by looking at who remains in both camps. Should Ross weasel his way into Obama’s camp, that is perhaps as telling, and in concert with, the dismissal (or “resignation”) of Asbahi.
    And look at McCain’s foreign policy advisor, Scheunemann. Doesn’t his presence on McCain’s team tell us just a much as the firing of a Muslim would? Geez, he’s one of these geniuses that buried his head six miles up Chalabi’s ass. I guess McCain likes to reward idiocy with high position.
    But yeah, Islamophobia is alive and well in the U.S., with Israel, and the wackjob far right evangelists making sure to constantly remind us exactly who the “evil doers” are. Why heck, even our good buddy WigWag has gone out of his way to make sure that we fully understand that the Iranians are “lunatics”. Factor in the ass-hole-ish ruminations of these “great Americans” like Savage, Hannity, Limbaugh, Beck, and Coulter, and you have a whole brain dead segment of ignorant Americans who are convinced the poor Suffi tending his garden in Topanga is looking for any excuse to cash in on his promised virgins.
    Welcome to Bushworld.

    Reply

  138. arthurdecco says:

    Re: WigWag Aug 06, 9:06PM
    I agreed with every word you wrote.

    Reply

  139. byproxy says:

    I don’t think it’s right, but what’s right obviously doesn’t win elections. See: The 21st Century, American Elections held during.
    And I’d prefer for Obama to win the election…

    Reply

  140. WigWag says:

    It seems to me that it comes down to this. We have an energetic, eloquent, and inexperienced candidate who’s right on the issues but devoid of character running against a tired old man whose time has past, is wrong on the issues but has a strong character. Our only choice is to pick our poison.
    The evidence of Senator Obama’s character flaws are almost too numerous to mention. His flip flops on FISA, the second amendment, campaign funding, the number of debates and off shore drilling are not merely tactical retreats made for purposes of campaign strategy, they are evidence of a man who doesn’t believe in anything.
    His dealings with Tony Rezko are not in and of themselves so bad; all politicians associate with sleazy characters sometimes. But the fact that so many Obama political patrons in Chicago were slumlords tells us a lot about the type of person Obama is.
    When Obama got caught in a politically sticky situation because his spiritual advisor said some controversial things, his first instinct was to deliver a speech and explain to America why it was all our fault. The fact that the press thought his race speech was stunningly good instead of the crass and cynical political act that it was, tells us everything we need to know about the press. Of course, in the same speech Senator Obama didn’t hesitate to ridicule his own grandmother, quite an act of character that was.
    Obama told us he would never distance himself from his beloved spiritual advisor, Reverend Wright. But Tahoe Editor is correct, as soon as the good Revered stated the obvious, that Obama talks like a politician, Reverend Wright became persona non grata. Just Obama’s character on display again.
    Dan Kervick is only half right when he says that Obama is not a Muslim. Of course he’s not, he’s a practicing Christian. But his father was a Muslim. Most of us would be proud of that, but not Senator Obama. He does everything he can to hide his father’s faith as if he his ashamed of it. Why not? He threw his own grandmother under the bus, why not his father too? The bottom line is that there is no evidence that Senator Obama has ever done anything courageous in his public life. It’s hard to think of another politician who has hewed closer to the politically expedient path in everything he says.
    On the character question, compared to McCain, Obama is literally pathetic. McCain’s bravery has been exemplary (even if it has been slightly embellished) and he has made it a habit of taking politically unpopular positions that he thought were right. While most of us disagree with his position on the war, his willingness to support it and to advocate for additional troops just when this position was becoming very unpopular with the American public was brave. His willingness to buck his party on campaign finance reform, stem cell research and global warming shows much more political courage than Obama ever showed.
    The problem with McCain is that you don’t need to be particularly astute to see that time has past him by and that he is aging very fast.
    And of course on policy issues, Obama is right on almost everything and McCain is wrong on almost everything.
    Mazen Asbahi may be under the bus, but he’s there with a lot of company, some good, some bad.
    The choice we have this year is awful. But actually, it’s not Obama’s fault. And it’s not the fault of people who will reluctantly vote for Obama because McCain’s policy positions are too terible to contemplate. The fault lies squarely with his wide eyed, narcissistic supporters who refused to face the truth about the junior Senator from Illinois during the primary and caucus season when it could have made a difference.

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  141. samuel burke says:

    McCains muslim outreach coordinator is a team comprising
    menachem begin and golda meir.
    obama is responding to his puppeteer.
    it is really a shame that the u.s has at its heart a dogmatic
    desire to get every other nation to succumb to its way of doing
    things.
    pakistan here we come.

    Reply

  142. Tahoe Editor says:

    Yes, the Ayers “crap” — I suppose calling it “crap” somehow makes it disappear into the smoke & mirrors “distraction” machine as well.
    Obama launched his political career in the living room of two known, unrepentant terrorists. Discounting it as “crap” only draws attention to how much it stinks.

    Reply

  143. Beth in VA says:

    Steve,
    Perhaps it would be better diplomacy if you didn’t bring up the Ayers crap in your critique. Politically you’re in the know, and have great instincts, but perhaps your emotions (hint: “wrong” in all caps, three times?) got in the way. You’re an expert in Japanese diplomacy aren’t you? How does this letter invite the Obama team in to listen, when they have 16 (or whatever) percent of people claiming Obama is a Muslim-trained jihadist to deal with?

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  144. Kevin Hayden says:

    I’m not naive nor a wishful thinker about Obama’s progressivism and I’m a strong supporter of human rights.
    Yet I feel controlling the message is critical this year. Which can be hard to do when you’re trying to break for an overdue vacation.
    The story said they’re seeking a replacement. Is there info to contradict that?
    Do you think Mazen Abahi’s continued presence with his scantiest of connections to a fundie would NOT draw attention, questions and concerns from voters? Would NOT be a distraction?
    I don’t consider extraordinary campaign caution to be a surrender on a human rights issue. Obama does need to take a clear stand, but I think the proper timing of doing so has to be considered carefully.

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  145. Tahoe Editor says:

    O’s religion problem is that any time it bubbles up he’s reminded of the 20 years he spent riding the Trinity Train to victory in Chicago. Leaving Trinity because his pastor called him a politician instead of leaving because his pastor said the U.S. government created HIV to exterminate black people doesn’t leave much wiggle room. He should have listened to the other “O” much earlier.

    Reply

  146. Todd says:

    ice weasel says:
    “But don’t be deluded into thinking that Obama is the progressive the left has waited for. He’s not.”
    I agree, and would caution Steve and all the others expressing umbrage that the aforementioned progressives before him lost their elections. McGovern, Kucinich, etc. are all home watching from the sidelines because they didn’t grasp the depth of paranoia within the electorate or the capacity of the Republicans to agitate an issue such as this.
    I have difficulty understanding the mindset of those who would change their vote because of this matter. Go ahead and challenge the candidate, but he must win. Don’t help McCain prevent that from happening.

    Reply

  147. zoltan says:

    David, Punchy, Alan and Shinobi get to the heart of this
    exasperating issue.
    Obama should be defiant here, but can he really afford to be?
    Are we to believe that, like w/FISA,he’ll revert to his liberal-
    within once elected?
    Or, how much more of this before we start asking whether his
    “change” theme is just a schtick?
    I, too, think it’s O’s election to lose. I BELIEVE that he has
    mishandled the campaign, compromised his message, and
    empowered McCain through his many calculated moves to the
    center. But sadly, I could be wrong. Maybe i’m just not cynical
    enough.
    So: Has anyone written something smart imagining what a more
    strong, ballsy, defiant Obama campaign would look like? (as
    opposed to cowering to the perceived needs, fears, and
    prejudices of “the center” and the right) I’d like to read it. The
    big hypothetical for me this election is how the right would react
    to actually being put on the defensive on these issues!
    (My hunch is they’d shut the eff up, but then that’s impossible,
    because they’d have to campaign on McC’s positive traits.)
    The ideal version of Obama would have complemented his “black
    church” speech with a speech defending his Muslim advisor and
    the rampant US prejudice against them, and condemning those
    who use gutter fear politics in general. It would be the single
    best way to reassert the campaign’s basic theme.
    Instead, O is getting caught up in a massive game of cover-his-
    ass, and he’s letting an almost laughably weak opponent dictate
    the terms of the election to him.
    Turn it around before it’s too late, O!!!

    Reply

  148. Haifaa Moammar says:

    When will Obama stop this nonsense. I am hoping Obama would get rid of this ‘team’ of his. He is alienating the Muslim and Arab community if not enough damage has not been done.
    Thank you Steve for trying to correct this man and his ‘team’ wrongs. I wish you would be an adviser of his.

    Reply

  149. Nadeem Salem says:

    I want so much to believe in and support Barak Obama’s campaign. I want so much to believe that he has the ability to understand, engage and win over those who we’ve shunned in the past. I want so much to hear again form the man who spoke of inclusion.
    Most importatly, I want, just for once to support an individual whose courage stands in the face of hate, intimidation and slander.
    I don’t see this in Barak Obama any longer. I’m dismayed.
    I want the old Barak Obama back but fear that he’s gone the way of so many before him and we’ll only hear from him again when he no longer aspires to elected office.

    Reply

  150. Dan Kervick says:

    Obama is not “half Muslim” Michelle. Islam is a religion, not a nationality. It doesn’t come in halves and quarters.
    Unfortunately, it’s the prevalence of these kinds of myths and falsehoods about Obama – in this case that he is a secret Muslim or halfway Muslim, who won’t “admit it” – that forces Obama to be specially politically alert in this area.

    Reply

  151. Spunkmeyer says:

    ice weasel,
    I agree 100% that anyone who is reconsidering their vote on this
    issue alone — well, other than Mazen Asbahi, I’d give him a free
    pass — is really being unrealistic. I am very disappointed that
    the Obama campaign has pursued this issue as Steve has laid
    out in his original post and further details in the comments, and
    they should be called out on it. I’m glad that Steve has brought
    this to light because I think that it needs to be discussed and
    the Obama campaign needs to know there are people out there,
    who may support them, but are not part of the widely-
    portrayed cult of personality so many would like to think exist.
    Episodes like this are the sort of difference that voting for in
    November and sending money to in September are made of.
    They need to not forget that. I contributed in the primaries but
    am increasingly feeling like I’ll keep my wallet shut in the
    general election, but I will vote for him in November.

    Reply

  152. ice weasel says:

    Here’s a thought that any of us who will be voting for Obama
    come November better get used to, Obama is going to do a lot
    of things that piss us off, outrage and disappoint us. It’s
    Obama. It’s not something he’s doing in the name of the
    campaign, it’s Obama. You only have to have cursory contact
    with the Obama campaign to see inside a campaign that is
    disciplined and frankly, a bit republican in its feel.
    Make no mistake, Obama is the only sane choice this fall. No
    dount about it.
    But don’t be deluded into thinking that Obama is the
    progressive the left has waited for. He’s not. If we’re lucky, he’s
    just the man that might help push the wingnut beast a little
    further back underground. If that’s what we want then we’re all
    going to take the bad with the good here.

    Reply

  153. Paul Norheim says:

    Frequently there is a heated debate at TWN, and suddenly
    TahoeEditor interupts it with one of his usual Obama-bashing
    posts. As so often before, there is no evident link this time
    either between the issue (Obama sacking Mazen Asbah) and
    Tahoe`s cryptic comment: “Sen. I Am”.
    But this time I took the time to click on his link, and ended up at
    a conservative blog where a certain Tony Blankley (author of the
    book “The West’s Last Chance: Will We Win the Clash of
    Civilizations?”), had an article about Obamas alleged self
    important style and lack of humor.
    I must admit that I found the title of Mr. Blankelys book a bit
    alarming – in contrast to his article, that contained the usual
    Obama Bashing. Nothing seemed related to the issue at this
    post. Curious about this Blankley figure, I clicked on links to
    other articles written by him and published at the same blog.
    Who was this guy that Tahoe quoted as a kind of brother in
    arms agains Obama?
    Then I found an article with the title: “Was Iraq worth it?”
    Here is a quote from that article:
    “It has been fashionable — indeed, de rigueur in political and
    media circles — to view contemptuously President Bush’s
    assertion that we are fighting the terrorists in Iraq so we
    wouldn’t have to fight them here. (…)
    And yet the undeniable facts certainly would justify a debate -
    - if not yet a consensus of agreement — on President Bush’s
    assertions. Regarding killing Islamist terrorists in Iraq rather
    than New York City, consider the numbers: According to USA
    Today in September 2007, more than 19,000 insurgents had
    been killed by coalition forces since 2003. (…)
    Of course, most of those 19,000 killed insurgents were not
    foreign terrorists, but local Iraqis moved to action by our
    occupation. However, according to studies by the Center for
    Strategic and International Studies and by the Defense
    Intelligence Agency, foreign-born jihadists in Iraq are believed
    to number between 4 and10 percent of the total insurgent
    strength. So it is reasonable to assume that we have killed — as
    of nine months ago — between 800 and 1,900 non-Iraqi
    terrorists who otherwise would have been plying their trade
    elsewhere. It only took a couple of dozen to commit the
    atrocities of Sept. 11.”
    This is what we call collateral damage, isn´t it? You kill 19.000
    people who are mostly “moved to action by our occupation.” But
    then there may be (“according to studies “…) between 800 and
    1,900 non-Iraqi terrorists who otherwise would have been
    “plying their trade elsewhere, if the Americans had not killed
    those 19.000 insurgents”. This, I repeat, according to certain
    studies. But perhaps not in accordance with other studies. And
    the total amount of dead insurgents as well as innocent civilians
    (700 000? one million? more?) as well as the millions of
    refugees, not to mention the thousands of killed American
    soldiers, are not accounted for here.
    But who knows? Perhaps those studies are correct, and some
    800 to 1900 non- Iraqi terrorists were killed thanks to the
    occupation of Iraq. Was Iraq worth it? For Mr Blankley this is
    obviously a rhetorical question, as long as several hundred
    terrorists “are believed to” be killed.
    Sorry for this interruption. I just wanted to give the readers a
    little taste of the world behind those links Tahoe provides us
    with while he is spamming The Washington Note.

    Reply

  154. Michelle says:

    At first I thought Obama was going to be different but I was wrong…Even though I’m not a Muslim, I am appalled by the way he is distancing himself from the Muslim American community although he himself is half Muslim whether he wants to admit it or not. He’s not only offending the Muslim community but also the African American community in what he has been doing lately. I think he is already forgetting who got him here in the first place.

    Reply

  155. Ron James says:

    I agree with everything you have said. Although I have supported Obama, I am beginning to wonder about his backbone. I am 58 years old. The racism against Muslims in this country is more blatant than anything I have ever seen.
    Also, I think it is time for Politicians, the media, and especially American Jews, to speak out against the humiliation and killing of the Palestinian People. It is Ethnic Cleansing – not Apartheid.

    Reply

  156. Mick says:

    Sorry, let’s get elected

    Reply

  157. Chris says:

    Right on, Steve.
    For someone who earlier this summer said, “I don’t do cowering,” Obama sure has let himself be buffeted around by Republican attacks or the anticipation thereof, on FISA, on offshore drilling, and now on this (yes, it’s a smaller scale; no, it’s not much more reassuring).
    Who could have expected that someone chosen to be a Muslim outreach liaison might have ties to “various Islamic groups”? Who the hell *should* the campaign have doing Muslim outreach, Larry the f***ing Cable Guy?

    Reply

  158. Dan Kervick says:

    As I suspected, John McCain has no Muslim outreach coordinator whatsoever, formal or otherwise. He has an informal “Arab-American outreach director”, who is a non-Muslim Arab-American providing strategic consulting for players in the global energy biz.

    Reply

  159. Tahoe Editor says:

    Anyone who thinks Obama’s “revising” as a presidential candidate will come to a screeching halt once he’s in the Oval Office can ride their unicorns all the way to Invesco.

    Reply

  160. Carroll says:

    All those who say.. “play the political game” to win are perpetuating the “game”.
    You like what the “gaming” has produced so far for America?
    Maybe you think you are being “realistic” but you are being “had”..trapped by the usual lesser of two evils choice …the dems or the repubs.
    And what does Joe Bow really think on Arabs and Muslims?
    Maybe this:
    ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=32604 – 64k
    Published on Thursday, March 23, 2006 by Inter Press Service
    by Jim Lobe
    WASHINGTON – The analysis, much of which is based on findings of a major poll carried out last summer by the Pew Research Centre for the People & the Press, found that a strong plurality of 50 percent of white evangelical Protestants believe that Islam “is more likely than others to encourage violence among its believers.
    While only about a third of mainline Protestants and Catholics accepted that view. ”
    Do we really need Evangelicals in the US?
    Hagee: “Muslims are programed to kill Christians and Jews”
    Do we really need nutcase zionist in the US?
    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/jewish-lobby-threatens-candy-brothers-us-deal-874861.html
    Jewish lobby threatens Candy brothers’ US deal
    By Robert Verkaik and Fionn Shiner
    Wednesday, 23 July 2008
    They are the feted brothers of London’s luxury property market whose services are courted by film stars and Russian oligarchs alike. In just 12 years, the Candy brothers’ brand of bespoke opulence for the super rich has brought them wealth and kudos in Britain. But in striving to secure a place at the top table among the movers and shakers of California, the brothers, both in their 30s, are facing a serious problem.
    Christian and Nick Candy, who with a £6,000 loan from their grandmother built a property design business worth an estimated £9bn, are now trying to allay the fears of members of the influential Jewish community in Beverly Hills over their associations with Middle Eastern financial backers.
    At the heart of the controversy is a prime eight-acre £250m development in Beverly Hills, California, which the brothers are using as a first foothold in Hollywood’s high-end property market.
    According to the influential Beverly Hills Blog, local councillors, egged on by angry Jewish residents, have challenged the brothers to declare their links with the wealthy Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber al-Thani, the Prime Minister of Qatar and part owner of a Middle Eastern newspaper that the Californians accuse of being anti-Semitic and anti-American. The sheikh and the Qatari government have bankrolled a number of the brothers’ developments in London, including the £900m acquisition of the Chelsea Barracks.
    While the brothers’ Middle Eastern links are of little concern in London, any suggestion that the sheikh is connected to 9900 Wilshire, the name given to the Candy brothers’ LA development, is a different matter. The Beverly Hills Jewish community is sensitive about doing business with some Middle Eastern states and investors. J A Mirisch, the Hollywood film distributor behind the Beverly Hills Blog, says: “Are we really so desperate that we need to welcome into our community people who incite to further hatred against Jews and Americans, or, for that matter, people who see fit do business with such anti-Semites and America-haters?”
    The brothers are well aware of the potential damage to their American dream and have tried to kill off the rumours. In March, Chris Candy, the older and more bullish of the brothers, flew to Los Angeles to try to reassure residents of the source of the investment for the luxury apartments. He made a similiar visit last year.
    It was reported that tJimmy Delshad, who was Beverly Hills mayor, demanded to know who was really behind the project. Mr Candy, 34, told the city council there was no Qatari involvement and the only financiers for 9900 were the Candys’ own Guernsey-based private-equity company, CPC Investments, and the Kaupthing Bank from Iceland.
    Nick Candy said the project had caused them some problems but he claimed Mr Delshad was a friend: “We sent 9,000 letters to the people of Beverly Hills and have had 18 meetings with the planners. And I can tell you 200 per cent that Sheikh Hamad is not involved in this project. But having said that I think people can be very narrow-minded on this. I know [the sheikh] is a friend of America who is close to the American President and Arnold Schwarzenegger [the Governor of California]. The US Air Force even has a base in Qatar. We love the people of Beverly Hills but I think it’s fair to say that this has been a lot harder than we thought.”
    Neither the evangelicals nor the Zionist jewish community represent the majority of Americans on Muslims or Arabs.
    If Obama wants to continue to pander to the basest segments of the US population than he is just another political hack using religious and racial division and fear mongering. And his appeal to Americans to be the better people they are was just your typical come on crapola.
    Let the games continue. But don’t act surprised and whine about the house always winning if you play their game.
    Obama deserves to be raked over the coals for his bait and switch politics.

    Reply

  161. Richard H. Davis says:

    It seems that no American politician will/can treat the Palestinians fairly. Republicans tilt toward the Israelis because it will hasten the second coming, and Democrats tilt toward the Israelis because of the Jewish vote. In any case, Israel can do no wrong. They can use US weapons illegally and there will be no problem. They can always add another settlement while continuing to augment the existing settlements. They will still get their billions of dollars of direct and military aid. And if they run our of bombs while destroying, say, Lebanon, we will re-supply them. I am not supporting suicide bombers or unguided missiles, I’m just saying that we are not treating the two sides evenly.

    Reply

  162. Owen says:

    The wall between Israel and Palestine is nothing like the Berlin Wall. Where it is on the ‘Green Line’, it is more like the walls along the US-Canada border (there are many walls near urban areas and the border crossings). There are plenty of walls along portions of borders in the world.
    Where the Israel-Palestine wall veers into territory across the Green Line is a real issue, but not the wall itself.
    Sure, that part of Obama’s Berlin speech didn’t make much sense, but walls along borders often do.

    Reply

  163. Steve Clemons says:

    Ken — sometimes I do get spun — or get had as you put it. Not this time.

    Reply

  164. Ken says:

    Under the bus? Surely you are being dramatic.
    Why did Asbahi resign? He resigned from hounding of people who think Obama is a muslim, a covert muslim, and Asbahi, being a muslim, is unAmerican.
    Who is Amy Chozick of WSJ that hounded Asbahi, Obama, and fed the hounds?
    The same Amy that trolls Yahoo message boards until she found a quote and then proceeded to write a news story (not opinion, not satire, but actually news) that question whether Obama is fit to be President because he is too.. fit?
    http://www.sadlyno.com/archives/10322.html
    How did you know that Obama himself did not demand from Asbahi that he not resign? Did you go aggressively after the likes of Chozick and the hounds?
    You have been had

    Reply

  165. Linda says:

    Lee Atwater attacks definitely are working, on this blog at least, to help McCain. Every Democrat who does not vote, votes for McCain or Nader will help McCain win. See Chris Brown’s comment above that I am assuming is accurate statement from Asbahi. He, as Samantha Powers, both resigned immediately because they want Obama to win and realized that their affiliations or statements could and would be used to hurt his campaign. Nobody threw them under any bus.
    There is little differentiation in any of the above defining clearly being Arab-American (and that involves as many countries as being Hispanic-American)to designate one’s or one’s ancestors’ country of origin vs. being Muslim, i.e., practicing that religion. So McCain’s Muslim outreach person is Christian. So are many Arab-Americans. It’s negative campaigning, and it works.
    Are we to believe and laud that Bush has Zalmay Khalilzad in his administration as an Afghan-American Muslim and that is a wonderful thing? It was only in the mid-1990s that Khalilzad was a consultant for Unocal meeting with the Taliban about a pipeline across Afghanistan and signing PNAC letters to Clinton urging the invasion of Iraq. Those letters also were signed by Rumsfeld and many other Christians and Wolfowitz who is Jewish. They all were wrong in their politics and actions and got us into this mess.
    The election is about real issues and not these side issues. Which of the candidates will get us out of Iraq, restore our reputation in the world, nominate good Supreme Court justices, promote nuclear disarmament, reverse the worst parts of the Bush tax cuts, reform health care, etc.? So the choice really is doubts about Obama vs. certainty about McCain.

    Reply

  166. sam says:

    Steve, very proud of you for writing this. It’s clear that you support Obama but also clear that you are trying to influence his direction. Good on you. That’s what we should all be trying to do. Balance is key, but so is getting these kinds of things right.
    I still support Obama. I hope he listens to Steve and others like him.

    Reply

  167. Eli Strums says:

    You write: “But Obama is silent in Israel when it is the wall dividing Israelis and Palestinians that is becoming an increasingly worse and impactful global ulcer.”
    That wall is there because nothing else that was tried could stop Palestinians from walking into restaurants and buses or any other public place and blowing up themselves and countless innocent people. So what you are really saying is how dare those Jews not lay down and allow themselves to be slaughtered and mutilated AGAIN.
    Yes, there are wrongs committed by both sides in this endless conflict. But only the Palestinians refuse to abide by past agreements or negotiate meaningful new agreements. The Israelis unilaterally pulled out of Gaza leaving the Palestinians with exactly what they had claimed they desired and all they got was more violence. The Palestinians have transformed Gaza into a living hell for their own people through their own self destructive actions. They have yet to realize that Israel cannot be destroyed with terrorism.
    Peaceful negotiations are the only possible solution. Half a century of senseless killing on both sides proves that neither side will back down in the face of more killing. More violence is senseless and will accomplish absolutely nothing. Yet they continue.
    In the meantime that wall is the only barrier protecting many innocents. Where is the “global ulcer” in that? If the Palestinians are hurting because of it they only need to stop the killing and make real peace. Will it be easy? No, but if you have another suggestion please make it.

    Reply

  168. susan says:

    I wish he would throw Cass Sunstein under the bus.

    Reply

  169. theWalrus says:

    Here’s the bottom line:
    Vote for Obama and America *might* have a chance to get its dignity back.
    Vote for Buffalo Chip McCain (or not vote) and count the days to Armageddon.

    Reply

  170. Awake! says:

    “I want fairness, balance, no zero sum between some Americans and others. Any of you who think that that is what it takes to win ought to be fighting for something better.”
    And if in fact the only way to win is to be unfair to some people at some time what then? Is anyone here so self-absorbed as to believe that losing with honor intact will be worth anything after the trumpets sound? We are not talking about an individual’s victory or defeat here, where one can please oneself; we are talking about a movement and the historical trajectory of a nation.
    As far as I can tell McCain doesn’t ‘do’ balance in any case, I suspect he thinks it makes you look funny, and I’ll wager he doesn’t have anything like a Muslim Outreach Coordinator either. What he almost certainly does have in abundance is a genuine passion for becoming the POTUS and if people are shocked at the nature of his attacks against the only one he sees standing in his way now then they may wish to avert their gaze, stop their ears and load up on Dramamine for the next few months because they have absolutely, truly seen and heard nothing yet.
    The notion that it is somehow hypocritical to adapt beforehand in order to win rather than later after you lose is arguable even if confined to deontological ethics and as a consequentialist ethic it leaves a great deal to be desired if one in fact considers the outcome of a contest important; i.e., it defers victory into infinity in all but an idealized universe where “the good” (as some see it) wins over all.
    Frankly while it would be interesting to see if the Left’s self-indulgence and lack of discipline might once again facilitate a progressive’s defeat, or a Democrat’s if it comes to that, I don’t think the country can really afford another 8 years like the 8 we’ve just experienced so I’ll take a pass if you don’t mind even at the cost of being unable to publicly scratch my outrage itch as often as I might like. YMMD

    Reply

  171. Ben Rosengart says:

    I’m happy to see you pushing Obama on this, Steve.
    Regards,

    Reply

  172. Heather says:

    I disagree. I think that even a hint that radical islam and this guy were linked would be used over and over again by a McCain campaign that is content with running a campaign based on sleazy character destruction rather than real issues. They would use this as a distraction from the real debate and the “liberal” media would happily draw it out into an alltogether bigger deal than it is. I’m thinking Asbahi is smart enough to know that and decided it wasn’t worth it to become a pawn in that type of game.

    Reply

  173. Steve Clemons says:

    Chris Brown — The advisor who resigned was asked to resign. He did not want to, but that said — he does not want to publicly repudiate the Obama camapaign or to become an issue of distraction for Obama. He’s selfless in this — and in my view, blameless. But suffice it to say that if he had just jumped on his own without strong pushing, I would not have written this piece. best, Steve Clemons

    Reply

  174. Brian says:

    I find this very dissapointing; but it could be worse – Lieberman could be endorsing Barack rather than McCain.
    More seriously, Barack needs to get elected first before he can do anything and with our current US media bias toward any criticism of Israel, or support for any of the positions of any groups that have been a threat to Israel, as ‘anti-semitic’ there isn’t much else Obama can do.
    Once he gets elected he needs to get more daring early in his administration in trying to respect and listen to reasonable offers of compromise from representatives of all religions and religious states.
    One reason I dropped my subscription to the WSJ and switched to the Financial Times (besides NewsCorp owning the WSJ now) was the the Finanacial Times criticizes economic corruption and violations of human rights by all sides in the Middle East… This cannot be said of any traditional corporate media news outlet I am familiar with in the US.

    Reply

  175. David says:

    Steve,
    Great post. I’m a strong Obama supporter and just last week I was
    out canvassing. While I was doing it I encountered a few Arab
    American homes and I used the opportunity to tell them why I
    thought Obama was the best candidate for the Arab American
    community. I still think he is by far. However, this is a silly thing
    that isn’t necessary and it makes it harder to sell him to the
    community. This kind of stuff is not worthy of the kind of
    candidacy we’ve been told Senator Obama represents.

    Reply

  176. Shinobi says:

    Frankly, I’d prefer to see Obama make a stand about Muslim rights in the US AFTER he gets elected, than see him do it now and lose in November.
    Additionally, where are all those photos of McCain posing with Muslim Americans?

    Reply

  177. ibc says:

    Hi,
    You must be new around here. Welcome to American Presidential politics. There are two candidates in the race. One is exponentially better on pretty much every issue than the other.
    Obama’s number one responsibility is to win the general election. Period. Keeping around a minor campaign flack to the detriment of the campaign in general is idiotic.
    Cue responses to the effect that “we can count on the wisdom of the noble American electorate to come to the right decision.”

    Reply

  178. joe dauz says:

    What ????
    What is wrong??
    An adviser left a campaign.
    So where is the quote from the guy that left?
    What is the journalistic HOW in this piece written by a baby crying?
    Waaa Waaa Obama is not perfect Whaaa waaaaaaa
    This is a -Hard Core secularists- expert opinion.
    Good to know..

    Reply

  179. RKU says:

    Couldn’t agree more with every word!
    Frankly, I’ve had a pretty low opinion about Obama, from the very beginning, and this behavior doesn’t surprise me in the least.
    Still, McCain makes me very, very, VERY nervous, so I wish young Barack the absolute best in his current campaign.

    Reply

  180. AinsliePlace says:

    Steve, if this surprises you then you haven’t been paying attention. It’s getting mighty crowded under the Obama Bus, with all the folks he throws under it.
    Just ask Rev. Wright, Fr. Pflager, and Obama’s grandmother.

    Reply

  181. Chris Brown says:

    Here is Mr. Asbahi’s email to the campaign, copied from The Page site. So why, Mr. Clemons, do you conclude he was “thrown under the bus?”
    In 2000, I agreed to serve as a member of the board of trustees of the Dow Jones Islamic Index Fund. I served on that board for only a few weeks before resigning as soon as I became aware of public allegations against another member of the board.
    Since concerns have been raised about that brief time, I am stepping down from the volunteer role I recently agreed to take on with the Obama campaign as Arab American and Muslim American outreach coordinator in order to avoid distracting from Barack Obama’s message of change.
    Sincerely,
    Mazen Asbahi

    Reply

  182. Alan in SF says:

    People persist in thinking that Obama is something other than a standard Democratic Party hack. Why?
    Which is not to say that he’s not a zillion times better than a standard Republican Party hack. Altho on Israel/Palestine, Presidential lawbreaking/warrantless wiretapping, the drug war, the gun violence epidemic, the incarceration crisis, and defense spending, he’s exactly the same.

    Reply

  183. Zathras says:

    So what kind of President would Barack Obama be?
    That’s the question we need to be thinking about, and it’s one with much broader implications than whether his campaign is making the right gestures toward Muslims in this country or elsewhere. There can’t be any question that Sen. Obama is a product of the permanent campaign; if he’s not a master of campaign tradecraft he is very close, and so far he’s adhered closely to most permanent campaign conventions. One of these is that advisors and associates who become controversial must be kept far away from the candidate, the reason for this being the need to keep extraneous stories from interfering with the campaign’s message and taking over a news cycle.
    If this didn’t work in campaign politics no one would do it. Obama is exceptional among national politicians only in that the circle of associates from whom he will not immediately distance himself if they get into trouble seems to be smaller than most. His is certainly smaller than John McCain’s.
    Here’s the problem, though: what works in a campaign won’t work in the White House. A President simply cannot operate the way Obama has, cutting ties instantly with subordinates who threaten his place in a news cycle. It would destroy morale in his administration; his subordinates would respond either with obsessive secrecy or excessive caution, out of an instinct for self-preservation.
    In the White House, accountability means you lose your job if you screw up, not if you become the subject of some bad press stories. In the campaign, the relationship of staff to the candidate is all one-way; staff is there to protect the candidate, period. Government requires a two-way street; a President has to find ways to stick up for his people, even when they become controversial. The Samantha Power episode a few months ago first made me wonder if Barack Obama gets this. I’m still wondering.

    Reply

  184. dan says:

    how is the wall in Israel/Palestine an ulcer? because it protects Israelis so they can’t be slaughtered? your fine points are diminished by the inclusion of the wall.

    Reply

  185. Will says:

    You’re right, Obama should immediately reinstate this man and surround himself with Muslims at every photo opportunity.
    Because it is more important to make a small point than to win an election that will shape the course of our country.

    Reply

  186. Max says:

    “Barack Obama needs to make a statement loudly, clearly, and with passion that he embraces Muslims…”
    Really? This may be what you want them to do, but I suspect Team Obama feels differently.

    Reply

  187. Joe says:

    At least WSJ reporter Amy Chozick has moved up from wondering if Obama is too skinny to be President.

    Reply

  188. Memekiller says:

    I’m really starting to buy David Sirota’s thesis that people like MoveOn need to push issues, not candidates, and be just as ruthless on Obama as anyone else. DC is like the Borg collective and gobbles up all and any who enter the beast. Obama isn’t moving to the Center, but Washington. He’s abandoning the center for DC, when he COULD be a game changer who alters the paradigm.
    We don’t need to be playing by whatever rules the GOP and punditocracy place on us. That means not caving to engineered GOP hissy-fits as he did with Wesley Clark, not caving on FISA, a bill that only Washington DC favors, and not obeying the narrative that wants to make this a war on Islam rather than terrorism.
    We need groups willing to twist his arm as much as any oil company, for the real center – meaning, what voters who give Obama his small donations care about.

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  189. Joe says:

    This is stupid. Do we have an example of a campaign adviser who resigns to spare the campaign embarrassment for reasons real or perceived, only to have that resignation not accepted. What is the precedent?
    Is there evidence that this person was told to resign or are we playing by new campaign rules that any adviser who gets unwarranted atention just bows out. How many times has this happened on both sides so far. You embarass the cnadidate for any reason, or beocme and object of attention, you get lost.
    Do you suspect that this position will go unfilled, or that Obama will fill it with someone who is not Muslim. NO he’ll just have another Muslim outreach coordinator.
    I’m sorry if Muslim’s feel aggrieved by Obama, I’m sure they get a great reception from McCain.

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  190. Tired of Both Parties says:

    “What is sadder, Obama’s backing down, or the possibility that he had to back down in order to avoid the Republican attack machine”
    “With the Repubs on the warpath, how can any dem afford to be broadminded and open in good ways?”
    Stop accepting such weakness in your candidates. Have the nerve to stand up for what you believe and demand the same from your candidates.
    If you lose then accept the fact that you may be in the minority and adapt. If you win then you will know you did the right thing.
    Anyone, left or right, willing to sell out just to win doesn’t deserve to win anything. Anyone who accepts that behavior from a candidate is backing a hypocrite.

    Reply

  191. Punchy says:

    Steve, you are tone-deaf to this election cycle. If you think a man with a funny name, funny color, and funny background can win if tied to “being Muslim”, than you have no idea what Joe SixPack thinks.

    Reply

  192. David says:

    “The informal Muslim outreach advisor for Senator McCain is Majida Mourad, who is at the Abraham Group. I don’t know if she has a formal title or not — but she’s the McCain’s team go-to person on Muslim Americans. I hear that she is impressive.”
    Yeah, well, she also has the luxury of not being attacked by the Democratic machine. I agree with your outrage, but I’m really not sure I want Obama spending a week explaining to Americans that they need to be tolerant of Muslims while the GOP blasts Obama for consorting with “terrorists” and “anti-Israeli” people (and god knows what else). Republicans have time and time again chosen to feed off of xenophobia and just plain fear.
    That is also the answer to those of you who compliment Bush’s outreach to Muslims–he has that luxury because Democrats aren’t going to make an issue out of it.

    Reply

  193. janinsanfran says:

    This is dreadfully sad. So many have wanted to believe that Obama meant a chance in direction for this country. But this is a terrible illustration of the wrong direction we wanted to change — as was Obama’s FISA vote. It is not at all encouraging to begin to see a pattern of wrong turns on issues that involve stereotyping and mindlessly profiling groups of individuals.

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  194. Glenn Beck's Taint says:

    I’m pretty sure that McCain’s formal Muslim Advisor is King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud.

    Reply

  195. c4logic says:

    You can please all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you cannot please all of the people all of the time.
    The perfect can be the enemy of the good.
    All politics is compromise.
    I smell an absolutist conviction, here. Can we please get pragmatic–or do you hope for the destruction of America from within?

    Reply

  196. Nate Hale says:

    Majida Mourad is indeed impressive, but she is a Christian and not a Muslim. Who is the highest-ranking Muslim on the McCain campaign? On the Obama campaign?
    How does either campaign feel about having Muslims serving in its prospective administration?
    Whatever people say of Bush, he has two Muslims serving in high profile positions (Khalilzad at the UN and Zerhouni at NIH). Would these two show as much openness?

    Reply

  197. WigWag says:

    Majida Mourad is indeed Senator McCain’s go to person on Muslim outreach. This is her biography.
    “Majida Mourad joined The Abraham Group, as vice president and partner, after serving as Senior Advisor to Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham from January 2001 until February 2005. As Senior Advisor to the Secretary, she was a lead Department representative on international energy matters. In particular she focused on United States Department of Energy work with the nations of the Middle East, Australia, Russia and various other European as well as Asian countries. She also performed key assignments with respect to such multilateral organizations as the International Energy Agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the International Energy Forum
    In addition, Ms. Mourad also traveled extensively on behalf of the Department in conjunction with such matters as the North American Initiative, the Western Hemispheric and US-African Energy Ministerial conferences and several of other Department of Energy initiatives. She also was one of the Department’s senior officials charged with responsibilities in conjunction with the Liquefied Natural Gas Summit, the International Partnership for a Hydrogen Economy and the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum.
    Prior to joining the Department of Energy, Ms. Mourad served as a member of President Bush’s Transition Team Staff, assisting Spencer Abraham during his confirmation process as Secretary of Energy.
    Ms. Mourad first served then-Senator Spencer Abraham as Special Assistant in 1999. She began her public policy career in 1996, working for Congressman Sonny Bono, and later for Congresswoman Mary Bono.”

    Reply

  198. Bob says:

    You are easily outraged. Since you think you know the whole story, why don’t you tell the whole story.
    Or maybe you don’t.

    Reply

  199. Bethie says:

    Steve,
    I guess I am confused. McCain has an “informal outreach advisor” but who is his “formal advisor”?
    Was Asbani a formal or informal advisor?

    Reply

  200. Pure Red says:

    Barraq Hussein Obama is distancing himself from his muslim brothers, but WE KNOW THE TRUTH. BHO is a stealth muslim!

    Reply

  201. Carroll says:

    I agree it’s disgusting.
    Obama keeps going down and down in my opinion.
    Some people have the opinion that Obama has to do this pandering to some segments and demonizing another group in order to win the WH and that once elected he will go back to his pre general election self.
    I doubt this because once in the WH the goal becomes a second term and the pandering and /or demonizing continues.
    The real question in America is, do actions like this by Obama reflect what Americans really feel or want? Or do actions like Obama’s reflect only the tactics politicans use in playing the percentages in the niche and fanatic voters?
    I think most people, both dems and repubs, had high hopes for this election and now it turns out to be just more of the same. I am convinced the majority of this country WAS ready for change…but it’s not being delivered.
    Guess I will still be using my BWTTGASO slogan even after this election unless there is some miracle.

    Reply

  202. questions says:

    What is sadder, Obama’s backing down, or the possibility that he had to back down in order to avoid the Republican attack machine and the open and clear and even socially acceptable anti-Muslim feeling in this country?
    With the Repubs on the warpath, how can any dem afford to be broadminded and open in good ways? Obama would never survive an ad campaign that noted that this guy participated in a Muslim investment fund — sounds shady til you realize that these funds are designed to avoid interest payments because earning money on money (usury anyone?) is considered unacceptable.
    You know the ad would suggest that the money went to terrorists. There’s no way to fight this stuff. The spirit of Lee Atwater lives on and slowly eats away at the nation.

    Reply

  203. Steve Clemon says:

    Dan Kervick: The informal Muslim outreach advisor for Senator McCain is Majida Mourad, who is at the Abraham Group. I don’t know if she has a formal title or not — but she’s the McCain’s team go-to person on Muslim Americans. I hear that she is impressive.

    Reply

  204. Don Bacon says:

    This reads like a Swift-boat attack on valiant Obama. “Slimy,” I call it. Everybody knows that Obama can do no wrong and is our only hope.
    Seriously, in case somebody missed it, the US is now in three (3) wars against Muslims (including the proxy I/P one), and threatening one or two more. Muslims are being commonly discriminated against and harassed in the US.
    Any peep from any politician about fairness to Palestinians, in particular, means instant political death. (Just ask Cynthia McKinney.) In short, there is NO WAY that there will be any fairness toward Muslims, or any “Muslim advisor” worth his or her salt. Forget it.

    Reply

  205. Sam Sherraden says:

    I think the Obama team faces the threat of jeopardizing the collective and hopeful spirit they built over the course of the campaign. It saddens steve, myself and many Americans to see them back down after the prejudiced pundits unleashed their criticism of Mazen Asbahi. Instead of turning their backs and allowing him to resign, the Obama camp should reach out to Asbahi – and take the opportunity to reach out to all Muslims in the united states and let them know they are part of the message of hope and unity.
    Obama should listen up because as steve pointed out, the stakes are greater than the Muslim-American vote.

    Reply

  206. Steve Clemons says:

    Dan — I will try and find out.
    Steve

    Reply

  207. Dan Kervick says:

    Who is John McCain’s Muslim Outreach coordinator?

    Reply

  208. Paul Norheim says:

    Excellent Steve!
    As I wrote earlier today in a comment, Obama currently doesn`t
    even try to provide the illusion of a “balanced view on the
    Israeli/Palestinian conflict”.
    If his recent move “towards the center”, to please the mainstream,
    also implies firing a Muslim advisor, this is very depressing.

    Reply

  209. Via says:

    I am a secular humanist, and had hoped for better from Obama.
    He drew a circle that shut me out —
    Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
    But Love and I had the wit to win:
    We drew a circle that took him in.
    Edwin Markham
    He has the capability to do this, I just hope he has the wisdom and the courage.

    Reply

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