The Liberal Gutter


In their anger over what they perceive to be “gutter politics,” Democrats are racing for the gutter. Consider syndicated columnist Leonard Pitts, Jr., who links anyone with a desire to know the true background of Barack Obama with skinheads.

So the airwaves and the Internet swarm with mendacity: Obama is a Muslim; Obama does not salute the flag; Obama mocks the Bible; Obama is not a citizen; Obama is the anti-Christ. Amazingly, the lies do not crumble under the weight of their own fatuity. Amazingly, they fester instead.

I am a radio talk host and a blogger on Barack, so I read everything thrown in my direction on the topic. These claims are rare and of little relevance, as they are simply not part of the mainstream conversation about Barack.

Let’s take them one at a time:
Barack mocks the Bible – I’ve never heard or seen this line of attack.
Obama is a Muslim – There’s naturally been lots of conversation about this, as he was fathered by two Muslims, his natural father and his step-father, and he lived in Indonesia for a few years as a boy, and his name is Barack Obama. As a result, it’s understandable that 10% or so of Americans assume he’s Muslim. I have seen a couple of emails suggesting that he is Muslim, and I’ve had one or two radio show callers claim that he’s Muslim, but it’s rare, and I’m not sure why it should be viewed as a slur.
Obama is the anti-Christ – I’ve seen articles suggesting that this was a hidden message in John McCain’s “The One” ad, but not anywhere else. Let’s call that one a liberal smear.
Barack doesn’t salute the flag – This is a controversy born of Barack’s abandoned commitment to not wear flag pins, combined with stunning video of him keeping his hands clasped in front of him while sharing a flag filled stage with the other, saluting, democratic candidates – so that’s a confusion he created with his own curious behavior that he’ll just have to take his lumps on. The claim that he doesn’t salute the flag is out there on the fringe, but there is mainstream curiosity about a man who would have the audacity to behave toward the flag with such disdain while running for president.

Pitts seeks to merge those outside the margins “attacks” with legitimate concerns over what makes this guy tick.

It is not surprising to see such tactics from the people who managed to paint a war hero as a traitor in 2004. But last week brought news that similar tactics were considered by one of Obama’s fellow Democrats: Sen. Hillary Clinton. According to a story in the Atlantic Monthly, Mark Penn, one of Clinton’s senior strategists, issued a memo urging her to attack Obama’s “lack of American roots” during the party primaries.

Let’s get real – Someone who wants to become president has to prove that they are, at their core, connected to what Pitts calls “the communal psyche, the one that registers true north on our shared moral compass.”

We must know beyond any doubt that a candidate’s dedication to the best interests of the country, and to the values that link us, is unwavering. The problem is when you’re dealing with a man of color, his defenders try to hold off the investigation with claims of racism.

Truth is, the baggage of all candidates is sifted through looking for signs of otherness. It may lead to unpleasant explorations – the type faced by Romney over Mormonism, by Hillary over having been Bill’s wife, or by Edwards for having been a slick trial lawyer, but that’s the name of the game. Minority candidates are just going to have to get used to it.

In Barack’s case, the protectors want his explanation of his past to be taken at face value without the media, and public, having a look at what his true life story is.

“… His roots to basic American values and culture,” wrote Penn, “are at best limited. I cannot imagine America electing a president during a time of war who is not at his center fundamentally American … ” In other words, Obama was born in Hawaii (is that even a real state?), spent part of his childhood in Indonesia and does not resemble the presidents on the currency. Ergo, Obama is not American.

If Ronald Reagan had been a state senator instead of Governor of California, had been partially raised in Indonesia by a Muslim step-father, and had built his political career by partnering with racially divisive radicals like Reverend Wright and Reverend Pfleger, would he have been able to win the presidency?

Just for fun, sprinkle a little Nancy on top, giving speeches about how sick the soul of this country is, how it’s just too ignorant a place for people like Ronnie to win, then consider again.

Perhaps it’s enough to note by way of illustration that according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, the number of hate groups in this country has risen by almost half since 2000.

No, it isn’t. Because you’re trying to make those with a normal desire to vet a candidate into one with skin heads. That is a real, live, ugly slur, Mr. Pitts.

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