What’s in a Name? (Part Two)

Today, at a campaign stop in Chillicothe, Ohio, Michelle Obama told reporters that her husband’s middle name, as used by his opponents, is a “fear bomb.”

In response to Tuesday’s remarks by conservative talk radio host Bill Cunningham and the subsequent placatory display by Sen. John McCain, the Illinois senator’s wife mentioned that republicans are dragging out the insinuations behind the “Hussein” in Barack Hussein Obama because they have nothing else left to do.

I can understand where she is coming from. I, for one, hope that this election is NOT decided on names, on skin colors, on ancestry or on birth in the Panama Canal Zone (as an aside, is The New York Times really that desperate already?). However, as you can tell, I have no qualms whatsoever about addressing Obama by his full name.

Here, I don’t do it for fear-mongering. I don’t want to associate Obama with terrorism. If I wanted to be that shallow, I would have photoshopped a beard onto the photograph of him in the Somali outfit (and maybe thrown an AK-47, Ayman al-Zawahiri, and a couple of well-used goats in there for good measure).

My issue is that Americans don’t seem to realize that they are voting not only for a president this year, but for a Commander-in-Chief. Perhaps, by emphasizing Obama’s middle name, people might remember that we are at war with radical Islam, that we did succeed in overthrowing a man who thought little or nothing of human rights, and that we need somebody who is capable of keeping this country safe and properly prosecuting the Global War on Terror. Should I get to it tomorrow, you will see why I have serious problems with Sen. Obama’s perspective on our military, on the global climate, and on the role of America in the world.

Furthermore, my biggest problem with Tuesday’s events was not the speech by Cunningham but by the immediate act of contrition offered by McCain. It sets a dangerous precedent which feeds into the liberal mainstay of attacking racial bias instead of engaging in substantive debate. I find it funny how Michelle Obama says that republicans are using fear as a last resort when I have no doubt in my mind, whatsoever, that certain segments of her husband’s support base will be crying “RACISM!!” as soon as it becomes evident that Obama is in way over his head with regard to arguing actual issues.

Former Philadelphia Mayor John Street waits in line to be one of
the first to purchase an Apple iPhone. Street staked out his spot at
3:30am and waited for more than 15 hours for the device. On this day in
June 2007, the city of Philadelphia had already recorded its 200th

It actually happened here in Philadelphia a few years ago when former Democratic (and African-American) Mayor John Street was in a hotly-contentious race against a Republican challenger named Sam Katz. Feeding off, among other things, Philadelphians’ desire for economic resurgence–Katz wanted to eliminate the four-to-eight percent wage tax placed upon those who work in the city in an attempt to jumpstart the creation of new businesses and jobs–as well as the cloud of corruption surrounding Mayor Street’s administration, Katz was running neck-and-neck in a city where Democrats have been in power for generations. One day, however, news broke that Street had found an FBI-planted electronic surveillance device in his office as part of the ongoing corruption investigation. As soon as news broke of the FBI’s “bug,” it was quickly spun into a race-based, “man keeping a brother down” situation and Street’s poll numbers jumped about 10 to 15 points within a matter of hours.

The very second that Barack Obama eloquently talks himself in a corner when confronted with, say, the economic feasibility of his many social welfare programs, I have no doubt that Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson and Louis Farrakhan will be hitting the airwaves and denouncing Obama’s challenger as a “racist.”

It stinks. It really, really does, and I hope that it doesn’t happen. Obama, I think, is much better than this, but it has been a staple of Democrats for years — and, for some reason, they are immune to their own filth.

Trent Lott, for example, was virtually run out of Washington after saying a poor joke at the late Sen. Strom Thurmond’s 125th birthday party.

“I want to say this about my state,” Lott said. “When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of him. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either.”

Thurmond wasn’t exactly a civil rights advocate, and Lott was labeled by former Vice President Al Gore and current House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a “racist.” Even President Bush tagged along, saying that “[a]ny suggestion that the segregated past was acceptable or positive is offensive and is wrong.”

Nobody, however, seems to care that in 1993, President Bill Clinton honored J. William Fulbright with the Presidential Medal of Freedom–the highest honor which can be bestowed upon a civilian–and proclaimed to all that Fulbright was a “visionary humanitarian” and was a “steadfast supporter of the values of education.”

“The American political system produced this man,” said Clinton, noting that his home state of Arkansas had something to do with Fulbright’s success, “and I’m real proud of it.”

Nine years later, in 2002, Clinton dedicated a bronze statue of Fulbright in Fayetteville, Arkansas, singing his praises then, too. Nobody seemed to care that Fulbright was a staunch and vigorous segregationist and, while in the Senate, voted against the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965.

At the heart of this tactic and hypocrisy is the American mainstream media, the same media that splashes bad news from Iraq on front pages and buries news of progress, of bravery and of humanitarian efforts on page A-18. Obama has already secured his place as media darling and, while I’m sure that the media will vet him to a certain degree once he wraps up the nomination, I worry that the same media outlets that went crazy over “Nappy-Headed Hos” and over Jena Six and over the Duke Lacrosse case will be more than happy to amplify charges of racial inequality from Sharpton, Jackson and the like.

It’s a shame, too. Obama really, really has something. Despite all of the problems I have with his policies and plans, I respect that he actually wants to implement them, actually wants to use the power of the presidency to get things done. Despite all of the problems I have with his ideas and beliefs, his rhetoric–as empty as it may be–is inspiring. It’s refreshing to see a democrat who shouts, to the rafters, about the greatness of America. I love it. For those reasons, I sincerely hope that this race does not go the way I think it will go; I hope it rises above.

America is ready for a black president and for a female president — but the American people must first collectively support such candidates for the nature of their ideals and not the color of their skin or, uh, the shape and characteristics of their genitalia.


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