Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Insane Over Hussein

Lord knows that the three remaining major candidates offer enough legitimate areas for criticism to make everyone happy, so you just have to wonder why people focus on immaterial minutiae. Such as, for example, what may be the silliest of the abundance of silly things we are bludgeoned with almost daily, which is trying to make hay from Barack Obama’s middle name. In case you somehow haven’t heard it, it is “Hussein.” That’s right: Hussein; just like the now dead former butcher of Iraq, Saddam Hussein.

Using the middle name is a feeble attempt to call attention to the Senator’s Muslim connections, and to play on the emotions of Americans who remember the 19 Muslim murderers who wreaked such havoc on 9-11-01. But really, doesn’t the name “Barack Obama” lend adequate reference to Islam all by itself? And there is also the infantile effort to make Sen. Obama seem un-American, or less American than a president ought to be. But think about it: if your name is Barack Obama, and you are running for the presidential nomination of a major American political party, does adding the middle name “Hussein” really make any difference at all? Isn’t “Barack Obama” different enough from George Washington or Thomas Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln or John McCain or Hillary Clinton, or Ron Paul or even Mike Huckabee?

The most recent display of this idiocy was the talk radio guy in Cincinnati who, while warming up the crowd for Sen. John McCain, made a point of calling Sen. Obama, “Barack Hussein Obama” three times. Aside from the elementary-schoolyard flavor of this dumbness, there is an historical disconnect, which is that Sen. Obama was born and named in 1961, fully 18 years before Saddam Hussein rose to power, and a few more years still before anyone ever heard of him outside the Middle East. Despite his best effort, the talk show guy just can’t make that connection work.

Some think using the Senator’s middle name is unfair. They are wrong; it is just stupid.

Then, there’s the photo of Sen. Obama dressed in Somali regalia taken on a visit to that country. Someone, perhaps someone in the Clinton campaign, sent that photo to the media with the intent, one can safely presume, to imply that the Senator really IS a closet Muslim who will bring down the US from within, if he is elected President of the United States.

Hardly anyone who engages their brain each day will be influenced by any of this crap, so perhaps the worst thing it accomplishes is to make those who indulge in it look desperate.

And maybe they are.

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