Monday, September 15, 2008

Obama's Non-Muslim Faith

A little more than a week ago, Obama had a slip of the tongue and said "John McCain has not talked about my Muslim faith" during an interview with George Stephanopoulos. The key words there were "my Muslim faith."

About 8 million people have (for reasons I just don't understand) posted the clip of the quote to YouTube.

My plea to "the right": Obama's not a Muslim. Please move along.

There are plenty of valid (read: true and based in reality) objections to an Obama presidency. If the best you can come up with is "he might secretly be a Muslim", go out and buy a copy of "The Case Against Barack Obama." Or, if you are cheap but have an iPod and a commute to work, download one of these three interviews with the book's author.

And now, a reality-based point about the interview between Obama and Stephanopoulos. Stephanopoulos was pushing Obama to admit the McCain campaign hasn't been behind these stupid "Obama is a Muslim" slanders. Obama finally relented, but then offered this:

Listen, you and I both know that the minute that Governor Palin was forced to talk about her daughter, I immediately said that’s off limits. ... And what was the first thing the McCain campaign went out and did? They said, look, these liberal blogs that support Obama are out there attacking Governor Palin. ... What I’m saying is - that [McCain] hasn’t suggested that I’m a Muslim, and I think that his campaign upper echelons haven’t either. [But] what I think is fair to say is that coming out of the Republican camp, there have been efforts to suggest that perhaps I’m not what who I say I am when it comes to my faith, something which I find deeply offensive, and that has been going on for a pretty long time.

Obama is right to be offended. And there are other areas in which I find him a bit too whiney, but I think his objection here is spot on.

What I do take issue with here is equivalence of the intentional smear campaign launched by prominent Obama-supporting blogs like the Daily Kos against Bristol Palin with the losers that keep pushing this stupid Obama-is-a-Muslim crap. You don't find prominent right wing blogs pushing the Obama-Muslim stuff. Prominent right wings are plenty partisan and do take the occasional cheap shot, but they don't sink the to Obama-is-a-Muslim / smear-an-innocent-17-year-old-girl level like the Daily Kos does.

And there's an additional layer of difference here too. Obama is closely tied to the Daily Kos. By attending their convention and hosting a diary with them, he's effectively put his seal of approval on the Daily Kos. So, when the Daily Kos does something objectionable (which is regrettably often), the McCain campain has pretty solid ground to bring it up with Obama.

Right wing people:  Stop calling Obama a Muslim. It's not true, and it's not helpful.

Obama:  Either distance yourself from and denounce the Daily Kos or start validly accepting criticism for the smears they put out.

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