Sunday, March 02, 2008

What's In a Name?

There have been quite a few right-wing talk show hosts, many of them on radio but by no means obscure, who have been making a big deal out of the fact that Senator Barack Obama's middle name is Hussein. And it is a fact, a fact that Sen Obama does not, nor would ever, deny. But what's the big deal? Why does it matter? Of course the smarter readers of this blog will know that his middle name has absolutely nothing to do with Saddam Hussein, the notorious "Butcher of Baghdad". The ones who think it does will never read this. And since they are out of the room, I need to ask you something. What do we do about them? What do we do with those idiotic people who think that because Obama's middle name is Hussein, that he must secretly be a Muslim. Worse than that, he must be a, God help us, Terrorist Sympathizer.

Sen John McCain's campaign gets well-known, racist radio host Bill Cunningham to do the candidate's introduction, and the campaign tells him (according to Cunningham) to give them some "red meat". So he does his shtick on the stage mentioning Obama's middle name at least three times. And then, after all the hullabaloo about whether or not McCain himself knew this was going to happen, along comes Rush Limbaugh to defend Cunningham. Except, he did it in his usual off-handed racist way. He was even a little confused about who wanted what.
Even Karl Rove has come out today and said, "Don't do this. It's not -- it's not productive. It's not going to accomplish anything."

It's -- you know, my reaction is, we're getting dangerously close here to where the liberals are telling us what we can and can't say.
Frankly, I was quite surprised to learn that the far right considers Karl Rove to be a liberal.

And for once, I have to say I agree with Karl Rove. They don't want to get into a game of what everyone's middle name means. Because then you have to get into whether or not the person in question was named after the evil person with the same name, or someone else, perhaps a family relative. Perhaps that particular relative was an evil person. If you were John Wilkes Booth's brother, and you had a son after the Lincoln assassination, would you name him John Wilkes Booth II? (Of course, you're not his brother, so anything you say would be correct, I guess.) Well, what if you had a relative who helped fund the Nazi war machine? Even if you were already named after him, would you name your son after him, too? President George Walker Bush is named after his father and George Herbert Walker, and it is true that Walker helped fund the Nazis.

And as much as it pains me to say it, the president's grandmother, Dorothy, had a brother, George Herbert Walker, Jr, who help found the New York Mets, my favorite baseball team. What does that say about me and all the other Mets fans? Are we guilty by association? The Name Game has to stop. The Right Wing Attack Machine must stop dropping the "Ultimate Fear Bomb", as the senator's wife, Michelle Obama, so perfectly described it. It's wrong not because it's factually incorrect. It's wrong because the intent is to link Obama in the minds of voters with evil people, people with whom he has nothing to do. Nobody wins at these games.

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