Obama, The Victim

Obama continues to complain that Republicans will try to make voters afraid of him with false and even ridiculous descriptions and accusations. Thus at a recent campaign appearance in Duryea, PA:

“I know that I’m not your typical presidential candidate,” Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., told executives and employees of the Schott glass company Friday afternoon, “and I just want to be honest with you. I know that.”

“And I know that the temptation is to say, ‘You know what? …The guy hasn’t been there that long in Washington.,’ You know, ‘he’s got funny name,’ You know, ‘we’re not sure about him,’” Obama continued. “And that’s what the Republicans, when they say, ‘This isn’t about issues, it’s about personalities,’ what they’re really saying is, ‘We’re going to try to scare people about Barack. So we’re going to say that you know, maybe he’s got Muslim connections or we’re going to say that, you know, he hangs out with radicals or he’s not patriotic.’

“Just making stuff up,” Obama said, “or that he never’s gotten anything done even though over the last 20 years I’ve given health care to kids who didn’t have it.”

Moving beyond this new reference to Dr. Obama, the health care provider, it was clear this time that Obama was referring not simply to “the Republicans,” but one particular Republican, Rick Davis, McCain’s campaign manager.

Of course, Davis was not saying the election would be about “personalities.” As ABC News reporter Jake Tapper in his report of Obama’s remarks, Davis had told the Washington Post that “this election is not about issues, this election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates.”

Even that summary of Davis’s remarks is not quite clear, however, as this exchange between Davis and Chris Wallace yesterday on Fox News Sunday makes clear.

WALLACE: And let’s put [Davis’s remark] up on the screen again. “This election is not about issues. This election is about a composite view of what people take away from these candidates.”


WALLACE: Rick, do you want to focus on personality or a composite view of the candidates, not issues, because of the fact, for instance, that we’ve got 6.1 percent unemployment, the highest in five years?

DAVIS: No, Chris. And what you didn’t — what you didn’t show on the screen was the next sentence, which is the composite view is made up of people’s values. It’s made up of their opinions. It’s made up of their judgment and their principles.

And so then I let — then the next sentence says, “And of course, issues will play an important role in people’s final decision.”

The Baltimore Sun also got this just about right:

Obama has tried to inoculate himself against expected Republican attacks. He has repeatedly criticized a comment by McCain’s campaign manager, Rick Davis, who said last week that the election “is not about issues” but instead is about the candidates’ personalities – “their values, their character, their opinions, their principles.”

At a Scranton, Pa., stop on Friday, Obama said, “When they say this isn’t about issues, it’s about personalities, what they’re really saying is, ‘We’re going to try to scare people about Barack. So we’re going to say that, you know, maybe he’s got Muslim connections, or we’re going to say that, you know, he hangs out with radicals, or he’s not patriotic.’”

I admit that I remain undecided about Obama’s possible “Muslim connections.” He frequently attempts to use the unassailable assertion that he is not a Muslim as a blanket denial of any “Muslim connections” whatsoever, even the fact that as a boy he was registered as a Muslim student at several schools.

Obama first attended a Catholic school for almost three years. However, his mother registered him in the school as a Muslim. As such, he was required to spending time each week praying with Muslim students and studying the Koran.

In the wake of the controversy over Obama’s Muslim upbringing, The Los Angeles Times sent a reporter to Jakarta to ferret out the truth.

The Times report, published on March 16, 2008, revealed:

• A close boyhood friend of Obama, Zulfin Adi, said Obama “was a Muslim. He went to the mosque.”

• Obama’s first-grade teacher at a Catholic school, Israella Dharmawan, said: “Barry (Barack’s nickname) was Muslim. He was registered as a Muslim because his father was Muslim.”

• In the third grade, Obama transferred to a public school, where he was also registered as a Muslim. At the school, Muslim students attended weekly religion lessons about Islam….

Earlier this year, Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs claimed: “Senator Obama has never been a Muslim, was not raised a Muslim, and is a committed Christian.”


After The Los Angeles Times conducted its own investigation, Gibbs amended his previous statement on behalf of Obama, telling the Times: “Obama has never been a practicing Muslim,” the key word being “practicing.”

No doubt there are some who are trying to smear Obama with unfounded accusations of Muslim ties, but Obama doesn’t help himself when he appears to deny some ties, however tenuous they may be, that do exist.

More recently another possible connection emerged from a TV interview with Percy Sutton, the former Manhattan Borough President, who revealed that he was asked to write a recommendation for the young Obama by Khalid al-Mansour, whom Newsmax describes as “a key adviser to a Saudi billionaire who had mentored the founding members of the Black Panthers.”

I don’t know whether these alleged Muslim connections are true or whether, if true, they amount to anything or not. Nor do I think it makes any sense to assert that Obama “is not patriotic,” as he continually warns Republicans will do. (Has anyone accused Obama of being unpatriotic? If so, please send cites.) But Obama goes further, asserting angrily that Republicans will also charge that he “hangs out with radicals.”

Now that, of course, is in fact true, unless you don’t regard Bill Ayers, Father Pfleger, and Rev. Wright as radicals, although it’s also true that he has tried to distance himself from these connections recently.

Still, the perfidy of those evil Republicans can hardly be overstated. Pretty soon they’ll probably stoop so low as to start accusing Obama of being a liberal.


Glenn Reynolds quotes an emailer who makes the above point clearly and concisely:

… [Obama] keeps saying things like:

My opponents say I’m Muslim, I’m friendly with terrorists, I attended some bizarre church for decades.

Trouble is, though A is false, B and C are arguably true (B probably, C certainly true). Claim A is used to assimilate the false and irresponsible rumor with (much more important) questions that Obama has never come clean about.

Say What? (2)

  1. Claire Boston September 8, 2008 at 12:26 pm | | Reply

    I don’t care whether he is a Muslim or not, but apparently he does. I think most people are nervous about having a Muslim in office because they are still unsure about the nature of being Muslim: are Muslims really the peaceful people they are being portrayed as by some organizations, or are they the radical, ‘destroy the infidel’ types who are told that it is okay to lie to a non-Muslim enemy? Many Christians take one view or the other, but just as many swing back and forth, unsure which, if either, is correct. Personally, Obama’s lack of comfort with his Muslim family upbringing, and his apparent efforts to hide or deny it, make me very, very uncomfortable. His ties with radical black leaders make me even more uncomfortable. It seems obvious that Biden was put in place to keep a leash on Obama if elected, and make sure he toes the party line. And I wouldn’t trust Biden as far as I could throw him, and even then I’d check my pockets.

  2. Eileen October 8, 2008 at 6:21 pm | | Reply

    It is not the McCain campaign that is scaring us, Mr. Obama, it is YOU that is scaring us. It’s your inability to be truthful with us about your ties to radicals, it’s about your ties to millionaire Muslims that you refuse to reveal. If there is nothing to hide, why are you hiding all this? Why do you brush it aside as insignificant when you can see that it is not insignificant to many Americans? Why can we not see your records from the schools you attended? What is it you are hiding? No American with a trust issue against you will ever pull the lever to vote for you and everyone in my family (all 82 of us here in New York and 47 more around the nation) have a big trust issue with you.

Say What?