City of Brass

City of Brass

Barack Obama’s failure

I support Obama for President, and I believe that given the Republican Party’s war on muslims in the public and political sphere (Mazen Asbahi, Rima Sinclair, now Rashid Khalidi just the latest examples), his Presidency will do much to mitigate the tide of Islamophobia washing our political shores. But Obama is still a failure for not facing the muslim smear head-on, with the same political courage he demonstrated in the wake of the Reverend Wright affair and his now-historic speech on race. Did that speech erase racial prejudice? No, but it estalished the framework for a post-racial politics. If Obama had shown similar courage, and applied his considerable rhetorical and leadership skills, towards the muslim smear, he might have laid a smilar groundwork for a post-religious politics, which would not only beefit muslims but also Jews and other minorities, and increased America’s leverage and moral leadership abroad as we seek to promote liberalism and human rights abroad, which is a fundamental strategic objective for own national security).


This failure of Obama to confront religious prejudice is directly responsible for the durability of the muslim smear: 23% of all Texans and 28% of Kentucky Republicans still believe Obama to be muslim (and higher percentages remain unsure if he is Christian or not). Nationwide, it’s 12%, and more likely to sway Democrats against Obama than Republicans for obvious reasons.

Related: good summary and overview of Arab and muslim stereotypes and the complicity of our presidential candidates in perpetuating them, by Jack Shaheen.

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Aamer Jamali

posted October 30, 2008 at 2:02 pm

I agree and disagree. Firstly, it is unfortunate that Obama does not confront the Muslim “smear” in two different facets: 1) I am not a Muslim, and 2) So what if I were. If you are advocating a greater emphasis on number 1, then I think that that is very reasonable. But I also think he has done as much as he can about it. Any more, and he risks “Ye doth protest too much, methinks”
Regarding number 2, I agree that in a perfect world, he would make that speech. But he can do a lot more towards changing the war on terror from the current war on Islam just by the very simple act of being elected. And that has to be priority number 1. A “so what if I were” speech would immediately be parsed by every republican Islamophobe out there for talking points to feed into Sarah Palin’s mouth.
A high profile surrogate such as Powell making the point was a good move. But it should end there. He needs to keep his mouth shut about this until the country is more ready for it.
Pragmatism over ideology.

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Richard Silverstein

posted October 31, 2008 at 3:12 am

I think Colin Powell address this whole question best when he said: “So what if he were Muslim? Should that disqualify him?”
I think it’s equally as important to address the racism & Islamophobia inherent in the McCain campaign’s attempt to impeach distinguished Arab American academics like Rashid Khalidi, who has become the latest “Bill Ayers.”
I think Obama believes he has the election won. To dredge up the Muslim theme yet again after he’s denied it numerous times would only draw attention to slime that he’d rather not approach. I think he feels there’s nothing to be gained for him in doing so. Basically, I don’t think there’s anything Obama could do to dissuade those nutcases of their ignornace & error regarding his so called Muslim origins.

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posted October 31, 2008 at 9:47 am

I am not 100% convinced that Obama is a Christian. He has admitted that his “faith” is not conventional, which can mean all kinds of things.
Sadly, for some religion is a big reason for not voting for someone. Kennedy faced some of that for being Catholic, Mitt Romney didn’t far because of his faith. For others though, this is an issue because it is yet another lie coming from this socialist/ marxist who has done nothing and says nothing.
Obama should not be elected. He should not have won the primary. This is all smoke and mirrors and I fear for the direction this country will go in with him as President. I also fear that he and Reid and Pelosi will push things so far that there will be mass rioting and civil unrest.
History can and does repeat itself. The political climate that we have now is very much like the one seen prior to the Civil War. Gun sales are up. That is frightening.

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posted October 31, 2008 at 1:40 pm

“the Republican Party’s war on muslims”
WOW… I will forever ignore you from this point on. You are no better than Al Jazeera fanning the flames of hatred so you can score a few extra points in the ratings.
I hope the rest of the world ignores you and your blog is failure, that’s what you deserve.

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