Every presidential candidate comes in for their share of partisan bile from their opponents’ more rabid supporters. The generic term for this is X Derangement Syndrome (example, BDS for Bush, etc) and to some extent it is a manifestation of the political passion that drives the system. It’s surely better than outright, pervasive voter apathy.
However, what’s disturbing about the bile directed at Barack Obama (ODS) is the racial and religious subtext, which was absent for obvious reasons from those afflicted by CDS and BDS. I’ve compiled a list of crazy accusations against Obama elsewhere, but two examples stand out for their common theme.
First, the case of Obama Waffles:
Activists at a conservative political forum snapped up boxes of waffle mix depicting Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama as a racial stereotype on its front and wearing Arab-like headdress on its top flap.
Republican Party stalwarts Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney were among speakers at the forum, which officials said drew 2,100 activists from 44 states.
While Obama Waffles takes aim at Obama’s politics by poking fun at
his public remarks and positions on issues, it also plays off the old
image of the pancake-mix icon Aunt Jemima,
which has been widely criticized as a demeaning stereotype. Obama is
portrayed with popping eyes and big, thick lips as he stares at a plate
of waffles and smiles broadly.
Placing Obama in Arab-like headdress recalls the false rumor that he is a follower of Islam, though he is actually a Christian.
On the back of the box, Obama is depicted in stereotypical Mexican
dress, including a sombrero, above a recipe for “Open Border Fiesta
Waffles” that says it can serve “4 or more illegal aliens.” The recipe
includes a tip: “While waiting for these zesty treats to invade your
home, why not learn a foreign language?”
The novelty item also takes shots at 2004 Democratic nominee John Kerry, Obama’s wife, Michelle, and Obama’s former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.
The Obama campaign declined to comment.
Wearing white chef’s aprons, Whitlock and DeMoss were doing a brisk
business at noon Saturday selling the waffle mix to people crowded
around their booth. Two pyramids of waffle mix boxes stood several feet
high on the booth’s table.
Then, the Obama billboard:
A billboard in West Plains showing a caricature of Democratic
presidential candidate Barack Obama wearing a turban and using his
middle name — Hussein — in quotes has sparked outrage and accusations
The sign, located south of West Plains on U.S. 63
across from the Dairy Queen, says: “Barack ‘Hussein’ Obama equals more
abortions, same sex marriages, taxes, gun regulations.”
over the sign triggered West Plains resident Becky Estes to write a
letter in Monday’s edition of the Daily Quill newspaper saying “such a
tasteless display merely reinforces the wide-spread belief that
Ozarkers are ignorant country bumpkins.”
“People don’t like it.
They’re embarrassed by that sign, ashamed by that sign, horrified by
that sign and outraged by that sign,” Estes told the News-Leader on
Estes’ letter sparked responses from locals and
out-of-state former residents in Wednesday’s newspaper. The person who
created the sign remains anonymous.
“I can find nothing wrong
with this sign/cartoon, which is truthful by Obama’s own statements,”
wrote James E. (Jay) Gentry Jr. of Mountain Grove. “If this is
upsetting to Ms. Estes, then she should do some hard thinking about
what is forthcoming if he is elected.”
And of course there’s this poor soul protesting Obama yesterday in Ohio:
The theme here is the same old muslim smear – Obama = muslim = Arab = turbans = threat. Even John McCain, in correcting a supporter who insisted Obama was Arab at a campaign rally, implicitly validated the idea that Arabs and muslims are inherently suspect.
But really, most of the blame for this lies with Barack Obama himself. I argued early on during the primary that Obama could lay the muslim smear to rest by simply saying “I am not a muslim… but so what if I were?” Many in the media are now saying the same thing, but the words need to come from Obama himself, and that’s why the muslim smear persists.