From Whisper to Email: Obama Rumor Mill

10 11 2007

Just as Senator John McCain on the eve of the South Carolina primary in 2000 had to deal with the now infamous whisper campaign that he had a black baby out of wedlock, other agents of intolerance have produced a negative e-mail campaign against Senator Obama in Iowa. Despite being several months old, the rumor mill is still actively spreading through cyberspace that he attended a madrassa as a child in Indonesia and remains a devout Muslim today.

In the minds of many people, this obviously means he is prepared to overthrow the federal government if he becomes president, and establish that long feared caliphate that bin Laden has been promising us infidels in the West for so long.

That doesn’t sound like fun.

But seriously, anyone who has read anything about Obama knows that he is a Christian, who happens to have a Islamic last name because his father was Muslim. Of course, the letter that went out to his supporters refrains from mentioning any of that. It would understandably yet unfortunately help feed this whisper campaign against him.

So his campaign instead chose to emphasize his commitment to his kind and gentle Christian faith.

In fact, Senator Obama is a committed Christian who found Christ long before entering politics, and has been outspoken about his faith ever since. While working as a young community organizer in the mid-1980s with a consortium of churches in a depressed neighborhood of Chicago, he found salvation at Trinity United Church of Christ. He, his wife and daughters still worship at Trinity today.

Hmm…I am not sure that quite does it for the bible thumpers. It does not sound like a forceful rebuke to me.

Aside from the fact, that this letter probably will not convince those who are gullible to believe the smear campaign or intolerant enough to lend an ear to it, this kind of tepid response will also not impress those looking for that fierce aggressiveness in their nominee that will swing hard at critics launching baseless attacks.

Of course, Obama has already told us he is not that kind of ruthless politician we are accustomed to. But bear in mind its the partisan Democratic voters who will be going to the polls in those early primary states and they want red meat.

And more importantly, each candidate has a number of questions that will plague him or her until the votes get counted.

For Hillary, its: is she too divisive? Will other people really vote for a woman? Is she going to be too centrist to truly represent anyone? Is she a war monger? And when is she going to change up that hairstyle?

For Edwards, its: does he know enough about foreign affairs? Don’t we already have enough white men? Is he really in the pockets of the union? Can he deliver on health care and ending poverty? And how much did he pay for that hair cut?

For Obama, its: is he experienced enough? Can he handle the pressure? Can he handle the partisan rancor? Will folks really vote for a black man?

And its in this final stretch that many voters will make up their minds not just on the content of a candidate’s message in confronting these questions head on, but how forceful each candidate is in making his or her the case. And whether rightly or wrongly, people see it as a sign of leadership. Its not that different between choosing someone who is strong and wrong as oppose to picking someone who is weak and right.

Like many people I just want to know if he will ever let that fade grow out?

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