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Monday, March 03, 2008

Obama to air two-minute spot tonight

The Barack Obama campaign will air a two-minute ad statewide tonight.




Here's what the campaign sent out:

In the two-minute spot, Obama makes his closing argument to Ohio voters, outlining his plans bring an end to the divisive, calculated politics in Washington that have stalled progress on the great challenges facing our nation.

“For the past four weeks, Barack Obama has met with Ohioans in every corner of the state, discussing ways in which we can bring back good paying jobs to Ohio, make health care affordable and accessible for all Americans, and make our trade agreements work for working Americans,” said Paul Tewes, Ohio State Director. “ Ohio voters will judge candidates based on who has been consistent about standing up to special interests and who is capable of uniting and mobilizing Americans of different viewpoints and backgrounds to finally bring the change this country desperately needs.”

“Leader" will be broadcast statewide. You can watch it HERE.


SCRIPT: “Leader”

OBAMA: I’m Barack Obama and I approve this message.

For years, we’ve watched politicians divide us, seen lobbyists put their interests ahead of ours, and heard our leaders tell us what we want to hear, instead of what we need to hear.

The question you have to ask yourself is this:

Who can take can take us in a fundamentally new direction? I'm running to finally solve problems we talk about year after year after year.

To end the division, the obscene influence of lobbyists and the politics that value scoring points over making progress. We can't afford more of that -- not this year, not now.

I've spent my life working for change that's made a real difference in the lives of real people. That's why I passed up a job on Wall Street -- to fight joblessness and poverty on the streets of Chicago when the local steel plant closed.

That's why I turned down the corporate law firms to work as a civil right lawyer -- to fight for those who have been denied opportunity. That's why I fought for tough new ethics law in Illinois and Washington -- to cut the power of lobbyists -- and I won.

That's why I brought Democrats and Republicans together to provide health care and tax relief to working families. And that's why I opposed this war in Iraq from the start. It wasn't popular, but it was right.

This country is ready for a leader who will bring us together. That's the only way we're going to win this election. And that's actually how we'll fix health care and make college affordable, become energy independent and end this war.

I'm reminded every day that I'm not a perfect man. And I won't be a perfect President. But I can promise you this: I will always tell you where I stand and what I think. I will listen to you when we disagree. I will carry your voices to the White House and I will fight for you every day I'm there.

On Tuesday, help change Washington; let’s bring Democrats, Republicans and Independents together, not just to win an election, but to transform a nation.


27 Comments:

at 12:41 PM, March 03, 2008 Blogger Davida said...

The longer Obama is in a state to campaign, the more people understand his strengths and capabilities. I'm sad that we have not done our job as citizens well enough to know his strengths well going into this race. As a result, he must use expensive advertising to get out his message in such a short time. However, I'm proud that all of his money has been raised by citizens, with nothing from special interests. I think it would be great to have a president who owes special interests nothing, one who remembers reviewing insurance medical bills for his ailing mother's health, and who just finished paying off student loans a few years ago. Let's do our job as citizens, and vote for Obama!

 
at 12:55 PM, March 03, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why is this partisan advertisement posted?

 
at 1:09 PM, March 03, 2008 Anonymous fair-a-con said...

.
"With jury selection beginning for the corruption trial of Chicago businessman and political fundraiser Tony Rezko, the Chicago Sun-Times offers some background on the key facets of the case. Rezko, a Syrian-born real estate and fast-food tycoon who established footholds in the Illinois governor's circles, is accused of pocketing illegal payouts from companies wishing to do business with the state. • Court officials expect to need overflow seating once the trial starts, as the case's ties to Gov. Rod Blagojevich and Sen. Barack Obama make it the hottest story in town. Big names won't be shielded as they were in court documents, which referred to "Public Official A" and "Individual B." Prosecutors say Rezko gave the Obama campaign $10,000 from a kickback scheme."

Yes, indeed it is a shame the public doesn't really know 'B. HUSSEIN oh, bamm-eeee' !

Barack HUSSEIN connected to Syrian-born ?

PATHETIC 'family values' !

HAD ENOUGH, VOTE CLINTON 2008 !

 
at 1:21 PM, March 03, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's post like 1:09 that make me want to vote for Obama even more.
People are ignorant.

Do we really need to post links to all of Hillary's scandals?
There's a lot, even campaign fraud.

 
at 1:30 PM, March 03, 2008 Blogger fougasseu said...

So besides a radio show, Bill Cunningham has time to write postings.
Keep the venom flowing,you will continue to drive moderates and independents to Obama.

 
at 1:34 PM, March 03, 2008 Blogger justanothercitizen said...

Barack Obama complains about special interests in Washington. The irony and hypocrisy here is that his website boasts of support from "Environmentalists for Obama", isn't that a special interest? If you are opposed to special interests, you don't accept their endorsement. He also lists the support of "Gay City News" their quote on his website states, "Mind you, we in the LGBT community are not yet nearly at the point where this nation has made good on the contributions it owes to our lives, our families, our well-being, even our equal citizenship." I hate to point this out, but just the thought that he is happy to be backed by a group who feels that America OWES anything to any individual is absurd. We live in a society of victims, a society where people believe they are owed something by someone simply because they exist. Let's get back to an America where people take responsibility for their own actions, where they don't think they are owed anything for any reason, but they are willing to work for what they want. I don't believe that we are victims. On another note, I don't believe we have fallen victim to 'predatory lending'. The bottom line is that if a loan officer tells you that you can afford a payment, do the math yourself...you know what you can afford...these people are not victims, they made bad choices and the government does not exist to bail us out when we make bad decisions. I don't believe Mr. obama is mature enough to be our president.

 
at 1:34 PM, March 03, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh gosh!! LOL shame on u.. here comes the hussein name again. Get over it!! in Ohio u need a job, in Texas you need to get rid of all of those *&^%$( speaking people who are living there illegally. Hillary, admitted that she called the canadian Embassy as well and tried to encourage them to forget the lie she told. She was not president!!and has not done a thing in NY to help poor people, and every bill she sent to leg was beat down. She was asleep at 3AM and besides the phone rang on Bushes watch her husband never had a war to worry about..the phone never rang on her home..
Hillary should know that we are tired of voting for old men and women..I want a chance to have what my parents had..HOPE!!

 
at 1:43 PM, March 03, 2008 Blogger skeptical said...

When is Obama going to tell us how he's going to do all these things he's dreaming up.
Going to end global warming! How, reduce the speed limit in the world to 40 MPH do away with all cars over 4 cyl. NAFTA Going to fight with the two contries we are our MAJOR EXPORTERS of our goods Mexico and Canada

 
at 1:44 PM, March 03, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

We see who this group is supporting. Hussain is everywhere. And i think most of the people in the USA is getting fooled by this guy. Everything his said he wants to change is going to tax us more.And no one seems to care. Right now i dont feel 100% about any of the people running , right i swing more for hilary and mccain.

 
at 1:59 PM, March 03, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry I know you guys like Obama a whole lot, but I work hard for my money, and I do not want to pay any more money in taxes! You guys like Obama now but once you realize that the money for all these promises will be coming out of your pocket your tune will change! I understand there are some people who need the help but, I mean get a job! Also, I think they should drug test before they hand out welfare checks! I don't want a president that will tax us more so people can be lazy. Oh and universal health care will NEVER HAPPEN!!!!

 
at 2:03 PM, March 03, 2008 Anonymous fair-a-con said...

.

Voters don't like phony and B. HUSSEIN is trying to emulate MLK and JFK !

Sorry, but we know MLK and JFK and, 'in the alley', bamm-eeee is NO MLK or JFK !

PATHETIC 'family values' !

HAD ENOUGH, VOTE CLINTON 2008 !

 
at 2:27 PM, March 03, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hussein...the new "N word"...insane.

 
at 2:32 PM, March 03, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nobody WANTS their taxes to go up, but nobody WANTS the current situation either. That means you have to choose between more of the same (exporting jobs, recession, crumbling infrastructure, schools that fail students in many areas, a war in the wrong country) or you can try something else.

I ask those who oppose the democratic candidates, either of them, to consider two statements made by great men:

1. The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expect different results.

2. When the world comes to an end, I want to be in Cincinnati, Ohio. Everything there happens twenty years later.

We choose something else, we choose to try something that might work over something that certainly doesn't. We choose tomorrow over yesterday, and we choose to be positive about the future instead of beaten down by nay-sayers.

By the way, have any local radio hate mongers mentioned Clinton's or McCain's middle name? (Hint, it's not Rodham). Think about it.

 
at 3:48 PM, March 03, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

~

"By the way, have any local radio hate mongers mentioned Clinton's or McCain's middle name? (Hint, it's not Rodham). Think about it. 2:32 PM, March 03, 2008"

Yes, and you very well know it !

It is a valid point especially when we are all influenced by our parents, even if they were not in our life !

The mother obviously didn't mind jumping into bed with muslims !

obama's father and step-father were both muslim !

She gave her son a muslin name, PERIOD !

Is he not proud of his heritage ?

He certainly jumped in bed with a Syrian born crook and took his money until he got caught with his hand in the water-melon patch !

~

 
at 4:57 PM, March 03, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

For those of you who think Obama is going to raise your taxes, have you read his plan? Do you make more than $250,000 per year? The majority of us do not make more than $250,000 per year and we are not going to face any taxe increases. All of Bush's tax cuts for families that make under $250,000 per year are to remain in tact under Obama's plan. Above this amount will go back to 39% as it was before. Rush Limbaugh stirs republicans up by saying democrats are going to raise "your" taxes. The only thing Rush is concerned about is his taxes since he makes about $25,000,000 per year. Read the plans; don't buy the rethoric.

 
at 5:05 PM, March 03, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Barrack Hussein Obama.

Uh-oh, here come the democRAT thought police to take me away to a re-education camp...

 
at 6:01 PM, March 03, 2008 Blogger Quim said...

If you want to help the environment & the local economy & get out of Iraq - buy a car from this guy:
http://otrelectriccar.com
and then vote for Ron Paul.

 
at 6:41 PM, March 03, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

.
Why the GOP Loves Obama

By: Christopher Ruddy

Republicans this week are breathing a deep sigh of relief.

What was seen as a washout for them this coming November — with big losses expected in the House and Senate and a catastrophic loss of the White House — is now shaping up to be less ominous.

With the Democrats moving to pick Sen. Barack Obama as their nominee, the Republicans see a real opportunity to keep the Oval Office in GOP hands.

There is no question that the Republicans had viewed Hillary Clinton as the most formidable of the Democratic candidates.

Story continues below . . .

During one of the primary debates, Obama suggested that the Republicans were “comfortable” attacking Hillary, suggesting they actually wanted her to be the nominee. Au contraire.

Republicans were attacking Mrs. Clinton because they believed she would be the nominee. They could hardly foresee Obama’s rise.

Indeed, she was the Democratic front-runner and hence the focus of their attacks. Now, Obama is discovering that he’s the focus of Republican scrutiny, with John McCain highlighting Obama's accommodationist views with tyrants.

The glee seen in GOP eyes this week can be chalked up to the clearly visible fault lines shaping up for the November election, a seismic battle between McCain and Obama.

There are many reasons the GOP would rather face Obama. Here are some of the best reasons:

— Obama is the risky liberal. Every time the Democrats run a liberal like Obama, who the National Journal reports has a 100 percent liberal voting record, they lose.

Remember President McGovern, President Dukakis, President Kerry? Mrs. Clinton, however, has been quite clever in her record and rhetoric to come across as more moderate. In New York state she consistently won hardcore Republican districts in her two Senate races.

A McCain insider told me this week that Obama’s support — for example, for driver's licenses for illegals — is worth at least “five percentage points in the election.” Mrs. Clinton was smart enough to back away from that hot-button issue.

— Obama energizes Democratic voters. It’s been talked about quite a bit that Obama is a charismatic man who energizes young voters. But young voters notoriously don’t vote.

Remember all the hoopla in the last election with MTV and its “Vote or Die” campaign to bring out antiwar young voters for President Kerry?

Indeed, Obama, as the first African-American candidate of a major party, will energize black voters. But don’t the Democrats know that black voters vote as a bloc for them already?

What does Obama actually bring to the table for Democrats? It’s not clear. Mrs. Clinton, as her longtime critic Dick Morris likes to point out, would have most assuredly energized women voters, especially millions of single moms that have never voted before.

— Obama’s Latino problem. Clearly Latino or Hispanic voters are shaping up to be the key swing vote in this election, as they have been in recent elections. Some political pundits say George Bush’s come-from-behind win in 2004 was due to the solid 40 percent of Hispanics who voted for him, tipping the election in his favor.

This year was shaping up to be a terrible year for the GOP vis-à-vis Hispanic voters. But in primary after primary, Obama has had great difficulty winning over Latino voters.

Even in Illinois, where he beat Hillary to 2 to 1 in the primary, he only captured 52 percent of his home state’s Hispanic vote.

There are a variety of explanations for Obama’s Latino problem, including the belief there is an ethnic rivalry between Hispanics and blacks. Hispanics would like to see a Latino president in the White House, so the theory goes.

Mrs. Clinton, on the other hand, has done extremely well among Latino voters, perhaps owing to her husband’s likeability among these voters.

The recent primaries show Obama improving with Hispanic voters. Republicans, however, believe the problem with this key group will persist.

And then there is John McCain, who is the one Republican who is very well liked by Latino voters. He’s also a strong leader, which Hispanics respect. He’s pro-immigrant. As we all know, McCain joined Ted Kennedy in backing the recent immigration bill.

There’s little doubt Hillary could keep the Democratic stranglehold on Latino voters. Obama won’t.

— Obama’s naiveté. Don’t forget, America is still in a war on terror. It is doubtful America will be tempted to go for an untested leader, no matter how charismatic he may be.

Some have drawn the comparison between Obama and JFK’s election win in 1960 during the height of the Cold War. But the Kennedy-Obama comparison is a weak one. For starters, John Kennedy was a war hero when he was elected president. Obama can make no such claim. Kennedy also had far more Washington experience in Congress and the Senate than Obama.

JFK also had his well-known father Joe at his side. And Democrats like to forget this, but Kennedy outflanked Nixon on defense issues, arguing that Nixon was too soft on communism. Obama’s dovish complaints about the Bush administration being too hawkish on terror won’t resonate with middle-of-the-road voters.

With good reason, the GOP is feeling better, finding its second wind as it coalesces around John McCain.

Despite some differences with the maverick senator, the Republican base will turn out for him. His $12 million fundraising haul for January is just one sign of that.

But there are many other reasons the GOP is more comfortable with Hillary out of the picture and Obama as the nominee.

First, Obama will not be able to lay claim to the good economic times of the 1990s that Bill Clinton presided over, as Hillary can. And Obama will be a nightmare for Democrats with swing voters in key states. Take for example the highly influential Cuban-American vote that Bill Clinton won in 1992 and 1996 — and was the key reason George Bush beat Al Gore.

The Cuban vote has been moving into the Democratic column but they will not go for Obama because he has clearly stated he will open up relations with Castro.

Sen. Clinton’s announced Cuba policies take a hard line, which resonates with these voters. And then there are the key Jewish communities in swing states like Florida and Ohio that are already deeply worried about electing Obama to the presidency.

Obama has talked openly about sitting down — without any preconditions — with Iran’s diabolical leader Ahmadinejad, who just this week referred to Israel as “bacteria” and has said in the past that the Jewish state is a “disgraceful blot” that should be “wiped off the map.”

With the McCain campaign blanketing key markets with TV ads featuring “independent Democrat” Sen. Joseph Lieberman, Obama will be in deep trouble.

The Democrats haven’t completely abandoned Hillary. But it sure looks that way.

There’s an oft-quoted saying that the Democrats “fall in love and Republicans fall in line.”

After this November, we may have to change that to “Democrats often like to run off the side of a cliff and the Republicans love to watch them.”

.

 
at 7:14 PM, March 03, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hillary can't run a decent campaign (can't even agree with her husband & had to fire her campaign manager)and you're gonna let her run the Country?
Obama has out-organized her every which way & that's important unless you just want to elect a "Decider".

 
at 9:26 PM, March 03, 2008 Blogger Cody Lyon said...

AN AGENT OF CHANGE?- A Closer Look at Obama
Cody Lyon
There is no doubt that Democratic Presidential Candidate Barack Obama has clearly inspired millions of voters in what had become an arguably depressed electorate. His words have engaged many who might have otherwise watched the primary process from the sidelines those who were resigned to the belief that change is virtually impossible within America's current political landscape.

"If we don't inspire the country to believe again, then it doesn't matter how many policies and plans we have," said Obama on February 17, according to Bloomberg News.

True, words, even if some phrases are borrowed, have the ability to inspire the electorate. But it's the policy that gets enacted that impacts and ultimately changes American lives. And when one takes a closer look at the nuts and bolts behind Senator Obama's message, there are troubling signs that the change Obama espouses might be nothing more than beautiful rhetoric.

You'd be preaching to the choir if you wanted to harp on the Clinton machine's flaws and scars and then, there's always her yes vote that giving President Bush military authorization before the invasion of Iraq.

But, the Clinton machine has been, and continues to be picked and cleaned dry by the press, its past, its campaign tactics, its relationships questioned, blasted and torn apart by conservative as well as liberal columnists, pundits and bloggers.

The Obama camp has yet to be fully vetted by the majority of the press that seems almost shy about interrupting what many have called a movement. Those that have done their homework and posed legitimate questions about policy, relationships and other issues have often been met with arrogant, evasive and dismissive shrugs and a fiercely protective network of supporters who shoot down critiques of the anointed beacon of change.

According to a February 17 "New York Times" article by Kate Zernike called "The Charisma Mandate," accounts of the Obama campaign's volunteer training sessions have a revivalist flavor where "volunteers are urged to avoid talking about policy to potential voters, and instead tell how they came to Mr. Obama."

But it would be naïve to think that sort of tactic will work in November and it would serve Democrat's interest if the contradictions and holes in the message were pointed out now, before the Republican attack machine brings out its own weapons of destruction and doubt.

Central to Obama's message of change are claims that he is free of lobbyist influence. But in fact, he has been, and still is being funded by some of the same sort of corporate interests as Clinton and other candidates through big donors known as bundlers.

In fact, he's received so much funding, an estimated $30 million per month, that his campaign appears to be backpedaling on a November pledge where he said if he was the Democratic nominee, he would aggressively pursue an agreement with the Republican nominee to preserve a publicly financed general election.

"The Washington Post" said in a February 16 editorial that "this kind of backtracking and parsing is't what the millions of voters who have been inspired by Mr. Obama are looking for."

More telling, a November 2006 Harpers article "The Making of a Washington Machine" by Ken Silverstein quoted an anonymous Washington lobbyist who said, "big donors would not be helping out OBama if they didn't see him as a player."

"What's the dollar value of a starry eyed idealist?" the anonymous source said according to the Harpers article.

No one can say for certain what kind of role that big money contributions would make in a future Obama administration but they deserve full airing and warrant further questions that require answers, not evasive missives from the man who might be President.

A February 3, article by "The New York Times" reported that Exelon Corp, the nation's largest nuclear plant operator is one of Obama's largest campaign donors. According to the article, Exelon's support of Obama far exceeds money given to the other candidates.

The "Times" pointed out that Exelon chairman John W. Rowe has been an Obama donor and is also chairman of the Nuclear Energy Institute, the nuclear power industry's largest lobbying group.

The article did not mention that Rowe, like several other powerful energy power players also sits on the influential, right wing and neo-conservative American Enterprise Institute's Board.

Alluding to the Exelon relationship, the Clinton campaign charged that Senator Obama had allowed the nuclear industry to water down a 2006 bill regulating the nuclear power industry, that charge was met with evasiveness.

Obama spokesperson Bill Burton responded to the charges on CNN saying his campaign "doesn't need any lectures on special interests from the candidate who's taken more money from Washington lobbyists than any Republican running for president."

"Sen. Clinton may have said that attacks and distortions are the 'fun' and 'exciting' part of the campaign, but they're exactly what everyone else in America is tired of," Burton said according to CNN.

True enough, Americans are sick and tired of distortions. But unfortunately, much of the feel good rhetoric in the Obama camp has served as a convenient "distortion" for those hungry for a more forthcoming and critical examination of Obama.

For example, Senator Obama has touted his healthcare policy as part of his change we can all believe in since it would make healthcare available to everyone.

But, The Annenberg Political Fact Check, or Factheck.org said that Obama is being misleading when he says his healthcare proposal would "cover everyone."

Factcheck.org says Obama's plan would make coverage available to all, but experts that the organization consulted estimate that 15 to 26 million Americans would not take it up unless required to do so, which means, the new policy would still leave almost half the currently un-insured, still un-insured.

Another hot button topic close to any progressive's heart is how the future President will address the sub-prime mortgage crisis that has driven a recession that is still threatening world financial markets.

In his January 24 "The Nation" commentary titled "Subprime Obama" Max Fraser pointed out that predatory lenders "targeted the most vulnerable; black and latino borrowers have been twice as likely to receive sub-prime loans as whites: female homeowners, 30 percent more likely than male; black women five times more likely than white men.

But, Fraser noted that of the Democratic candidates, only Obama has not called for a moratorium and interest rate freeze. The article said "though he has been a proponent of mortgage fraud legislation in the Senate, he has remained silent on further financial regulations."

The "Nation" piece quoted Josh Bivens of the Economic Policy Institute who said "Edwards and Clinton talk much more about regulation of the financial industry going forward, and to the extent that blame is placed, they tend to place it on lenders for steering people into loans they couldn't afford."

Senator Clinton has loudly gone after Obama on several occasions regarding his yes vote on the 2005 energy bill.

To his credit, Obama led efforts to ensure investments in renewable energy and has sponsored legislation to strip incentives from oil companies.
Still, according to an August 9, 2005 report from the "Washington Post", the final bill included around $85 billion in tax breaks and subsidies for most forms of energy.

Many charged that the policy was co-written by big oil corporations under the watch of Vice President Dick Cheney but it got a yes vote from Senator Obama.

Senator Obama has said his vote for the energy bill was reluctant.

But more telling, in the heat of campaign season 2008, when Exxon Mobil announced, at $40 billion once again the largest corporate profits ever reported by any United States corporation, it was Hillary Clinton who called for a corporate windfall profits tax on oil companies that would be reinvested into a strategic energy fund.

While the Obama campaign has called for the removal of oil company subsidies and other tax breaks, he has steered clear of a clearly populist and progressive proposal that would impose a windfall profits tax on big oil corporations.

But finally, although Obama toots the horn of change for all people, happily embracing all members of the Democratic base, just four years ago, an incident in San Francisco offered telling traits that Obama is first a politician, who in the end, is probably capable of crafting a message or image that is capable of suiting whomever he seeks to appeal to.

According to a February 5, 2008 "San Francisco Chronicle" article by C.W. Nevius, in 2004, then Illinois Senatorial Candidate Obama told former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, that "he would really appreciate if he didn't get his photo taken with my mayor," Gavin Newsome.

Newsome, San Francisco's current mayor, was then at the center of a national uproar over his decision to allow same sex marriage in San Francisco and according to the "Chronicle" report, Obama was worried about the image that would present to potential voters back in Illinois.

While things have certainly changed since then, and Obama has certainly championed LGBT individuals and issues, the incident doesn't speak well of Senator Obama as a real agent of change.

Instead, that incident along with other serious reporting beg the question, is Obama's message of change for real, or is it a carefully crafted political rhetoric that is in the business of selling an image.

 
at 9:28 PM, March 03, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pssssssst:

From one Muslem to another !

Obama Sucks!

HAD ENOUGH, VOTE CLINTON 2008 !

 
at 9:28 PM, March 03, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Every Repug I know is scared to death of Obama. they can't campaign against him without being called a racist.

 
at 9:54 PM, March 03, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

~

Obama, Being Called a Muslim Is Not a Smear
by Naomi Klein
February 28, 2008

Hillary Clinton denied leaking the photo of Barack Obama wearing a turban, but her campaign manager says that even if she had, it would be no big deal. "Hillary Clinton has worn the traditional clothing of countries she has visited and had those photos published widely."

Sure she did. And George W. Bush put on a fetching Chamato poncho in Santiago, while Paul Wolfowitz burned up YouTube with his antimalarial African dance routines when he was World Bank prez. The obvious difference is this: when white politicians go ethnic, they just look funny. When a black presidential contender does it, he looks foreign. And when the ethnic apparel in question is vaguely reminiscent of the clothing worn by Iraqi and Afghan fighters (at least to many Fox viewers, who think any headdress other than a baseball cap is a declaration of war on America), the image is downright frightening.

The turban "scandal" is all part of what is being referred to as "the Muslim smear." It includes everything from exaggerated enunciations of Obama's middle name to the online whisper campaign that Obama attended a fundamentalist madrassa in Indonesia (a lie), was sworn in on a Koran (another lie) and if elected would attach RadioShack speakers to the White House to broadcast the Muslim call to prayer (I made that one up).

So far, Obama's campaign has responded with aggressive corrections that tout his Christian faith, attack the attackers and channel a cooperative witness before the House Un-American Activities Committee. "Barack has never been a Muslim or practiced any other faith besides Christianity," states one fact sheet. "I'm not and never have been of the Muslim faith," Obama told a Christian News reporter.

Of course Obama must correct the record, but he doesn't have to stop there. What is disturbing about the campaign's response is that it leaves unchallenged the disgraceful and racist premise behind the entire "Muslim smear": that being Muslim is de facto a source of shame. Obama's supporters often say they are being "Swiftboated," casually accepting the idea that being accused of Muslimhood is tantamount to being accused of treason.

Substitute another faith or ethnicity, and you'd expect a very different response. Consider a report from the archives of this magazine. Thirteen years ago, Daniel Singer, The Nation's late, much-missed Europe correspondent, went to Poland to cover a hotly contested presidential election. He reported that the race had descended into an ugly debate over whether one of the candidates, Aleksander Kwasniewski, was a closet Jew. The press claimed his mother had been buried in a Jewish cemetery (she was still alive), and a popular TV show aired a skit featuring the Christian candidate dressed as a Hasidic Jew. "What perturbed me," Singer wryly observed, "was that Kwasniewski's lawyers threatened to sue for slander rather than press for an indictment under the law condemning racist propaganda."

We should expect no less of the Obama campaign. When asked during the Ohio debate about Louis Farrakhan's support for his candidacy, Obama did not hesitate to call Farrakhan's anti-Semitic comments "unacceptable and reprehensible." When the turban photo flap came up in the same debate, he used the occasion to say nothing at all.

Farrakhan's infamous comments about Jews took place twenty-four years ago. The orgy of hate that is "the Muslim smear" is unfolding in real time, and it promises to greatly intensify in a general election. These attacks do not simply "smear Barack's Christian faith," as John Kerry claimed in a campaign mailing. They are an attack on all Muslims, some of whom actually do exercise their rights to cover their heads and send their kids to religious school. Thousands even have the very common name Hussein. All are watching their culture used as a crude bludgeon against Obama, while the candidate who is the symbol of racial harmony fails to defend them. This at a time when US Muslims are bearing the brunt of the Bush Administration's assaults on civil liberties, including dragnet wiretapping, and are facing a documented spike in hate crimes.

Occasionally, though not nearly enough, Obama says that Muslims are "deserving of respect and dignity." What he has never done is what Singer called for in Poland: denounce the attacks themselves as racist propaganda, in this case against Muslims.

The core of Obama's candidacy is that he alone--who lived in Indonesia as a boy and has an African grandmother--can "repair the world" after the Bush wrecking ball. That repair job begins with the 1.4 billion Muslims around the world, many of whom are convinced that the United States has been waging a war against their faith. This perception is based on facts, among them the fact that Muslim civilians are not counted among the dead in Iraq and Afghanistan; that Islam has been desecrated in US-run prisons; that voting for an Islamic party resulted in collective punishment in Gaza. It is also fueled by the rise of a virulent strain of Islamophobia in Europe and North America.

As the most visible target of this rising racism, Obama has the power to be more than its victim. He can use the attacks to begin the very process of global repair that is the most seductive promise of his campaign. The next time he's asked about his alleged Muslimness, Obama can respond not just by clarifying the facts but by turning the tables. He can state clearly that while a liaison with a pharmaceutical lobbyist may be worthy of scandalized exposure, being a Muslim is not. Changing the terms of the debate this way is not only morally just but tactically smart--it's the one response that could defuse these hateful attacks. The best part is this: unlike ending the Iraq War and closing Guantánamo, standing up to Islamophobia doesn't need to wait until after the election. Obama can use his campaign to start now. Let the repairing begin.

Postscript: Ari Melber criticized this column, citing a video the Obama campaign has been circulating featuring a minister of Obama's church who makes it clear that while Obama is not a Muslim, there would be nothing wrong with it if he was. I had the same clip sent to me directly from the Obama campaign and wrote this in response: "What I am suggesting needs to be said can only be said by the man himself, just as he has taken brave stances against racism directed at Latinos under the guise of fighting illegal immigration. Do not underestimate the message that his silence is sending, not just in the U.S. but around the world."

One more thing: now is the time when candidates are most open to pressure. For instance, Hillary Clinton just announced that she will co-sponsor legislation to ban the use of private military companies--exactly one day after my Nation colleague Jeremy Scahill revealed that both Clinton and Obama were poised to let the mercenaries stay in Iraq even if the troops come home. Pushing candidates on the issues during a campaign can have a real impact, so can we please move beyond superfandom? I have also heard from people who think that saying Arabs and Muslims are worthy of exactly the same rights and protections as other minorities is just too high-risk a position for Obama during the campaign. If that's the position, so be it, but don't pretend the campaign is doing something it is not. It is precisely because he has been so strong on other issues of discrimination and racism that his trepidation on this issue leaps out.

~

 
at 1:09 AM, March 04, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

According to the Chicago Tribune, Clinton phonebankers are calling Obama "Osama bin Laden" and then claiming it is a "slip of the tongue."

http://weblogs.chicagotribune.com/news/politics/blog/2008/03/did_i_say_osama_i_meant_obama.html

 
at 4:38 AM, March 04, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Mr. Christopher Ruddy

You were once the leader of the band in announcing and injecting the most vile partisan type of division into 1990’s Washington D.C politics. Now, you are clamoring to take us back to 1990’s choke-hold, conflict-ridden ultra partisan government. Your flip flop present allegiance into the Clintons camp is not helping to put out that raging forest fire in our nation’s Congress, a fire that you threw gasoline on and you are still continuing to do. You are the personification incarnate of what is wrong with our political environment. Your arguments are totally invalid and unpatriotic. Basically if this country remains as fragmented as you say it is then I fear for our united future. I rather love this country as the United States of America rather than the Divided States of America. It once took very violent acts for an Illinois statesman to unite us but how much better this time around; it will take another Illinois statesman to unite us with the prospect for understanding, peace, and prosperity. Maybe you would like to pass that up and wait for something more of the same or worse. As for myself I don't think so, see you later cynical dividers, I am with the United States of America.

 
at 9:11 AM, March 04, 2008 Blogger Hope Lives!! said...

Democrats are eating each other alive, and the republicans are laughing it up. CLINTON AND OBAMA HAVE PRATICALLY THE SAME POLICIES. WHY??? BECAUSE THEY BOTH HOLD TRUE TO DEMOCRATIC PRINCIPLES!!!! I am so sick of hearing people say...when is Obama going to give us details...well the details are on his webites..in his books...in his Blueprint For America...if you people would take the time to research the subject yourselves instead of reiterating Hillary's soundbites. The Republicans want her to win because they have a better chance of beating her than Obama. Independents and Republicans that would vote/HAVE VOTED for Obama would not support Hilalryn in the general election. Everyone always keeps bringing up the ultimate fear bomb...HES A MUSLIM...RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!!! GROW UP ALREADY!!! The man was baptised as a Christian some 20 years ago. Do you know how ridiculous this country looks on the world stage when the MUSLIM card is always played as an insult to this man. We are coming off like diversity inept fools!!! Way to go America!!! Someone please tell me where Hilalry is adding up these 35 years of political experience??!!?? Further more lets just put it out there...NO ONE HAS THE EXPEREIENCE TO BE PRESIDENT UNLESS THEY HAVE ALREADY BEEN PRESIDENT!!! Whoever you vote for you are hoping and believing their words hold true. She has done absolutely nothing for NY..her legislative record is piss poor, and her negativity and insulting brand of politics have torn this party apart. Her arrogance led her to believe that she would be the nominee after Super Tuesday, so she never had a contingency plan for the rest of the campaign. That right there is poor leadership skills! She whines, goes thru several personality chnges a day, and now she is threatening to sue the state of TX over their voting process. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME WITH THAT!!! She is a poor excuse for a potential president, and I hope TX, OH, VT,and RI let her know. By the way...the voting irregularities have already started in Ohio and Texas...gotta love that!!!!

 
at 11:57 AM, March 04, 2008 Anonymous Anonymous said...

fair-a-con is the sad little troll who calls himself the Usful Idiot.

This sad little man, alone on his house, has nobody and nothing in life. Posting wingnut comments is all this sad little man has in life. We pity him, and we hope that he gets the help that he so badly needs.

 
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