Swiftboating Obama

Note to McCain operatives: Any and all attempts to malign Barack Obama as “all hat, no cattle,” “electoral eye candy,” … Continued

Note to McCain operatives: Any and all attempts to malign Barack Obama as “all hat, no cattle,” “electoral eye candy,” “eloquent but empty,” are doomed to fail.

Most Americans will find it difficult to reconcile those descriptions with the heady and effortlessly intelligent person they see on the nightly news. Most Americans will reject the argument that the fellow with the J.D. from Harvard who lectured on constitutional law at the University of Chicago is all fluff.

As the Clinton campaign has proven, efforts to depict Obama as lacking substance are not persuasive. This inability to undermine the credibility of this “hopemonger” should be of grave concern to John McCain’s advisers. This is because a nominated Obama will run a “base-plus” campaign. He has energized the traditional Democratic constituencies. But in addition, he could grab scads of traditionally Republican voters–most notably “Obama-Curious” Evangelicals.

So what types of attacks might we expect from the party that gave us Willie Horton and Swift Boat Veterans for Truth? Let me first observe that John McCain’s oft-observed human decency may forestall some of the most unsightly initiatives. The question is: if the Maverick is down 14 points in mid-September would he unleash the hounds of hell? Would he (or perhaps someone else) set the Opposition Research divisions loose? If he does–and I am not entirely sure that he would–here are some of the accusations that may surface:

A problematic spiritual mentor: The Reverend Jeremiah Wright has been described by The New York Times as “a dynamic pastor who preached Afrocentric theology, dabbled in radical politics and delivered music-and-profanity-spiked sermons.” In a recent meeting with Jewish leaders in Cleveland, Obama referred to him as being “like an old uncle who sometimes will say things that I don’t agree with.” But Wright’s remarks about Zionism, 9/11, white privilege, American hegemony, and so many other things, do not make him look like some nutty, but loveable Uncle Fester. Obama will distance himself from Wright (which he already has done). His opponents will counter by cheerfully citing Obama’s glowing testimony to his mentor in Dreams from my Father.

Obama is not Liberal, but Left. Radical Left-Accusing Obama of being a Liberal with a capital L is not an effective ploy. That’s because his brand of less-secular liberalism does not exclude or threaten most of the religious constituencies that are up for grabs. A better strategy might try to paint him as a friend of the radical Left. Everything and everyone from Louis Farrakhan’s (unsolicited) endorsements, to Obama’s youthful penchant for perusing Frantz Fanon, to a picture of him supping in 1998 with the Provost of academic anti-Zionism, Edward Said, to former activists he worked with in Chicago who still sport Black Panther chic, may be trotted out in an effort to portray him as too radical for High Office.

“Obama’s Jewish Problem”: If this were to become an issue in 2008 it would be a tragic scenario for both the candidate and Jewish Americans. As far as Obama is concerned, guilt-by-association charges (see above) of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism would damage his credibility as a proponent of tolerance and a person who sees himself as an “effective bridge” for Black/Jewish reconciliation. As many Jewish sources are telling me, any effort to depict Obama as anti-Jewish would most certainly not come from mainstream Jews (who traditionally vote Democratic and have generally favorable impressions of Obama), but political operatives bent on sullying the Senator’s reputation among pro-Israel Evangelicals. The consequence of such a smear tactic would be to further complicate the already tensile relations between African-Americans and Jewish-Americans.

(For more information about religion and the candidates check out Faith 2008 by the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace & World Affairs).

By Jacques Berlinerblau | 
February 29, 2008; 12:08 AM ET


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  • Robert

    “He wants to cut and run and see America defeated.” That’s the core Republican argument I expect to hear during the campaign.

  • Jared Hautamaki

    I’m sorry, since when is reading Frantz Fanon emblematic of the far “Left” as you put it? Fanon, Bhaba, Said…these were all assigned readings for one of my law school classes. Is looking critically at colonialism and its impact on not only Africa, but American history a leftist education? I went to the University of Arizona for law school. I would hardly call a law school with a Center for the Study of Federalism, named after Justice Reinquist, a leading leftist University.These are culturally relevant and mainstream works. It is the Right that is drifting further and further from the educated Middle.

  • Chaplin L. Liu

    Mr. Obama should be concerned about the impact of a likely Al qaida attack in the world or in the United States before the november election . There is likely to be some unknown comment or endorsement by Osama Bin Laden or his top associates that may result in a adverse reaction by our citizenry . He should neutralize this problem by predicting a likely attack will occur and that these attacks are designed to incite an expected sympathy for Mr. McCain’s position on the continual prosecution of the war. he should also neutralize before hand any Al Qaida comments that may be perceived as an endorsement for Mr. Obama and the Democratic ticket. From the terrorist’s position, George W Bush’s prosecution of the War in Iraq has been a gold mine for them and they have used this to their advantage to embolden their terrorist leaning supporters. The terrorist are not oppose to using reverse psychology to promote their terrorist agenda. Chappy Liu

  • Mike NYC, NY

    The last thing Osama bin Laden wants is Obama in the White House, for that would act to diminish some of the hate towards America around the world…which he of course counts on for new recruits.

  • Tom

    Mr. Berlinerblau has nailed all the salient points. But here’s a question: why is Obama called up time and again to denounce or reject or “denounce and reject” the words or imputed views of Farrakhan and Jeremiah Wright, while John McCain gets a complete pass for his enthusiastic embrace of End-Times-a-Comin’ fringe-right anti-Catholic zealot and psychopath John Hagee?Just asking.

  • John Tull

    What about McCain’s time in Vietnam, really? When is someone going to go to Vietnam and get the records that exist? Do the interviews with Vietnamese? And stop the bs of telling us what the McCain hacks and lobbyists like Black tell us is the truth?

  • Gary Jackson

    This is the second article I have seen advisng Johm McCain on how he can swiftboat Barak Obama without actually appearing to swiftboat him. I have a novel idea. Why don’t you people just lighten up and let the two candidates be who they really are? Why don’t you stop giving out clearly partisan advice and just let the campaigns progress naturally and let the American peple make a clean decision?What you are advising Mr Berliner is essentially no different from the smear merchants on the right who simply cannot seem to win an election without this sort of squalid behaviour. Jesus! No wonder the world hates America!

  • Peter

    Sorry, my above post should have said “Muslim extremist,” not “Arab extremist.”

  • Frere Jacques

    Frere Jacques’ paean to Obama (a man of faith, but not belief?) rivals Frere Jacques’ thin skin for criticism!In this peaen, Frere Jacques tells us why we better not kick his dog around! He doesn’t care if he is a hound!

  • Peter

    Mr. Liu,

  • Hello

    Well I suppose the other option is for the Dems to bring back the innuendo against John McCain being a traitor, or fathering a black child with a prostitute. Maybe they could even toss in some new fresh sleaze.Heck it worked for President Error back in 2000 with the foolish Neo-Cons who elected him to office twice. I’m sure the “mind numbed robots” would believe it again.

  • Texas Democrat

    TEXANS VOTE FOR HILLARY!SHE IS QUALIFIED AND FAIR TO ALL AMERICANS!OBAMA AND HIS WIFE HAVE SHOWN HOW THEY RUN THEIR HOUSE, AND IT IS NOT THE WAY WE WANT OUR HOUSE AT 1600 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE RUN!

  • tray

    he’s gotten two pieces of legislation passed.he is an empty suit.

  • Dr.R.P.

    If I look at the election from Al Qaeda’s perspective, or from a military perspective in general (not our military) it seems that they would want someone to win who will pull out of Iraq ASAP, so they can start trouble back up there (I assume they are there because they eventually want to have at least part of the area as a safe operating area, as they had when the Taliban gave them a safe haven). In that case, McCain would be the last person they would want in office, since he has basically said he would stay there forever if need be. What is wrong with this logic?

  • Norman

    Some of the things that Obama can expect from the “Party that gave us Willie Horton and SwiftBoat Veterans” is an expose of his Palestinian pals Ali Abunimah and Rashid Khaldi and their connection to Fatah. Certainly, you won’t be getting that from the liberal talking heads even though its already all over the Internet.Ditto his duplicitous positions on renegotiating NAFTA.If Obama didn’t exist Karl Rove would have to invent him

  • gideon

    Isnt it curious that thosee same negative tactics that Mr Berlinerblau admonishes is used as references to this article. It typifies the right wanting it both ways, ie to be their usual divisive selves, which is the only way they can win and criticizing their surrogates when they swiftboat and play the racist, fear mongering card.

  • DZ

    Dr.R.P.:Well, there waas no Al Qaeda in Iraq before we invaded, and there’s little indication as to how and why they would remain. Iraq’s population in 60% Shiite and 15% Kurd, and neither of these groups are any friends of Sunni extremists. Moreover, Iran, no friend of Al Qaeda or Sunnis of any kind is right next door. Now, Iran hasn’t invaded anyone since the 18th century, but, if there is civil war in Iraq, they will intervene. Nope, if we leave, the small number of Al Qaeda in Iraq will move to Pakistan along the Afghan border.

  • steve boyington

    My guess is the Swiftboaters will be so clumsy and obviously over-the-top that it will backfire.Witness many an internet poster saying that if Obama is elected Osama Bin Laden will end up raping our children.This stuff is truly demented and obviously silly. As Mr. Berlinerblau points out, the American people will see through it. It will damage McCain’s effort more than Obama’s.

  • Kevin

    The “Obama problem” is not one of religion. Quite simply, Obama is too young, too new to politics and has no track record on handling tough situations. I was going to say military and foreign policy – but I can’t – he has absolutely no military or foreign policy experience. Hillary Clinton is only marginally better.The post 9/11 world will not be made safer for Americans because Obama can make flowery speeches. Obama acts as though he is trying out to be the National Cheerleader. He uses the word “change” continuously, yet his “change” is connected to nothing concrete. It’s much like the American auto makers in the 1980′s all chanting the word “quality.” American cars during the 80′s were rolling disasters.Many Americans will make a fatal mistake when voting. They are preparing not to vote for the most qualified candidate, but rather for the first female candidate or the first African-American candidate. All style with no substance.If that’s the kind of change you want don’t vote for the “fluff” candidates, look to Elizabeth Dole or Colin Powell.Our adversaries are licking their chops at the prospect of an Obama or Clinton presidency.

  • Kevin

    The “Obama problem” is not one of religion. Quite simply, Obama is too young, too new to politics and has no track record on handling tough situations. I was going to say military and foreign policy – but I can’t – he has absolutely no military or foreign policy experience. Hillary Clinton is only marginally better.The post 9/11 world will not be made safer for Americans because Obama can make flowery speeches. Obama acts as though he is trying out to be the National Cheerleader. He uses the word “change” continuously, yet his “change” is connected to nothing concrete. It’s much like the American auto makers in the 1980′s all chanting the word “quality.” American cars during the 80′s were rolling disasters.Many Americans will make a fatal mistake when voting. They are preparing not to vote for the most qualified candidate, but rather for the first female candidate or the first African-American candidate. All style with no substance.If that’s the kind of change you want don’t vote for the “fluff” candidates, look to Elizabeth Dole or Colin Powell.Our adversaries are licking their chops at the prospect of an Obama or Clinton presidency.

  • Kevin

    The “Obama problem” is not one of religion. Quite simply, Obama is too young, too new to politics and has no track record on handling tough situations. I was going to say military and foreign policy – but I can’t – he has absolutely no military or foreign policy experience. Hillary Clinton is only marginally better.The post 9/11 world will not be made safer for Americans because Obama can make flowery speeches. Obama acts as though he is trying out to be the National Cheerleader. He uses the word “change” continuously, yet his “change” is connected to nothing concrete. It’s much like the American auto makers in the 1980′s all chanting the word “quality.” American cars during the 80′s were rolling disasters.Many Americans will make a fatal mistake when voting. They are preparing not to vote for the most qualified candidate, but rather for the first female candidate or the first African-American candidate. All style with no substance.If that’s the kind of change you want don’t vote for the “fluff” candidates, look to Elizabeth Dole or Colin Powell.Our adversaries are licking their chops at the prospect of an Obama or Clinton presidency.

  • Kevin

    The “Obama problem” is not one of religion. Quite simply, Obama is too young, too new to politics and has no track record on handling tough situations. I was going to say military and foreign policy – but I can’t – he has absolutely no military or foreign policy experience. Hillary Clinton is only marginally better.The post 9/11 world will not be made safer for Americans because Obama can make flowery speeches. Obama acts as though he is trying out to be the National Cheerleader. He uses the word “change” continuously, yet his “change” is connected to nothing concrete. It’s much like the American auto makers in the 1980′s all chanting the word “quality.” American cars during the 80′s were rolling disasters.Many Americans will make a fatal mistake when voting. They are preparing not to vote for the most qualified candidate, but rather for the first female candidate or the first African-American candidate. All style with no substance.If that’s the kind of change you want don’t vote for the “fluff” candidates, look to Elizabeth Dole or Colin Powell.Our adversaries are licking their chops at the prospect of an Obama or Clinton presidency.

  • Kevin

    The “Obama problem” is not one of religion. Quite simply, Obama is too young, too new to politics and has no track record on handling tough situations. I was going to say military and foreign policy – but I can’t – he has absolutely no military or foreign policy experience. Hillary Clinton is only marginally better.The post 9/11 world will not be made safer for Americans because Obama can make flowery speeches. Obama acts as though he is trying out to be the National Cheerleader. He uses the word “change” continuously, yet his “change” is connected to nothing concrete. It’s much like the American auto makers in the 1980′s all chanting the word “quality.” American cars during the 80′s were rolling disasters.Many Americans will make a fatal mistake when voting. They are preparing not to vote for the most qualified candidate, but rather for the first female candidate or the first African-American candidate. All style with no substance.If that’s the kind of change you want don’t vote for the “fluff” candidates, look to Elizabeth Dole or Colin Powell.Our adversaries are licking their chops at the prospect of an Obama or Clinton presidency.

  • Jack

    IT’s true that Al Qaida was not in Iraq before the invasion. But it certainly is there right now. Obama is great at crying about spilt milk. What’s done is done. Ultimately, what is his plan going forward? To withdraw from Iraq, and then reinvade? Obama is a smooth talking player.

  • Jack

    IT’s true that Al Qaida was not in Iraq before the invasion. But it certainly is there right now. Obama is great at crying about spilt milk. What’s done is done. Ultimately, what is his plan going forward? To withdraw from Iraq, and then reinvade? Obama is a smooth talking player.

  • OD

    It’s a great pity, the harm America’s fanatical Christians have done to the reputation of America’s generally moderate Jews. Certainly, much of the Bush Administration’s wrongdoing has been pushed partly by the Israel lobby, but the Israel lobby actually consists of representatives of one section of Israeli opinion, Likud, plus millions of American evangelist Christians, and a quite small minority of American Jews. I’m always amazed when people blame American Jews for the Iraq war. If only Jews had been allowed to vote in the 2004 election, there probably wouldn’t be a single Republican in Congress.

  • Dr.R.P.

    Disclosure: I have been against our invasion of Iraq from the outset. Right now I am just trying to understand the logic behind Al Qaeda attacking inside the US in order to affect the outcome of the election. I do agree that they would only do this if they wanted to increase the likelyhood of McCain being elected. But I don’t see that as in their interest.I would assume that they are in Iraq because they see some military advantage to being there.

  • Sternberg

    Heaven forbid that anyone would “Fahrenheit 9/11″, a candidate, or even that anyone might mention that it has ever been done.

  • OD

    “If only Jews had been allowed to vote in the 2004 election, there probably wouldn’t be a single Republican in Congress.”Let me re-phrase that:

  • Phil

    When you are stuck in a hole, the first rule to getting out is to stop digging. Al Quaeda in Iraq occurred because of the invasion, but is not sustainable without a U.S. presence there. If the U.S. leaves immediately, I do agree it will be bloody, but that is because the majority Shiites will slaughter Al Quaeda. The problem would come from many innocent Sunnis being caught in the bloodbath, but make no mistake… absent the U.S., Al Quaeda in Iraq is NOT the dominant power. The key is drawing down the U.S. presence while guaranteeing no Shiite reprisals.Second, Obama repeatedly points out the mistake of going to war in the first place for a good reason. It is to balance experience with judgement. Experience without judgement is useless. And it does McCain no favors to point out his experience while singing bomb bomb bomb..bomb bomb Iran. McCain has to make the case that he has the judgement to avoid the mistakes of the past. And not admitting they were mistakes will continue to haunt him if 70% of the public disagrees.Obama can go to town on Hillary’s add by simply pointing out that not only can he be ready to handle the crisis when he receives the call, but he has the judgement that would keep us from manufacturing crises of our own.

  • intcamd

    This is a red herring. I don’t think Obama supporters need to worry about the right swift boating his candidacy. This campaign has proven that Obama’s pals in the media (well, which basically means the entire media, since they have abandoned any pretense of objectivity and became cheer leaders for Obama) are pretty good at smearing their political rivals such as Clinton,with and without the connivance of Omaba’s campaign. So, I think it is McCain who needs to watch out.However, the Republicans and their media supporters will not be as accommodating as the Clinton people and slowly Obama’s true colors will come out. By then however, unfortunately it is too late for the democrats.

  • Anonymous

    I get it now. When repubs reveal dems it’s ‘swiftboating’. When dems reveal repubs it’s ‘speaking truth to power’.

  • Mike

    So let me get this straight. “Swift boating” means having any type of criticism of a Democrat.Why isn’t Obama’s constant partisan attacks on Bush “swift boating”? Because he isn’t a Democrat?Why isn’t the smear of McCain by the Times and the Post “swift boating”? Because he isn’t a Democrat?Just as idiot partisan conservatives claim any criticism of America is “unpatriotic”, so do idiot partisan liberals claim any criticism of their candidate (no matter how accurate) as “swift boating”.Grow up people. If you can’t tolerate fair criticism of your candidate, then you certainly should be offended by the partisan sliming by your party. Better yet, face reality and stop thinking that your candidates can not be criticized at all, at the same time they slam Bush every chance they get.I guess what I am saying is stop being such pathetic hypocrites.

  • Michael English

    It seems to me that the biggest problem Barack Obama faces right now is not so much the spurious charges of anti-Semitism launched by the right-wing smear machine as it is the media echo chamber which repeats those charges without analyzing whether or not they are true.Take THIS article, for example. In it, we read three separate premises: One, that Barack Obama was spiritually mentored by a radical anti-Semite; two, that he associated with anti-Semites and used to read anti-Semitic literature and hung out with Black Panthers; and (3) that he might not be able to win because his past “anti-Semitic associations” might destroy his electability with the Evangelical Right.So, while presuming to warn Barack Obama about the threats he will face while seeking election, Mr. Berlinerblau has carefully introduced any readers to all of those charges, said almost nothing to place them in perspective, and effectively acted as a mouthpiece for the originators of those charges while attempting to dodge any type of accounting for his own role by claiming to write out of concerned analysis and not out of disingenuousness.It would have been far more responsible of Mr. Berlinerblau (assuming, of course, that his motive for writing the article is genuine analysis of the issues) to give a detailed explanation of whether those charges have any significance in comparison with his opponent.Mr. Berlinerblau could, for example, cite the Feb. 27th Haaretz newspaper poll showing that a 64% majority of Israelis support Mr. Obama’s call for direct negotiations with Hamas.He could compare, line by line, questionable or anti-Semitic statements made by Rev. Jeremiah Wright with anti-gay, anti-Muslim statements made by Rev. Pat Robertson and Rev. John Hagee – both of whose endorsements, by the way, John McCain has openly embraced. Obama has flatly rejected and denounced the anti-Semitism of Louis Farrakhan.An you could compare Obama’s going to the same college as members of the Black Panthers with John McCain voting to grant immunity to torturers after apparently (but not substantively) opposing the grant of such immunity.If Mr. Berlinerblau had done these sorts of comparisons, he would have a truly fair and balanced article. Instead, in the name of concern he has repeated the charges against Obama as if they actually illuminate his character in some meaningful way, when they evidence of Obama’s words and deeds indicate that they do not. In doing so, Mr. Berlinerblau has, however inadvertently, become an active participant in the Republican smear campaign.

  • Mike

    “Mr. Berlinerblau has, however inadvertently, become an active participant in the Republican smear campaign.”Yes. Any criticism by a Republican is a “smear”. But every criticism by a Democrat is “speaking truth to power”.Are the potential criticisms you describe a “smear”? If so, are you “smearing” McCain with your counterpoints? Or do you just have different rules of conduct based on party affiliation?

  • Chaplin L. Liu

    in regards to mr. Berlinerblaus comment:”Obama’s brand of less-secular liberalism does not exclude or threaten most of the religious constituencies that are up for grabs. ” Mr. obama’s view of religion is really a view that comes from his formative years as an adolescent and child growing up in hawaii — and in indonesia. Religious and cultural tolerance is the main feature of being from hawaii. I grew up in hawaii too.He is more hawaiian in approach to the world than I really think he thinks he is. I no longer live in hawaii but can’t deny my upbringing. He has christian leanings and I think that should make religious people comfortable. Being from hawaii, i am sure he knows all about hawaiian gods and also respects them as I do being a prostestant myself albeit not a very good one. Chappy

  • Albert

    McCain will paint Obama as just another tax-and-spend, anti-free market, anti-national defense, left-wing liberal. Voters will be swayed by this picture of Obama because it’s true.

  • Kool

    I like the idea that Obama may become a bridge between Jewish americans and black americans. It seems such a unique opportunity that I think American should no miss.

  • gary

    you just named all the reasons this man should not even be in the senate let alone president,then you tell us to disregard all of it as smear tactics. typical lib. any critizism is facist when it is really the other way around.you say his opponents will ‘cheerfully’ cite the truth about this guy when it is really with sadness that the people of this country look at the candidates and wonder why we can’t do better.

  • TomPaine

    My personal complaint about media coverage of the Obama campaign is the repeated use of the words “messiah” and “messianic.” I have a sneaking suspicion those are code words designed to instill fear in both Jewish voters and evangelicals.Also, the NY Times article was not “swift boating” McCain. The article may have been poorly sourced, but it was written to raise questions about the propensity of a self described ethical politician to rely on lobbyists for so much of his political work. There were a lot of blind quotes but they still had John Weaver on the record.”Swift boating” is the collection of anonymous donations to fund a campaign of half-truths and lies aimed at discrediting a political candidate. Democrats may engage in it, but they haven’t perfected it nearly to the level of the party of Lee Atwater and Karl Rove.

  • Kathy Wilson

    I would like to remind all of those who knock Obama’s lack of experience, that another President from the same state had as much if not less experience in Government than Obama. He had no war or foreign policy experience. Yet every American should thank God (or whatever higher power you thank) that we had him in our time of need. That time of need was the American Civil War and that President was Abraham Lincoln.

  • David Weiss

    John Kerry has two, count them, TWO silver stars won in combat. The US military do not hand out silver stars like candy. It is reviewed and reviewed up the chain of command.McCain however, has only the distinction of being a prisoner. John Kerry’s service was honorable, McCain has been crippled by his experience in Viet-Nam. He is so disformed by his experience that he wants to fight the war all over again – this time in Iraq. He’s willing to fight there for 100 years – his own words! We can’t have a war nut like McCain in the office of the Presidency. America can’t afford to have more of the same old, same old foreign policy.As to Obama’s experience: I can think of at least one president that had a lot less experience, no formal education and was truly one of the greatest leaders of all time – Abraham Lincoln. Look it up you lacking in education right wing nazis.

  • David Weiss

    John Kerry has two, count them, TWO silver stars won in combat. The US military do not hand out silver stars like candy. It is reviewed and reviewed up the chain of command.McCain however, has only the distinction of being a prisoner. John Kerry’s service was honorable, McCain has been crippled by his experience in Viet-Nam. He is so disformed by his experience that he wants to fight the war all over again – this time in Iraq. He’s willing to fight there for 100 years – his own words! We can’t have a war nut like McCain in the office of the Presidency. America can’t afford to have more of the same old, same old foreign policy.As to Obama’s experience: I can think of at least one president that had a lot less experience, no formal education and was truly one of the greatest leaders of all time – Abraham Lincoln. Look it up, you lacking in education, right wing nazis.

  • Rhoda Miller

    Wright has been displaying his anti-Jewish feelings for years, not only in his sermons, but in his association with Farrakhan. Obama apparently was not offended enough to change churches or distance himself from this behavior until the story appeared in the Washington Post. What would he say about a white candidate who attended a church that honored Trent Lott or one of the other Southern racists?

  • Rhoda Miller

    Wright has been displaying his anti-Jewish feelings for years, not only in his sermons, but in his association with Farrakhan. Obama apparently was not offended enough to change churches or distance himself from this behavior until the story appeared in the Washington Post. What would he say about a white candidate who attended a church that honored Trent Lott or one of the other Southern racists?

  • Dr.Annette Reed

    It never ceases to amaze me. That is, the intense defensiveness of Obama’s disciples, and this article is a good example. After saying that Obama has been falsely accused of not being substanitive, Jacques Berlinerblau then writes defensive prose of praise which is also mostly fluff and little substance. It takes one to know one, they say. What is happening in this election is far too important to leave to an inexperienced man who has been campaigning since he started his US Senatorial career only three years ago. He is charming and he is brown-skinned. This is no reason to elect him as world leader, even if it assuages the conscience of Jewish people who want so much to be politically correct. Slow down.

  • Garrett Smythe Brown, II

    Berlinerblau states that to be a mainstream Jew you must vote Democratic i.e. good Jews must be liberal idiots in the bag for Obama.Obama has a long history of supporting PLO terrorists policies and associating with people that want Israel carved up like an orange. He belongs to a church that give awards to Farrakhan.Berlinerblau is like the Hollywood liberal Jews that were afraid of saying anyting against the nazis before WWII because they did not want to isolate themselves and cause anti-semitism.Any Jew that listens to the likes of Berlinerblau and supports ultra-left wing radical Israel basher Obama is basically committing suicide.Have a Brain:DON’T Support Obama

  • Aaron

    David and Kathy, your Abraham Lincoln reference works both ways.He was a Republican fighting against the Democrat establishment (the party of slavery) that wanted to surrender the civil war and negotiate with the slavers. The public was weary of the deeply unpopular war, but Lincoln convinced them that freedom and democracy were inalienable rights for all, and that surrender was not an option.Or didn’t you leftwing idiots study history?

  • Sarge

    Yes, the questioms above would represent another “swiftboating”. Questioning a candidate about past votes, statements, and associations is so unseemly….which is probably why the MSM never does it!

  • Mike

    David Weiss – Thanks for demonstrating how intolerant, arrogant, ill-informed and obnoxious many Obama’s supporters can be. I didn’t know that Obama’s message of “hope” and “change” included calling anonymous strangers who don’t share your views “right wing Nazis”. Kudos to you for your wit and intelligence.

  • Petras Vilson

    Obama, apparently moving to the right, is now threatening military intervention in Iraq after years of demanding America’s immediate surrender. As the Associated Press reports: McCain criticized Obama for saying in Tuesday night’s Democratic debate that, after U.S. troops were withdrawn, as president he would act “if al-Qaida is forming a base in Iraq.” “I have some news. Al-Qaida is in Iraq. It’s called ‘al-Qaida in Iraq,’ ” McCain told a crowd in Tyler, Texas, drawing laughter at Obama’s expense. He said Obama’s statement was “pretty remarkable.”Quips Glenn Reynolds: “In Obama’s defense, he probably reads the New York Times, which always calls it ‘Al Qaida in Mesopotamia.’ That may have confused him.”Obama’s response to McCain, described in the same AP dispatch, makes even less sense: “I do know that al-Qaida is in Iraq and that’s why I have said we should continue to strike al-Qaida targets,” he told a rally at Ohio State University in Columbus. “But I have some news for John McCain,” Obama added. “There was no such thing as al-Qaida in Iraq until George Bush and John McCain decided to invade Iraq. . . . They took their eye off the people who were responsible for 9/11 and that would be al-Qaida in Afghanistan, that is stronger now than at any time since 2001.”Obama said he intended to withdraw U.S. forces from Iraq “so we actually start going after al-Qaida in Afghanistan and in the hills of Pakistan like we should have been doing in the first place.”So let’s see if we have this straight. Al Qaeda in Iraq isn’t worth fighting because it wouldn’t be there if it weren’t for Bush and McCain. Obama is going to pull all U.S. troops out of Iraq to go fight in Afghanistan and Pakistan, although he will send them back to Iraq if al Qaeda are there, even though he now wants to withdraw notwithstanding al Qaeda’s presence.Great Plan ! Great Judgement !

  • Jeffrey

    >mainstream Jews (who traditionally vote DemocraticThis has not been true for as long as I have been politically aware (since about the early 1980s).Signed,

  • keith_in_seattle

    Whether the target is Obama or the other candidates, we’re sure to see many examples of reprehensible slander in the months ahead. Regrettably, the press gives more attention to the allegations than to the people behind them, many of whom hide behind the facades of political action groups. Such people deserve no more privacy than the people they attack. The press can do much to elevate the quality of public discourse in America by investigating the slander merchants. Name names, put their photos and addresses on page 1, and let the public hold them accountable for their actions.

  • don

    It appears to me that the republicans will stop at nothing to win the presidental election – they are the bastion of corrupt money politics that only know how to smear good people – Obama will not be an exception. I would think a good electoral strategy for the Dems would be to take the 2004 photo of a short and rumpled McCain hugging Bush with a photo montage of the Iraq war, Katrina aftermath, and housing foreclosures with a caption – ‘Enjoyed the last eight years? With McCain you will get four more of the same.’ should be emough to scare most voters from voting republican

  • Bernard Thompson

    Several of the posters have noted that John Kerry was “swiftboated”. As I recall there were two books written in substantion of the claims distuping several of his assertions and claims. One example of was his claim of being in Cambodia for Christmas, he also asserted that he sent there by the Nixon Administration, but both of these claims were proven to be false. There were others but I don’t remember. The national media’s position is the opponents to his claims are liar’s, but they never offer any evidence, they only yell loudly in unison. But I also remember, that the media and democrats defended the Clinton’s in the past, but now they are now cheerleading for Obama and have turned on the Clinton’s. Another distrubing event is the racism being engaged in by the black democrats. Both Obama and Hilliary, are both left-leaning democrats, but blacks are voting primary for Obama. This trend clearly can only be attributable to racism. How can they distinguish between two liberal democrats? It could be based on sex, or race. Clearly, the blacks have decided on race.

  • Bernard Thompson

    Several of the posters have noted that John Kerry was “swiftboated”. As I recall there were two books written in substantion of the claims distuping several of his assertions and claims. One example of was his claim of being in Cambodia for Christmas, he also asserted that he sent there by the Nixon Administration, but both of these claims were proven to be false. There were others but I don’t remember. The national media’s position is the opponents to his claims are liar’s, but they never offer any evidence, they only yell loudly in unison. But I also remember, that the media and democrats defended the Clinton’s in the past, but now they are now cheerleading for Obama and have turned on the Clinton’s. Another distrubing event is the racism being engaged in by the black democrats. Both Obama and Hilliary, are both left-leaning democrats, but blacks are voting primary for Obama. This trend clearly can only be attributable to racism. How can they distinguish between two liberal democrats? It could be based on sex, or race. Clearly, the blacks have decided on race.

  • M . Stratas

    Obama is being cricized because he wants to do a phased withdrawal of troops within 12-18 months. Why him? The criticism is misplaced. We should denounce Bush for putting America in this untenable position because Bush was reckless and stupid. Going to war in the Middle East is serious business, not some enterprise that he concocted at the last minute. Bush and cohorts decided to go to war on a whim! Nobody seems to demand an answer from Bush for his utter failure in Iraq. Obama has the right approach and sense. FIVE YEARS OF STALEMATE IS DUMB. $3 TRILLION DOLLARS NEEDS AN EXPLANATION. Obama may be young in years but he certainly has the maturity not to engage in silly rhetoric about his background and origins. He is an American; his mother was American, his grandfather fought in the 2nd World War, his grandmother who raised him in Hawaii was the 1s woman VP of Bank of Hawaii. You all sound as if Obama were some alien. Obama has real intellect; graduating with honors from Harvard is not mean feat and to be president of the Law Review, well even George Bush can only dream. Obama can beat McCain whose only credential seems to be having crashed in Vietnam and became prisoner. Well, we have thousands of heroes like that.

  • SonnyL

    John McCain is becoming a figure of ridicule before our eyes. As gaffe prone as Romney. This whole thing is a joke. A man who is ‘tongue-tied’ and can’t think on the spot. I wonder who that remind me of???

  • voteclinton

    Sir you have done a good job of priming the anti-Obama campaign. McCain/Clinton people should hire you.

  • M . Stratas

    Maligning Obama and the Democrats who want to bring the troops home is arguing against the interests of the United States. The Republicans actually should be faulted not the Democrats. Why are we spending an inordinate amount of money and lives on Iraq which had nothing to do with 911? If we really want to annihilate AlQaeda, we should go back to Afghanistan and pound the border area between Pakistan and Afghnistan and capture Bin Laden dead or alive. WE are wastinf $2 billion per week in Iraq. Karzai in Afghanistan is on the brink of being toppled. George Bush started 2 wars and he has done a poor job because of his incompetence. McCain accuses the Democrats of “waving the flag of surrender” because we want the troops home. Saddam had been deposed and dead; the Iraqis should wage their own insurgency war, not the US troops.

  • JG

    Being a brilliant student or teacher does not include being brilliant of foreign policy, see Jimmy Carter.His foreign policy ideas are just down right wacky. Meet despots and dictators personally without any preconditions is the kind of idea that would have come from Carter. These people will use him for a photo op and make a fool of him.Pull the troops out then send them back if Iraq falls into chaos and Al Quada comes back. Is he stupid enough to believe that he can do that?

  • Gasmonkey

    What a scumbag Berlinerblau is, and what a hypocrite. This whole column is like saying “oh, goodness, I sure pray nobody breaks into my neighbor’s house, because it would be a real tragedy if someone found the key he keeps under his front doormat, and went in there and stole the Picasso painting he has hanging in his living room. Especially this weekend, when the burglar alarm will be disconnected for maintenance. Oh, dear God, please don’t let someone do that.”You remind me of Judas kissing Jesus to show him how much he loved him.

  • Craig

    Kevin wrote:This whole “who is qualified” thing is really overplayed. Read this column: Especially this part:She is 60. She left Yale Law School at age 25. Evidently she considers everything she has done since school, from her years at Little Rock’s Rose Law Firm to her good fortune with cattle futures, as presidentially relevant experience.The president who came to office with the most glittering array of experiences had served 10 years in the House of Representatives, then became minister to Russia, then served 10 years in the Senate, then four years as secretary of state (during a war that enlarged the nation by 33 percent), then was minister to Britain. Then, in 1856, James Buchanan was elected president and in just one term secured a strong claim to being ranked as America’s worst president. Abraham Lincoln, the inexperienced former one-term congressman, had an easy act to follow.”In short, having a lot of experience doesn’t really count for much.

  • Arminius

    Craig,Right you are. I read that column when it was published, and at least one other column before having the same information about Lincoln vs Buchanan. I have related that information here in other threads of ‘On Faith’. Alas, some people really take offense at being confused with the facts. Arminius

  • dick bohanon

    instead of plotting against america,

  • vegasgirl

    Can someone please tell me why it is the right goes ballistic when Louis Farrakhan gives Obama an unsolicited endorsement, but is silent when McCain is endorse by anti-Catholic and radical fundamentalist named John Hagee?

  • Suzanne

    It’s thinking like this that is another example of why I’m voting for Barack. The republicans just don’t get it.

  • Tony Gillotte

    Mr. Berlinerblau:Your recent attempt to illustrate the political positions that my threaten Mr. Obama’s candidacy are not very well thought out or convincing.I especially wonder at your blindness to the fact that the overwhelming political feelings of most Americans has been a general malaise if not outright antagonism towards the many falsehoods, fabrications, constitution bending and bellicose practices.What actually you have missed is that Mr. Obama has hitched his wagon to this national antagonism towards this administration and has begun to preach a sermon of political redemption which sounds pretty good to the people who hear him.Therefore, the so-called weaknesses you think youve identified arent really vulnerabilities at all. They are the natural soundings of a young man, of mixed race, seeking to find his way in a white dominated US society. Its pretty normal for him to read Fanon, and probably a dozen other black revolutionary characters, in order for him to measure how far they have gotten in criticizing this society and if there is a better way to bring the various ethnic factions together in this still divided society.And it seem eminently reasonable to assume that with his multicultural background and international perspective, that is exactly what the US needs today. So, Mr. Obama’s job is to steer a course that is not threatening to the white population, but also includes the views of other major ethnic groupings such as various Asian, AFrican, Latin American and Middle eastern strains.Now that is a tough job given that most US administrations have generally treated ethnic groups as a sub-category in a census survey.Conclusion? Mr. Obama is exactly the right kind to blend the unhappiness of Americans with the war in Iraq with the aspirations of the US which will soon be comprised of 50% ethnicities other than caucasian.How do I know this? Because I have lived and worked as a journalist outside the US for over 20 years and have learned to view the world through other than US centric eyes.Finally, the putrified US political system which is based on who can smear the other candidate should be relegated to the dustbin of history. It not only has outlived its usefulness, but it has been surplanted by time and a growing population. Tony Gillotte

  • Tony Gillotte

    Mr. Berlinerblau:Your recent attempt to illustrate the political positions that my threaten Mr. Obama’s candidacy are not very well thought out or convincing.I especially wonder at your blindness to the fact that the overwhelming political feelings of most Americans has been a general political malaise if not outright antagonism towards the many falsehoods, fabrications, constitution bending and bellicose practices of the present administration.What actually you have missed is that Mr. Obama has hitched his wagon to the national antagonism towards this administration and has begun to preach a sermon of political redemption which sounds pretty good to the people who hear him.Therefore, the so-called weaknesses you think youve identified arent really vulnerabilities at all. They are the natural soundings of a young man, of mixed race, seeking to find his way in a white dominated US society. Its pretty normal for him to read Fanon, and probably a dozen other black revolutionary authors, in order for him to measure how far they have gotten in criticizing this society and offering solutions that point towards a better way to bring the various ethnic factions together in this still divided society.And it seem eminently reasonable to assume that with his multicultural background and international perspective, that is exactly what the US needs today. So, Mr. Obama’s job is to steer a course that is not threatening to the white population, but also includes the views of other major ethnic groupings such as various Asian, AFrican, Latin American and Middle eastern strains.Now that is a tough job given that most US administrations have generally treated ethnic groups as a sub-category in a census survey.Conclusion? Mr. Obama is exactly the right kind of person to blend the unhappiness of Americans with the war in Iraq with the aspirations of the US people today in a country which will soon be comprised of 50% ethnicities other than caucasian.How do I know this? Because I have lived and worked as a journalist outside the US for over 20 years and have learned to view the world through other than US centric eyes.Finally, the putrified US political system which is based on who can smear the other candidate the most should be relegated to the dustbin of history. It not only has outlived its usefulness, but it has been surplanted by time and a growing and diverse US population. Tony Gillotte

  • VoicesintheWind

    Edward Said was a Palestinian who courageously wrote about the Palestinian struggle for freedom in New York City despite death threats. Your demeaning description of him is the equivalent of spitting up at the sky. Whatever you are a professor of could not have much to do with “civilization”.

  • Roy

    Jesus, Bush and McCain think Americans are stupid. Bush talks about the threat of al-Qeada while they and their leader Osama are getting stronger by being protected in Pakistan by the fascist Mushariff who Bush paid off to take care of this for him.McCain says the war “will end soon …. but the insurgency will go on for years and years and years.”And the 30% (80% of which are mindless neochristians) continue to buy this crap. When Rove comes out of hibernation and goes to work on Obama, he’ll make the Swift-boaters look like Sunday school teachers. Bush and his family friend Osama have an October surprise for Obama and more Americans will die in the process. Be afraid of neocon penises in dark suits and ties – be very afraid.

  • Mike

    Roy – “Be afraid of neocon penises in dark suits and ties – be very afraid.”Thanks for demonstrating again the wit and intelligence of the typical Obama zealot. Grow up.

  • walt

    reading these stupid comments reminds me why I gave up reading Newsweek years ago. Thanks for the trip down bad memory lane.Just remember the democrats are the ones who started the “politics of personal distruction” just as usual.

  • Come Back Jack

    Obama seems to court everyone like my old age courted me, by appearing in a steamed mirror one morning and not destinguishing clearly who or what I realy was all about. I personally don’t like Mr Obama just as I don’t like many people who seem to project a hidden agenga to abtain an end. Most of us seniors deal with people like this every. Quick answers, empty solutions, and an unflapable belief that he as a mear mortal, has all the answers. I call it the Pied Pipper affect. The young of all nations are infected with this affliction and follow blindly a conclusion which later under durest seems weak.

  • Pat

    The truth of the matter is, I can’t vote forRecently, an article by http://www.worldnetdaily.com,Rev. Wright spoke about “Natalee Holloway” in his church publications. Prayer?”Black women are being raped daily in Darfur….Please read the article and study Mr. Obama’s church. From Muslim upbringing to a (20 year

  • Pat

    The truth of the matter is, I can’t vote forRecently, an article by http://www.worldnetdaily.com,Rev. Wright spoke about “Natalee Holloway” in his church publications. Prayer?”Black women are being raped daily in Darfur….Please read the article and study Mr. Obama’s church. From Muslim upbringing to a (20 year

  • Pat

    The truth of the matter is, I can’t vote forRecently, an article by http://www.worldnetdaily.com,Rev. Wright spoke about “Natalee Holloway” in his church publications. Prayer?”Black women are being raped daily in Darfur….Please read the article and study Mr. Obama’s church. From Muslim upbringing to a (20 year

  • Dan Drazen

    A pre-election day attack, ironically, might HELP Obama. The standard GOP apology for Bush’s undermining of American civil liberties has been “Well, we haven’t been attacked since 9/11,” while conveniently forgetting to mention who WAS the President on 9/11. A pre-Election Day attack would blow the GOP’s Security Party designation out of the water.

  • B-man

    Obama has proven himself a master deflector of criticism. In the eyes of most Americans, any attempts to smear him will only diminish those who try. Bring it on!

  • Kacoo

    B-MAN, I wish you were right, but you are mistaken. If anything in politics is certain, if history has taught us anything, it’s that you can swiftboat anyone.A certain element of the population will do nothing but say “Hussien” all year. Another element will find this entertaining, but will latch onto an actual policy issue, like teaching sex education to second-graders, or immunizing 11-year-old girls against a sexually transmitted disease. And it goes downhill from there.

  • Awele Odigo

    This man,Obama, is a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon. He is “hope” and “change” personified. Any attempt to deny this man the presidency which he’s most qualified for will bring great condemnation of this generation by all lovers of change all over the world. Come to think of it, our lives would be meaningless if there were no changes!Americans, please reason!! The world loves Obama if you don’t!

  • Najam

    For those who think that if a lot of people love somebody he should be made a President then they should also find him an island where he does not have to work with anyone, simply rule, and and “change” as he wants, please spare us.Following is what I found at the website of the Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR);”Rep. Keith Ellison said Wednesday that attempts to insinuate that Barack Obama is Muslim won’t have any effect on the presidential candidate, arguing that Americans won’t fall for such a “bigoted” appeal. Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat and the first Muslim member of Congress, also said he has no doubt a Muslim could be elected president. “It’s a deliberate attempt to associate him with things Islamic,” Ellison said of the use of Obama’s middle name. Obama’s father and stepfather were Muslim, and he spent part of his childhood in Indonesia, a largely Muslim country — but Obama was not raised Muslim. “Assuming that the American public is bigoted, and infused with religious bigotry against Muslims, is incorrect,” Ellison said. And he insisted that a Muslim could become president. “Look, we elected a Catholic,” Ellison said. “Mitt Romney was a viable candidate in this race. I don’t think that his decline had to do with him being Mormon.” Romney, a GOP candidate, dropped out of the race earlier this year. “So I think that certainly America could elect a Muslim president,” he said. “America could elect a woman president. I think we probably are going to elect a black president. And we’ll all be better for it.” Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which fights anti-Muslim bigotry, said he agreed with Ellison. “There clearly is a level of anti-Muslim attitude in our society, but I think it’s still a minority,” he said. “It’s a vocal minority, but it’s still a minority. The majority of Americans respect people of all faiths, and I think while taking faith into consideration, it would not be the main factor in their voting.” (End Quote)There is nothing wrong with being a Muslim, but lying, decetion, concealing and getting irrated about the truth is a major sin in Islam.Whether he was raised as a Muslim or not, makes no difference, according to Islam if your seed comes from a Muslim father, you are a Muslim. That is the case with all religions.Anytime I see Mrs. Angry Obama I run in the other direction, why to put a spin and call wolves? Accept what you are and move-on.On one hand he says that the Super delegates must not over-rule the writ of the people and on the other does not want Florida and Michigan delegates be allowed to vote at the convention. What a flip-flop, what happened to the writ of millions of Folrida and Michigan voters? Oh’ I forget Mr. Obama did not win those states.We are not a Kingdom, Sheikhdom or an Empire where one man drives the whole country. Very recently it was tried by Pervaiz Musharraf of Pakistan and by the Kenyan President, it did not work there and out of question here in USA. Our President even President-Elect works with the Congress. Mr. Obama’s rhetoric of change is so vague and far away from the 2+2.He also talks about absorbing Republicans in his cabinet, how about taking Lieberman as your running mate, Mr. Obama? Did you consider McCain, yet? Wouldn’t that be nice if after the conventions McCain and Obama become each others side-kick and save us a lot of money by sparing tax payers’s money in the general elections? Wouldn’t that be a real change? May be then we will have some money to at least fulfill one of the “promises” of Mr. Obama as the rest of the promises would require money that China may not want to give us. Why risk! Resolve!Oh’ yes, he is against the Iraq war resolution because he was not in senate when it was passed. But willing to attack Pakistan on “credible intelligence” did not his Republican friend Bush and his cousin Cheney got involved in Iraq on the same “credible intelligence”, I am shocked Mr. Obama’s IncredibleIntelligence” and majority of the supporters “incredible arrogance”.The millions of dollars he spends on TV adds and calling everybody a divisive but himself, how many families could have been helped, why you need so much money to prove your worth, if you are already loved by the whole world????Regards.Najam

  • Mike

    All hail Obama! Do not blaspheme by questioning his credentials to be President! Failure to acknowledge Obama as lord and savior is heresy!Obama Akbar!

  • Steven Rivkin

    “Justice, justice shall you pursue.” That’s why I support this just man.

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