Tuesday, March 11, 2008

It's getting more and more absurd

Lost in the fog of Eliot Spitzer's sexual preferences is the story of Rep. Steve King and his opinion of Barack Obama's candidacy. It is "buffoonery," but in that same post Obama was criticized for not responding more forcefully to the charges. "They're getting killed with this kind of stuff," David Kurtz insisted (and then along came Eliot Spitzer....). But there's something to be said for giving the guy enough rope he hangs himself, which apparently Rep. King has done:

Rep, King has continued to defend his comments, telling the AP that Obama will "certainly be viewed as a savior" for terrorists. "That's why you will see them supporting him, encouraging him."

And he told Bill O'Reilly last night: "They see the ethnic bond with Obama. They will see him as one of them -- and he will not be able to convince them that he's gonna hold his ground, so it encourages the enemy." To his credit, O'Reilly rejects King's invocation of Obama's middle name ("it could work to our favor") as well as the notion that Obama would be soft on terror ("He has been a tough guy on al-Qaeda").
King dropped the "optics" comment, apparently (because, after all, he said: "I don’t want to disparage anyone because of their, their race, their ethnicity, their name - whatever their religion their father, father might have been." So he's not a racist. Get it?). But Obama has an "ethnic bond" with terrorists because of...well, what, exactly? His skin color, only now Re. King won't say that? His name? Because all Muslims are terrorists, just like all Christians are Catholics? Protestants? Orthodox? Copts?

I know it's not that easy to recognize that Islam is as diverse and complex as Christianity, but I think most people have an inkling that "Muslim" does not equal "Terrorist." And when even Bill O'Reilly isn't buying the spiel, it's hard to see how this stuff is "killing you."

Indeed, I think Obama's candidacy (support him or not), indicates we've had about enough of this kind of politics for awhile. So I think Obama's response is about right:

On King, Obama said the Iowa Republican had it "backwards." "The fact that the continuation of a presence in Iraq as Senator McCain has suggested is exactly what, I think, will fan the flames of anti-American sentiment and make it more difficult for us to create a long-term and sustainable peace in the world," he said. "But I have to say that Mr. King and individuals like him thrive on offensive or controversial statements as a way to get in the papers, so I don’t take it too seriously. I would hope Senator McCain would want to distance himself from that kind of inflammatory and offensive remarks.”
Of course, now that Admiral Fallon has suddenly resigned, nobody really cares what Rep. King is saying, either. And the question of who is the next President suddenly becomes less important than the question: How do we restrain this President? King's brand of smear politics will disappear for now, to reappear later. It is as American as violence and cherry pie. It will come back into vogue again someday. But not, I think, today, thank you.

Today we have to worry, again, about staying out of Iran.

Later that same day....

Oh, crap:

Ferraro told the Daily Breeze of Torrance, Calif.: "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."
This post is not even cold, and I find this kind of nonsense? But that's last Friday. What about today?

"Any time anybody does anything that in any way pulls this campaign down and says let's address reality and the problems we're facing in this world, you're accused of being racist, so you have to shut up," Ferraro said. "Racism works in two different directions. I really think they're attacking me because I'm white. How's that?"
I'm sure glad the only racists in this country are rednecks and unrepentant KKK members. That hidden wound in America just refuses to stay hidden. But don't call Geraldine Ferraro a racist; because that's just rude; or shrill; or something.

You know, there's a reason racism is completely intolerable in America, and it's not because the word is overused and applied lightly to anyone we disagree with.

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