Barack Hussein Obama: American

Juliette Ochieng is incensed by the continual harping by some on the Right about Barack Obama’s lineage and name. Her essay is very personal and worth a read in full.

Barring a David Duke nomination by the GOP, I’m not going to vote for Obama. We have fundamental disagreements on core public policy issues and I don’t believe he has sufficient seasoning to serve as Commander-in-Chief. But I have no reason to doubt his loyalty to the country or his basic decency. If, by some odd sequence of events, he were elected president in 2008, the chances that the country will find itself under Sharia law or in alliance with al Qaeda are exactly the same as if John McCain, Newt Gingrich, or Pat Buchanan were elected: zero.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2008, Race and Politics, , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Fersboo says:

    …..the continual harping by some on the Right about Barack Obama’s lineage and name.

    No offense JJ, but I am not going to read her essay. I really don’t care about Barack’s lineage, but I have to wonder if it is good for the goose to discuss Republicans’ heritage/religion, why isn’t it good for gander to discuss Democrats’?

  2. Anderson says:

    I find it difficult to believe that the silly focus on Obama’s name, etc., aren’t covert ways of expressing other prejudices that are even less admissible.

    I don’t think much of Obama as a candidate; I think he’s really running for Veep right now. But this thinly-veiled racism needs to be called out for what it is.

  3. LJD says:

    I haven’t really had the occasion to be all that influenced by the works of Debbie Shussel- or whatever her name is. However, I read nothing rascist in her commentary, veiled or not. The perception of this candidate by Muslims is a valid point.

    Personally, I think the actions person’s father are not any indication of that individual. A fundamental part of being an American is independent thought and practice of religion.

    Regardless, what is wrong with questioning the validity of a candidate based on his potential influence, either intended or not, on current events (i.e. GWOT)? It is certainly nowhere near as racist as voting FOR a candidate simply BECAUSE they are black.

  4. cian says:

    From Prager’s venting over Ellison’s Koran to the right’s highlighting of Obama’s middle name, the Swiftboatian undertones are unmistakeable- The Muslim Party (read Democrats) is coming your way. For the time being the GOP has stopped splashing about in their private cess-pool, but only until they learn a new stroke.

  5. McGehee says:

    I expect the fad of referring to him in “Hillary RODHAM Clinton” style, will fade long before anybody outside the various striations of the pundit class notices it.

  6. I like Barack Obama. Every dark shadow people paint about him looks like a bright light on the other side: he has Muslim heritage? Well, maybe he understands the Muslim mindset better than most. Perhaps he knows the difference between Sunnis and Shiites. That might lend some credibility to our efforts.

    If he ran for President, I might vote for him, but Lieberman would need to be out of the running and the Republicans would need to field a worse candidate. The latter appears overwhelmingly likely, but the former does not. And if Obama runs as Clinton’s VP candidate, there is no amount of celebrity or media attention on him that would make me vote for her.

    However, it is pretty well understood that a black VP is a big flashing neon sign to every militant black in the country that says “SHOOT THE PRESIDENT”. So if voting for a Clinton/Obama ticket gave a reasonable enough assurance of dead Clinton and President Obama, I might consider it.

  7. Mark says:

    However, it is pretty well understood that a black VP is a big flashing neon sign to every militant black in the country that says “SHOOT THE PRESIDENT”.

    Isn’t that a Chris Rock joke from years ago?

  8. Kent G. Budge says:

    Obama seems like a decent guy and a loyal American, but his policy views are almost 180 degrees from my own, so I’d probably stay home before voting for him. Nevertheless, he’s a long ways from an al Quaeda type, or even a stinky European socialist.

  9. Bithead says:

    Baldilocks defense Obama’s history by drawing parallels to our own. I suppose that would be valid, but for two things;

    1: Baldilocks Has proven her own change, and has a rather public transcript, posted for all the world to see, on her thoughts on the issues of the day… One that gets added to every single day.

    2: Obama has none of those things.

  10. legion says:

    Baldilocks Has proven her own change, and has a rather public transcript, posted for all the world to see, on her thoughts on the issues of the day… One that gets added to every single day.

    Right, Bithead, because a sitting US Senator, being played up as a potential candidate for President in 2 years, as one of the leading black public figures active today, he lives a life of secrecy and shadow, his every word and deed utterly ignored by the press. Sheesh.

    No offense to Baldilocks, but go Google how many press articles so far this year quote her, and then look for articles quoting Obama.

  11. Don McArthur says:

    “…the chances that the country will find itself under Sharia law or in alliance with al Qaeda are exactly the same as if John McCain, Newt Gingrich, or Pat Buchanan were elected…”

    You had me up to that Pat Buchanan part. Straight al-Qa’eda party line, him.

  12. Bithead says:

    ALegion:

    Right, Bithead, because a sitting US Senator, being played up as a potential candidate for President in 2 years, as one of the leading black public figures active today, he lives a life of secrecy and shadow, his every word and deed utterly ignored by the press. Sheesh.

    OK, you tell ME… what accomlpishments qualify Obama for the adulation being sent his way, other than he’s not a Clinton?

    Certainly he’s been softballed by the press since showing up in the public eye a year or so back. But what policies has he been pushing for? Can you tell us?

    You see the comments Baldilocks makes are decidedly hers and unfiltered by party leadership and the press…. and it amazes me anyone would have to point out thet difference to you.

  13. just me says:

    I post and/or lurk at a variety of conservative blogs, and I can’t say I have seen much harping or even discussion of Obama’s middle name.

    In general I find Obama to be a bit of a media creation, but I think in the end he is too inexperienced for the presidency, and even if he was more experienced his politics are entirely too far to the left for me to consider a vote for him.

    I suspect in the end Hillary will chew him up and have him for supper.

  14. steve says:

    JJ, I’m just curious, and you certainly don’t have to answer this question, but re:

    “I don’t believe he has sufficient seasoning to serve as Commander-in-Chief…”

    Did you vote for our current president the first time around?

  15. James Joyner says:

    Steve:

    Yep. But six years as chief executive of a major state plus a stint as a fighter pilot–not to mention having grown up as the son of a president, two term VP, and CIA director–is a hell of a lot more experience than Obama has. Two years in the Senate rather pales in comparison.

  16. SavageView says:

    Did you vote for Bush in 2000? If yes, it says much about your ability to predict whether an individual has “sufficient seasoning to serve as Commander-in-Chief.” And, btw, presidents do considerably more than serve as CIC.

  17. M1EK says:

    James,

    Texas (my state) has a governor with fewer real powers than most cities’ mayors. And “a stint as a fighter pilot”? GMAFB.

    Obama doesn’t have enough experience to be President. Neither did W. And it shows.

  18. James Joyner says:

    M1EK,

    It’s true that some governors have less power than others. Still, it’s a major executive position. Most of our more successful presidents have served as governors first.

    The Senate just doesn’t give you that. You can compensate over a long career, especially if you chair a major national security policy committee. But legislative service doesn’t translate into command.

    Bush had the proper seasoning to be president. The question is whether he had the right temperament. But that’s a judgment the voters made, deciding in the affirmative twice.