Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Senator Obama, lies and the Constitution

The last presidential election as interesting as this one, at least in my opinion, took place in 1960 when John F. Kennedy squared off against Richard M. Nixon. The Democratic Convention that year went down to the wire. I remember watching the final vote late into the night, until my parents made me go to bed. Kennedy prevailed in a real squeaker over Lyndon Johnson who salvaged the vice-presidential nomination out of the heated, at times vitriolic contest.

The Democrats have been through a tough primary season and the nominee will be Senator Barack H. Obama. The interest displayed during the primary has been astounding. The race for the White House between Senator Obama and Senator John S. McCain will be historic and more than fun to witness.

It is hard for me to imagine what it must be like running for the presidency. Dirty tricks, incriminating innuendos, and blatant lies await both candidates without a doubt. Senator Obama recently put up a website to answer all of the false claims and accusations that already are flying.

I expect you've read some of the negative, anti-Obama material.

Obama is a Muslim. False. He is a Christian.

Obama was educated in Islamic schools. False. For a time in elementary school he lived in Indonesia and attended a secular public school.

Obama has ties to radical Islamic groups that attempted to overthrow the government of Kenya. Will it never end? This one came from some off-the-wall Christian missionaries in Africa.

Obama refused to use a Bible when taking the oath of office when sworn in as a U. S. Senator. False. He put his hand on a copy of the Bible when taking his oath.

Obama's middle name is Hussein. Correct, it is.

Mark Elrod, a political science professor at Harding University (a very conservative, Evangelical Christian college located in Searcy, Arkansas and my undergraduate alma mater!), is featured in a New York Times article by Jodi Kantor (June 29, 2008) with the headline Obama Supporters Take His Middle Name As Their Own.”

Would that be Mark Hussein Elrod?

I love this story. Hundreds--and it will become thousands--of people are taking Hussein as their temporary middle name in support of the Senator and in opposition to the untrue propaganda about his religion.

My younger daughter on hearing a report that Senator Obama was Muslim responded, "So what if he is?"

Hmmm. I think she understands the U. S. Constitution. Proud she is a public school teacher!

The fact is, of course, Obama is no Muslim. But our form of government does not prohibit anyone from seeking office on the basis of some marker defined by religion.

My point here is not to be read as an Obama endorsement. That is not my place here.

That said, if you oppose his ideas, his policy plans, his record in Washington or his choice in ties, fine. All I'm calling for is a commitment to honesty and truth telling on both sides.

Wouldn't that be refreshing? Good for community, don't you think?

Now that I've opened this can of worms, what do you think?



Anonymous said...

Probably everyone has some friend or family member who loads your email box with story after story, or should I say lie after lie, about Senator Obama. The sad thing is that it is so easy to check things out, but no matter what I do this one family member seems to believe anything anyone sends them that is negative about the Senator. They only believe Snopes when it agrees with them. I do not plan to vote for him, but I too think the lies are just nuts. To be honest I am becoming less and less excited about the whole process. I wanted so badly for Colin Powell to run for president, but I really think he was too good for the job.


Chris said...

In my opinion, Obama loves to talk about these marginal issues. He could do it all day long because then he won't have to talk about his well documented plans for the future of the country. They are:

1.Increase taxes to pay for his social programs.

2.Factor the global warming hoax in federal energy planning.

3.Continue to ban drilling in ANWAR

4.Let gas prices soar, would prefer more gradual increase, like the frog in boiling water story. Get on your bicycle like the Europeans. Who do you think you are anyway.

5. Eat less, drive smaller cars, keep your house hot in the summer and cold in the winter.

6. Require Homeland Security to notify terror suspects that they are under investigation within 7 days of starting investigation.

Yes, he would love to talk about flag pins, race, his religion, his schools, his middle name, just so he wou't have to discuss his plans for you.

Anonymous said...

Or Republicans force him to talk about those things rather than allowing people to hear the great plans he has for this country!

Janet said...

Janet Hussein Morrison...I like the ring it has.

It amazes me how much we claim to accept everyone but how quick people are to send around those RC pointed out.

I've joined the facebook group.

Anonymous said...

Larry - when i read your post first thing this morning as I do every morning, i could not figure out if i was reading a CNN blog or what. I wish for the sake of balance you would have mentioned the fact that Obama is no better than any other politician when it comes to slinging mud. He either does it himself or has one of his operatives do it so he can then say " i didn't say it so don't blame me... I am above all that". As strongly as you apparently feel about Obama and want everyone else to feel that way too, I must say that Obama scares the living daylights out of me and if he becomes President our country is in real trouble... but I think the same about McCain so what is a guy to do!

Larry James said...

Anon 8:30 PM, thanks for taking the time to express yourself. Sorry that you found my comments unsettling. The point of my post was not to endorse Senator Obama, but to simply call for honesty about who he really is. I agree there has been, and always is, too much "mud slinging" among politicians and their supporters, especially with the rabid supporters. But, I'm really talking about something else. I'm talking about statements that have not the slightest connection to reality or truth. And, many of these lies, rumors and untruths are passed along all day by people who claim to be Christians. That was my only point here. If you don't like Obama, fine. Work against him, donate to Senator McCain, urge others to oppose him, etc. But, please determine to tell the truth about the basic facts of his life story.

The other point I was trying to make had to do with the nature of our Constitution and what it allow for and provides in terms of freedom and opportunity for every citizen, regardless of faith background, etc.

Anonymous said...

Interesting how all of the examples you cited have nothing to do with what he would do as president, his policy proposals (many of which I find to be disastrous, especially on the big government front), etc.

Furthermore, it seems like there is an obsession with strategy and polling discussions instead of policy discussions. I find this disturbing. Combine that with all the misinformation you mentioned and its not wonder our electorate sounds so uneducated.

The media as gatekeeper to politics and political campaigns is clearly an experiment that is going fatally astray.

Larry James said...

Cole, thanks for your post. I didn't discuss policy because that was not the issue I chose for this post. If you have a blog site, have at it! And, at some point in the future, I may talk about his policy. My intention was to get at something that you seem to recognize as well: the bankrupt nature of our political culture. And, I agree, the American people are sick of it on both sides.

I am reading Scott McClellan's new book, What Happened, in which he describes the constant "campaign culture" or mentality that has overwhelmed administrations in both parties. It is as if the politics of recrimination and partisanship dominate not only our elections but the entire process of goverance. And both sides participate and the nation suffers.

Jim said...

I'm just wondering if you are less concerned about the impact of Islamic beliefs on a candidate than you would be about the impact of conservative, evangelical beliefs.

You are correct, Obama is not Islamic, but your praise of your daughter for saying, "So what if he is?" may not be indicative of a serious consideration of how a religious worldview can impact a presidential candidate or anyone else.

I find it ironic that some of the same people who thought Armageddon was at hand if evangelicals influenced a presidential candidate seem to want to imply there would be no consequences to an Islamic influence.

That's just not very good thinking.

Larry James said...

Jim, just to be clear, my daughter's thought related to the Constitution, not the canons of any religion. For the record, I have no problem with an Evangelical being President. That said, a person's religion is not the only criteria I consider in determining how to vote.

Stacy Peters said...

The saddest part of all this is that much of the mis-information comes from people who claim allegiance to Christ.

Larry James said...

Stacy, you are so right. Sad and discouraging,huh?

Anonymous said...


To be a bonafide card-carrying liberal, there are certain beliefs you must subscribe to:

You have to believe the AIDS virus is spread by a lack of funding.

You have to believe that the same overpaid public school idiot who can't teach 4th graders how to read is qualified to teach those same kids about sex.

You have to believe that guns in the hands of law-abiding Americans are more of a threat than nuclear weapons in the hands of the Red Chinese.

You have to believe there was no art before federal funding.

You have to believe that global temperatures are less affected by cyclical, documented changes in the brilliance of the sun, and more affected by yuppies driving SUVs.

You have to believe that gender roles are artificial but being gay is natural.

You have to believe that businesses create oppression and governments create prosperity.

You have to believe that hunters don't care about nature, but pasty, loony activists who've
never been outside Seattle do.

You have to believe that self-esteem is more important than actually doing something to earn

You have to believe the military, not corrupt politicians, start wars.

You have to believe the free market that gives us 500+ channels can't deliver the quality that PBS does.

You have to believe the NRA is bad, because they stand up for certain parts of the Constitution, while the ACLU is good, because they stand up for certain parts of the Constitution.

You have to believe that taxes are too low, but ATM fees are too high.

You have to believe that Harriet Tubman, Cesar Chavez and Gloria Steinem are more important to American history than Thomas Jefferson, General Robert E. Lee or Thomas Edison.

You have to believe that standardized tests are racist, but racial quotas and set-asides aren't.

You have to believe conservatives are racists, but black people couldn't make it without your

You have to believe that the only reason socialism hasn't worked anywhere it's been tried, is
because the right people haven't been in charge.

Larry James said...

My first instinct was to remove the comment above.

But, I decided to let it stand. It speaks for itself and its author. . .er poster; the only thing that would have made it better would have been the name of the person who shared it with us. But, I suppose courage is lacking from the profile of whatever is opposite a "liberal" by this person's definition. Of course, responses are invited!