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I'm Brendan Loy, a 26-year-old graduate of USC and Notre Dame now living and working in Knoxville, Tennessee. My wife Becky and I are brand-new parents of a beautiful baby girl, born on New Year's Eve.

I'm a big-time sports fan, a politics, media & law junkie, an astronomy buff, a weather nerd, an Apple aficionado, a Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter fanatic, and an all-around dork. My blog is best-known for its coverage of Hurricane Katrina, but I blog about anything and everything that interests me.

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« Thoughts on drug advertising | Main | McCain: I liked WFB! »

Tennessee GOP hits Obama with vile, divisive smear

*See note below about the changed title of this post.

There are no adequate words of condemnation for this.

I'll try a few, though. Indefensible. Inexcusable. Disgusting. And, yes, racist.

The Tennessee Republican Party apparently thinks it's appropriate to smear Barack Obama -- or as they put it, Barack Hussein Obama -- with an official press release accompanied by an all-too-familiar irrelevant, inflammatory photo of Obama in Somali garb, described pointedly as "Muslim attire."

And they aren't backing down. Far from it, in fact. They say this deliberately divisive nonsense is necessary to "inform the Republican base." Oh yes, how "informative"! Good grief!

[UPDATE: The press release has been altered, with some of the offending material removed. You can see the original here. I've published a new post here addressing the state GOP's grossly inadequate "clarification."]

The people propagating this piece of trash may not themselves be racist or bigoted -- I strongly suspect they aren't, in fact -- but there's no question they are deliberately playing the race/religion card in a way specifically designed to appeal to those who would reject Obama because of some combination of: 1) the fact that he has black skin and Muslim ancestry, and 2) the utterly discredited, Internet-fueled rumors that he's some sort of radical-Islamist Manchurian Candidate.

And I'm just talking about the photo and the middle name (the use of which John McCain has specifically rejected as inappropriate). That's not even getting into how misleading and mendacious that "discussion" is, engaging in the sort of guilt-by-association via six-degrees-of-separation tripe that could land any politician in hot water. (Obama would be an anti-Israel president because... wait for it, wait for it... the board of a nonprofit organization on which he once served, once gave money to a "controversial Arab group," that once said it's opposed to Israel's existence? Really? ... I daresay I don't think it's terribly wise for Southern Republicans, of all people, to suggest that one's racial attitudes can be established through such tenuous links.)

But even those who might want to debate the validity of those points will surely agree that, in any event, the inclusion of the photo is utterly indefensible, to a such an extreme degree that whatever legitimacy the press release might otherwise have had is utterly destroyed. In other words, even admitting arguendo that these "anti-Semitic" Obama connections ought to be discussed, this is not the way to do it -- not by even the remotest stretch of the imagination. As such, I'm sure everyone will also agree that the Tennessee Republican Party's disgusting, vile, racist tactics should be roundly and universally condemned, period.

(More here and here.)

All I can say to the Tennessee Republican Party is that, as an independent, centrist resident of your state who leans conservative on a number of issues, this is something that I will most certainly keep in mind as I ponder whether to support the candidates whom you nominate for state office in future elections.

Bill Hobbs, communications director for the Tennessee Republican Party, whose name appears at the bottom of the press release, can be reached at billhobbs@tngop.org, or by phone at (615) 269-4260.

P.S. By the way, on the somewhat related issue of Obama's supposedly "anti-Semitic" foreign-policy advisor, Samantha Power -- not raised in the TN GOP release, but oft-discussed elsewhere, including here -- check out what the archliberal Max Boot, writing in the noted lefty publication Commentary, had to say. (If you don't know, both of those descriptions are entirely sarcastic.) More here.

NOTE: As several commenters pointed out, the issue isn't really whether Tennessee's Republican leaders are themselves racists -- which I'm sure they aren't -- but rather whether they are using deliberatively divisive, racist tactics against Barack Obama in order to appeal to the baser instincts of some of their constituents (which they clearly are).

As such, I've changed the title of this post (which was originally "The Tennessee GOP is run by racists"), along with some of the rhetoric in the first few paragraphs, in order to more accurately reflect my point -- and avoid distracting from the main issue with overheated rhetoric.

I apologize for going a little over-the-top in the initial version of this post. I was in a hurry and, frankly, quite angry. But the issue here is not whether Bill Hobbs, Robin Smith or anyone else in the party are personally racist. I never really meant to seriously suggest that they are. The issue is whether they are using racially (or religiously or ethnically) divisive tactics. That's what we (and I) should be focusing on.

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Comments

This is why the Republicans turn people off. They just don't know how to keep their head out of their ass and their foot out of their mouth.

Wow. That is ridiculous. There's an angry letter to be written by a Tennesse resident in there somewhere. Hint, hint.

I agree the inclusion of the photo is building on the very evil Hillary was guilty of, but I don't think it's racist.

It may not be "racist" in the sense that the person who decided to include it is personally racist, but it is certainly trying to provoke racist sentiments and/or stoke Internet conspiracies about Obama being a closet Muslim. What other possible purpose could it have?

Condor, I did better than writing a letter. I called and left an angry (but respectful) message on Mr. Hobbs's voicemail.

I guess I don't see how this is racist. Is it simply because he's black??

As for the article, there are some very valid points that really need to be discussed. I agree though, that the photo was a cheap pot shot.

A question to Brendan-the-lawyer (as opposed to Brendan-the-emotionally-involved) ...

Is there anything factually inaccurate in the communication ?

And, speaking of "factually", what race are Muslims ? (What race is "Muslim" ?)

Oops. Didn't see your previous post.

yeah. inclusion especially two days after Shrillary's leak would be likely to stoke irrational animus.


"And they aren't backing down."

Well, or they Weren't as of when you Linked to the Pressrelease ~ which Now has the following Appendment (appendation? appendix? / cosmic Wimpout? :) at the bottom (emphases Added):

*Clarification: This release originally referenced a photo of Sen. Obama and incorrectly termed it to be “”Muslim” garb. It is, in fact, Somali tribal garb, hence, we have deleted the photo. Also, in order to diffuse attempts by Democrats and the Left to divert attention from the main point of this release - that Sen. Obama has surrounded himself with advisers and recieved endorsements from people who are anti-Semitic and anti-Israel - we have deleted the use of Barack Obama’s middle name.

Well now that oughta Diffuse these bombshells being lobbed around so Defusely by them damn Democrats in their attempts to make people Recieve the wrong impression of the Tennessee Republicans. // I think maybe they Got your Voicemail, Brendan. / Or, possibly McCain's. In which case I bet that Phone is forever Fried. :)

I saw this post, and followed the link, after the photo had been taken down... although I've seen the photo in other outlets.

FWIW, I certainly agree that this article is indicative of the type of alarmist partisan schlock I think both McCain and Obama are trying to stay away from. I certainly don't find it appealing, and don't want to be seen as defending it.

But... I fail to see how it's "racist." Brendan, could you please explain? I remain concerned that you are getting ever more emotionally involved with the Obama camp - despite your professed independence. (I know you've said you're only "leaning Obama over McCain"... but can I ask, under what circumstances could you be convinced to vote for McCain over Obama?)


Brendan, I'm not meaning to be incendiary, but could you please reiterate/respond to why you are supporting Barack Obama on the merits again? I have a general hunch that you're above the general cult of personality that's developed and the amorphous "change-ness" that's associated with the junior senator from Illinois. As a former staffer for moderate Republicans (that's recently shifted status for the Dem. primary), I'm looking for a principled reason to vote FOR Barack without exercising the franchise from the same portion of my psyche as Obama Girl. (Which, by the way, Obama doesn't automatically command via his having a penis.) ((Quiet, y'all, on the 'so-does-Hillary' jokes. I'm the husband of a woman, and I'm hard pressed to vote against the most competent woman EVER and the most competent candidate IN THE RACE.)). Please, Brendan, link to it once again, or write it anew. I'm a long-time listener and once-time caller.

-Chris from Marks Hall

This is the same group that brought you the Harold Ford Playboy Bunny ad. Big surprise.

Fear mongerers? Yes. Stereotypical? Yes. Distortive? Yes. Unfair? Yes. Racist? I fail to see how press release makes them "racist". Please explain.

Considering the press release came from the Tennessee GOP, I have to assume that they are taking credit for being "Anti-Semites for Obama."

From the current version of the link:

*Clarification: This release originally referenced a photo of Sen. Obama and incorrectly termed it to be “”Muslim” garb. It is, in fact, Somali tribal garb, hence, we have deleted the photo. Also, in order to diffuse attempts by Democrats and the Left to divert attention from the main point of this release - that Sen. Obama has surrounded himself with advisers and recieved endorsements from people who are anti-Semitic and anti-Israel - we have deleted the use of Barack Obama’s middle name.

The RNC responded and warns the TNGOP. http://www.politico.com/blogs/jonathanmartin/0208/RNC_warns_Tenn_GOP_on_Hussein.html

Who decides when we can and can't use the middle name or initial? I presume it is the candidate themselves.

John Sidney McCain - No Thanks
Hillary Rodham Clinton - Sometimes
Franklin Deleno Roosevelt - Yes


Locally the left kept using George Felix Allen? Was that out of line?


Alasdair, don't be obtuse. I was objecting first and foremost to the photo. Is it "factually accurate" that -- what -- the photo was taken? Yes, of course it is. The photo's not a forgery, if that's all it takes to justify your standard of "factual accuracy." But that doesn't justify its usage in this context. If someone found a photo of George Bush wearing a culturally correct outfit that bore a passing resemblance to a Ku Klux Klan hood, and interposed it irrelevantly onto a story about how some of his supporters are racists, I daresay you'd go apeshit over how the liberal media is smearing the Republicans again. So don't give me this crap about how it's "factually accurate" to put a photo of "Muslim Obama" with a story about anti-Semitism and the word "Hussein." Give me a f***in' break.

As for the substance of the article, I'm trying to mostly steer clear of that debate because I don't want to get sidetracked from the issue where I am 100% correct with absolute moral clarity. :) But I will say this: just because it's "factually accurate" to quote a bunch of things Louis Farrakhan said, doesn't mean it isn't grossly misleading and mendacious to quote those things without mentioning that, oh I don't know, Obama has repeatedly and specifically denounced Farrakhan. It's a lie by omission.

Chris, here's my post on three reasons to vote for Obama. Hope that helps. :)

Dave, how on earth is it not "racist" to use an utterly irrelevant photo that just happens to show Obama (who happens to be a dark-skinned fella with Muslim ancestry) dressed as a "Muslim," in the context of an article that accuses him (er, excuse me, his supporters) of anti-Semitism -- while, I might add, conveniently failing to mention the degree to which he has already denounced or distanced himself from those supporters -- and that further hammers home the "Muslim" point by using his middle name, which nobody ever does unless they're trying to play off his ancestry to score political points... how on earth is that NOT "racist"?

This has nothing to do with be being "emotionally involved with the Obama camp." I've actually become slightly less enthusiastic about Obama since Super Tuesday; I wouldn't call it buyer's remorse, but I definitely want to see more from Obama between now and November. I still strongly support him over Hillary, but that's largely because I really, really do not like Hillary. And I still think he's a worthy choice. But I'm hardly head-over-heels in, man-crush-dom with the guy.

This isn't about Obama. It's about racism (or ethnicism or religionism, if you want to be really technical, but I see those things as being largely synonymous in this context). One thing you'll discover if you read my blog long enough is that, on the list of things that really, really piss me off, two very highly ranked items are: a) people who falsely accuse other people of racism for political advantage, and b) people who actually practice racism, particularly in its more insidious forms (thus opening the door for, and lending credibility to, the people in category a).

Anyway, to answer your question, "under what circumstances could you be convinced to vote for McCain over Obama?" That's easy. I would vote for McCain if Obama fails to convince me that he's got the chops on foreign policy/terrorism/security/Iran/Iraq, etc., and if McCain convinces me that he's a better alternative. I've barely even begun to wade into that debate yet.

Great piece. As a Jew living in the South, it's hard to articulate the irony as my brain has exploded! Somehow, the classic Speech by the Illinois Nazi in "Blues Brothers" comes to mind: "The JEW is using the Black for MUSCLE . . ." Except now the MORONS are using sympathy for JEWS as Propaganda AGAINST black folks.

Well, it's nice to see that southern bigots are progressing!

A Jew, a Muslim and Obama walk into a bar...

Ahh, I got nothing.

"I daresay I don't think it's terribly wise for Southern Republicans, of all people, to suggest that one's racial attitudes can be established through such tenuous links."

Not that I what to take sides with the TNGOP, but Brendan could you explain the whole "Southern Republicans" thing?

I know you haven't lived here long, but respectfully, I think you might want to check your history a little closer. It was the "Southern Democrats" who blocked and delayed the civil rights legislation--men like Al Gore Sr. Then there were Democratic Governors like Geo. Wallace. Even though it is commonly misrepresented as a Republican "sin" (mostly recently in the NYT by Clinton) it shows an ignorance of history.

If that's not what your referring to, then fine I'll mosey on.

Pray tell then, sbk, what exactly was the southern strategy?

For the record, as someone who worked on a campaign for a candidate whose opponent frequently made reference to my candidate's middle name in order to make him sound more "ethnic" as well as using photos of my candidate in ethnic garb in political mailers, I do not consider the GOP press release here to be racist. So far as I have heard, the photo is not doctored, Barack Obama's middle name really is Hussein, and the policy points being made are legitimately meritorious of debate.

Mind you, the press release is unquestionably dirty and a low blow tactic, and furthermore, the media backlash against this form of attack was completely predictable, which suggests that the Tennessee GOP isn't really racist, just really, really stupid.

To further illustrate my point, consider the common debate about ethnic tensions in inner cities in the Southwest between poor blacks and undocumented Latinos. It is not racist for a city politician to run a campaign alleging that illegal immigrants are driving down wages and therefore hurting blacks, nor is it racist for Latinos to point to high rates of wedlock and criminal activity as the real reason for blacks' lack of economic progress. Members of each ethnic groups who honestly see the other ethnic group as the source of the problem for X reasons are not automatically racist, even though such attitudes are totally counterproductive when it comes to ethnic reconciliation and actually addressing the real problems that hold back members of both ethnic communities. Anger and hate are, after all, almost entirely fruitless emotions when it comes to building the kind of consensus necessary to actually make progress of pretty much any kind.

Race, religion, and ethnicities are flashpoints that tap into deep emotions, but anger + ethnic association does not automatically = racist.

P.S. By the way, on the somewhat related issue of Obama's supposedly "pure, soul-cleansing, new" politics -- check out what the archconservative Sean Wilentz, writing in the noted neocon publication The New Republic, had to say. (If you don't know, both of those descriptions are entirely sarcastic.)

Well Joe Mama and The New Republic, you finally found me out, but it doesn't matter -- I pwn Brendan Loy now! Snap!

Perhaps Brendan should have used bigoted instead of racist, but that doesn't change the outrageous behavior of the TennGOP.

sbk - The behavior of the Southern Dems in the present/past is no excuse for the behavior of Southern Republicans in the present/past

The thing is, David, I don't think it is bigotry either. It's insensitive and potentially inflammatory when you make reference to someone's ethnicity, religion, or gender, but you can simultaneously be insensitive and inflammatory and not be racist or bigoted. Democrats and liberals like to equate the two because it allows them to silence their opponents in debates like immigration and affirmative action without having to actually refute the substance of their opponents' arguments. Smarter Republicans and conservatives try to defuse these tactics by shunning potentially inflammatory language, but oftentimes doing that runs the risk of whitewashing the problem, or liberals reply with accusations that conservatives are "speaking in code". What it all boils down to is, you can't make your opponent address your arguments, but when you tone down the type of words and phrases that your opponents will latch onto to paint you as a racist or bigot, it's at least a little tougher for them to duck the argument.

Sorry but when you act like the mere fact of being Muslim makes someone anti-semitic and suspect as an American, you are in fact being bigoted.

As I stated in the other thread, it's quite probable the intent was more to tie Obama specifically to Farrakhan, who leads an Islamic movemment. And yes, I'd say many of Farrakhan's ideas can be categorized as "anti-semitic and suspect as an American".

The more I look around the web, the more I think the TN GOP press release was really trying to open up a fissure that Obama created for himself in the Ohio debate. To wit:

More than a few observers were taken aback by Obama’s not-so-deft sidestep. What if, the blogger Andrew Sullivan asked, it had been a question to John McCain about David Duke? And what if McCain had answered, “You know, I have been very clear in my denunciation of Dr. Duke’s racist comments. I think that they are unacceptable and reprehensible. I did not solicit this support. He expressed pride in a white man who seems to be bringing the country together. I obviously can’t censor him, but it is not support that I sought. And we’re not doing anything, I assure you, formally or informally, with Dr. Duke.”

And what if then, after the debate, McCain’s top campaign aide explained by saying, “The point is this: David Duke said kind things about [McCain]. From what I read, he didn’t say it was an endorsement, and I think Sen. McCain made clear what his position on Duke’s racist statements was.”

But Obama’s sidestepping didn’t stop there. After his answer, Russert asked again, just as directly, “Do you reject his support?” Obama might have answered, “Yes,” but instead tried his best to stay away from anything so definitive. “Well, Tim, you know, I can’t say to somebody that he can’t say that he thinks I’m a good guy. You know, I — you know, I — I have been very clear in my denunciations of him and his past statements, and I think that indicates to the American people what my stance is on those comments.”

At that point it became clear that Obama simply would not say that he rejected Farrakhan’s support, preferring instead to refer to, but not repeat, previous statements. It’s a common technique for a politician who doesn’t want to say something to say that he has said it before without actually saying what he says he said.

Unlike a lot of partisans, I'm more than willing to give Obama a chance to explain away Farrakhan -- I certainly don't think it's any fun when my party's politicians have to explain away support from controversial blowhards like Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell. But quite honestly, he hasn't been doing an effective job of that, and I think he could really use a "Sistah Souljah" moment right about now.

Andrew - you're being rational, again - and that tends not to work with those who are in active emotional frenzy ...

When someone chooses to avoid a direct response with such mustelid-phrasing as "I think that indicates to the American people what my stance is on those comments", either his Alzheimers is kicking in early (and he cannot remember what he said) or he's being Clintonian (and hoping no-one will pin him down with specifics) ...

How hard is it to say "I categorically reject the anti-Semitic stance taken by the Nation of Islam and its leader !" ? Unless, of course, you happen to not reject it ?

I'm just waiting for Senator Obama to start talking about "Jaime-town", to complete his trifecta ...

Andrew, the press release was issued Monday, so it wasn't in response to anything that happened in Tuesday's debate. I do think the debate about Obama's response to the Farrakhan thing is legit. I tend to agree with the dissenters on Andrew Sullivan's blog, rather than Sullivan himself or Ann Althouse, about it, but I recognize that it's a legitimate point of discussion. However, again, my objection was overwhelmingly to the photo and the middle name, both of which are totally indefensible because their only possible purpose is to inflame racial/ethnic/religious prejudice; they have no legitimate purpose (unlike the substance of the Farrakhan stuff, which serves both legitimate and illegitimate purposes and therefore gets a pass).

And I'm sorry, but I'm not interested in this Clintonesque word-parsing over whether it's "racist" or just "bigoted" or merely "insensitive." If something is specifically designed to stoke racial/ethnic/religious tensions, and serves no conceivable legitimate purpose, then I'm going to call it racist. We may define the term differently, and that's fine. You seem to have a very narrow view whereby the only thing that's racist is to say "I personally hate _____ racial/ethnic group." I disagree, and I'm not changing my usage.

Alasdair, has anyone ever told you that you veritably ooze condescension?

It's really quite irritating.

I'm really trying to care about this, but honestly, I was way more interested to see Rudy in drag. Oh cursed media! What have you done to my brain!?!

I think Obama was providing an academic response to the Farrakhan question. I mean, he was asked if he rejects Farrakhan's support. His answer was that he denounces everything Farrakhan stands for. As far as I can tell, Obama was going above and beyond the question by saying Farrakhan sucks.

By the way, I don't believe it is anti-semitic to have a President whose foreign policy is not determined primarily by the interests of Israel. I believe the whole push for U.S. to strike Iran and Syria is being pushed by AIPAC. As far as I am concerned, the IDF is perfectly capable of doing it itself. It's not like the IDF is starving for support from the U.S. Congress.

I think Obama was being careful and side-stepping a bit at first, but one thing Alasdair, Andrew and the quote he included failed to mention was that Obama, when pressed by Clinton, DID reject Farrakhan.


Angrier and Angrier - try this analogy ...

The Muslim world, currently, is in the 1900s stages of the Ku Klux Klan in the US South in the way it responds to Israel and Jews in general who are, in this comparison, analogous to Negros in the Deep South ...

We need a President who is willing to cross party lines and help work towards the various Rights Acts - and who is willing to do it with the help of the opposite party because that is the *right* thing to do rather than one who keeps holding conferences and meetings while the lynchings continue ...

Brendan - as long as commenters on this post are comfortable having hissy fits about the use of an innocuous and irrelevant photograph (yup, we agree on that) while being comfortable glossing over and/or ignoring the likes of Farrakhan with his "legitimate {sic} and illegitimate" with words like "unlike the substance of the Farrakhan stuff, which serves both legitimate and illegitimate purposes and therefore gets a pass" ...

You will find that the URL goes to direct quotes from Farrakhan over the years, including recently ...

Yes, saying that one rejects Farrakhan's teachings is a start ... it's nowhere near enough, however ...

Someone worthy to be President will use words like ""Whatever suggestion was made that was in any way disparaging to the integrity, character [or] honesty of either Sen. Obama or Sen. Clinton was wrong, and I condemn it."

Asked whether Obama's middle name was an appropriate topic for discussion during the campaign, McCain said, "No, it is not."

"I absolutely repudiate such comments, and again, I will take responsibility. It will never happen again," the Arizona senator said." ...

No weaseling, no referback to a "previous stance" ... simple, direct, unambiguous ...

Alasdair, aren't you splitting hairs here? What do you want the guy to say? I renounce and reject and repudiate Farrakhan?

One of the things I like about Obama is that he actually considers and answers the questions he's asked; he doesn't always have a polished sound clip for the press. I think he's not going to come out and say, "Farrakhan can't support me" because that's retarded. Obama can't control who Farrakhan supports. And Obama did say that he doesn't approve of Farrakhan's message. So I'm confused about how his response constitutes weaseling. It seems black and white to me...so to speak.

Andrew, the press release was issued Monday, so it wasn't in response to anything that happened in Tuesday's debate.

You are correct, I missed the date on the press release and just assumed that since the controversy arose Wednesday, that's when the PR came out. I revise my comment to say that I think the press release was in response to Farrakhan's public statement in support of Obama on Sunday, not to Obama's debate waffling. I'm curious as to how it took the Dem-leaning blogosphere two whole days to leap on this incendiary press release, though.

And I'm sorry, but I'm not interested in this Clintonesque word-parsing over whether it's "racist" or just "bigoted" or merely "insensitive." If something is specifically designed to stoke racial/ethnic/religious tensions, and serves no conceivable legitimate purpose, then I'm going to call it racist. We may define the term differently, and that's fine. You seem to have a very narrow view whereby the only thing that's racist is to say "I personally hate _____ racial/ethnic group." I disagree, and I'm not changing my usage.

Fair enough Brendan, we'll continue to agree to disagree; obviously I have a much higher tolerance for inflammatory rhetoric than you do, so we're not breaking any new ground here.

Becky, I think by now, Obama has sufficiently denounced/rejected Farrakhan that his enemies will not have any effective ammunition left to continue this line of attack. The simple point is, though, that since he didn't take a clear-cut, simple position on Farrakhan right off the bat, he opened the door ever so slightly for his enemies to drag his name through the mud. Nobody in their right mind actually thinks Obama supports Farrakhan's anti-Semitism, but this is a presidential campaign and you can't be naive about how these things work.


Andrew - I suspect that those of us with a leaning towards the conservative tend to have a higher threshold or "tolerance for inflammatory rhetoric " because we are so used to seeing it employed against those we respect (or, in certain cases, those we tolerate) ...

I would be astonished if Senator Obama held the beliefs regularly esposed by Farrakhan - and yet I would not be at all suprised that Senator Obama really hasn't thought them through ...

Becky - what I would like to see is Senator Obama (or his folk) prepare and then deliver a speech wherein some specifics of Farrakhan's anti-Semitism were explicitly quoted/mentioned and then equally explicitly and unambiguously repudiated ...

As I quoted, Senator Obama's opponent - Senator McCain - had NO hesitation, it seems, in using just such language - "Whatever suggestion was made that was in any way disparaging to the integrity, character [or] honesty of either Sen. Obama or Sen. Clinton was wrong, and I condemn it." ...

Senator McCain didn't say "My stance on such attacks is clear.", did he ?

You'll notice that I am putting energy into this discussion - that is because I was (and am) taken aback that Brendan has such an outcry against the Tennessee GOP and yet doesn't seem to be fazed by Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam ...

The Tennessee GOP tried a political tactic, and it was a dumb and counter-productive one ... I do not know anyone that thinks that they were sensible or right in doing it ...

What I do not understand is why Brendan is so exercised about the picture while letting another individual and organisation that is part of the sorry mess get away with something that "is specifically designed to stoke racial/ethnic/religious tensions, and serves no conceivable legitimate purpose,", namely the "gutter/dirty religion" stuff, and the prime example of Chutzpah itself - "Do you mean to tell me that Jews have never done any evil to Black people?...Were they not involved in the slave trade? Yes, they were...and to the extent that they were involved, somebody has to bring them to account. " - completely ignoring the fact that the African slave trade existed because Arab Muslim slave-traders bought Black Africans as slaves from other African tribes in the interior of Africa and then bring 'em to the coast to trade as a commodity ... if study the growth and development of African slavery, you learn that it developed with a remrkably high correlation with the spread of Islam ...

And yet it is an irrelevant and ineffective picture that draws Brendan's righteous indignation, rather than the support for his candidate from a quarter that *still* uses the very phrasings "specifically designed to stoke racial/ethnic/religious tensions" ...

You'll notice that I am putting energy into this discussion - that is because I was (and am) taken aback that Brendan has such an outcry against the Tennessee GOP and yet doesn't seem to be fazed by Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam ...

Bullshit alert!

Sorry Al, but making an outcry against the Tennessee GOP has nothing to do with Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam. Brendan also didn't specifically mention an outcry in his post against any other groups and by your logic that means he tacitly supports them. Congratulations Brendan you know support the following evil groups/people according to Alasdair:

Al Qaeda
Hugo Chavez
The Castro brothers
Simon Cowell
Voldemort
Darth Vader
Benito Mussolini
Josef Stalin
The Arryan Nation
The KKK
Those jerks who were protesting millitary funerals over gay rights
The guy who steals your parking spot
Extreme feminists
Mysogynists
Warren Jeffs
Genghis Khan
Cain
The Confederate States of America
Mao Ze Tung
Richard Nixon
and Barney the Dinosaur

Alasdair, I think Andrew Sullivan really captured the point most effectively when he posited what kind of attack McCain would've come under if David Duke had announced his endorcement of McCain. When you play out that scenario, the relative quietness by Obama's followers about Farrakhan is telling.

But again, though Obama was a bit slow to understand the nature of the maelstrom HRC and the Republicans were trying to engulf him in, he eventually figured it out and corrected the record, so really I just consider this episode part of his learning curve as a major presidential candidate.

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