I'm going the skip the early parts that seem to express some kind of gut feeling that I don't share, and try to deal with what more or less substantial claims Ms. Rabinowitz makes -- Except, I have to say the title is pretty striking. True, "Barack Obama" would have made a good name for an alien on a Star Trek episode, and except for the lack of the odd walnut-like pattern to the head and forehead and of bushy eyebrows, he does look a bit Klingon. Anyway, I think there is a widespread sense, disturbing to many, that he doesn't look like one of us or just doesn't look like a president, or something. I can't make a head to head comparison with how other presidents have been treated -- partly the media landscape has shifter so drastically, but in anti-Obama venues, it seems to me they just love to show his face, kind of like "doesn't this just say it all?" and they will run the same often doctored Obama image from issue to issue or day to day -- it becomes sort of a trademark of a publication - Michelle Malkin presenting him as a vampire; a great number of them presenting the same grinning idiot caricature, with or without doctor's gown and cap. And for a while at least, they liked to paint his face -- put him in green-face, say, looking like Batman's Joker, or some other clown with a mouth like a gash which sometimes reminded me of a lynched black man with a mutilated face that I saw pictured one time. I know, I know, "Lighten up".
OK, let me address particular parts of the editorial:
A great part of America now understands that this president's sense of identification lies elsewhere, and is in profound ways unlike theirs. He is hard put to sound convincingly like the leader of the nationAgain, there is this sort of "he doesn't look like one of us -- I can't quite put my finger on why." But she does say:
because he is, at heart and by instinct, the voice mainly of his ideological class.What is an ideological class? And I thought it was Marxists who like to explain everything in terms of class. That was (is?) one of their worst and most destructive traits. They consistently raised the spectre of an alien class -- so intransigently and violently opposed to us, the good class, that there is really nothing to do but exterminate them or send them to prisons or reeducation camps. For graphic examples, read about the Chinese "Cultural Revolution".
One of his first reforms was to rid the White House of the bust of Winston Churchill—a gift from Tony Blair—by packing it back off to 10 Downing Street. A cloudlet of mystery has surrounded the subject ever since, but the central fact stands clear. The new administration had apparently found no place in our national house of many rooms for the British leader who lives on so vividly in the American mind. Churchill, face of our shared wartime struggle, dauntless rallier of his nation who continues, so remarkably, to speak to ours. For a president to whom such associations are alien, ridding the White House of Churchill would, of course, have raised no second thoughts.Apparently there is one kernel of truth in all this. Bush was given a present or loan of a bust of Churchill to put in a special place in the Oval Office. I think perhaps they both shared the vision of Bush as lonely sentinal, trying to turn back the evil doers while the most rest of the world was saying "Come on, it's not really that bad".
Obama happens to find more inspiration in Abraham Lincoln, so Lincoln's bust was put in that special place, and I believe the bust was sent back to Tony Blair. Quite natural if it was a loan to GWB, or if it was a gift, why didn't Bush take it with him? Maybe I'm wrong, but I really don't think it was a grand nation to nation gift, like the Statue of Liberty, but was something Blair thought would have particular meaning for Bush. If someone knows something to the contrary, I'd be interested to hear it.
Far greater strangeness has since flowed steadily from Washington. The president's appointees, transmitters of policy, go forth with singular passion week after week, delivering the latest inversion of reality. Their work is not easy, focused as it is on a current prime preoccupation of this White House—that is, finding ways to avoid any public mention of the indisputable Islamist identity of the enemy at war with us. No small trick that, but their efforts go forward in public spectacles matchless in their absurdity—unnerving in what they confirm about our current guardians of law and national security.OK, so it sounds kind of like the greatest preoccupation of the White House is "to avoid any public mention of the indisputable Islamist identity of the enemy at war with us". This is much more important to the White House than pushing the Taliban out of Kandihar, or steadily decimating the Al Qaeda and Taliban leadership holed up in the mountain areas between Afghanistan and Pakistan. And Obama's emphasis on regaining lost ground finishing the job in Afghanistan and pulling that country and Pakistan back from an advanced slide into anarchy -- that was all hiding "the indisputable Islamist identity of the enemy at war with us". Obama has prosecuted the two wars far more energetically than the core of his base supporters would have liked -- and I think at some expense to the prospects of his Health Care agenda which very nearly failed. Could that possibly be about doing the right thing as he sees it?
Consider the hapless Eric Holder, America's attorney general, confronting the question put to him by Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas) of the House Judicary Committee on May 13.Numerous anti-administration sites and other venues have made headline news out of saying Holder refuses to say the phrase radical Islam. Perhaps not that exact phrase, but he was quoted saying "I certainly think that it's possible that people who espouse a radical version of Islam have had an ability to have an impact on people like Mr. Shahzad (the Fort Hood killer)." He also refers specifically Shahzad's apparent mentor: "I'm saying that a person like Anwar Awlaki, for instance, who has a version of Islam that is not consistent with the teachings of it and who espouses a radical version". The Rabinowitz editorial, like so many like minded sources is in serious spin mode when they fail to mention that while Holder avoided the phrase radical Islam, he did speak of a radical version of Islam. No doubt many anti-administration people consider this "pussy footing", and that the phrase "version of Islam that is not consistent with the teachings of it" is even more ludicrous, or "PC". But if the White House has studied the matter and concluded that some phrases, when translated (and keep in mind translation is tricky) seem to moderate Muslims to be sticking a thumb in their eye as well as that of the radicals, and given that whatever Holder says before Congress will be heard all over the world, what is the problem? Regarding the clearly carefully worded phrase "version of Islam that is not consistent with the teachings of it", that happens to be something I addressed in the blog article When Someone says Islam *IS* based on Tolerance, Charity, ... [It Really MIGHT depend on the meaning of IS, part II]. In a nutshell, I say that Islam, like Christianity is very largely what its self proclaimed practitioners say it is, and if if the majority of Muslims say Islam is not about Jihad and killing Infidels, etc., etc., then we had damn well better give them some credit for that. There are some who are saying this sort of thing in bad faith - Yassar Arafat was, I suspect, one example, but for the most part I believe Jihadists want to tell people what they are (except for a few on covert missions), and the vast majority of Muslims who say Islam isn't like that mean it, and by meaning it, they help to make it so. If you can't believe this, try reading something about Muslims who are trying to live normal lives. Read Three Cups of Tea, or Mohammed Yunnus' Banker to the Poor.
Did Mr. Holder think that in the last three terrorist attempts on this soil, one of them successful (Maj. Nidal Hasan's murder of 13 soldiers at Fort Hood, preceded by his shout of "Allahu Akbar!"), that radical Islam might have played any role at all? Mr. Holder seemed puzzled by the question. "People have different reasons" he finally answered—a response he repeated three times. He didn't want "to say anything negative about any religion."
(Here are the rest of Rabinowitz' words, to be dealt with later:)
And who can forget the exhortations on jihad by John Brennan, Mr. Obama's chief adviser on counterterrorism? Mr. Brennan has in the past charged that Americans lack sensitivity to the Muslim world, and that we have particularly failed to credit its peace-loving disposition. In a May 26 speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Mr. Brennan held forth fervently, if not quite comprehensibly, on who our enemy was not: "Our enemy is not terrorism because terrorism is just a tactic. Our enemy is not terror because terror is a state of mind, and as Americans we refuse to live in fear."Oh hell, if you care, just read what Brennan said at csis.org/files/attachments/100526_csis-brennan.pdf
He went on to announce, sternly, that we do not refer to our enemies as Islamists or jihadists because jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam. How then might we be permitted to describe our enemies? One hint comes from another of Mr. Brennan's pronouncements in that speech: That "violent extremists are victims of political, economic and social forces."
and if you think the paragraphs above are fair and accurate, then please don't contact me.