Well the big scandal has arrived. Barack Obama owned stock!
Even worse, just like the Clintons with their Whitewater investment, he lost money!
There is so much not wrong with this – which can only be because of a massive cover-up by powerful forces. There is no other possible explanation.
The right wants to make sure everyone knows that “Barak Hussein Obama” is a strange name. They want it to sound sinister. They want people to react with a feeling: scary black man with a suggestion of terrorist associations. They destroy our leaders. They are spreading stories that he attended a terrorist school as a child, that his middle name is the same as Saddam’s last name, that his church “isn’t really Christian,” etc. Scary black man with a suggestion of terrorist associations. Eventually people will say, “There’s just something I don’t like about this guy.”
And now they are trying to manufacture a controversy hoping that big media will spread the word for them. To that end, now they are suggesting that Sen. Obama is being cagey – maybe even covering something up – about the origins of his name. Maybe the press will pick it up and spread the smear.
From MyDD’s When Petty Reporters Get Mad,
Now, Obama’s about to endure a going-over that would make a proctologist blush. Why has he sometimes said his first name is Arabic, and other times Swahili?
How suspicious! The answer, as both Brad Delong and The Poorman note, is that Swahili and Arabic are extremely similar languages because of millenia of trade between East Africa and the Middle East. Delong writes, “”Barack” is both a Swahili word meaning “blessed by God” and an Arabic word meaning “blessed.””
Swahili AND Arabic. Get it? There is no controversey, the point is to just get the words “Swahili” and “Arabic” out to the public, preferably in a headline.
Whoever gave Allen the smear sought him out because they are building a political narrative around Obama divorced from important political issues. And Allen repeated the smear without checking because it seemed to fit into the story he wanted to tell.
One more thing. “Barak” is not just Swahili and Arabic. It’s also Hebrew: Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha’olam… (Update – Brad DeLong also noted this. I should have clicked through.)
Co-written with James Boyce
A little over 48 hours ago, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton made history when she announced that she had formed an exploratory committee for 2008. She is the first woman to have a legitimate chance to become President of the United States. In fact, she is clearly the front runner, not a long shot.
“I’m in. And I’m in to win.” She declared. It was a historic moment.
It is an extraordinary feat by an extraordinary woman. Of course, to win The White House, Senator Clinton will face many challenges and hurdles. But the first may end up being perhaps the most significant. For Senator Clinton and her advisers must find a strategy that makes every voter look at her clearly. Senator Clinton and her advisors must shatter the public’s habit of viewing her and her record through the prism of right wing distortions and smears.
Co-written with James Boyce, first published at Huffington Post.
Senator Barack Obama is a man to be admired, respected and liked. He is more than worthy of consideration for the Democratic Nomination in 2008 and if we were advising Senator Obama, and his equally impressive wife Michelle, our advice would be to run, and run now. A Vice Presidency certainly looks attractive on one’s resume, and a national campaign brings valuable experience.
Senator Obama is admired and he is loved. Look at the recent favorability polls and there he is, the Number One Democrat in America. But why? Why is a junior Senator, nationally a virtual unknown just two years ago, now at the top of the national favorability ratings? Is it because of his new book? His great 2004 Convention Speech? His appearance on Oprah? All of these, of course, but in fairness, does Barack Obama truly deserve to be the Democratic leader with the highest national favorability in a recent poll? Hardly.
With complete respect to Senator Obama, where are the long-time Democratic leaders who have dedicated their lives to the service of our country? Where are the other possible Presidential contenders? What about Bill Clinton, Al Gore and John Kerry? Where are Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi or Harry Reid? Are they not leaders that deserve at the very least to have decent favorability ratings?
Why is Barack Obama “favorable” and not any of the better-known Democratic leaders? And why – of all people is Rudy Guiliani at the top of the list as the Number One leader in our country? The answer is simple, and dramatic.