The latest in the saga of The Least Accountable President In History is this:
During the interview Wednesday, when confronted with the anxiety that some Israelis feel toward him, Obama said that “some of it may just be the fact that my middle name is Hussein, and that creates suspicion.”
“Ironically, I’ve got a Chief of Staff named Rahm Israel Emmanuel. My top political advisor is somebody who is a descendent of Holocaust survivors. My closeness to the Jewish American community was probably what propelled me to the U.S. Senate,” Obama said.
“I think that sometimes, particularly in the Middle East, there’s the feeling of the friend of my enemy must be my enemy, and the truth of the matter is that my outreach to the Muslim community is designed precisely to reduce the antagonism and the dangers posed by a hostile Muslim world to Israel and to the West,” Obama went on to say.
Right. None of what Obama has actually DONE has driven Israeli opinion against him; it’s his name. How far away from “the folks who don’t like Obama are a bunch of racists” is this, really? We’re used to the pattern by now in which everything is reduced to its basest possibilities; for example, when Lamar Alexander tells Obama that he should be focusing on the Gulf oil spill he gets “that’s just your talking point.” Or when Bill Clinton, acting as an Obama surrogate while appearing on This Week back in April, called the Tea Party movement a petri dish for Timothy McVeighs. Or what the administration has done to Fox News, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck and countless others.
Now, legitimate Israeli concerns about shabby treatment given their premier and short shrift given their justifiable national security nightmares – when was the last time a presidential national-security advisor got caught on TV making greedy Jew jokes, after all? – arising from actions Obama has taken are reduced to ethnic bigotry and xenophobia. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised to see Clinton descend on Tel Aviv warning the locals about Timothy Oy Veighs soon.
Demonizing and minimizing those who disagree aren’t uncommon tactics in a political campaign. Up until this administration’s reign, they were considered relatively uncommon tactics in governance – and it’s certainly uncommon to see actions like these produce anything but hardened and expanded opposition.
The middle-name excuse isn’t going to go over well with Israelis. It isn’t going to help the administration conduct foreign policy with Israel. It’s a mistake – yet another in a long string of them.