Monday, September 15, 2008

Straw Men

I really thought McCain was above this kind of attack. The "sex education" involved age-appropriate lessons so that little kids would know that adults touching them in certain places wasn't okay, it wasn't penis-goes-where? type stuff.

Obama strikes back, but again, it's dirty. If McCain votes "with Bush 90% of the time" the viewer is left to assume that Obama votes against Bush 90% of the time, when that clearly cannot be the case, otherwise they would make loud notice of it. I'd like to know what the actual Obama voting with Bush stats are, before I beleived the 90% as a hanging-offense.


chattypatra said...

Mac, I found this link:

chattypatra said...

Hum...that came out wrong and I don't know why. Let me try it again. If it doesn't show the whole link, I guess you can go to the website. (sorry)

Matt the Treehugger said...

Barack Hussein Obama Jr. voted with Bush approximately 40% of the time. (look at and

He missed about half of his opportunities to vote, so who knows what would have happened in those cases. It is also of note that Obama voted with his party 96% of the time, while McCain voted with his party only 81% of the time. Very few senators voted against their party more than McCain.

Todd said...

Even Karl Rove thought the McCain ad went too far:

When the master of all sleazebag politics says an ad goes too far, that speaks volumes.

Tim said...

Matt the Treehugger:

Your use of Senator Obama's full name appears to be an attempt to smear him because of his middle name. I would refer you to this article:

I would also ask you what your middle name is. Then we can all make irrational efforts to drag you through the mud because of a choice your parents made.


Matt the Treehugger said...

I used his full name because that is the name that appeared on the website I cited (cut and paste). I did not know it was a "smear" to refer to a man by his full name. I doubt that Senator Obama is concerned about his middle name, or he would have had it changed. (The judge for whom I clerked entertained name changes on a weekly basis.) Perhaps you need to correct some notions in your own head if you consider my reference to his name a smear. I was not even aware that his middle name was Hussein until today. The name is interesting though. I can definitely see the negative political baggage it contains.

BTW. My middle name is Christian, which is a long-standing family name. I would guess that Hussein is an Obama family name as well.

Mac said...


I think what Tim was inferring by your use of his full name was that given that you didn't use McCain's full name, and since his name is Hussein, and there have been any number of eggheaded rumors that Obama was a Muslim terrorist, he assumed that you were making that inference. Tim is particularly sensitive to this due to something that happened in his LDS ward last week. I'll let him explain if he wants.

As an attorney, you well know the power of suggestion in your words, and the consequences, even if unintended, that saying too much can bring. I don't have to tell you this, just reminding my other readers. When I saw Hussein, I too thought that you were stressing his name for some effect, rather than a cut-and-paste.

Mac said...


Gracias por el link.

Matt the Treehugger said...

Mac and Todd,

I definitely see where you're coming from. That said, this name-calling business is rather interesting. I was curious, so I looked up the origin of the name Hussein on google (even though I should be billing time). Hussein is a variant transcription of Husayn, which is a diminutive of Hasan. Hasan means "handsome" in Arabic. Hasan was also the grandson of Muhammad and the son of Ali.

Barak, on the other hand, is Hebrew. It was the name of a military commander in the Old Testament.

So, what does that mean in Obama's case? I don't really know. I would guess that one of his parents was Muslim when they named him, just as one might guess that my parents was Christian when they named me (and just as one might guess that you are a Bob Marley fan, Mac). I would also guess that one of his parents was Christian or Jewish. (I bet that combination caused some turmoil with the in-laws.) Or, perhaps they just liked the names. That does not mean that he or his parents are still Muslim and/or Christian and/or Jewish. My stake president's name is Ahmad Salim Corbitt, but he is certainly not Muslim (although his mother was Black Muslim when she named him). It's just a name, which can provide a glimpse into a person's past but does not necessarily say much about a person's present circumstance.

Mac said...


Yeah but, when people see Hussein they think Arabic, and when they think Arabic, the common Joe thinks "Muslim" and Muslim is one eyelash away from terrorist. Several times politicians have "mispronounced" his name as Barack Osama. See the power of association attacks the subconscious, and even the conscious mind of the uninformed?

And when you combine this potential Otherness as a Muslim with his skin color, well that's dynamite in a gas-fume-filled room. "A Black Muslim President! Oh shit!"

I guarantee that there are tens of thousands of people who believe he is Muslim, by the mere mention of his middle name. People that can't be convinced otherwise. And sadly, being Muslim today, even by a patronymic act, is bad in Red-American eyes.

That's why Tim responded to your mention of his middle name; it appeared you were making that association, whether you intended it or not.