Now that New Yorker editor David Remnick has said he’d do it all over again, here’s an idea for the next cover satirizing rumor-mongering conservatives:
Keep the Stars and Stripes smoldering in the fireplace, but move the scene of the flag burning from the Oval Office to an unidentified room in Gaza City. Substitute the picture of Osama bin Laden hanging on the wall with a smiling portrait of the Obamas. The image of Barack Obama will also appear on the “Hope” T-shirts that two young Palestinians manning phones are wearing. In one bubble coming from a telephone will be a FARC terrorist in military fatigues holding a phone to his shoulder while writing out a check; in another, Kim Jong Il — wearing a “Yes We Can” hat — will also be making a financial contribution to the Democratic nominee.
Sophisticated New Yorker readers are sure to catch the irony, even if they’re unaware of the fact that young Palestinians in Hamas-controlled Gaza have actually set up phone banks to rally support for Obama. Many Barack Obama supporters believe that any mention of the fact that the candidate is disturbingly popular with America’s enemies is akin to saying that he is a stealth jihadist. It’s fear-mongering at its worst and not worthy of a respectful campaign.
At least that was the reaction the McCain campaign received back in April when Christian Ferry, McCain’s deputy campaign manager, sent an email with the subject “Hamas Weighs in on U.S. Presidential Election” to donors. It read:
Barack Obama’s foreign policy plans have even won him praise from Hamas leaders. Ahmed Yousef, chief political adviser to the Hamas prime minister said, “We like Mr. Obama and we hope he will win the election. He has a vision to change America.”
We need change in America, but not the kind of change that wins kind words from Hamas, surrenders in Iraq, and will hold unconditional talks with Iranian President Ahmadinejad.
This was much different than the spurious emails being circulated claiming that Obama is “some kind of Muslim Manchurian candidate, planted by Islamic fundamentalists to betray the country.” Yet that didn’t stop Will Thomas of the Huffington Post from saying that Ferry’s email was evidence that McCain had chosen not to run a respectful campaign. Later, when McCain himself said that Hamas wants Obama to be the next president, a post at Daily Kos declared that such “distortions” prove McCain “doesn’t think much of the people he seeks to serve at all.”
In fact, it’s the people crying foul whenever Obama’s unwanted endorsements are pointed out who want to keep the American people in the dark. McCain actually has confidence in the public’s ability to reason: “If Senator Obama is favored by Hamas I think people can make judgments accordingly.”
The American people can also judge for themselves whether it’s important that, in addition to Hamas, Obama has been praised by the FARC, Kim Jong Il, and Fidel Castro. If — as the left so often claims — it’s a disaster that President Bush is “hated” by our allies, wouldn’t it be even worse to have a president who is loved by our enemies? Bush may be despised in European universities, but he’s also been al-Qaeda’s worst nightmare since 9/11. Some even argue — convincingly — that the terrorist group has already been defeated.
Obama sometimes tries to sound tough when it comes to terrorism. For example, he has said that he takes the threat “deadly serious” and would attack al-Qaeda targets inside Pakistan. But terrorists can be forgiven for thinking this is just election talk. Just eight days after 9/11, in an op-ed for the Hyde Park Herald, the senator blamed the attacks on “a failure of empathy” that “grows out of a climate of poverty and ignorance, helplessness, and despair.” As Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs pointed out, Obama made no mention of the role radical Islam played in the hijackers’ lives. Perhaps that’s because acknowledging that an ideology of hatred is behind the murdering of innocents requires one to face the uncomfortable truth that force is often a prerequisite for victory. On the other hand, the belief that we only need to understand where our enemies are coming from allows a person to maintain the delusion that diplomacy and a touch of humility are the answers. Ask yourself this: Would Obama agree more with actress Maggie Gyllenhaal, who once said that “America has done reprehensible things and is responsible in some way” for 9/11, or President Bush, who told the country “on 9/11, our nation saw the face of evil”? (Hint: Gyllenhaal’s rhetoric could have easily come from the mouth of Reverend Jeremiah Wright or former Weatherman William Ayers, two people who haven’t bothered Obama half as much as Bush has.)
Actions do speak louder than words, but Obama’s record in the Senate won’t strike fear in the hearts of those who employ terror to further their goals either. (It does, however, scare those American voters who worry more about Obama’s fortitude than, say, whether Muslim women in headscarves were seen sitting behind him at an event.) Last year, Obama opposed a non-binding resolution designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization because it would send a “wrong message not only to the world, but also to the region.” But what about the message that needed to be sent to Iran, the country that is killing U.S. soldiers in Iraq and threatening to annihilate Israel? As McCain, who did vote for the resolution, said, “Holding Iran’s influence in check, and holding a terrorist organization accountable, sends exactly the right message — to Iran, to the region, and to the world.”
Obama also voted against the Iraq War spending bill because it didn’t contain a timeline for withdrawing U.S. troops. This followed his own January 2007 proposal which would have set a March 31, 2008, deadline for withdrawing troops from Iraq.
If you think al-Qaeda couldn’t care less about whether American troops remain in Iraq, consider what happened in Spain in 2004. Socialist Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero promised he’d withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq if elected. Terrorists bombed Madrid trains just days before the election with the goal of intimidating Spanish voters to vote for the Socialists. The last Spanish troop left Iraq in May 2004.
Yes, it’s disgusting to engage in a whispering campaign linking Obama to terrorists. But is it really unfair to say that by voting for Obama you are voting the way America’s enemies would like you to vote?