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You know how the flu shot works:  the doctor injects the patient with some weakened, dead, and generally pitiful excuses for viruses.  The body whips these chumps, gets itself immunized and resistant to that kind of virus.  Then, when the real virus comes along at full strength, the body just sneers at it.

Wingnut commentators may be similarly categorized into two groups.  Ironically, the more dangerous ones are those who can be subtle about stoking fear and ignorance.  The more aggressive ones tend to score own goals (Claire McCaskill thanks you, Rush).  

Today, this weakened virus comes in the form of the the ever-icky Debbie Schlussel.  Below I show why, if she's not on the payroll of Senator Obama, she might as well be.

Ms. Schlussel starts by self-Godwinning with the title of her article:  Barack Hussein Obama: Once a Muslim, Always A Muslim.

Yes, in case you're wondering, people sharing Ms. Schlussel's ethnic heritage are very familiar that the phrase "Once a Jew, always a Jew" was a central theme espoused by you know who.

Anyhow, it's Debbie Schlussel so we know the article is going to be racist, offensive, and utterly stupid.

Take 'er away, Debs!

Many months ago, readers began asking me whether Barack Obama is Muslim. Since he identifies as a Christian, I said, "no," and responded that he was not raised by his Kenyan father.

But, then, I decided to look further into Obama's background. His full name--as by now you have probably heard--is Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. Hussein is a Muslim name, which comes from the name of Ali's son--Hussein Ibn Ali. And Obama is named after his late Kenyan father, the late Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., apparently a Muslim.

And while Obama may not identify as a Muslim, that's not how the Arab and Muslim Streets see it. In Arab culture and under Islamic law, if your father is a Muslim, so are you. And once a Muslim, always a Muslim. You cannot go back. In Islamic eyes, Obama is certainly a Muslim. He may think he's a Christian, but they do not.

So, Ms. Schlussel--noted Muslim-hater that she is--on an objective basis has read the consciousness of the 'Muslim street' and informs us that while Barack Obama may think he's a Christian, surely she knows better.

Though we know where this train is going, we're along for the ride now.

Then, there are the other items in his background. As best-selling author Scott Turow wrote in Salon, Obama went to a Muslim school for two years in Indonesia. His mother, Anna, married an Indonesian man (likely another Muslim, as Indonesia is Muslim-dominated and has the largest Islamic population in the world).

And Obama has a "born-again" affinity for the nation of his Muslim father, Kenya, and his Kenyan sister. (Although Kenya is largely Christian, it has a fast-growing Muslim population that has engaged in a good deal of religious violence and riots against Christians. And Kenyan courts will apply Sharia law, when the participants are Muslim.) Wrote Turow:

"Obama's father died in a traffic accident in Nairobi in 1982, but while Obama was working in Chicago, he met his Kenyan sister, Auma, a linguist educated in Germany who was visiting the United States. When she returned to Kenya in 1986 to teach for a year at the University of Nairobi, Obama finally made the trip to his father's homeland he had long promised himself. There, he managed to fully embrace a heritage and a family he'd never fully known and come to terms with his father, whom he'd long regarded as an august foreign prince, but now realized was a human being burdened by his own illusions and vulnerabilities."

So, even if he identifies strongly as a Christian, and even if he despised the behavior of his father (as Obama said on Oprah); is a man who Muslims think is a Muslim, who feels some sort of psychological need to prove himself to his absent Muslim father, and who is now moving in the direction of his father's heritage, a man we want as President when we are fighting the war of our lives against Islam? Where will his loyalties be?

Wow.  For some people, stupidity and racism is an art form.  Not content to set up a false clash of the civilizations, not content to smear all Muslims as traitors, she goes on to smear Obama as a would-be traitor because he has Muslim ancestry.

Let's play a game.  Who does this sound like?:

So, even if he identifies strongly as a German, and even if he despised the behavior of his father (as he has said); is a man who Jews think is a Jew, who feels some sort of psychological need to prove himself to his absent Jewish father, and who is now moving in the direction of his father's heritage, a man we want as Chancellor when we are fighting the war of our lives against Judaism? Where will his loyalties be?

Mmm hmmm.

All this is missing is a really lame attempt at racist humor.

Is that even the man we'd want to be a heartbeat away from the President, if Hillary Clinton offers him the Vice Presidential candidacy on her ticket (which he certainly wouldn't turn down)?

NO WAY, JOSE . . . Or, is that, HUSSEIN?

You see, the flu-shot wingnuts weren't content to have their little whispering campaign about him.  No, they had to go ahead and expose their racist, rancid, horrific psychology for all to see.

But, you're saying, how will people react?  Surely bigotry still works.

Let's sample two industrial-strength wingnut comment sites--the kind of people to whom this kind of argument is aimed.

Arch-wingnut A:  The Political Pit-Bull

For about a week now, I've been hearing and reading all over the place that Barack Obama's middle name is Hussein. And to put it as plainly as I possibly can, I don't give a crap. I don't care if his middle name is Hussein. I don't care if it's Osama or even bin Laden. Hell, his name could be Barack Princess Consuela Bananahammock Obama for all I care.

The obvious implication that some are trying to infer is that Obama has some connection or affinity towards radical Islam. And while plenty of people are happy to make the inference, no one has yet pointed out one thing Obama has ever done in his private or public life that has shown that he is sympathetic to jihadism. Period.

Which is why I'll give Debbie Schlussel at least some credit for having the cojones to complete the thought rather than just letting it hang out there. . . .

First of all, I have to say that it's crap like this has helped the right side of the blogosphere gain a reputation as being anti-Muslim because implicit in Schlussel's argument is the notion that no one with a Muslim name can ever be trusted to be against jihadism and loyal to the causes of the US. Of course, this is patently ridiculous since many of academic crusaders against jihad and Islamic extremism are Muslims.

Second, I find it incredibly condescending for Schlussel to write that Obama "may think he's a Christian." Uh, I'm pretty sure he likely considers himself to be a Christian. That other Muslims consider him to be a Muslim says absolutely nothing about Obama himself.

So, the point is, the character of the man and his positions are what should matter and neither can be determined from a middle name. That some Republicans/conservatives/whoever, have decided to try to use his middle name to play into fears about terrorism is really low. And I think it shows that Hillary isn't the only person grasping at straws when it comes to a candidate with a clear record and no scandals in his shadow.

Congrats, Debbie, you just made on incredibly hardcore conservative/rightwinger MORE sympathetic to Obama.

But, what about She who Shall not Be Named, the Queen of Internment herself?  What does her media site say about this?

Over at Michelle Malkin's Hot Air,  (irony just flows here)  her protege Allahpundit has this to say:

Let me choose my words carefully here.
I like Debbie. She does good work. But I am, shall we say, skeptical in the extreme of both the reasoning and conclusion of this particular post.

Translation:  Debbie, you knuckle-dragging moron, you're giving xenophobia and ignorance a bad name.

When you've lost Michelle Malkin, you've lost the war, Deb.

Updated to add:

Other conservative blogs rushing to distance themselves from Debbie's bigotry (while pretending not to acknowledge that she is a bigot):  

Blue Crab Boulevard

Sister Toldjah

Blogs of War

Edited to further add:

Captain Ed apparently agrees with me:

Obama is the kind of doctrinaire liberal that will find less appeal as people get to know him better -- but that will not happen while some of us focus on the ethnicity and religion of his father. That path will only insulate him against proper political criticism and will almost guarantee his election to the Presidency at some point in time.

Originally posted to Geekesque on Tue Dec 19, 2006 at 03:24 PM PST.

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