Sunday, October 19, 2008

Question for Conservatives

To my conservative friends, relatives, and blog visitors, I have this nagging two part question that I would like for you to answer directly and honestly:

Part 1: Is Obama a terrorist?

Part 2: If not, is McCain trying to paint Obama as one?

They're simple "Yes/No" questions. So please, if you would, answer them accordingly. And after you do so, then you can add whatever qualifiers you want. I just want a clear, unobfuscated, simple, honest answer.

And, in exchange, I promise to answer honestly any simple "Yes/No" questions you migth want to pose to me.


MAD said...

Okay, I'll bite.

1. No
2. No

McCain has only lately begun doing what thinking Americans should have been doing for months; that is, honestly questioning who is Obama, and asking why has he surrounded himself all of his life with odd and controversial characters like Ayers, Wright, Rezko and Pfleger, among many others. His manifest talents notwithstanding, it can be fairly and reasonably argued that Obama lacks the experience, qualifications and sound judgment to serve as president, and McCain and all Americans have every right to raise those issues.
That is a "clear, unobfuscated, simple, honest answer".

Huck said...

mad - Yes, that is a clear answer. Thank you. I would disagree that we don't know who is Obama. He is perhaps the most scrutinized candidate in modern history. And Obama has answered over and over questions regarding this relationships with all of those individuals you mention. But it seems that his answers aren't satisfactory. It seems to me that the only answer that is acceptable to Obama's critics are answers that confirm a suspicion that his associations with such people do not indicate a questionable disposition for the Presidency, because one could easily point to odd and controversial figures that McCain has associated with over the years that call into question his qualifications to be President, but rather indicate the worst of one's fears. To me, all it takes is an honest look at how Obama has conducted his life on the whole to see that he is an honest, respectable, thoughtful, and qualified patriot.

Thanks for your candid and direct answer. I appreciate it.

Eric said...

1. No.
2. No.

McCain has pointed to Obama's ties to Ayers as an indication that Obama has, at times, employed extremely poor judgement, and perhaps even let his political agenda supercede what many Americans would perceive to be a respectable patriotic ethos for a President. It has never been an implication that Obama himself is a terrorist.

The fact is, there is a group of people who have been around since the Democratic primaries who believe Obama harbors some sort of sercret Muslim agenda (there is a similar strain of people running around making implored arguments that he is, in fact, the Anti-Christ). I know a few of these people, and they cannot be reasoned with. If a video tape emerged showing Obama killing Osama Bin Laden with his bare hands, these people would claim Obama only did it because he wants to replace Bin Laden as leader of Al Queda.

McCain can't be held responsble for these nuts, he can only denounce them. And he has, more than once, even to their face.

Eric said...

Also, the problem with Obama's response to the Ayers issue is that he can't make the only respectable response most people would like to hear, which is: "I didn't know about his past at first, and as soon as I found out about it I refused to work with him in any capacity afterwards."

MAD said...

Huck, we have a respectful disagreement. That is the best kind of disagreement. I would argue that Obama has not been scrutinized, as you suggest, certainly not by the mainstream media. All of us can disagree about many issues, but one thing appears inarguable to me. That is that most of the MSM has been in the tank for Obama for quite some time, and have purposefully and deliberately avoided searching inquiries into Obama's past relationships. The MSM spent more time investigating Joe the Plumber's life than they have Obama's. This is inexcusable, and the MSM should be condemned for its misfeasance.

Huck said...

Eric and mad - Thanks for your comments. I guess it really does depend on one's predispositions to judge a person in terms of how one sees what McCain is doing.

With regard to having Obama's associations questioned, one might consider the Ayers association fair game, but I would ask whether it really is fair. To me, it seems as if the reality of the situation, which Obama owns up to, is that this relationship was purely casual. And Obama was not the only person to have such a relationship with Ayers. I don't think it is fair because, by the time Ayers and Obama had any contact at all, Ayers had been reintegrated and rehabilitated into the mainstream. What does it say about Obama that he, as well as the Annenberg foundation, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and many other civic, economic, and political leaders of this country? And yet we have politicians on both sides of the aisle who have maintained relationships with people of questionable character at the very moment these people are engaging in questionable behavior themselves. There's Bush with Ken Lay. There's McCain with Keating. There are all kinds of Democrats and Republicans caught up with Jack Abramoff. And yet Obama's casual association with Ayers is elevated to some kind of death sentence with regard to character association. I just don't see Obama in the same way that you all do. And I know that I am not alone. Colin Powell doesn't as well as many other respectable conservatives. And the fact that there ARE people, as Eric honestly mentioned, who do see Muslim terrorist when they think of Obama, requires much more care on the part of McCain, if the answer to my questions are really "No" and "No" to consider how linking Obama to Ayers stokes these reactionaries. If the side-effect of McCain's Ayers gambit is to intensify these visceral hatreds rooted in false associations (i.e. Obama is Muslim and Obama is a terrorist), then McCain is not engaging in "fair" play -- at least not as I see it.

Huck said...

Typing too fast and in the midst of distractions ...

Let me correct a sentence fragment from my comment above. The bolded section is what needs to be added: "What does it say about Obama that he, as well as the Annenberg foundation, the University of Illinois at Chicago, and many other civic, economic, and political leaders of this country, shook hands with Ayers, went to the same events Ayers attended, spoke with him at various foundation functions and meetings, etc.? Are these people of questionable character, too?"

Eric said...

Obama has rightly pointed out McCain's questionable relationship with Keating, and I don't see any Republicans complaining about it. Most politicians have some skeletons in their closet. The thing about Ayers is that his past is so radical, and that Obama keeps calling him "just a guy from my neighborhood" when it does appear that they had more of a working relationship than Obama is willing to let on. If Obama answered the question honestly, I think he'd have to admit that he made a decision to "go along to get along" when it came to working with Ayers on Chicago education reform, and a lot of people would rightly find such a decision ethically repulsive. The same can be said for Obama's relationship with Rev Wright, a card which the McCain campaign decided not to play, in deference to the spiritual aspect of that relationship, in spite of the fact that it dovetails nicely with their point about Ayers (something I've never heard you give McCain credit for).

I disagree with you that McCain should temper his speech based on how a few fringe nutcases might take his words. The insinuation there is that if Obama gets assasinated by one of these people (and I think such an attempt is a distinct possibility), McCain will have had a hand in it. I just disagree. The people who forwarded those rediculous emails around, which started circulating early in the Democratic primaries, are the ones who will have had a hand in it. McCain's point is worth making.

One thing I will say is that the Ayers issue has not been much help to McCAin... right or wrong, it was not a peg they needed to try to hang their hat on. As a talking point, it could have been effective. As a strategy, not so much.

Huck said...

Eric - You know, it's not so much that raising the Ayers/Obama association is completely out of bounds. I think anyone's associations can be legitimate fair game. It's how McCain is raising this issue that really rankles. It is a complete distortion of the association to claim that Obama is "palling arounds with terrorists." This implies more than just faulty judgment. And any honest observer must see this at work. McCain wants Obama to admit to some kind of intimate, approving, and lasting friendship with Ayers. This is just not the case. The way I see it (and apparently the way many conservatives also see it) is that McCain is not questioning Obama's judgment, but impugning much, much more to Obama's character than that. If you think this isn't a part of the narrative of the attack, then there's nothing I can do to convince you otherwise. All I can say is that more than a fair share of conservatives are noticing this. It's not just a fantasy of liberal partisans. And though I can give McCain credit for not bringing up the Rev. Wright association, I believe that this association is MUCH more relevant to Obama's judgment than the Ayers association. It is a much more credible line of attack. I believe that McCain doesn't bring this up because he made a promise not to and said it was off limits, and so to go back on that promise now would damage the integrity of his campaign much more than it would Obama's.

As for the fringe nutcases, I would explain McCain's complicity in that as a failure of excercising good judgment in not stoking the flames of reactionary hatred against Obama by exaggerating the nature of Obama's failure of good judgment in associating with Ayers. To use your phrase, it would be as if the McCain campaign "went along to get along" for the purpose of trying to win an election. Riling up the mob, knowing good and well that the rhetoric employed to call Obama's judgment into question does precisely that, is partly McCain's responsibility.

Effectively painting Obama as complicit and sympathetic to terrorism because of his association with Ayers, which is precisely what Colin Powell sees going on, just as much as I do, has consequences relative to the "judgment" and character of McCain.

Cucumberr said...

#1: No
#2: I don't get it.

Michele said...

Part 1. No
Part 2. Yes