A conservatory of Ldotter blogs.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Of all the stupid things. . .

. . .for people to get indignant about in this election, it's the fact that people have a right to say Barack Hussein Obama rather than simply Barack Obama, or Sen. Obama, or simply Obama when referring to the probable Democrat nominee. Karl Rove advised GOP state executive directors to refrain from using his middle name recently, according to Marc Ambinder in a blog post at The Atlantic. In response, some folks apparently feel they're being "stabbed in the back" and other melodramatic terms that puling bellyachers like to employ when someone dares to do something that doesn't fit into their pinhole vision of conservatism. Here are a few representatively cranky responses to Mr. Rove's advice, culled from Lucianne.com - where they are, thankfully, in the minority:
flaming sword:

His name is Barack HUSSEIN Obama.

Period, end of conversation.

Don't dare threaten Americans that we have to be so PC as to eliminate the part of his legal name that's offensive. To us? To him?

This was the topic on a talk show I heard on the way home. It got loud and heated.

He is what he is.
got of irony:

Cunningham did EXACTLY what John Sidney McCain's handlers told him to do. They asked for red meat and he delivered. I think this backstabbing is cowardless and proves John Sidney McCain will chose political expediency over the hard choice every time.


Was his mother a bigot for naming him Hussein? NO!
Then lay off the bigot talk about the use of his legal given name. The bottom line is he does have ties to radical Islam and was educated in Muslim schools. Do we really want the uncertainty of his ties to be overlooked as he is contmplated as a potential President of the United States of America? Our nation has been attacked by Muslims periodically for the past 30 years; the last of which resulted in more deaths than those at Pearl Harbor!
The use of the man's middle name is a suitable reminder in these uncertain times of our Nation's history.

Tough toenails if you don't like it!

I suppose I can understand the anguish on behalf of these poor, put-upon souls. I can distinctly remember the exquisite humiliation I felt when I was called onto the carpet by my elementary school principal for repeatedly calling one of my fellow students by his middle name, which happened to be Oscar. "Where's your trashcan, Oscar? Oh-oh! Oscar's getting a little "grouchy"! What are you gonna do, hit me with an old banana peel, Oscar?" You know, that sort of thing.

"But that's his real name!" I said in my defense. Of course, the principal wasn't buying it. It seems that, not long before that, I had obliquely referred to him by his first name. One of the other students asked him if he wanted to have any kids, and he said he didn't. I, being the inveterate wiseguy, chimed in with, "I can just see a bunch of little 'Haskells' running around". I was immediately sent out to the hall on that one, and duly dressed down for being disrespectful.

But, what was wrong with me taunting Oscar? That was his real name, after all. It's not like he was an authority figure, as was the case with my grade school principal.

Eventually, as I grew older, it slowly occurred to me that running around calling people by their middle names for comic effect, or derision, or whatever reason, when they go by another name is, quite simply, being a jerk. And, if you want to have very many friends, being a jerk isn't the way to go about it. Even people who aren't targeted by the namecalling frown upon that sort of thing when they hear you doing it to others.

I'm not sure exactly when this all finally dawned on me. It seems to have happened without any kind of epiphany. As best I can figure, it was simply part of a maturation process that began between grade school and middle school.

The unfortunate thing in all of this is that people who vote are, by definition, people who should have undergone that social metamorphosis, assuming they're not psycho-socially stunted. So, assuming that most voters have in fact developed into fully functional adults with normal social lives and relationships with their fellow human beings, they're probably going to frown on that kind of namecalling, just like most high schoolers. At least I hope so.

So, when John McCain steps forward to disassociate himself from that sort of thing, it seems to me that the prudent reaction would be to give him credit for being a grownup, rather than fold your arms and pout about having political correctness "shoved down your throat" or being "stabbed in the back" or being "thrown under the bus". Besides, in all the columns and books I've ever read, and all the television programs I've ever watched featuring William F. Buckley, I don't recall him making the case that, in order to be a true conservative, one must be willing to participate in the mockery of others' names, regardless of how it might appear to voters.

But, hey. I'm no Buckley. It could be the case that the conservative mission has changed, and that we are now charged with standing athwart common polity, yelling Hussein!

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