Thursday, February 28, 2008

When is a middle name fair game ... George Felix Allen & Barack Hussein Obama

John McCain apologized Tuesday for the opening monologue of a conservative talk show host who was warming up the crowd for McCain's appearance. One of his top aides, Mark McKinnon, has said he will not campaign against Obama if he wins. Republicans lose when they play that game because, in their wanting to get along, they get sucker-punched by the Democrats.

Kristinn on Free Republic said is perfectly. This was passed on by a friend and I'm passing it on here because we all remember the Dems and Jim Webb's taunting use of George Felix Allen's middle name during the 2006 senate campaign.

Kristinn wrote:

Two years ago, the Senate campaign of Virginia Democrat Jim Webb delighted in repeating ad nauseum the middle name of his opponent, Sen. George Allen.

The news media had a good laugh as Webb tried to undermine Allen's good ol' boy image by reminding voters of his non-hillbilly middle name, Felix.

An example of the Webb campaign's tactics can be found in an excerpt of a press release reported June 27, 2006, by the Hotline:
“George Felix Allen Jr. and his bush-league lapdog, Dick Wadhams, have not earned the right to challenge Jim Webb’s position on free speech and flag burning. Jim Webb served and fought for our flag and what it stands for, while George Felix Allen Jr. chose to cut and run. When he and his disrespectful campaign puppets attack Jim Webb they are attacking every man and woman who served. Their comments are nothing more than weak-kneed attacks by cowards. George Felix Allen Jr. needs to apologize to Jim Webb and to all men and women who have served our nation."
In one paragraph, Allen's middle name was used three times with malicious intent. The junior bit was incorrect, Allen's NFL head coach father's name was George Herbert Allen.

Without casting judgment, and with a touch of whimsy,The Hill noted on Feb. 14, 2006, this tactic of the Webb campaign:
Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) is taking hits for something he can’t control: his middle name. Allen’s Democratic challenger this year set about to referring to Allen sneeringly in press releases as “George Felix Allen Jr.,” a ploy to draw attention to the senator’s quirky middle name, one more readily associated with the animated “Felix the Cat” or the Odd Couple’s Felix Unger than with great statesmen.
Byron York has noted that liberal blogs and the Webb campaign reveled in using Allen's middle name:
Of course, all this might generate a little more sympathy had not some Democrats in recent months become so fond of the name "George Felix Allen, Jr." During the campaign, winning Senate candidate James Webb routinely referred to his opponent as George Felix Allen, Jr. (just search for the name at Although it wasn't even correct — Allen, whose father's middle name was Herbert, wasn't a junior — the use of Allen's full name was clearly a campaign strategy, first, to diminish Allen, and then, after news of Allen's Jewish ancestry emerged, to make an oblique reference to that.
Barack Obama's middle name, Hussein, was first brought up in the context of the 2008 presidential campaign in December 2006 by Ed Rogers, a Republican strategist, on MSNBC's Hardball.

Slate columnist David Wallis wrote a surprisingly realistic assessment of the dust up that followed:
Just days after Barack Obama mused about running for president, Republican strategist Ed Rogers winged the senator on Hardball. "Count me down as somebody who underestimates Barack Hussein Obama," sneered Rogers, carefully enunciating Obama's middle name—a family moniker passed down from his Kenyan father and grandfather.

Obama's camp, which had not hidden their man's middle name or bragged about it, cried foul. "It wasn't a slip of the tongue, I know that," Obama's communications director, Robert Gibbs, told Maureen Dowd. "You can't solve Iraq with a campaign about people's middle names."
But you can't solve Iraq if your unfortunate middle name blocks your path to the White House, either. Obama's name tests the limits of American nomenclatural tolerance. Just say his full name to yourself. "Barack" is unfamiliar but innocuous. "Hussein" is the name of a loathed dictator and enemy. And Obama sounds eerily like the world's most wanted terrorist. (Right-wing Web site has featured a photoshopped image of "Senator Osama Obama," and Rush Limbaugh has called him "Obama Osama.")

One would be hard pressed to find a similar reasonable response these days when Obama's middle name is used. Between the mainstream media, the Democrats and John McCain, the use of "Barack Hussein Obama" has been declared off limits.

This afternoon the AP reported that McCain denounced the use of Obama's middle name:
Asked whether the use of Obama's middle name — the same as former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein — is proper, McCain said: "No, it is not. Any comment that is disparaging of either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama is totally inappropriate."
I've searched and have not found an instance of McCain denouncing the use of George Allen's middle name.

Perhaps we need a new rule. Call it the Barack Hussein Obama rule. No liberal politician can be called by their middle name or middle initial. No more Martin Luther King--just Martin King from now on. No more John F. Kennedy--just John Kennedy. No more Hillary Rodham Clinton--just Hillary Clinton. No more Harry S. Truman--just Harry Truman. No more FDR, LBJ, JFK, or RFK. Of course we'll still have Republicans like Richard Milhous Nixon to kick around with the Barack Hussein Obama rule.

At a time when America is at war with Islamic radicals, many of whom have Arab Muslim names, Americans are being bludgeoned with the hammer of political correctness to not take into account the name and background of a potential president of the United States who just happens to have an Arab Muslim name.

The double standard of tolerating the use of "George Felix Allen" while denouncing the use of "Barack Hussein Obama" would be laughable if the fate of our nation weren't at stake.

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