Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I Saw Barack Obama with the Devil

Note: unlike many of the other guest pieces on Et Tu, Mr. Destructo? today's editorial response comes from a mysterious Mr. Awesome, a current law student who is not a pundit. He is an actual, real person. We hope he will be sending in more of these in the future.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr. is the president of the Center for Security Policy, and he knows which way the wind blows. And right now, the wind blows east, to Mecca. (Provided you are in America. If you are not in America, please disregard the wind.) Gaffney has smelt a wind and knows it to be dealt by our President, Barack Hussein Obama. The wind is Islamic theocracy. And we stand before a fast approaching windfall, unknowing legatees, drawn down to Sharia rule.

Frank J. Gaffney Jr. can tell we are in really bad shape. Let's ride with him on the southbound night train, on down the line to the horrible truth.

Applying the standard of identity politics and pandering to a special interest that earned Mr. Clinton [the distinction of “first black president”], Barack Hussein Obama would have to be considered America's first Muslim president.
Yes. He would have to be. Gaffney uses this if-then syllogism, rather than actually stating the implied claim in simple formulation — “Barack Obama is a Muslim extremist because people have called him one because he is popular with muslim extremists.” This is crucial to his purpose. Clinton was actually called “the first black president” because of his popularity and appeal with black people, but there is nothing to support a similar claim about Obama and extremists of any stripe. The if-then format affords a sense of logical propriety and inevitability by divorcing the claim concerning Clinton from its rationale, and presenting Gaffney's claim about Obama as a necessary result of the first one's validity. This also allows him to distance himself from openly accusing anyone of anything, which is useful, because he has no evidence.

He continues:

The man now happy to have his Islamic-rooted middle name featured prominently has engaged in the most consequential bait-and-switch since Adolf Hitler duped Neville Chamberlain over Czechoslovakia at Munich.
Gaffney is reaching into the neocon playbook here. He does this reflexively, and it shows. It's unclear who is Chamberlain and who is Czechoslovakia in this analogy. I guess that Obama is Hitler, because he can't be Chamberlain or Czechoslovakia, and because the whole point of this allusion is to accuse someone of being like Hitler or being like Chamberlain. But Gaffney argues Obama is tricking us, his home country, and the victims of Hitler's trickery were an assortment of third parties, enemies and victims of Nazi Germany (which would be the United States?). He needs a followup paragraph accusing Obama of forgetting the Alamo in Maine, on forty-two forty, without fighting, while writing a Zimmerman telegram promising the names of 205 communist pumpkins full of Potsdams over a five year period and Sputnik.

Gaffney leaves that well and heads to the graveyard to dig up some Rev. Wright stuff and blah blah grew up in a madrassa, scary black Kenyan father, blah blah blah — but that's all boring and played out. It's also apparently irrelevant because the proof here is in Obama's actions, which include:
Obama referred to the Koran as “holy” four times in his speech to a bunch of Muslim guys in Cairo about improving U.S.-Muslim relations.
Obama knows about Islam “firsthand.” As opposed to the sort of secondhand Muslim lore gained from playing Trivial Pursuit or hearing stories from friends about that time they saw a dude in the drug store wearing a turban.
• Obama wants everyone to live peacefully in Jerusalem, which no Real True Christian could ever want. Because Christians hate their neighbors?
He said “Peace be upon them.” Only Muslims say this. Only Jews say “Shalom.” John F Kennedy was German.
He said there are 7 million Muslims in America, inflating a real figure that is actually smaller. Estimates on this range from 1.8 million up to 8 million. Gaffney doesn't give the real figure, or a realer figure. But he does use the opportunity to name drop ACORN. ACORN has somehow become a monolithic nefarious entity to the hard right wing, like an electoral Cobra Command where scary black people meet with hissing gay men and the bad sort of Jews who don't buy F-16s. They plot to replace all the ballots in the next election with sheets of acid or some dumb shit.
It gets worse!

Even more troubling were the commitments the president made in Cairo to promote Islam in America. For instance, he declared: "I consider it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear." He vowed to ensure that women can cover their heads, including, presumably, when having their photographs taken for passports, driver's licenses or other identification purposes. He also pledged to enable Muslims to engage in zakat, their faith's requirement for tithing, even though four of the eight types of charity called for by Shariah can be associated with terrorism. Not surprisingly, a number of Islamic "charities" in this country have been convicted of providing material support for terrorism.
Obama intends to honor existing constitutional protections for Muslims. This shows Obama's commitment to the existence of Islam, which means extremism, because there exist Muslim extremists. Obama's intention to defend the religious and personal rights of Muslims, to accept the existence of Muslims and of Islam, clearly indicates he wholeheartedly supports the potential negative outcomes of their continued existence. Just as his use of automobiles shows his depraved love of drunk driving. He also has the shaved face of Sweeney Todd.

This is where things get confusing:

While he pays lip service to the "unbreakable" bond between America and the Jewish state, the president has unmistakably signaled that he intends to compel the Israelis to make territorial and other strategic concessions to Palestinians to achieve the hallowed two-state solution. In doing so, he ignores the inconvenient fact that both the Brotherhood's Hamas and Abu Mazen's Fatah remain determined to achieve a one-state solution, whereby the Jews will be driven "into the sea."
One may think this is some sort of indication that Obama is not a secret death-Imam chameleon, or that it is null. But apparently, Obama is ignorant of the Jewish genocide solution, and this makes him somehow complicit. After paragraphs of insinuation about how Obama is in bed with Muslim extremists because of his radical intention not to resettle all the Muslims in Liberia or something, it is strange to bring up a situation in which he is overtly not in tune with certain Muslim extremists. It is also unclear, of course, how his desire for Plan A means he ignores Plan B. There is a very common appeal to ignorance here, of course, in that Obama's inability to reject and condemn every bad thing everyone on Earth says at any moment could possibly be...? an indication he supports or is ambivalent to, say, the remnants of the Khmer Rogue buying property in Florida and enslaving retirees. But even this easy shot misses the mark when your whole point is Obama owns stock in the Cambodian Old Jewish People Handicraft Company.

Whether Mr. Obama actually is a Muslim or simply plays one in the presidency may, in the end, be irrelevant. What is alarming is that in aligning himself and his policies with those of Shariah-adherents such as the Muslim Brotherhood, the president will greatly intensify the already enormous pressure on peaceful, tolerant American Muslims to submit to such forces - and heighten expectations, here and abroad, that the rest of us will do so as well.
And here is the conclusion. Really? This is the conclusion? Damn it, Frank J. Gaffney, Jr!

You're trying to say Obama's actual Islamic spy status is irrelevant because the best-case is that his moderateness and peace-making infatuation with Muslims makes him unprepared for their true deviousness. Obama aligns with them through the complicity of the ingénue, who goes with the flow he cannot understand. This is your broader point and you have just left it out in the cold. You should have sprung it way back in graf 1 as your lede, but you went and buried it here on the ass-end of your dumb list and meanderings.

Of course, Gaffney, you wrote yourself into a corner from the start because you can hardly play that goofy Clinton : Black :: Obama : Muslim card in that context without making a broader racist knock against black people. (Omigod! Clinton sold the country to the evil black people—dark blacks?—making life hard for moderate blacks who dislike having personal and cultural rights!) That crosses the line reserved for the mixed company of a public article, of course.

But that Clinton bit was just so stupid, you could have cut it entirely without losing anything. Then start fresh with, “Obama does Bad Muslim things. This hurts everyone. Maybe he's a Bad Muslim? Maybe he is not. But it does not matter, practically, because he does Bad Muslim things either way. Also, there are Good Muslims, who are hurt by Bad Muslim things. They are identifiable by their agreement with me.”

I expect more from the President of the prestigious Center for Security Policy. You guys are the “Special Forces in the war of ideas.” And your commitment and ideals are buttressed by a... magic flame.. thing, a composite fire made of life and hope and dreams and Jesus shavings and Atlas Shrugging extract. Your executive staff includes an enviable cross-section of expired congressmen's aides and think tank grandmasters whose expertise runs the gamut from the Manhattan Institute to the National Review. You should damn well know how to pull a With Us or Against Us piece. You should know how and when to use Clinton. You should know how to play the naïve Carter card. This is painting by numbers with broad strokes, for crying out loud, this is your bread and butter!

I know this is an off season, and I know the venue's just the Moonie Times. I realize that the Obama Muslim shtick is so established and played by now, you think you can coast by on recognition and pre-existing audience agreement. But you will never terrify or confuse the uninitiated without considerably sharper organization and more compelling hand-waving. You and your neocon right-wing conservative types talk a big game about existential threats and the critical importance of uniquely great people and nations to stand up and slam down violence and truth as the situations continuously call for it. But here we are, with your whole movement in decline, with Time magazine saying your ideology is dying, and you come out scrapping with this singularly lazy effort. Where is the flame burning with life and wisdom and freedom and shit? This is just the Light Brigade shuffling in place, scratching their noses. Where is your charge, man? What the hell are they paying you for?


  1. excellent piece, "Mr. Awesome". but i have to point out one minor error. the identification of President Clinton as "the First Black President," by no lesser a figure than Maya Angelou, was not actually done in light of his singular (for a southern, white man) affinity with or popularity among, African Americans. (Though certainly this is part of what led her to the idea in the first place). Rather, she meant this honor, (and one can indeed sense that she confers the term with no small degree of respect) for the fact that the President was, in a certain sense, "lynched" by congressional Republicans during the entire impeachment debacle. She made the statement in the sense that Clinton, as with, for example, any average African-American male driver, is presumed to be guilty before any evidence has been provided. he suffers the humiliation of presumed guilt as so many black men do every day, and this is the crux of her rhetorical act.

  2. I just wanted to say that I was determined to write a follow-up to this and nail every point you missed just to keep a constant onslaught of correction coming at Gaffney, but I realized that you really covered everything. There were topics I could have gone into more depth on, but there wasn't any need, and it wouldn't have been funny.

    Instead, all I've got are the unreleased tracks/deleted scenes/whatever from the chat going on during the creative process:

    Mr. Awesome: Mr. Obama established his firsthand knowledge of Islam
    Mr. Awesome: he has SEEN muslims
    M. Sese Seko: fucking hell
    Mr. Awesome: first hand knowledge of islam
    Mr. Awesome: maybe they got that from his resume
    M. Sese Seko: the Holy Koran
    M. Sese Seko: obviously, there is only one book that can be holy
    M. Sese Seko: and we have proof right here from jesus' own testimony
    Mr. Awesome: most people call it the Shitty Koran for Losers
    Mr. Awesome: hey now you deny this man's truth
    Mr. Awesome: he's from the center for security policy
    Mr. Awesome: it's the second most prestigious such center, right after the foundation for happiness ideas
    Mr. Awesome: it's up there with the good ambitions protection fund

    On ACORN...
    M. Sese Seko: ACORN is leviathan, it's the Yog Sothoth bound underneath the Pentagon; it can animate clay figurines and make the sun drip black ink like a prostitute or Robert Smith crying. ACORN is chemtrails and flouridation. It's the reason your kid got his sneakers stolen.
    Mr. Awesome: GGRRRRRRRRRRR
    M. Sese Seko: ACORN blacked up the proud tradition of voter fraud by not engaging in it and by staining the former noble goal of kicking every spic, darkie and zipperhead out of the democratic process just weeks before they had the temerity to exercise their right to it.
    Mr. Awesome: ACORN is like an undergrad spanish course where the professor is all fucking ethnic and it's like, you just want your stupid ass language requirement, but you gotta write stupid essays about fucking hispanic countries and watch Zoot Suit
    M. Sese Seko: And he fucking corrects you when you don't say quesadilla with an accent, and you're like, "Hey, PEDRO, that word is fucking American."
    Mr. Awesome: i defeated my spanish teacher by saying "tortilla" like it rhymed with "flotilla" with the full force of a cornbread hadoken
    Mr. Awesome: struck that man straight white
    M. Sese Seko: lol

  3. Cornbread hadoken is maybe the best phrase I've ever read.

  4. @catharsix
    That might have been Angelou's motivation in embracing the designation for Clinton (and Toni Morrison's, too), but that kind of talk about him was present from 1992 onward. Gwen Ifill devotes an aside in The Breakthrough, which I reviewed here a few months ago, to the issue and mentions how this idea blossomed when Clinton not only knew all the words to "Lift Every Voice and Sing," which is considered "The Black National Anthem," but also knew all the words to the second and third verses, which even activist blacks often don't ever bother with. The impeachment proceedings might have hammered the issue home, but it was first brought up and put in place by Clinton's strong demonstrable familiarity with black civil rights history, his drawing important boundary-eliding equivalencies between poor blacks and poor whites and his comfort in moving amongst all levels of black civil rights leaders, both legendary and up-and-coming.

  5. And in any case, I don't think it matters. Because if the rationale for calling Clinton black is that he was (a) railroaded and presumed guilty for his crime or (b) guilty of committing a heinous sex crime just like a crazed, rutting "negro animal" or whatever, the same can apply to Obama's supposed muslim identity. In Obama's case, he's presumed guilty without hearing the evidence — in fact, not hearing the evidence is the most important part in arriving at his guilt — and he's behaving with the compulsive, animal fervor of a crazed muslim. Both cases rely on the immediate presumption of guilt by identity and then the secondary assumption that their compulsions are uniquely the product of their own particular identities. Clinton was the "animal negro" who would rape his way through Arkansan white women. Obama's the fanatical muslim who can't help but look east to OBEY.


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