Ruth Marcus thinks she's on to something:
Haley Barbour . . . was asked why so many people seem to believe that President Obama is Muslim.Where has Ms. Marcus been for the last three years? She must have heard about Obama's refusal to release his academic, professional, and even IL state senate records, documents that all candidates routinely release to the public. The liberal media's refusal to press him for disclosure, or dig into his history, was nothing less than scandalous. Ms. Marcus must also be aware that self-accounts of one's history are not the most reliable, and that some contemporaries of Obama have fact-checked his books and found them wildly inaccurate in places. Is it cynical of me to think that what Obama revealed of himself in his books is exactly what he wanted us to know?
"I don't know why people think what they think," Barbour said. Fair enough. But then out came this odd statement: "This is a president that we know less about than any other president in history."
Really? Less than Benjamin Harrison? Franklin Pierce? By the time he launched his candidacy, Obama had written an autobiography and a second, more policy-oriented book threaded through with examples from his personal experience -- though Barbour said he hasn't read these. What is it, exactly, that we don't know about him?
But Ms. Marcus's short piece gets worse:
I don't pretend to understand the mass delusion about Obama's religion, most prevalent among members of Barbour's party, but I suspect there is something significant in Barbour's characterization of Obama as an unknown quantity. Except I would translate it this way: This discomfort, among a disturbing segment of Americans, is not that Obama is unknown as much as that he is unfamiliar. It's not that, as Barbour put it, those who question Obama's religion "just don't know him" -- it's that they don't know anyone like him.Er, like him how, exactly? Tallish? A lawyer? A smoker? A golf addict? Though she doesn't say so, I get the funny feeling she's talking about Obama's race. The implication is that a "disturbing segment" of us don't know anyone who's biracial. She's got to be kidding.
Also nonsense, her assertion that O's "unfamiliarity" didn't prevent people from electing him president but has developed into an issue now that he is president. How would that work?
And the real reason, perhaps, that more Americans (myself not included) think Obama may be a secret Muslim has nothing to do with race and everything to do with his behavior since taking office. But Ms. Marcus ignores all that. Better to attribute it to raaaaacism, though she produces no evidence -- as in zero -- that that is the case.
In the end she suggests Barbour read Obama's books to learn about our president's background. For more reliable information, I'd go with Stanley Kurtz's book, coming out next month.
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