Friday, February 29, 2008

Blowhard Central

Bill Cunningham is the Cincinnati talk show host who, while warming up a crowd for John McCain, referred several times to Senator Obama as "Barack Hussein Obama." In case you were wondering whether Mr. Cunningham is a blowhard or a completely insincere and laughably disingenuous blowhard, listen to his NPR interview with Robert Siegel (no relation to yours truly, by the way). With an air of injured innocence, Cunningham proclaimed that he just used that name because "it's his name." He even said that the President's middle name is "normally" employed -- to give the President more respect.

It's almost superfluous to point out what hogwash this is. In the Cunningham clip palyed in the interview, Cunningham said that maybe the media would "start covering Barack Hussein Obama the same way they cover Bush." He didn't say, "start covering Barack Hussein Obama the same way they cover George Walker Bush." No one calls the current President Bush "George Walker Bush." Many people call him "George W. Bush" but references to "George Walker Bush" are rare. In fact, when some Democrats used to call his father "George Herbert Walker Bush" they were pulling exactly the same cheap trick Cunningham is pulling now: suggesting that the name said something unfavorable about the candidate -- in that case, that the candidate was insufferably patrician.

Cunningham used the middle name because it sounds foreign and Islamic and happens to match the name of one of America's former enemies. It's a raw appeal to prejudice. His hollow denials just show him up for the blowhard he is.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Will Barack Obama take the oath of office as Barack Hussein Obama, Barack H. Obama or just Barack Obama?

Presidential candidate middle or maiden names are either accentuated or suppressed, or even invented (as does Hillary with 'Clinton' - 'Clinton' is not her legal name) depending upon the political power or political effect the particular person has or desires at the moment.

When Hillary was running with Bill the first time, it was Hillary Clinton. She chose to use 'Clinton', a name she refused to take when when she married Bill, for purely selfish political reasons. But the minute they were in, it was made well known and insisted upon to the press that it was to be Hillary Rodham Clinton from then on. It was probably just too potentially embarrassing to drop 'Clinton' altogether.

Hillary has never in her political professional career used Diane, her actual middle name. Maybe when she is sworn in as President, she will use 'Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton', sort of like Bill used 'William Jefferson Blythe Clinton, for the 'importance that comes with using lots of names - George Herbert Walker Bush' effect. But it would not be a surprise to see 'Clinton' completely disappear from her oath of office name - is it legal to run for President under an assumed name? (The simple 'Harry S Truman' type of name days will never come back.)

But now that she is running for President, Hillary's real name 'Rodham' has once again disappeared to give Hillary a less arrogant, less feminist air (even though there is no hyphen). And even 'Clinton' is subdued to distance Hillary from the bad connotations of Bill's Monica peccadillo - and impeachment for lying about it. Just look at her campaign posters - 'Clinton' is barely readable, and 'Clinton' appears maybe once on her website.

To be honest about it, Barrack Obama, his supporters, and the PC press suppress his middle name for the very same reasons that blowhards like Bill Cunningham emphasize it: it does indeed raise Islamic fears, and is the same as the former Iraqi dictator's name. It is done on both sides for political gain, and, when lied about, disingenuous either way.