reinventing the spiel

1frank_gaffneyWhat can one say about Frank Gaffney’s recent Washington Times piece that is worthy of such a paranoid piece of propagandist drivel?  First, let me stress that I doubt very much Gaffney truly believes what he’s writing.  (Is it even possible?)  I often get the impression that many of the ostensibly smart movement conservative types say a great deal more than they actually believe – something that comes to the fore whenever the wickedness of elitism is invoked, for instance, by movement conservative elitists.

Gaffney, you see, is trying to reawaken the “Obama is a Muslim” meme, long after any but the staunchest of conspiracy theorists have said their fond farewells and pounced on new obstructionist tactics, hyperbole, and so forth (think: fascism, socialism, social fascism, cancer, etc….I tried watching Fox News yesterday and stumbled on this hard-hitting interview between Sean Hannity and Sarah Palin and honestly, I wanted to watch it to learn how Obama is a socialist and how our auto-industry will be owned by China soon since we owe them money and now the government owns GM, but I just couldn’t.  I had to turn it off.  It was too painful.)

But I digress.

The point is, what’s the point?  Why fan the embers of this paranoid nonsense?  There are, of course, substantive critiques available of Obama’s Cairo speech (or as Gaffney calls it: the Speech) and there are honest ways to go about analyzing it.

Or you could go the Gaffney route….

With Mr. Obama’s unbelievably ballyhooed address in Cairo Thursday to what he calls “the Muslim world” (hereafter known as “the Speech”), there is mounting evidence that the president not only identifies with Muslims, but actually may still be one himself.

Really?  Pray tell, are there indicators – subtle clues in the Cairo speech perhaps?  There are?  Great!

Mr. Obama referred four times in his speech to “the Holy Koran.” Non-Muslims — even pandering ones — generally don’t use that Islamic formulation.

• Mr. Obama established his firsthand knowledge of Islam (albeit without mentioning his reported upbringing in the faith) with the statement, “I have known Islam on three continents before coming to the region where it was first revealed.” Again, “revealed” is a depiction Muslims use to reflect their conviction that the Koran is the word of God, as dictated to Muhammad.

• Then the president made a statement no believing Christian — certainly not one versed, as he professes to be, in the ways of Islam — would ever make. In the context of what he euphemistically called the “situation between Israelis, Palestinians and Arabs,” Mr. Obama said he looked forward to the day “. . . when Jerusalem is a secure and lasting home for Jews and Christians and Muslims, and a place for all of the children of Abraham to mingle peacefully together as in the story of Isra, when Moses, Jesus and Muhammad (peace be upon them) joined in prayer.”

Now, the term “peace be upon them” is invoked by Muslims as a way of blessing deceased holy men. According to Islam, that is what all three were – dead prophets. Of course, for Christians, Jesus is the living and immortal Son of God.

In the final analysis, it may be beside the point whether Mr. Obama actually is a Muslim. In the Speech and elsewhere, he has aligned himself with adherents to what authoritative Islam calls Shariah — notably, the dangerous global movement known as the Muslim Brotherhood — to a degree that makes Mr. Clinton’s fabled affinity for blacks pale by comparison.

Okay, that’s a lot to quote.  And there’s still so much more. I’m tempted to just post the whole damn thing, it’s so much fun to read.  For instance, there are lines further on that make Gaffney’s last remark (about Obama’s ties to radical islam causing Clinton’s “affinity for blacks” to pale by comparison – whatever that means exactly…?) pale by comparison.  For instance:

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.”

Indeed, soon we can all expect visits from our local ACORN volunteers handing out pamphlets on the five pillars of Islam, Burkah “pro’s and cons” (no need for sunscreen; high chance of heatstroke….) and tips on how to combat the Great Satan from within (including step by step tips on how to infiltrate the Oval Office by fronting as a member of a radical Afrocentric church).

And for this one I’d just like a link.  A reference.  Something:

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.

And finally, Gaffney finishes us off with a rousing call to arms or something:

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.

I must confess that I, too, am “playing” a Muslim in my role as a blogger (albeit a Christian one).  Indeed, I have aligned with those “Shariah-adherents such as the Muslim Brotherhood” by advocating an end to expansion of Israeli settlements.  I would likely also – if I were to ever make such a speech – say nice and flattering things about my target audience and pledge to build bridges and heal old wounds after years and years of hostility between us and them.  Only now have I realized how precarious this stance is for the “peaceful, tolerant American Muslims to submit to such forces [radical Islamic terrorists]”

Snark aside, I think Gaffney listened to a different speech.  It’s the only explanation for such a revultingly dishonest column.  Or maybe he was thinking of statements made by this guy.

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10 thoughts on “reinventing the spiel

  1. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t it Muslim teaching that Muhammad was caught up to heaven, and thus did not die? Doesn’t that undermine Gaffney’s point about “no believing Christian” saying what Obama said about Christ?

    I am always struck by the hubris of those who claim to speak with authority about the beliefs of others, or the legitimacy thereof. A parable about motes, beams and eyes springs to mind.

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  2. Wow. Just wow. If anyone took Gaffney seriously before, they shouldn’t now.

    ***

    You’d think if Obama were a friend to Muslims and terrorists he’d have done more than ask Israel to simply freeze the settlements, and pinky promise that he’d end the war in Iraq and close Gitmo. Meanwhile, his biggest foreign policy move, escalating the war in Afghanistan, would presumably not make his terrorist friends happy.

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  3. Thanks for a refreshingly sane post. Someone ought to tackle the issue of when and why the right in this country was seized by a particularly intense form of derangement. Gaffney is hardly alone here. I’m over 60, and I can’t think of any other period in my life – and I include the Vietnam era – when the punditry seemed so driven by rage and so totally removed from reality.

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  4. I guess I’d be more interested in reading your comments if you could leave out the ad hominem attack on Mr. Gaffney. When you start out with “paranoid piece of propagandist drivel,” I am immediately turned off. It is clear that what follows will be the equivalent of talking heads generating more heat than light in order to appeal to their base. I have read other pieces by you that leave out the emotion for a real discussion.

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  5. I think the problem comes when our criticism is obviously one-sided, although the writer may have criticized the other side’s irrationality before, because some readers have only the one post to judge. It’s probably a good idea to place irrationality in full context, because there is enough to cover all sides in the political realm. When criticism of irrationality and hyperbole are seen as a human defects, then we can spot our own, instead of making them appear the defects of a particular subset.

    However, there is nothing wrong with isolating a certain act of irrationality, as long as it’s clearly objective. I think people who are irrational should be shot.

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  6. Hey E.D., I just thought I’d let you know I linked this post over at my blog, and at Heartless and Brainless ( cross-posting ).

    Basically, I think I agree to an extent with your analysis, but I wouldn’t take it quite so far. Mainly because I don’t want to get so caught up in Frank-said-Obama-said, that I miss what it was that Frank himself had to say. And I think there are at least one or two thought-worthy parts in his column, if you look beyond what seems to be his mis-interpretation of what Obama actually said.

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  7. You know, I’m just having fun with this one. So take it with a grain of salt. Every now and then I have to leave the realm of rational and measured and polite and all that and get my hands dirty….

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