Blogometer: 10/31: McCain The Mudslinger?


10/31: McCain The Mudslinger?

MCCAIN: Smearing Khalidi

Liberal bloggers are denouncing the McCain camp for attacking Obama over his ties to Khalidi, which they believe is a deliberate effort to exploit anti-Arab bigotry:

  • TPM‘s Marshall: “The McCain campaign has been throwing around so much mud and smears in recent weeks that it’s easy to miss just how ugly and shameful their character assassination of Rashid Khalidi is. This is an entirely respectable, highly respected scholar. To go further into making a case for him would only be to enable and indulge McCain’s sordid appeal to racism. For McCain, personally, to compare Khalidi to a neo-nazi, it’s just an offense McCain should never be forgiven for. It’s right down in the gutter with Joe McCarthy and the worst of the worst. Khalidi is in this new McCain set piece for one reason — as a generic Arab, to spur the idea that Obama is foreign, friendly with terrorists and possibly Muslim.”
  • Obsidian Wings‘ Eric Martin: “[This is] an attempt to, ultimately, diminish Obama’s standing because he knows a Palestinian-American who participated (constructively!) in the Mideast Peace Process. It’s vile, it’s racist and, sadly, it’s par for the course for the McCain campaign and far too many of its supporters.”
  • Juan Cole: “McCain’s and Palin’s attacks on Khalidi are frankly racist. He is a distinguished scholar, and the only objectionable thing about him from a rightwing point of view is that he is a Palestinian. […] McCain even compared the gathering for Khalidi that Obama attended to a ‘neo-Nazi’ meeting! I mean, really. This is the lowest McCain has sunk yet. McCain is bringing up Khalidi in order to scare Jewish voters about Obama’s associations, and it is an execrable piece of McCarthyism and in fact much worse than McCarthyism since it is not about ideology but rather has racial overtones. Not allowed to pal around with Arab-Americans, I guess. What other ethnic groups should we not pal around with, from McCain’s point of view? Is there a list? Are some worse than others?”
  • TAPPED‘s Adam Serwer: “Khalidi is a Palestinian academic who has been critical of Israel and has done work trying to promote democracy in the West Bank, and was trustworthy enough for McCain to have given Khalidi’s group nearly a half a million dollars in grants while McCain chaired the International Republican Institute. […] But with the Republican Party releasing web ads and sending out mailers with Obama’s face superimposed over maps of the Middle East, I suppose that getting the media to repeat Obama’s name alongside Khalidi’s every five minutes reflects a perverse kind of message discipline. It was less than two weeks ago that Colin Powell was asking ‘is there something wrong with being a Muslim in America?’ Clearly, the McCain campaign hopes you think so.”
  • Obsidian Wings‘ hilzoy: “I think this is completely dishonorable. ComparingRashid Khalidi to a neo-Nazi is just beyond vile. But even without that, it just plays on anti-Arab sentiment. Does anyone think that McCain’s audiences know much about Rashid Khalidi, other than his suspiciously Arab name? […] Khalidi is just a red flag to wave in front of McCain’s audiences. Mentioning his name produces the effect it does because that name is Arab. McCain surely knows this. Colin Powell was big enough to denounce this kind of appeal to bigotry. Years ago, I would have imagined that McCain would do likewise, or at least that he would not engage in it himself. I wish I had been right. And I imagine that in a few weeks, when he contemplates the shredded remains of his honor, he will too.”
  • Firedoglake‘s Attaturk: “Dear John McCain, Joe McCarthy called and wants his act back.”

AmSpec: Obama, Khalidi, and the PLO


Obama, Khalidi, and the PLO

I have an article up on the main site about Rashid Khalidi’s relationship with the PLO and why his friendship with Barack Obama matters. The key question is: which Obama will guide U.S. policy toward Israel if he is elected president – the Obama who toasted Khalidi at his farewell party, or the Obama who spoke to AIPAC this year? Like on every other issue with Obama, we won’t know until he’s in office whether he’ll reassert his radical roots, or make pragmatic compromises as he has done as a general election candidate.

Washington Independent: Attacks on Khalidi Are Sowing a Whirlwind

Washington Independent

Attacks on Khalidi Are Sowing a Whirlwind

One more thing on Rashid Khalidi.

Eric Alterman and Adam Serwer make good points about the McCarthyism at work when a noted Palestinian scholar is smeared as a “neo-Nazi.” (Adam: “In fact, if you are Palestinian, I would suggest that you stay away from other Palestinians so no one thinks that you’re doing something suspicious. Don’t bunch up in a group or anything.”) But there’s something else worth adding. In short, the assimilation of Muslims into American society should be properly seen as a national-security issue.

Perhaps the biggest strategic disadvantage Al Qaeda faces in attacking the U.S. “homeland” (how I hate that word) is that the terrorist movement doesn’t, by and large, have any appeal for American Muslims. Al Qaeda gets a more robust hearing in European countries with Muslim diasporas and where Muslims are treated like second-class citizens. That sense of discrimination and alienation is a breeding ground for murderers like Mohammed Siddique Khan, the Leeds-born mastermind of the July 2005 London Underground attacks. The U.S., by contrast, provides the greatest measure of integration and economic opportunity for Muslims of any Western country.

And that’s where Khalidi comes in. He is a distinguished scholar who is not, and has never been, an extremist. His views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, as John Judis points out, are fairly congruent with those of the Israeli left. McCain is analogizing him to a “neo-Nazi” because Khalidi is an Arab, and he knows that millions of right-wingers around the country harbor racist beliefs about Arabs. That’s the real meaning of the “Vote McCain, Not Hussein” chants. And America goes there at its own peril: to alienate American Muslims is not only to betray American values, it’s to deprive America of one of its most important national-security protections. And these people have the nerve to say they’ll keep America safe?

AP: Pennsylvania GOP disavows inflammatory email

AP via TPM Election Central (10/26/08)

Pennsylvania GOP disavows inflammatory email

Pennsylvania Republicans are disavowing an e-mail sent to Jewish voters that likens a vote for Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama to events that led up to the Holocaust.

“Jewish Americans cannot afford to make the wrong decision on Tuesday, November 4th, 2008,” the e-mail reads. “Many of our ancestors ignored the warning signs in the 1930s and 1940s and made a tragic mistake. Let’s not make a similar one this year!”

Las Vegas Sun: Anger, Fear and Racism Follow Palin Rally

Las Vegas Sun (10/26/08)

Anger, Fear and Racism Follow Palin Rally

Oct 22, 2008 (6:54 p.m.).  A group of 10-20 Obama backers gathered in front of Henderson Pavilion’s gates during Gov. Sarah Palin’s speech. As McCain/Palin supporters exited the rally, many became enraged at the sight of the protest. Photo by Leila Navidi.

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