The ‘controversy’ over Senator Barack Obama’s middle name

I have seen some discussions in the blogosphere of late about the fact that Barack Obama’s middle name is “Hussein” – the discussions usually involve speculation as to what that supposedly means (“is he a closet Muslim terrorist?!?” is the strong implication I get from some of what I’ve read).

Greg Tinti, I think, has the definitive post up on this ‘controversy’ – to paraphrase and summarize he says “So what”?

So, the point is, the character of the man and his positions are what should matter and neither can be determined from a middle name. That some Republicans/conservatives/whoever, have decided to try to use his middle name to play into fears about terrorism is really low. And I think it shows that Hillary isn’t the only person grasping at straws when it comes to a candidate with a clear record and no scandals in his shadow.

Blogs of War and Blue Crab Boulevard are on the same page.

BTW, one minor correction on scandals and Obama: there was the issue of a land deal with a shady Chicago political insider, a deal that Obama in retrospect has called a “boneheaded” mistake on his part.

WED AM UPDATE: Just to clarify, I don’t mind looking at a candidate’s religious background as part of his overall record. As some commenters have pointed out and I agree with, it’s important to know about it along with knowing whether or not the candidate is sincere. What I objected to was some people making Obama out to be a closet jihadi because of his name when he’s done absolutely nothing that would lead me to believe he is.

Barry arrested for driving with a suspended license

DC City Councilmember Marion “Cocaine” Barry had another run-in with the law this week. Via NBC4:

WASHINGTON — Marion Barry said that he is talking to his lawyers and thinking about suing the D.C. government and the U.S. Park Police after he was stopped, arrested and then released this past Saturday.

Barry said that he was driving to a holiday party around 4:30 p.m. Saturday when U.S. Park Police officers, who said that he was driving too slowly, stopped him.

Barry said the officers asked him for his license and registration and then said that his license was suspended.

Barry told NBC4 the suspension was a clerical mistake, and he accused the U.S. Park police of racial profiling.

Park Police said Barry’s license was in fact suspended, and that’s why he was arrested.

Barry was cuffed and taken to a park police station for processing.

Barry said the incident took several hours to work out and he was humiliated and severely inconvenienced. He said he wasn’t able to drive all weekend due to a mistake by the D.C. government.

Turns out Barry was right, and that his license had not been suspended. But you’d think he could have handled the response to it a little better. It’s understandable though, given his criminal history, that he’s a little touchy about coming in contact with law enforcement officers ;)

Hat tip: Mary Katherine Ham, who reminds us that Barry was elected to serve on the DC City Council back in 2004 after winning 96% of the vote.

Hillary supported the war before she was against it

Sounding very John Kerry-esque, Senator Clinton announced yesterday that she would not have voted to go to war with Iraq if she had known then what she did today:

Clinton has often been asked if she regrets her vote authorizing military action and she usually answers that question with an artful dodge, saying that she accepts responsibility for the vote and suggesting that if the Senate had all the information it has today (no WMD, troubled post-war military planning, etc. . .), there would never have been a vote on the Senate floor.

However, she has never gone as far as some of her potential rivals for the 2008 Democratic presidential nomination — who also voted for the war — and called her vote a mistake or declared that she would have cast her vote differently with all the facts presently available to her — until now.

This morning on NBC’s “Today” show, Sen. Clinton was asked about her 2002 vote and offered a slightly evolved answer. “Obviously, if we knew then what we know now, there wouldn’t have been a vote,” she said in her usual refrain before adding, “and I certainly wouldn’t have voted that way.”

I like James Joyner’s take:

How, exactly, is that different from what she has been saying? And, given that we didn’t know then what we know now (although many speculated about a postwar catastrophe) this “admission” hardly absolves her of responsibility. It’s akin to saying that you wouldn’t have bet on the Cubs to win the World Series if you’d known they wouldn’t.

Yep. Of course, when Iraq wasn’t at a crossroad, like it seems to be now, Hillary was much more open about saying she supported the war and didn’t regret her vote. Now, with the media hyping the ISG’s recommendations on Iraq and former admin officials like Colin Powell saying we’re “losing” in Iraq, as well as support for the Iraq war continuing to slip, Hillary’s changing her tune – carefully, but all the same that’s what she’s doing.

I’d also like to know what the media obsession with the “if you knew then what you knew now” question. Firstly, does saying yes or no to the question actually advance the debate? What does a “yes” answer prove to the mediots? A “no” answer?

You know what I’d like to see? If the media are hell-bent on asking this question of Democrats (and second-guessing Republicans) on the issue of Iraq, I’d like to see them start asking the question on every other issue. In fact, I’d like to see them ask Congressmen of the past on whether or not they would have advocated and pushed certain ideas had they “known then what they know now”? Like the Congressmen involved in passing the Great Society programs, the expansion of “family planning” aka “sex ed” programs in school both of which led to increased dependence on government, illegitimacy, disease, and kids growing up without fathers because ‘men didn’t matter’? The same types of issues Democrats and other liberal-types continue to hype to this day, the ones that have had a mostly negative influence on our society that they should regret but probably don’t? These types of issues are what Congressmen past and present need to be grilled on, not on whether or not they still support the war. Why? Because wars are sometimes necessary while the government playing social engineer often isn’t. This is just the media’s way of rounding up Democrats (and wavering Republicans) who are on their (anti-war) side of the issue, in order to keep support falling for a war they were against from the get-go.

In related Iraq news, the WaPo reports today that Bush and the Joint Chiefs of Staff are “at odds” over defining the mission and what the time limit should be on how long a possible addition of troops in the area should last. Rick Moran cuts through the WaPo spin on the article here.