Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Geez, GOP, Is This The Best You Got?

The urban legends monitors at Snopes.com have already put together an impressive (and appalling) collection of slanderous emails about Barack Obama being circulated by the rightwing lie machine. Here is the latest, a collection of supposedly horrifying, outrageous quotes from Obama's books.

As Snopes documents, all of the quotes are either misleadingly distorted, rewritten, or badly wrenched out of context. But what I find most surprising is how non-shocking most of them are.

I ceased to advertise my mother's race at the age of 12 or 13, when I began to suspect that by doing so I was ingratiating myself to whites. In comparison to some of the goofy stunts I pulled when I was 13 years old in an effort to discover my identity, this strikes me as awfully benign.

It was into my father's image, the black man, son of Africa, that I'd packed all the attributes I sought in myself, the attributes of Martin and Malcolm, Dubois and Mandela. Okay, I know some conservatives will be perturbed to see Malcolm X referred to here. But since when are Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela bogeymen? (And how many people even know who Dubois was?)

I find it hard to believe that voters are supposed to get whipped up into a frenzy of anti-Obama hatred by this stuff, and I'm surprised that someone scouring Obama's writings and speeches in search of statements that could be twisted into appearing anti-American couldn't come up with anything much, much worse.

It reinforces, for me, the impression I share with a lot of observers that the hand the Republicans are holding this year is their weakest in many, many years. By October, they are going to have to scrape the bottom of the barrel--and then dig a little deeper--in search of ammunition to use against the Democrats.

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