Ken Blackwell

The editor of the New Yorker was once asked about the hip, cool, insider writing that graced his journal. Didn’t its stylish prose go over people’s heads? “We don’t write it for the little old lady from Dubuque,” he replied. Not pitching your case to the little old lady from Dubuque, Iowa, became a hallmark of modern sophisticated liberalism--a liberalism more characterized by point-of-view than by policy point papers. So when the New Yorker’s Christmas week number hit newsstands, it was bound to attract attention.

The cover showed President Obama bowing to Santa. In their typical way, the editors of the New Yorker had captured not just the moment, but the year. Or have they captured in that cartoon bow the Age of Obama?

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Was it only starchy conservatives, appalled traditionalists, offended republicans who groused when our bright new President bowed low before the Saudi king? It was his first foray into foreign summitry. Was there no one in his inner circle to tell him that the Saudi royal family is not very popular among--and this is key--Obama’s target audience of non-jihadist Muslims? The Saudi royal family jealously guards their title as Custodian of the Holy Places of Islam. They make pilgrims of the Hajj pay through the nose for the privilege of visiting those shrines. It is no unusual thing to see stampedes of panicked pilgrims in those areas and lives lost in the melees. Recall the deaths at Woodstock--but on an annual, predictable basis.

The Saudi royal family also funds the Wahhabi version of Islam worldwide. This version of Islam is the seedbed of jihadism. It’s a factor in our prisons and even in some stateside madrassas. If Barack Obama truly wants to promote a more tolerant Islam--the kind practiced by the good-hearted folks he recalls from his boyhood years in Indonesia--he couldn’t have picked a worse way of showing it.

There is only one bow I would like to see our President make. I’d like him to bow to reality. He appeared before a podium and a presidential seal in Hawaii. Tieless, he assured us that the failed Christmas Day attack by Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab was the work of an “isolated extremist.”

How did Obama know that? Very quickly word is coming out that the 23-year old Nigerian may well have been schooled by the same Imam who coached the Fort Hood shooter. Is it the extremists who are isolated? Or is Barack Obama isolated?

Ken Blackwell

Ken Blackwell, a contributing editor at, is a senior fellow at the Family Research Council and the American Civil Rights Union and is on the board of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. He is the co-author of the bestseller The Blueprint: Obama’s Plan to Subvert the Constitution and Build an Imperial Presidency, on sale in bookstores everywhere..
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