When Nicholas D. Kristof wrote a column entitled, “Obama: Man of the World” that appeared a year ago this week in the New York Times, it was intended to be a fawning, complimentary profile of a candidate who continues to receive a lot of fawning and compliments from the mainstream press these days. <p>Kristof, a well-established lefty, argues that this “worldly” man brings a wealth of foreign policy experience to the White House by virtue of the fact that he “has actually lived abroad.” Kristof wrote, “(Obama) spent four years as a child in Indonesia and attended schools in the Indonesian language, which he still speaks. ‘I was a little Jakarta street kid’, (Obama) said. He once got into trouble for making faces during Koran study classes…but a president is less likely to stereotype Muslims as fanatics – and more likely to be AWARE OF THEIR NATIONALISM – if he once studied the Koran with them.”
Aware of their nationalism?
The puff piece goes on to say: “Mr. Obama recalled the opening lines of the Arabic call to prayer (there is no such thing, more on that in a moment) reciting them with a first-rate accent. Mr. Obama described the call to prayer as ‘one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.’ Moreover, Mr. Obama’s own grandfather in Kenya was a Muslim.”
You see what I mean, Karl? Michelle, this is from the New York Times, not some conservative publication. Kristof goes on to say, “Our biggest mistake since World War II has been a lack of sensitivity to other people’s nationalism…perhaps as a result of his background, Mr. Obama has been unusually sensitive to such issues and the need to project respect rather than arrogance.”
This, of course, is the same ridiculous tone that Obama himself tries to sound by suggesting that we should sit down and negotiate unconditionally with tyrants and terrorists, as if breaking bread with a lunatic who wants to break our neck would accomplish anything.
Even Nicholas D. Kristof must have been aware of how over the top his column was. As I said, there is no such thing as an “Arabic call to prayer” as he put it. That’s like saying a “Caucasian call to prayer.” One of my radio colleagues is an Arabic Christian named Lee Habeeb who took great umbrage at Kristof’s characterization. I suspect the writer or his editors recognized that bragging about a presidential candidate flawlessly reciting the Muslim call to prayer might be a bit much for the average reader, even of the New York Times, to absorb. After all, the English translation of a portion the Islamic call to prayer is, “Allah is the greatest, I bear witness that there is no God other Allah, there is no God other than Allah.”
The imagine of hearing presidential candidate and U.S. Senator Obama reciting those words sort of makes his refusal to put his hand over his heart during the National Anthem or wear an American flag lapel pin kind of pale in comparison, doesn’t it? With all due respect to some terrific conservative voices in America, I will continue to call him Barack Hussein Obama. We all should. What’s in a name? As Kristof’s column suggests: plenty.