Final thoughts on TN controversy


A few thoughts/observations on that Tennessee GOP flier about Barack Obama and Louis Farrakhan (it appears to have been taken down in the past few minutes – here to see the original version of the statement):

1) Now that the state party appears to have abandoned its efforts to portray Obama as a Muslim, maybe it could take the time to brush up on Islam – specifically that the religion practiced by a billion or so people throughout the world is not the same thing as the Nation of Islam. At one point, the photo of Obama in Somali garb and the reference to his middle name were dropped, but this line remained in the press release until the very end:

[Louis Farrakhan] also compared Obama to the founder of Islam, remarking that both had a white mother and black father, according to the Associated Press. “A black man with a white mother became a savior to us,” Farrakhan said. “A black man with a white mother could turn out to be one who can lift America from her fall.”

Actually, the founder of Islam is generally assumed to be Muhammad, but the one who lived in Arabia about 1,400 years ago. Farrakhan was referring to Wallace Fard Muhammad, who founded the Nation of Islam in 1930 and lived in Detroit.

UPDATE: JTA’s Ron Kampeas points out something that I missed while focusing on the mix-up over Islam and NOI … Of all the Farrakhan quotes to choose from, the Tennessee GOP opted for the one stressing that Obama is the product of an interracial marriage.

2) When did the Tennessee Republican turn so sour on Obama? Just a few weeks ago, after Hillary Clinton won the state on Super Tuesday, the state GOP issued a statement titled “Hillary Beats Hope in Tennessee Democrat Primary”:

“Sen. Clinton’s victory in the Democrat Primary in Tennessee is a victory for the Clinton machine over the hopes of a new generation of young Democrat voters who want to build a future, not relive the past.

“While the Republican Party disagrees with Barack Obama on many issues, we find much to praise about his positive, future-oriented, hopeful perspective on America and invite his supporters to take a fresh look at the Republican agenda of increased opportunity, lower taxes, a strong national defense and protection of America’s longstanding cultural values.”

They must have really been spooked by that photo of him in Somalia. Or was it the Farrakhan endorsement?

3) The Republican National Committee reportedly told the state party that it had crossed the line. Apparently the message from the RNC goes something like this: In Tennessee, fliers falsely implying that a black candidate is a Muslim are no good – but implying that he sleeps around with white women is fine…

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