IT'S BECOME a fad among some conservatives to refer to the junior senator from Illinois by his full name: Barack Hussein Obama. This would be merely juvenile if it weren't so contemptible.
"Barack Hussein Obama" is apparently taboo in their editorial stylebook, though I seem to remember John Fitzgerald Kennedy and Hillary Rodham Clinton being printed with some frequency. Lyndon Baines Johnson, anyone? It seems to me that middle names have become a rather prominent part of presidential nomenclature.
Evidently the Post's editors think that only some middle names are permissible. I eagerly await publication of a definitive list of those middle names which can and cannot be printed. There used to be no shortage of anti-Irish bigotry in America. Is the Post going to retroactively edit out Fitzgerald from its Kennedy archives? Or at least issue an apology?
It is all a bit confusing. The Post editorialists also inform us that
On the contrary, Mr. Obama's multicultural background (his father was Kenyan, and he spent several years living in Indonesia with his mother and stepfather) ought to be viewed as a plus.
All right. But doesn't including his middle name help us understand the glorious diversity of his past? Is the Post suggesting that Americans are so driven by hate that anything sounding vaguely Muslim ought to be omitted? Perhaps we should simply call him Barack Multicultural Obama?
But wait! Aren't Americans also terribly racist toward blacks? Can we really get away with his first name? Or do we need to revert to his primary school usage of "Barry"? It seems to me that the good Senator has the right to choose whatever name he wants to choose. Barry is jake by me, if that's what he wants. So is Hussein. Until he says otherwise, I don't see why journalists should decide for the Senator that his middle name is no longer to be used.
Ed Lasky adds:
I actually tend to agree with this line of reasoning. The Economist pointed out the risks if Republicans start harping on Clitnon not being feminine enough. That would rally the women around her. It is better to confine criticism to the record.
Senator Obama may talk a moderate line from time to time, but his legislative record is unmistakably liberal. An