Friday, August 15, 2008

Can Obama Blame Momma for Drama?

No Quarter, the pro-Clinton website that has brought you such blockbusters as "Wait Until You See The Tape of Michelle Obama Attacking Whitey" (which still has not materialized), now brings you an encore presentation entitled: "Barry Soetoro: Closet Indonesian Muslim!"

Right wing blogs, such as our very own Advance Indiana, are pushing a school record bearing the name "Barry Soetoro," not "Barack Hussein Obama." The same document says Obama's religion is "Muslim" and that he is an "Indonesian" citizen.

AI and the conservative blogocracy make several arguments against Obama, hoping and praying that one will stick, based on this document:

(1) Obama can't be president under the U.S. Constitution;

(2) Obama lied on his Illinois bar application because he didn't disclose other names he'd used; and

(3) Obama lied about being Muslim.

At the outset, let me say that as a family law attorney, I take a very measured approach to ANY document a parent fills out for a child. Often these records reflect "truth," only if by "truth," you mean the subjective beliefs of the parent filling out the form. Do you have any idea how many virgin births there would be in this country if we took as proof positive of this phenomenon each school record where no father was listed? Do you know how many living moms would now be dead if we looked at all the records dads completed? It's sad, but the answer is a boatload. Keep that in mind as you recall that Obama did not complete this form; it was a note from his mom.

First, here is the revelant excerpt from your constitution, Article II:

No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

Until somebody files a legal challenge to the validity of Obama's birth certificate, the State of Hawaii has him as being born in 1961 in their state, and that's what Obama says as well. The fact his mother listed him as an Indonesian citizen means nothing. AI might say it proves that the Hawaii birth certificate IS a phony. To retort, it might also prove that Obama's mother was concerned about how her son would be treated in Jakarta as an American citizen, a belief which may or may not have been, itself, objectively reasonable.

I had a client with a son with mental retardation diagnosed through testing, but this was not listed in the school records. Why? He didn't want his child to be treated differently. Unless somebody talks to Ms. Obama and finds out her motivation, the fact she claimed him as an Indonesian citizen doesn't move me.

Second, when Obama filled out his bar application, was he thinking, "Wait! Some day I might run for president and somebody will not vote for me if they know people used to call me Barry Soetoro!?!" Of course not. More than likely, he either didn't know his mother had listed him under that name in this record, he was never called Barry Soetoro, or he was called it infrequently or so long ago, he didn't remember of think it reached any level of significance. When I was in law school, all my friends called me Gordo. Did I need to put that in my Indiana bar application? Of course not. Because I knew what my real name was, just like Obama did. (Seriously, folks, if he could have told everybody his name was NOT "HUSSEIN," don't you think he would have jumped on the chance to disavow it?!?)

The funny thing about this is that these are all childhood things that Barack can't control. His mom can call him Dimplecheeks Obama, but when you know your real name, that's what you list as names by which you have gone on an official state form.

Here's my challenge to all right-wing bloggers. Find me a document that Barack Obama has filled out IN ADULTHOOD with the name Barry Soetoro. What name did he use to apply for college? What about law school? Find Barry Soetoro on those applications. Then we'll talk.

You say, "But Chris, why would his mother have listed him as Barry Soetoro if his real name were Barack Hussein Obama?" Oh, perhaps because his father was absent from their lives, and she couldn't stand him. Or perhaps she wanted him to feel some kindred bond with his step-sibling.

Third, did he hide his Muslim faith? Again, that is his mother filling out the document, not him. If my mother filled out a document when I was a kid, she'd say I was Catholic. But when I filled out a college application when I was adult, I wouldn't. Nor am I sure what I would put if I was asked "in what religion were you was raised." To the extent I had one, it was Catholic. But I didn't go to church after I turned 14 years old.

Fair criticism is fair criticism, and when Obama started sounding squishy on the Iraq War, I started calling him out on it. But there is a fanatical desire to destroy his candidacy now with things that he couldn't even control because he was essentially a child.

I really do not want to point to race as right-wing bloggers motivation because if the Clintons showed anything, it's that white conservatives can REALLY drum up some deep-seated hatred toward other white people (a/k/a "Hillary"). But I don't understand how the hatred of this man has eclipsed even that level of venom.

We'll give a cocaine-sniffing, alcoholic GROWN MAN named Bush a pass to the presidency, but we'll try to destroy Obama with what his mom said about him, where she made him go to school, and what she might have made him do religiously to fit in with his peers in Jakarta.

Quite frankly, Scarlett...I don't give a damn. And you shouldn't either.



Anonymous said...

Excellent post, IPOPA!

Wilson46201 said...

Anybody that ever saw the voluminous and venomous character assassination of Congresslady Julia Carson and of our new Congressman André Carson by that petty bigot and smalltown gossip Gary Welsh should not in the least be surprised at Gary's apoplectic and racist attacks on Barack Obama.

That AdvanceIndiana Blog earlier claimed André Carson was a terrorist and a traitor. Gary Welsh's current analysis of Barack Obama follows in such sordid invectives. Welsh is just another frothing rightwing white-supremacist and Republican propagandist of the worst sort!

Sean Shepard said...

Wilson ... It's not race that causes people to go into apoplectic (or is that ipopalectic?) ... It's the SOCIALISM.

The problem in many conservative, constitutional or even libertarian circles is the knowledge that 90% of the black population votes only one way nearly regardless of what candidate is on the ballot, their qualifications or whether or not they know John Maynard Keynes from Friedrich Hayek or understand what Margaret Sanger was all about when she founded Planned Parenthood.

NOW, I might agree with you that some of the blogs go overboard from time to time and certainly Gary does have his apoplectic moments and I can't speak for his racial biases but from the treatment I got, he hates white Libertarians at least as much as he does our current presumed Democratic presidential candidate.

Gary's anti-Democrat rhetoric is no more partisan or biased than the stuff Jen Wagner might do although Gary probably does it with veins popping out of his forehead. People have agendas sometimes and their goal, mission or job (in Jen's case) is to push that agenda.

Personally, I just want to be able to live my life as I choose as long as I do no harm to or violate the rights of others and do not wish to be robbed for half of my earnings by my government. :-)

Tyrion said...


Why do you think "90% of the black population votes only one way nearly regardless of what candidate is on the ballot"? (I assume by this you mean that nearly 90% of black votes vote for the Democratic candidate.) There are racist ways to explain this political reality and non-racist ways. What's your theory?

stAllio! said...

from the treatment I got, he hates white Libertarians at least as much as he does our current presumed Democratic presidential candidate.

really? so he wrote multiple posts every week about how you were a fraud and liar, a cocaine user, not just unfit for office but ineligble, etc? because i don't remember his attacks on you even being in the same league as his constant attacks on obama or the carsons.

my favorite over-the-top gary moment was probably when he suggested that julia carson practiced voodoo. did he ever say anything like that about you?

Wilson46201 said...

Face it, the policies and practices proposed by the GOP and its feeble brother, the Libertarians, are anathema to 90% of African-Americans. It might behoove those essentially lily-white parties why such a large group of American voters and citizens so emphatically and repeatedly rejects them. The bile and vitriol from the likes of Gary Welsh helps drive away Blacks. Do the Indianapolis Libertarians have any Black leadership or significant rank-and-file? Don't think so! But neither does the local GOP....

At one time, Blacks were an essential part of the GOP coalition. Now African-Americans are at the core of the Democratic Party.

Sean Shepard said...

Okay stallio! ... maybe he did stop short of voodoo and cocaine. LOL Got me there (voodoo? really?)

Tyrion - I wish I had a good answer. There are all kinds of theories, some of which goes back to the perceived support or lack of for the Civil Rights Act (which more Republicans voted for than Democrats), the belief that the racist elements of the Democratic party defected to the Republicans out of disgust when Johnson signed it (although to be fair - I don't find many racists amongst either of the major parties). Everyone has their own take.

I can't even figure out why small-government, low-tax, pro-liberty people still vote Republican despite evidence that the marketing and rhetoric doesn't match the voting records and results. There is always the "fear of the other guy" so people vote "against somebody" instead of "for something".

At least the Democrats can claim the high road in the "Truth in Advertising" department. ;-) They really mean most of the stuff they say.

SW Lane said...

Yes Wilson, they are. And the black community is also your parties biggest achilles heel, and the party has boxed itself into a corner to where if the black community doesnt support a candidate, that candidate wont win an election (Bill Clinton).

For you to say that the black community is more accepting of socialism is neither a compliment to them nor a reason to support the Democrat party. Those words actually are very divisive towards the community and the party, BOTH of which are minorities. Yeah, you really might wanna stop "helping" them with such sterling analysis.

Sean Shepard said...

Wilson - how is your statement not somehow racist? You just suggested that in a total free market economy with equal opportunity for all based on hard work, entreprenuership, freedom, self-reliance, lack of corporate and personal welfare and being left alone by your government that there is a group of people that would be harmed by this? Please elaborate or did I misunderstand?

How much harm is done with nanny-state laws that unfairly imprison the poor (white and black alike) for doing things that harm no one else?

How much harm is done by deficit spending and inflation that devalues our currency benefitting entities at the top of the economic food chain and harming those at the bottom?

What about the sad promises made by politicians regarding social security, healthcare and other programs that people then come to expect and depend on when over the long-term there is no way those programs can continue because they will go upside down and bankrupt our country with them. It's unfair for politicians to trade promises they can't keep in exchange for votes.

How much harm is done by our government run education system which is failing our children and when citizens are denied the right to take their education tax dollars and spend them at better schools?

How much harm is done when we invade foreign lands and meddle in their internal affairs harming our standing in the world, costing our own citizens their treasure and their lives?

How much harm and ill will is created when our government is thrust into deciding what is or isn't marriage? A decision that should be between two people and their church, god or (via contract law) attorneys - not politicians trying to buy votes from both sides of the argument.

I know everyone has a partisan viewpoint, but let's keep the conversation centered on facts, logic, reason and policy not whether or not someone is "lilly-white" as Wilson said to insinuate some kind of racial bias instead of noting that the Democrats have a 9:1 advantage in drawing in black candidates and leaders.

Wilson46201 said... was the Libertarian that brought up the bugaboo word of SOCIALISM.
The Cold War is done and past, get over it!

The racial bias is obvious to all with eyes: just look at the GOP and Libertarian candidates and organizations. Why are Blacks so scarce? Marion County is 25% Black: there must be policies, practices or philosophies that drive African-Americans away.

Mann Law, P.C. said...

Wilson46201 While like Steve Colbert I do not see race can you tell me what percentage of democrats are black? I think I count 3 out of 17 judges. Since I don't know the race nor do I care about the race of the rest, I don't know which ones are black, white, asian or whatever. We need to get past such discussions. I can assure you as someone who was active years ago in politics, neither party gives a damn what race a person is so long as they win. In fact, republicans would die for a minority candidate who wins. Who was the last black Democrat running as the nominee for mayor, prosecutor, etc. Anderson ran for sheriff and won based on the lack of quality candidate by the republicans and his positive public handling of things as a US official not because of the color of his skin. Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed of a day when his children would be judged by the content of their character and not the color of their skin. We need to get past race, religion, gender, sexual preference.

Jeff said...

Great post and great conversation.

Jon E. Easter said...

Well put, sir.

Tyrion said...

Hi Sean,

Your statement that more Republicans voted in favor of the Civil Rights Act than did Democrats is incorrect. 152 Democrats voted in favor of the CRA in the house and 46 did so in the Senate. 138 Republicans voted in favor of it in the House and 27 voted for it in the Senate. In total, 198 Democrats voted in favor of the CRA while only 165 Republicans did the same.

In fairness, opposition to the CRA -- especially in the Senate where passage was most difficult -- was spearheaded by Southern Democrats and, as a result, a higher percentage of Republicans voted for the CRA than did Democrats. But it was pretty clearly a sectional rather than partisan division. The South voted against the measure by a vote of 1 - 21 (Democrat John Yarborough of Texas supported the measure, while the South's sole Republican John Tower also of Texas opposed the measure). The Republican party now holds 19 of the 22 Senate seats in the South. In 1964, the Republican presidential candidate was one of only six non-southern senators who opposed the bill.

Meanwhile, there's plenty of solid empirical data to suggest that "racially conservative" individuals who opposed the CRA in the 1960s now vote overwhelmingly for Republicans in the South.

The Republican party spent the better part of two decades branding itself as the party opposed to affirmative action, bussing, and "special" civil rights. Those positions all may be intellectually defensible in ways that aren't necesserily racist, but they also carry a clear political cost and focus. Intentionally or not, they appeal to white racial resentment. Given this context -- and the frequency with which republicans and some libertarians seem willing to engage in fairly convoluted apologetics to avoid condemning obviously vile, racist trash on, say, blogs -- it shouldn't be difficult to understand why the black community favors the party that actively seeks its support, represents its interests, and, in general, is responsive rather than dismissive when members of the black community identify things they regard as racist.

My sense is that Republican complaints about the overwhelming support for Democrats in the black community are pretty disingenuous. If they really cared all that much, they would spend more time, you know, actually appealing to the black community rather than bitterly complaining about how "ignorant" black voters will just vote for anyone with a D after their name. It's just that sort of condescension, in fact, which is extremely counterproductive -- the sort of reverse Thomas Frank move conservatives and libertarians like to pull: our party really does represent your interest better; you are just too stupid/ignorant to realize it.

Shorter version: rather than getting apopleptic over the failure of the black community to "buy" what conservatives are selling, maybe they should reexamine the product. Politican heal thyself!

Sean Shepard said...


Great comments there. And you're right, it is indeed a higher (much higher - 80% to low 60s I believe in the House?) percentage of Rs voted for the CRA. Using raw vote counts, as you pointed out doesn't tell the whole story.

When you speak of Republican (or even Libertarian) candidates appealing more to black voters I think there is a clear struggle, and genuine curiosity, as to how to do that.

There is a perception that the only way to do that would be to promise to take more stuff from others and create more or greater government freebies but certainly that can't be it? Can it?

Things like school choice, less government intervention in people's personal lives and choices, more opportunity for job creation and economic growth have to be messages that play well in any community regardless of color.

I think Republicans don't know how to reach out because in the back of many of their minds they're thinking "(urban) blacks won't vote for me because they're afraid I'm going to take their or some relative's check away."

My sense, having spent much more time in the inner city of Indianapolis the past 4 or 5 years is that the "welfare check" thought process is misguided and can definitely come across with (being polite here) racial bias to it. But this attitude and the bias could be a loop where the two things sustain each other.

I personally have always felt that there is a collective memory of things that either never were, or at least are no longer true and that those memories are extended and reinforced by people with a vested interest in perpetuating them.

But, I honestly don't know. I know that from the Libertarian side of things when we do polling and outreach activities we find that black males should be our number one audience but for some reason, when it comes time to vote, something doesn't click.

I live in Vanessa Summers statehouse district (99) and someone suggested that I run for State House. I declined immediately because in my opinion, whether running as an L or an R there would be ZERO chance to win, no matter what the platform and effort was (last R got 35% I think [2004]).

Although, when I suggested to an old high school friend who asked for a definition of Libertarian and I said, "you should be able to live your life as you choose as long as you do no harm to, or violate the rights, of others and the government should be as small, efficient and cost effective as possible and stay out of people's wallet and lives" his reply was, "Oh, so basically what 80% of people believe" ... I don't know about 80, but a lot more than 2 or 3% for sure.

I can state the following emphatically for certain: People of any race, color, religion or sexual orientation are welcome with open arms in the Libertarian Party. And anyone who wants to just come hang out with a bunch of us to talk policy should come to one of the MeetUps or after hours events (search libertarian on It's as intelligent a discussion as you'll find anywhere, I promise.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for taking on the insane rantings and accusations of AI. Perhaps we should have a contest to find the most outlandish, racist, unfounded comment posted by the author of AI.........that could be interesting!!!

Chris Worden said...

Sean Shepherd:

Ipopalectic! Nice. If you haven't seen the post I did on you from the Carson debate, you should check it out. I said the Libertarians always have the best lines!


varangianguard said...

After Congressman Carson is re-elected this November, do you promise to quit calling him "our new Congressman"?

Anonymous said...

Since Marion County also includes a big chunk of Danny Burton's disrict...[the king of sleaze] why do people never discuss him? It is like he doesn't exist.

varangianguard said...

I suppose it's because he's in one of the two safest districts in the country and will never leave until he wants to (no matter what he's promised in the past).

What good would it do? Catharthis? Over-rated sometimes.

varangianguard said...

Funny. I seem to have developed a lisp on the web. Or, I just can't spell.

I meant "cartharsis". lol

varangianguard said...

Still can't spell. "catharsis". Jeesh.