Saturday, December 02, 2006


NRO teen wolf Byron York has the lowdown on the latest phase of the (middle) name game.

Maureen Dowd is worried that the Republican smear machine is at it again, attacking Barack Obama by using…his middle name. It seems Ed Rogers referred to Obama by his full name on "Hardball" a while back, setting off indignation among some on the left. I don't know why it came to Rogers' mind, but it is true I included Obama's middle name in an NR story (not available on the web) in early November:

Obama has joked that he worried his political career was over after 9/11 because his name sounded too much like Osama. In fact, it's better than that: Named after his father, his full name is Barack Hussein Obama Jr.


Now, it is one thing to report Obama's full name — that's completely fair. In addition, it seems illustrative of the Obama phenomenon that so many Democrats have gotten so excited about him and don't even know his name. On the other hand, it's another thing to regularly refer to him by his full name when you would not otherwise do so — that is, were it not "Hussein." Hopefully that won't catch on.

Of course, all this might generate a little more sympathy had not some Democrats in recent months become so fond of the name "George Felix Allen, Jr." During the campaign, winning Senate candidate James Webb routinely referred to his opponent as George Felix Allen, Jr. (just search for the name at Although it wasn't even correct — Allen, whose father's middle name was Herbert, wasn't a junior — the use of Allen's full name was clearly a campaign strategy, first, to diminish Allen, and then, after news of Allen's Jewish ancestry emerged, to make an oblique reference to that.

So now Maureen Dowd, Olbermann, and others are upset about Barack Hussein Obama. Perhaps if they had criticized the whole George Felix Allen thing, they might have more credibility.

York's passive-aggressive Jew-baiting elisions aside, my understanding of the whole "Felix" thing was that it was well-known that Allen detests his middle name. Allen's own rather peculiar family history came out because of Allen's own snide bullshit and a supposedly invented silly-name -- which I suppose is just what you want from a sitting U.S. Senator, someone who makes up silly names for hecklers -- and it all just cemented the derisive usage of Felix.

Allen greased his career by catering to the toxic underbelly of southern neo-confederate "culture". He pretended to be one of them, even though he grew up an O.C. rich-boy punk, he utilized all their totems and affectations, and he went to their little get-togethers. He knew exactly what he was doing, and he knew exactly what sort of people he was rolling with. That his revealed heritage (and his clear discomfort with it) might have bitten him in the ass once his buddies at the Council of Concerned Crackers found out he was a Red Sea pedestrian -- well, that's just sweeter than the dew on Scarlett Johansson's pooter.

As for Obama's middle name, who gives a shit? Maureen Dowd? Again, who gives a shit? Having said that, and seeing York's wink-is-as-good-as-a-nod-to-an-ignorant-cracker-douchebag ├Žsthetic deployed, I'm sure we'll be hearing more of this sort of thing as Obama becomes the viable alternative to Hillary!-fatigue. It's called laying the groundwork, and the people who needed to hear it probably heard it just fine.


Tehanu said...

Council of Concerned Crackers! Brilliant!

Heywood J. said...