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The Right's Five Most Hilariously Boneheaded Anti-Obama Smears

From birth certificates to Bernie Mac, a look at the goofiest attacks against the presumptive Democratic nominee.
 
 
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In recent months, right-wing opinion outlets of varying pedigrees have accused Barack Obama of participating in an increasingly preposterous web of dopey conspiracies, including plots to make himself the next Hitler, to forge his birth certificate and, most sinisterly, to make children learn Spanish. And thanks to the wonder of the Internet and right-wing blogs, we can now chronicle how right-wing memes are spawned, from their genesis within the comments section of the Free Republic Web site to their viral spread across the Michelle Malkin blog empire to their final destination in the pages of "respectable" conservative opinion journals such as the Weekly Standard , the National Review and the Wall Street Journal op-ed page. In this article, you will learn about the Right's five most unintentionally hilarious not-ready-for-prime-time smears that have been trial-ballooned in various forms during the 2008 presidential campaign. Each conspiracy will be rated on a scale of 1 to 10 wingnuts that will be a reflection of its originality, implausibility and sheer, flat-out insanity.

While I'd like to say that this article will be informative and enlightening, I'm not going to lie to you: Your IQ will plummet by at least 10 points just by reading about the first two smears, and by a whopping 30 points by the time you get to Obama's unseemly affection for fancy vegetables. I recommend listening to a nice collection of Bach cantatas while reading this article, and also having copies of Joyce's Ulysses and Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow nearby in case you need to take a break and feel smart again. Now if you're ready, we're going to move on to the first smear, which just happens to be:

SMEAR #1: OBAMA IS A COMMIE NAZI!

Origins: While accusing Democrats of being commies has been a time-honored American tradition dating back the McCarthy era, the Right has breathed ingenious new life into this old standard by tracing Obama's commie origins back to his pre-fetus years. For as the National Review 's Lisa Schiffren deftly notes, Obama's father is black and his mother is white. Why is this important, you ask? Because "for a white woman to marry a black man in 1958 ... there was almost inevitably a connection to explicit Communist politics." Wowsers! So even Obama's very conception was forged out of a mutual hatred for capitalism!

And that's not all: In his autobiography, Dreams From My Father , Obama says he developed a close relationship with poet and activist Frank Marshall Davis during his teen years in Hawaii. Davis, of course, just happened to be A COMMIE! While several poets over the years have been known for their controversial political views -- Ezra Pound, for instance, was a notorious fascist -- Obama's mere association with Davis was enough to prompt blogger Bob "ConfederateYankee" Owens to ask the burning question: "Is Barack Obama a Communist?" Owens allows that right now, "We simply do not know where along the radical leftist continuum Barack Obama's thoughts reside," although he feels certain that Obama must be either a Marxist, a "socialist revolutionary with Maoist tendencies" or an out-and-out communist "like his own wife," who insists that "someone is going to have to give up a piece of their pie so someone else can have more."

The flip side of this vast commie conspiracy, of course, is the idea that Obama is actually simultaneously positioning himself to be the next Adolf Hitler. While it may seem counterintuitive to think of a black guy as the newest incarnation of an ideology that hated black people, consider that Obama gave a speech in Germany and printed campaign fliers that were written ... IN GERMAN!!!! To make matters worse, noted blogger Dr. Melissa Clouthier, Obama and Hitler have used campaign literature that looks sort of similar, if you ignore the fact that it doesn't look anything alike at all.

"When I saw the Obama flier picture, my mind immediately called up this Hitler image and I was struck by how similar they are in feel," she darkly intoned. "This is about artistic tone. The profile view. The serious expression. The shading ... Unnerving really."

Blogger Gene over at the Say Anything Blog has also noticed Obama's fascistic tendencies and thinks that Obama fills a savior void for liberals, who are "mostly godless" people who spend too much time "relying on reason" and who "have empty souls." And because liberals are so soulless and reasonable, they "need a person to invest their faith and trust in. ... In Germany that person was Hitler, today that person is OBAMA."

The notion that Obama is a fascist is not wholly accepted by everyone on the right, however. John Ray of the Stop the ACLU blog, for example, thinks that calling Obama a fascist does fascism a great disservice, since at least "fascists were patriotic and Obama is the sort of America-hater that is now typical of the Left." Well, you can't please everyone, I guess.

Rating: 5 wingnuts

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The commie schtick is old, but the Obama-Hitler comparisons are new and refreshing.

SMEAR #2: BERNIE MAC/LUDACRIS/SOME OTHER BLACK ENTERTAINER WILL BRING DOWN OBAMA'S CAMPAIGN!

Origins: When Bill Clinton first denounced Sister Soulja in 1992, the goal was to help the public understand that obscure black entertainers do not, in fact, reflect the views of Democratic presidential candidates. Unfortunately, this dynamic has not played out as Clinton envisioned it, as John Kerry was repeatedly called upon to reject the views of Whoopi Goldberg and Barack Obama has been forced to renounce just about every black entertainer who has supported his candidacy. One of the more recent examples is comedian Bernie Mac, who made a rather tasteless and sexist joke during an Obama campaign event. While Obama immediately chastised Mac for his crude humor, many on the Right saw it as a great opportunity to ratfuck his campaign by driving a wedge between Obama and supporters of Hillary Clinton.

"Jokes about 'hoes' aren't exactly the best way to reach out to disaffected Hillary Clinton supporters, especially given their resentment over how Obama treated Hillary and his supposedly demeaning attitude toward women in general," wrote Hot Air's Ed Morrissey solemnly. Larry Johnson's NoQuarter blog, a one-time pro-Hillary blog that has now morphed into Obama Ratfuck Central, put it even more succinctly: "Women get crapped on; Obama laughs along."

Similarly, when rapper Ludacris released a song that praised Obama and trashed Hillary Clinton as a "bitch," blogger Gateway Pundit suggested that Obama make Ludacris his opening act at the Democratic National Convention because "the Hillary supporters would love it." Hot Air's Allahpundit echoed Mr. Gateway's sentiments and noted that "for sheer political dynamite it's hard to beat dropping the B-bomb on America's most famously aggrieved victim of sexism." And though the Obama camp was quick to denounce Luda's offensive lyrics, the National Review 's Victor Davis Hanson believed this was a clever two-faced ploy by the Obama camp to portray its candidate as being black while also portraying him as not being black. "Obama associates with or tolerates racists when such quasi-intimacy cements street-cred as an authentic minority or someone cool in the anti-Bush mode," he explained. "But then when they inevitably revert to form, he not merely casts them off, but is 'shocked' at their usual expression, and so like speed bumps they litter the roadway as he barrels ahead."

One wonders why the Obama campaign hasn't yet released a blanket statement saying, "We categorically denounce, renounce and reject any and all controversial remarks made by any black celebrity ever at any point in time on this or other planets." It would honestly save them a lot of time.

Rating: three wingnuts

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While amusing, forcing Obama to denounce every black entertainer who supports his candidacy was a predictable turn of events.

SMEAR #3: OBAMA'S BIRTH CERTIFICATE PROVES ?

Origins: While the Internet is full of crazy rumors, some crazy rumors are indeed crazier than other crazy rumors. A good rule of thumb for any rumormonger should be that when Charles Johnson of Rathergate fame won't even take the time to analyze some document's kerning on your behalf, then your rumor is beyond crazy and should be dropped faster than Harriet Miers' career as a Supreme Court justice.

Nevertheless, a lack of support from "mainstream" conservative media outlets and blogs didn't deter some of the Right's very dimmest of bulbs from trying to prove that Barack Obama forged his birth certificate in order to cover up. ... Well, we still aren't really sure. The National Review 's Jim Geraghty, who was skeptical of the birth certificate rumors, summarized the key rumors as such: Obama was born in Kenya and thus not eligible to become president; Obama's real middle name is actually Mohammed; and finally, that Obama's real first name is "Barry" and not "Barack." Additionally, blogger Suitably Flip speculated that the "full-length document might indicate Obama's parents were avowedly unmarried at the time of his birth." Or as one of my friends put it, "Maybe they're hoping to learn that Obama's real first name is Damien and that his mother was a jackal."

As usual, the two worst offenders in stoking this hilarious faux controversy were the Islamophobic sociopaths at the Atlas Shrugs blog and the devious ratfuckers at NoQuarter. Atlas in particular went all out by employing the help of a forgery "expert" named "Techdude," whom she praised as having an "unwavering commitment to the truth despite the threats and harassment, the slashed tires and the dead animal on his porch." In one long, headache-inducing post, Techdude analyzed the certificate's kerning, digital pixel maps and borders to skull-splittingly depressing detail. Excited by this breathtaking discovery, NoQuarter blogger TexasDarlin proclaimed that the forged birth certificate proved that Obama "was, and possibly still is, a citizen of Indonesia" and that "contrary to Obama's public statements that he's 'always been a Christian' Obama was at one time a Muslim."

Life is really too short to get into this stuff too deeply; I do, however, look forward to NoQuarter's breaking expose about how Obama helped NASA fake the moon landing.

Rating: 10 wingnuts

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Are you kidding? This one nearly broke my wingnut scale.

SMEAR #4: OBAMA EXERCISES TOO MUCH AND DOESN'T GORGE HIS FACE WITH FATTY, UNHEALTHY GOO!

Origins: On Aug. 1, Wall Street Journal readers were treated to a report by Amy Chozick that asked the vitally important question of whether Barack Obama was in too good shape to identify with most Americans. "In a nation in which 66% of the voting-age population is overweight and 32% is obese, could Sen. Obama's skinniness be a liability?" she wondered to no one in particular. "Despite his visits to waffle houses, ice cream parlors and greasy-spoon diners around the country, his slim physique just might have some Americans wondering whether he is truly like them."

While this may seem like a strange mode of attack to casual readers, those of us who have been following the right-wing noise machine know that Obama's healthy lifestyle has been under assault for months. Way back during the Pennsylvania Democratic primary in April, for instance, Obama visited Philadelphia to campaign and committed the cardinal sin of not wolfing down a Philly cheesesteak. Michelle Malkin immediately pounced on this devastating revelation and declared that Obama "can't really afford more public relations hits to his Everyman credentials," especially in the wake of the "pathetic" score he earned while bowling earlier in the month. Malkin's blogger See-Dubya followed up on what he described as "cheesesteakgate" by noting that last summer Obama had traveled to Iowa and asked his audience if they had noticed how much local Whole Foods stores were charging for arugula.

And from there, a right-wing meme was born: Obama's distaste for cheesesteak coupled with his disturbing arugula fetish was proof that he could not connect with Real Americans, who apparently don't eat vegetables unless they come grilled with low-quality meat and Cheez Whiz. The Weekly Standard 's Noemie Emery said that Obama's "complaint in Iowa about the high price of arugula ... recalled Michael Dukakis' advice to Iowa farmers that they grow Belgian endive." Townhall's John Hawkins said Obama's arugula snobbery was one of the reasons why he would lose the general election, since "never before has a candidate with so few accomplishments to his name looked so far down his nose at the American people." The McCain campaign has also piled on by issuing a press release stating that "only celebrities like Barack Obama go to the gym three times a day, demand MET-RX chocolate roasted-peanut protein bars, and bottles of a hard-to-find organic brew -- Black Forest Berry Honest Tea."

You really have to hand it to the right-wing attack machine: They've successfully transformed exercising and eating healthy food from admirable habits into crippling character flaws. It seems that in modern America, being fat, drunk and stupid is a good way to go through life.

Rating: 9 wingnuts

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Next week: The McCain campaign excoriates Obama for brushing his teeth and clipping his fingernails on a semi-regular basis. You can see the ads right now: "Barack Obama likes to brush his perfectly aligned white teeth with fancy organic toothpaste, while Real Americans refresh their breath by eating a box of Junior Mints every morning ... GIT 'ER DONE!!!"

I predict that by the time the Republican National Convention rolls around, the GOP's entire platform will have degenerated into a series of grunting sounds and vaguely threatening snorts.

SMEAR #5: OBAMA WANTS YOUR CHILD TO LEARN SPANISH!

Origin: It all started out innocently enough: During a campaign event, Barack Obama said that while immigrants coming to live in the United States should learn English, parents should also make sure that their children learn Spanish. Now, you would think that Republicans would support such a sentiment. After all, if the free trade pacts that they've advocated have really made global economic interaction more important, it might be a good thing for Americans to learn the language that is spoken by the majority of countries in South and Central America. You know, because those countries comprise some of our biggest trading partners in the Western hemisphere.

But alas! In modern American conservatism's constant internal struggle of greed vs. stupidity, stupidity scored a resounding victory. As soon as Obama's pro-Spanish speech hit the YouTube circuit, right-wing blogs and Web sites erupted into a hysteria not seen since Ken Starr was writing pornographic tracts about Bill Clinton's genitalia. "Our education system is crazy enough with all these liberal, feel-good programs," said Bobby Eberle of GOPUSA. "Now, despite the fact that the rest of the world is learning English, he says that American kids should learn Spanish? What? Learn Spanish?"

Mickey Kaus made a barely more literate critique of Obama's Spanish affinity, and complained that Obama is "insultingly missing the point about the need for a common language," since "if we want a common language, and the common language of Americans is English, then learning Spanish, however beneficial, is not going to achieve that goal." Uh, neither is learning how to ride a bike, Mickey, but I can't see you excoriating Obama for suggesting that our children learn that as well.

Meanwhile FOX News, which is always in the running to win the race to the bottom of the barrel, invited English-only advocate Joseph Vento onto Neil Cavuto's program to froth about Obama's sinister Hispanofascist leanings. While calling Obama a "sick" and "crazy" man, Vento fumed that if "you are here, you must learn English," that "you must learn it now" and that "we're not here to speak Spanish."

Charles Krauthammer, on the other hand, took Obama to task for saying children should learn Spanish even though he himself does not speak it. Coming next month: Krauthammer lambastes Obama for wanting children to learn more physics when he himself can't even design a working rocket! The elitist hypocrite!

Of course, the absolute dimmest comment about Spanishgate came from the National Review 's Kathryn Jean Lopez, who used Obama's pro-Spanish comments to deliver a stinging critique of his big speech in Germany by confidently proclaiming that "if Obama could go to Germany and give a speech in English and be not only understood but well received, why does he say we all need to learn another language?" Zing! Similarly, why do we teach our kids math nowadays when they have calculators to do it for them? Game, set, match, liberal elitists! That'll learn you to teach our children no foreign language a-spoken by foreigners!

Rating: 10 wingnuts

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This smear is a perfect synthesis of modern conservatism's nativist paranoia and its embrace of cretinism.

Ladies and gentlemen, our country is doomed.

AlterNet is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed by our writers are their own.

Brad Reed is a writer living in Boston. His work has previously appeared in the American Prospect Online, and he blogs frequently at Sadly, No! .

 
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