How could anyone vote for Barack Hussein Obama, knowing that he was raised as a Muslim, brainwashed as a child in a terrorist Madrassa and, as soon as he is elected, will start wearing a turban and place all Christians in internment camps?
Actually, I'm trying -- clumsily -- to be ironic. For the record: I don't really believe Obama is a closeted Muslim or a pawn of Osama bin Laden.
Oh, and I "got" the recent New Yorker cover that portrayed him as just that. It was satire. Really, I'm not kidding!
For those who haven't seen the cover or a picture of it, it portrays people who look like Barack and Michelle Obama in what appears to be the Oval Office. Barack is dressed in traditional Muslim clothing. He is fist-bumping Michelle, who is dressed in army fatigues with a combat rifle and ammo belt over her shoulder. She also sports an Afro reminiscent of Angela Davis'.
Old Glory is burning in the fireplace and a portrait of Osama bin Laden hangs over the mantelpiece.
Certainly, if the artist, Barry Blitt, had intended to draw what he regarded as a realistic portrait of the Obamas, this would have been offensive. But that wasn't his intention, which he has explained.
"I think the idea that the Obamas are branded as unpatriotic, let alone as terrorists, in certain sectors is preposterous," said Blitt in a statement to The Huffington Post. "It seemed to me that depicting the concept would show it as the fear-mongering ridiculousness that it is."
The drawing "satirizes the use of scare tactics and misinformation in the presidential election to derail Barack Obama's campaign," according to a press release from officials at The New Yorker.
So, there should be no question about the artist's intentions. One question, however, continues to dangle out there: Did it work as he intended?
Both the Obama campaign and the John McCain campaign didn't think so and were quick to express their outrage. McCain said the cover was "totally inappropriate and frankly I understand if Senator Obama and his supporters would find it offensive."
Bill Burton, an Obama campaign spokesman, said: "The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Senator Obama's right-wing critics have tried to create. But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree."
Later, on CNN's Larry King Live, Obama, himself, took it a step further, saying the cover was an insult to Muslim Americans: "You know, there are wonderful Muslim Americans all across the country who are doing wonderful things. And for this to be used as sort of an insult, or to raise suspicions about me, I think is unfortunate. And it's not what America's all about."
Aw, come on! Obama is not obtuse enough to think The New Yorker, a decidedly liberal magazine, intended to insult either him or Muslim Americans.
Furthermore, the cover didn't do that. I repeat: It's satire! It's an over-the-top depiction of every goofy, Internet-spawned rumor about Obama. If you want to know what America's paranoid fringe thinks about Obama, it's all right there on the cover of The New Yorker.
My biggest disappointment is that Obama, in a calculated political move, decided to milk this controversy for outrage. I'm tired of all this year's presidential candidates moping along in a constant state of umbrage.
"You questioned my patriotism!"
"You called me old!"
"You told me to iron your shirt!"
Obama could have laughed this controversy off.
"Look," he could have said, "this cover is pretty clever. That one picture encapsulates all the loony accusations made about Michelle and me. I'm grateful that The New Yorker chose to address this issue in such a unique and humorous way, as is the tradition of this great magazine."
That would have demonstrated that, (a) he has a sense of humor, and (b) he is not thin-skinned. Instead, he chose the opposite approach: Play the offended martyr.
Sure, this magazine cover may confirm to some dim-witted souls that Obama really is the Muslim Manchurian Candidate. But The New Yorker is not obligated to aim its humor at the lowest common denominator. And, I suspect, more than a few readers "got it."
I wish Obama had approached this controversy from a fresh angle, something other than the typical dumbed-down appeal to people's worst instincts -- thereby demonstrating that he is dedicated to, you know, change.