There has been lots of consternation in the press about the misapprehension that Barak Obama is a Muslim. I wrote about those poll data here. Several left-wing sites “paraphrased” my observations and then, in typical fashion, attacked their own words rather than anything I actually said.
Byron York, meanwhile, argues that “Obama has himself to blame for Muslim problem.” Byron takes us down memory lane:
The question did not come out of nowhere. As Obama said, his grandfather was a Muslim. His father was raised a Muslim before becoming, by Obama’s account, “a confirmed atheist.” Obama’s stepfather was a Muslim. His half-sister Maya told the New York Times that her “whole family was Muslim.”
Obama spent two years in a Muslim school in Indonesia and later, in a conversation with the Times’ Nicholas Kristof, described the Arabic call to prayer, the beginning of which he recited by heart, as “one of the prettiest sounds on Earth at sunset.” Given all that, it is entirely accurate and fair to describe Obama as having Muslim roots. …
Eighteen months later, when President Obama traveled to Cairo for a long-awaited speech to the Muslim world, the White House was saying, and the press was reporting, the same thing Kerrey had to apologize for. “President Obama is now embracing his Muslim roots,” ABC News’ “Nightline” announced. “President Obama’s speech … was laced with references to the Quran and his Muslim roots,” said USA Today. “Obama touched on his own Muslim roots,” reported the Associated Press. …
Since Smitty the barber first asked the question 25 years ago, Barack Obama has been reluctant to discuss his Muslim roots. Except, of course, when he’s been eager to discuss his Muslim roots. And roots aside, to the outside observer, Obama sometimes doesn’t appear to practice any faith at all. Put it all together, and is it any wonder the public is confused?
This whole controversy illustrates a basic point about politics. Those who are heavily into politics think in terms of policy and pay relatively little attention to the personal qualities of candidates. Most voters, on the other hand, are less interested in ideology and focus more on who the candidate is. This leads to a disconnect between the political class and the average American, who is likely to be puzzled at best as to who, and what sort of a person, Barack Obama is.