I'm a big political lefty. You know, the kind of person who supports the Green Party and likes the idea of democratic socialism. Still, I like to know what the other half thinks. So, I practice something called "Reading with the Enemy", the periodic reading of books that anger or frighten the hell out of me. Pamela Geller's The Post-American Presidency accomplishes both simultaneously. This book is nothing but a blatant hit piece on President Obama and Muslims.
Interestingly enough, Geller and her co-author Robert Spencer were both mentioned by Anders Breivik as inspiration for his slaughter of 77 young people in Norway. Breivik was on a Christian Crusade to turn back the "threat" of Islam and immigration in Europe. Geller's work through her Atlas Shrugs blog, and Spencer's work through his Jihad Watch project, were both important sources of knowledge for Breivik. So, when Geller repeatedly calls the president "Barack Hussein Obama" throughout her book, and when she describes Islam as "a movement whose sole objective is establishing a worldwide caliphate that will impose upon societies the most brutal, misogynistic, antihuman ideology in history," I bristle. If the use of President Obama's middle name Hussein is not simply a tactic meant to link him with Islamic terror, then why has the use of a middle name (aside: Bush's use of "W" was his choice to distinguish himself from his father's presidency) not been used as a weapon before? Would Geller insist on calling President Clinton "William Jefferson Clinton", or would the association of the names "Jefferson" and "Clinton" have an undesirable positive effect on Mr. Clinton's reputation? And how many people even know Ronald Reagan's middle name is Wilson? I can't be certain, but I'm guessing that no critic of President Reagan's record, his mother excluded, ever scolded him repeatedly as Ronald Wilson Reagan. Simply put, any attempt to say the repeated use of President Obama's middle name is a neutral act is disengenuous at best.
Even more unsettling is Geller's and Spencer's refusal to distinguish between terrorist acts and the Islamic tradition. For them, terrorism, stonings, honor killings and female genital mutilation are inexorably linked with Islam. As a result, all Muslims are guilty by association with "the most brutal, misogynistic, antihuman ideology in history." In Geller's and Spencer's skewed version of reality, Muslims are brutal, misogynistic, and antihuman. It's these "vile" beings that Anders Breivik sought to protect Westerners from by murdering their perceived allies - young Norwegian liberals.
Frighteningly, the Islamophobic views of Geller and Spencer are given voice by conservative papers like Human Events, the paper considered indispensible by Ronald Reagan and many other important conservative luminaries. Let's hope no Breiviks are included among their subscribers.