Super Lawyers
William C. Altreuter
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Monday, September 13, 2010

My Uncle Fred was in town on his way to the Toronto Film Festival, so we enjoyed the sort of relaxed, thoughtful weekend that characterizes his visits. Elsewhere you can read my thoughts on the lawyer movie he brought along, but this observation, by Joe Conason, reminded me of one of the things we talked about as we drank our coffee and read the paper:

"[U]ntil the advent of the Obama presidency, Republicans had no reason to scapegoat Muslims or demonize Islam -- and indeed, they could not have inflamed those prejudices without damaging their own leaders, especially George W. Bush."

Sadly, we have Jimmy Carter to thank for legitimizing religion in our public discourse-- I'll forgive him a lot but never that. Of course, the current display of Philistinism goes beyond the mealy-mouthed pieties that are now a permanent part of public discourse. What we are really seeing is a sort of code for the implicit racism that underlies the tea party movement, and, as far as I can tell, the Republican Party in general. The line of thinking seems to be that the Obama presidency is illegitimate because he isn't a real American, and the proof of that is that he isn't Christian. Of course, neither is Glenn Beck, but that's not the point. This is Nixon's Southern Strategy all over again, cloaked, as Sinclair Lewis predicted, in the flag, and carrying a cross.

| Comments:
I'm afraid I must agree with a columnist in last week's Newsweek ( can't remember his name this minue), who firmly claimed that Obama is a coward for not really blazing up at the supporters of Arizona's stupid immigrant laws and Lindsay Graham's outrageous call to disenfrancise people born in the US and the idiotic complaint that a mosque should not be built in downtown NYC because churches can't be built in Saudi Arabia. Yes, he has spoken about these things but not with the power and force that his usual eloquence calls for. I keep wondering if he STILL thinks he can win over "the other side' by being nice to them.
 

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