Kiss my … turban, HRC

As the Clinton campaign has suffered one defeat after another, the advice of Hillary’s chief strategist, Mark Penn, has been consistent: go negative. So yesterday, according to Drudge, a Clinton staffer leaked a photo of Obama in a turban to the press. The photo was taken in Kenya, and seemed obviously designed to raise fears that Obama was a “Manchurian candidate” a sleeper muslim trying to sneakily infiltrate his way into the White House:

Will voters find this turban disturbin?

With a week to go until the Texas and Ohio primaries, stressed Clinton staffers circulated a photo over the weekend of a “dressed” Barack Obama. [Link]

Clinton’s campaign did not deny its staffers distributed the photo, and Obama’s top advisers were quick to blast what it called an underhanded campaign tactic. [Link]

OMG – he’s wearing a turban! He’s a mooo-salim! Oooooga Booooga! Oooooga Booooga!

The campaign’s desperation comes as it finds itself strapped for cash, having tapped out its major donors. The irony is that HRC might have a few more paisas in her pocket if she had not suddenly decided her long time Sikh friends had the cooties and were too uncool to be seen with any more:

Mrs. Clinton also scuttled a fund-raising breakfast at a nearby fairgrounds where Sikh leaders had hoped to raise $1 million for her presidential campaign. [Link]

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Given that she’s spent only $11 million this month on ads, that extra $1 mil would have come in handy, even if only for her donut tab.

How about this one?

Honestly, I’m pretty steamed at this latest gambit. I understand that politics is a dirty business, but part of the risk of going negative is the possibility that you might piss off voters … like myself.

However, instead of spewing irate invective, I’d rather spoil her game. The best way to deal with “scary” images is to normalize them. Below the fold are a series of photos of politicians either wearing turbans or next to somebody who is wearing a turban. Let me know if you’ve got more!

[UPDATED - ptr_vivek pointed us at a great photo of Bill looking quite dashing in a Rajasthani turban. Thanks!]

The only other turban wearing politician I could find was the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa. I want to give him huge props for wearing a turban given that he did so to promote civil rights, and did so without any money being donated to his campaign (the photo op was for a donation to a soup kitchen). The other three are Hillary (clearly), Bill Richardson and President Bush. Not so scary now are we?

196 thoughts on “Kiss my … turban, HRC

  1. I think that Latino voters in the USA are: (a) less exposed to Muslims than other groups, for example African-Americans. So while African-Americans have a positive impression of Islam (because of Malcolm X and Mohammed Ali and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, etc), Latino voters have an easier time accepting the fear mongering of the MSM. (b) are similar to whites of a similar income level in their attitudes in many ways, which includes absorption of many of the same prejudices. This means that many Latinos have similar perspectives to poor whites. (c) are very Christian – either Catholic or Evangelical – and have a distrust of other religions in general.

    These broad general statements come from long discussions with two friends, one of whom is Latino and has done community politics amongst Chicanos in CA, while the other crunches numbers on demographics and attitudes for a living. They told me pretty similar stories even though they were looking at quite different data.

  2. 148 Ennis I think your efforts to ground it in Spanish experience is off-base.

    Well, I’m sorry if I’m wrong, but my Cuban and Venezuelan friends are pretty “Islamophobic” (if one insists on calling it that) based on their identification with Iberian history. I do realize that that doesn’t obviously generalize to the modal US Latino.

  3. 151 · Ennis So while African-Americans have a positive impression of Islam

    Wow, I don’t have any statistics at hand, but, boy, that’s not true of the fervently Christian African-Americans I know. They are way more anti-Islamic than your average white liberal.

  4. Wow, I don’t have any statistics at hand, but, boy, that’s not true of the fervently Christian African-Americans I know. They are way more anti-Islamic than your average white liberal.

    When I walk in “the hood” I’m generally greeted positively based on the misimpression that I’m a Muslim. This is very different from the way I’m greeted by poor whites.

    More generally, the African-Americans I’ve interacted with didn’t have a blanket negative impression of Islam because they could think of positive Muslim figures.

    I’ve also seen polling figures to back this up indirectly; black voters were a lot more resistant when it came to War on Terror rhetoric and justifications.

  5. 154 · Ennis When I walk in “the hood” I’m generally greeted positively based on the misimpression that I’m a Muslim. This is very different from the way I’m greeted by poor whites. More generally, the African-Americans I’ve interacted with didn’t have a blanket negative impression of Islam because they could think of positive Muslim figures. I’ve also seen polling figures to back this up indirectly; black voters were a lot more resistant when it came to War on Terror rhetoric and justifications.

    Interesting. You may well be right. But there are a lot of questions here, so it’s hard to say for sure. So, for example, if African-Americans that I interact with assume (correctly, though on less than good evidence) that I’m not Muslim, they may say things other than if they (incorrectly) assume that you’re Muslim. I’m sure that this phenomenon (to the extent it exists) extends beyond African-Americans and includes whites, Latinos, other desis, etc.

  6. Rob: there is a growing trend in Spain to re-examine their attitude towards their “Muslim” roots- which should be more appropriately called Moorish. Spanish is 10% Arabic-origin words and there are aspects of Spanish culture which have a lot in common with North Africa and visa-versa. There is a greater cultural explaoration going on in Spain which is able to see past a)Franco’s uber-nationalist construct which positions Spain as Spanish (ie: Castillano-and tehrefore screwing everyone else) and b) the current extremism in Islam which is expressing itself much as radical Catholicism and Protestatism have over the last two centuries.

    As for the “new world”- various countries relate to their Spanish roots in various ways. Mexico keeps Spanish (having Mexicanized it), but had a Mexicanidad movement which rejected the racial snobbism implicit in festishizing Spain. To this day, there is a strong indigena movement which clearly sees the Spanish as the nasty branch of the famiy that raped the other.

    Also, you have to remember that for many, going to the New World was a way to get away from the Spanish Inquisition and the Spanish Inquisition followed them almost a century later to rain down its fury on people who secretly went back to being Muslim or Jews.

    As for Arabs in Latin America, many who immigrated were Christians, leaving at the tail end of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Chile and Brazil, for example, opened their doors. One of the places Palestinians fled to after 1947-48, was Latin America, where either they had family or where there were already established Lebanese communities. The influx of Muslim Arabs is relatively recent into the US and Latin America and the development of radical elements even more so.

    If there is a memory of dealing with the Arab World in a negative way, it lies mostly in Europe. The Spanish brought slavery, disease, surpression of religious practices and a new, not terribly tolerant religion to a region where they created another race and taught them to hate themselves and then had several nasty independence fights when their children rose up against them.

  7. 156 · zazou Rob: there is a growing trend in Spain to re-examine their attitude towards their “Muslim” roots- which should be more appropriately called Moorish. Spanish is 10% Arabic-origin words and there are aspects of Spanish culture which have a lot in common with North Africa and visa-versa. There is a greater cultural exploration going on in Spain

    Zazou, All true, very true, and please don’t read anything I’ve said to contradict this. But, be careful to disambiguate elite trends with the view of the “man on street.” The latter doesn’t bode as well for Muslims in Spain (or, more broadly speaking, Europe), I’m afraid.

  8. My imaginary Basque friend says that Spaniards love arguments based on incontrovertible personal anecdotes and reductionism :)

  9. 159 · Rahul My imaginary Basque friend says that Spaniards love arguments based on incontrovertible personal anecdotes and reductionism :)

    Heh–point taken! Still I don’t see any evidence to the contrary!

  10. 136 · Kush Tandon Modern Spanish national identity keys off the following (in descending) order: 1) Spanish Civil War 2) General Franco

    I think 1 & 2 help define one’s position as a Spaniard, politically, but don’t go to the underlying issue of who is a Spaniard/what Spain is all about, which I’m claiming goes to the Reconquista.

  11. Ennis – apparently you have some skills in finding photos of girls on the Internet! I wonder what other girls you can spot w/ your speedy surfing skills. And really, did you have to find such an awful photo ;) ? Honestly, I’m surprised you felt the need to do that when you don’t even share your photo w/ others on the site.

    And to you and Manju, I actually don’t have any political aspirations…I was more thinking about the unspoken connections of this story to the lives of us mere mortals…ha.

  12. 159 · Rahul said

    My imaginary Basque friend says that Spaniards love arguments based on incontrovertible personal anecdotes and reductionism :)

    hey, i actually once witnessed an argument between a basque couple and a spaniard. the basques backed down, after an intervention by a galician. the basques were stoned though, and outmached intellectually by the spaniard, who’s scientific genius, but abnoxious.

  13. 163 · Sona said

    Ennis – apparently you have some skills in finding photos of girls on the Internet! I wonder what other girls you can spot w/ your speedy surfing skills.

    necessity is the mother of invention

  14. I have been a consistent, before I go any further, a consistent denunciator of Louis Farrakhan, nobody challenges that

    again, all about context, although, I made my claim based on Obama’s statement in the debate, and he certainly didn’t denounce him as a racist, as you had claimed in your #71 post. You may believe Farrakhan is a racist, but don’t graft that onto Obama.

  15. Honestly, I’m surprised you felt the need to do that when you don’t even share your photo w/ others on the site.

    Seconded. Not cool. I know how unnerving it is to have a photo of you posted or linked to without your explicit permission first. The first picture that comes up when you Google me, however, is pretty accurate. Take note, Ennis.

  16. 143 · Manju said

    Another case of Clinton xenophobia: Hillary Clinton claims Obama needs Moor scrutiny

    She might think that the boy is not suitable, but having felt a tremor in the ground beneath her feet, she’s hoping against hope that the Moor will give his last sigh and leave, which at least would make people stop talking about how HRC got dissed, got riled and got a wife.

  17. Now when did Ann Coulter become HRC’s campaign advisor? If Miss Adam’s Apple Coulter hasn’t already joined Hilary, it certainly seems like she must have had some influence or effect on Mrs. Clinton’s campaign strategies.

  18. If Miss Adam’s Apple Coulter hasn’t already joined Hilary, it certainly seems like she must have had some influence or effect on Mrs. Clinton’s campaign strategies.

    Maybe Tim Russert should have asked Hillary if she rejects, denounces, rejects, vituperates, condemns, objects, and sh*ts on Ann Coulter’s support?

  19. Honestly, I’m surprised you felt the need to do that when you don’t even share your photo w/ others on the site.

    My bad. Sorry, that was uncool, I really wasn’t thinking at all. I’ll remove it now.

  20. Stephanie Tubbs Jones needs an emergency injection of STFU. She knows perfectly damn well that Obama’s native country is the USA, otherwise he wouldn’t be allowed to seek the Presidential nomination in the first place. I think even Dubya knows that rule.

    My perception (and I run with a pretty pro-Obama crowd so I may be biased) is that “Turban Gate” has blown up in Hillary Clinton’s face as much as Obama’s, if not more. Obviously it’s not like he did anything wrong, it shouldn’t be an issue if he wore a turban or not, but obviously whoever released the pictures was counting on an “OMG Stealth Muslim!!1!” reaction from a lot of ignorant people. And I think that reaction has occurred, but I also know there are plenty of people who dismiss the pictures as a sign of Hillary’s increasing desperation. I don’t know which group outnumbers the other… for whatever this is worth, my parents are white, mushy-centrist folks who live in a red state, and they pretty much just shrugged at this story.

    Having said all that, it’s true we only have Drudge’s word that Hillary released the photos. However, I think this is where getting ugly in South Carolina was a HUGE tactical mistake for the Clintons. The Jesse Jackson remark showed they’re willing to take cheap shots, which I think makes it easier for people to believe they would take this cheap shot too. If Hillary is not responsible for the release of the photos, she is at least partially responsible for the perception that she would.

    And in an odd way, it might be good that these pictures are coming out now. Fairly or unfairly, I think they pack less punch coming from the Clinton campaign during primary season, than they would coming from the GOP in October. (Again, with the obvious caveat that they SHOULDN’T pack any punch at all)

    Speaking only for myself I can say, if we elect Obama, I will actually feel a little bit of pride at being an American again.

  21. 170 · HMF Maybe Tim Russert should have asked Hillary if she rejects, denounces, rejects, vituperates, condemns, objects, and sh*ts on Ann Coulter’s support?

    When Coulter said she would vote for H. Clinton instead of voting for McCain, I really believe she was being facetious in this case. She says many outrageous and funny things to get attention, sell books, etc. There are some topics in which she is very serious like converting the entire world to Christianity, the widows of 9/11 “reveling” in their husbands’ deaths, and so forth. She is (most likely) just joking about voting for Clinton.

  22. Andalucia is teaming with Moroccans (legal, and illegal immigrants), and mixed races.

    it’s also teaming with some fantastic hashish – so I’ve heard from my imaginary Spanish friends…

  23. 175 · bess said

    Andalucia is teaming with Moroccans (legal, and illegal immigrants), and mixed races. it’s also teaming with some fantastic hashish – so I’ve heard from my imaginary Spanish friends…

    Er… did you folks mean ‘teeming’? One more for the homonym collection.

  24. When Coulter said she would vote for H. Clinton instead of voting for McCain, I really believe she was being facetious in this case. She says many outrageous and funny things to get attention, sell books, etc. There are some topics in which she is very serious like converting the entire world to Christianity, the widows of 9/11 “reveling” in their husbands’ deaths, and so forth. She is (most likely) just joking about voting for Clinton.

    either way, she doesn’t make her statement as such. See, the difference between her and Michael Moore for example, is that Michael Moore knows he’s joking, he knows he’s being sarcastic. But Coulter doesn’t, she doesn’t consider herself a satirist (of course, unwittingly, she is) rather an “honest” commenter. Do you believe Univ of Michigan actually gave her a law degree? in my book, that school’s law degree might as well be someone scribbling “law” on an olive garden place mat.

  25. Final thought from me on this subject, courtesy of a (non-imaginary!) Cuban–Cubans call black beans and rice “Moros y Christianos,” which I think betrays the cultural salience of historical events in Iberia to at least some Latinos.

  26. but do you reject her support?

    I’m happy to concede the point, and I would reject and denounce.

  27. As a human being?

    If I reject and denounce her as a human being does that mean I must include the adamas apple?

  28. so i was watching clinton (and obama) on 60 minutes 2night and Clinton was asked if she thought obama was a Muslim and she replies:

    “i take him on the basis of what he says.” “there’s nothing to base that on, as far as I know”

    hmmm, that’s what you say when you think someone’s lying but you want to appear generous while maintaining the possiblility that they did it, like obama’s response in the debate as to whether he thought the Clinton camp sent out that photo (“i take her at her word”). sounded funny. you can check out the video (ohio segment) on 60min website, around 11:40 in. there’s a ray gun story that pretty cool too.

  29. hmmm, that’s what you say when you think someone’s lying but you want to appear generous while maintaining the possiblility that they did it,

    True, it’s also telling the people who are indeed considering voting against Obama because of some preconceived notion that he is muslim or has muslim ties (like the paper making gentlemen interviewed in that 60 mins segment) that, that is a viable reason to vote against him, because there is some minute possibility that it’s true.

  30. Another clear indication of white privilege in tonight’s primary(ies). The Resco and Canadian embassy meeting clearly had an effect on Obama’s perfomance, not to mention the picture in this very post. Obama should be held accountable for the first two, however, as a black person running, it means he will be implicitly held to higher standards of propriety and morality (part of which is his doing in the first place, as he’s running on the , ‘I’m not washington as usual’ ticket),

    However, any claim that Hillary has been a target of misogyny is pretty much groundless. Why? Because to someone who will “never vote for a woman” would most likely, “never vote for a black man” either. That’s for misogyny effecting actual votes, as for a misogynistic tint to media coverage. Again, falls short, because in Nov/Dec and even Jan, she was miss. media darling, it was only when Billary showed its ugly head that the press coverage turned south for her.

  31. 191 · HMF Because to someone who will “never vote for a woman” would most likely, “never vote for a black man” either.

    That’s way too simplistic–I’m not exactly up on that demographic, but I could easily come up with some counter-examples (which I don’t care to go into, b/c they’re so obvious).

  32. That’s way too simplistic–I’m not exactly up on that demographic, but I could easily come up with some counter-examples (which I don’t care to go into, b/c they’re so obvious).

    Of course there’s counterexamples, which is why I said, “most likely” I’ll give you one, certain black males might not have a problem with voting for Obama, but may “never vote for a woman” regardless of who she was.

    But say that every black male thought this way, (which is completely untrue) that means 50% of 12% of the population, 6%, would go against her by “misogyny”, hardly enough to have an effect.

    I’d say, in the realm of electoral politics, if someone is willing to judge purely on gender, they’d be fairly likely to judge on race as well.

  33. Another clear indication of white privilege

    This has to be the millionth post by HMF which somehow he brings up the issue of white privilege. Every little issue its the same thing over and over.

    I’m beginning to think, that some desi girl you were seeing left you for some average looking white guy, and you never get over it.

  34. I’m beginning to think, that some desi girl you were seeing left you for some average looking white guy, and you never get over it.

    Gee, you’re ‘beginning’ to think. Most have jumped on that assumption bandwagon eons ago.

    Maybe it’s the ‘millionth’ post addressing white privilege, because its a phenomenon that so few admit to (normally it’s whites that deny it, but as is clearly evident, many non-whites are up to their necks in denial as well) Of course if you just get over whatever assumptions you feel like making and actually look at the evidence, Obama’s Canada fiasco is small potatoes compared to what the Clinton’s have done, including Hillary’s being the second largest receiver of health care contributions, yet she parades as the “true voice” for universal healthcare, of course what it really is, is universal purchasing of the health insurance industry’s product.

    Time and time again, we’ve seen that black and brown folks have been held to much higher standards of morality and propriety, just look at the criminal justice system, and it’s the same thing panning out, in the electoral competition. I did in my post however, point out that this phenom is being exacerbated strongly by Obama’s own statements on “being a deviation from Washington”, etc.. etc…

    Now SD, the relative correctness of your assumption is fairly irrelevant, but if you don’t think white privilege operates in female–>male assessments of worth and essence of being, (and it operates in the other direction as well, but I’m going with the direction you mentioned) then you’re pretty naive on that front as well.

  35. However, any claim that Hillary has been a target of misogyny is pretty much groundless. Why? Because to someone who will “never vote for a woman” would most likely, “never vote for a black man” either. That’s for misogyny effecting actual votes

    NOT TRUE. By a wide margin.