Over the last several weeks I have heard a number of commentators swoon over the promise of America having a president named Barack Hussein Obama. Usually the people who make this point are male, baby boomer journalists. Examples include Evan Thomas on the Inside Washington show, Joe Klein, and, of course, Chris Matthews.
The argument centers not just on Obama’s ethnic background, Kenyan and Kansan, but on his middle name, “Hussein.” It indeed sounds very persuasive.
A few weeks ago I met with a diplomat from a Muslim country which is on friendly terms with American. I asked him what impact the election of Barack Hussein Obama would have on his homeland. The diplomat looked at me like I had two heads.
He went on to explain: Obama would still be the head of America. Nations unfriendly to the United States, such as Iran, and hostile groups, such as al Qaeda, would still have their grievances against America. Long-standing beliefs, philosophies, and, most importantly, interests, would trump any ethereal sense of good feeling that an Obama presidency would generate.
This Hussein phenomenon, to me, is a classic case of projection. The election of Barack Hussein Obama would make baby boomers and other Americans feel better about their country. As for the rest of the country, that is mere wishful thinking.