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That is why I now support Mike Huckabee! There is no doubt what he believes in....not a single doubt. And that is what America deserves; a hard right wing theocracy based on Biblical Truths! Praise Jesus!! And stone the homos and unwed mothers!

Posted by Cato the Younger Younger | January 16, 2008 9:34 AM

This is all "when did you stop beating your wife" discourse. There is no really clean way around it.

You can only expect this kind of crap to increase in the next few months. Willard-Mitt and Rudy-noun-verb-9/11 should have a lot of it coming their way....

Posted by Karlheinz Arschbomber | January 16, 2008 9:36 AM

What a fuckin' monkey ass bitch.

Posted by george jefferson | January 16, 2008 9:42 AM

If (straight) candidates were asked if they were gay, most wouldn't say, "Well, I don't see why that matters, because sexual orientation is not etc. etc." They would simply say, "No, I'm straight." Is that supposed to be a homophobic answer, simply on the grounds of it failing to sufficiently imply acceptance of gays?

The question probably had anti-Islamic undertones, but the answer? Nonsense. An incorrect claim was made about Obama, and he refuted it. He never spoke disparagingly of Islam.

Posted by tsm | January 16, 2008 9:48 AM

I agree with Josh that dismissing the question is philosophically the best answer, but on the topic of de facto spreading internet lies, anything other than a direct denial would've been taken by many as an implicit admission.

It would've been nice if the denial had been followed by a dismissal of the question, but seriously, can you imagine the political blowback from telling America that a candidate's religion doesn't matter?

Posted by lostboy | January 16, 2008 9:51 AM

Damn that Obama! How dare he give a straight answer to a deliberately inflammatory question?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 16, 2008 9:52 AM

Muslims aren't "bad guys"... but at the same time, I'm tired of tip-toeing around the fact that they're not exactly doing a lot to reinforce liberal democracy in the world these days, either. The day a majority-Muslim nation manages to turn itself into a stable, pluralistic democracy, I'll be a little more willing to smile and make nice. As it stands right now, Muslim culture tends toward the medieval. It just does, it's a sad fact, and let's not kid ourselves.
(And I know Islam has had brighter moments. I know they were beacons of light in the 13th century when Europe was having its own medieval moment. But it ain't the case now, and I'm not about to start genuflecting to an oppressive, misogynistic culture that would love to ban the books we can read if given half a chance. Once the Muslims have had their Reformation, we can talk.)

Posted by Old School Democrat | January 16, 2008 9:55 AM

Coming from a Clinton partisan, Josh, this is totally dishonest. The "Obama is a Muslim" whisper campaign is being quietly pushed along by certain segments of Team Clinton. I'm pretty sure you'd admit this if you were to be honest. So you'll overlook the Clinton team's exploitation of bigotry, but ding Obama for not objecting loudly enough?

Posted by please. | January 16, 2008 9:57 AM

@7: You mean like Indonesia?

Posted by Bill Stickers | January 16, 2008 10:00 AM

Sometimes the best answer is "No." No, I am not, no, I do not, no, I will not, etc... Don't answer the question, start qualifying it, appearing to dodge around it, and you're toast.

So, Josh, do you drink the blood of Christian children to maintain human form? Why not? When did you stop? Why have you not publicly condemned this heinous practice?

Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 16, 2008 10:04 AM

Lame question: yes.

Lame answer: no. The best answer is to walk up to the questioner and backhand him with your glove. But we don't do that anymore.

Posted by Will in Seattle | January 16, 2008 10:09 AM

It's /Keith Ellison/. /Keith ELLISON/ from /my/ district who was sworn in on the Koran. And he's probably one of the best guys around. F you, Obama. Go, Minnesota!

Posted by Ariel | January 16, 2008 10:21 AM

@9: east timor says, sure, just like indonesia.

Posted by max solomon | January 16, 2008 10:21 AM

You can be Kucinich, and tell the truth, or you can be electable. Sad truth.

Posted by superyeadon | January 16, 2008 10:35 AM

Religion will ruin us all.

Posted by monkey | January 16, 2008 10:40 AM

Today's America sucks.

Posted by DOUG. | January 16, 2008 10:50 AM

Debates are not about what meme is right or not, they are about appearing as normal as possible. The american people are not going to vote for a Muslim, period. The best way to assure them that you are a not a muslim is to say so directly, as Obama quite correctly did. The more he talks about muslims, esp. in a question that directly asks about his being one, the more he appears to be one. It's too bad that being muslim is a political liability, and it definitely shouldn't be that way, but the reality is currently the opposite of our ideals right now.
You can be fair to everyone or you can be president. Even Obama has to make that choice, and he chose correctly.

Posted by calvin | January 16, 2008 10:59 AM

@15: That's "has" ruined us all... not "will" monkey. That being said I agree with @14.

Posted by Dave Coffman | January 16, 2008 11:27 AM

Josh, review the question he was asked in the debate. He was SPECIFICALLY asked about charges of not swearing on the bible, refusing to do the pledge, and that his religion was not Christian--so he answered each charge directly and honestly.

How is that deserving of a sarcastic response? Should have dodged? Ignored it? Started talking about Hope in America instead, so you could tease him about that. Jesus fucking Christ.

Posted by andy niable | January 16, 2008 11:27 AM

Josh's point is right. And important, too.

Same thing with drug use. Instead of "how dare you bring that up, I was a teenager and how racial of you to boot" the reaction should be "hell yes I did drugs and it caused no long term harm; so my priority as Pres. will be to let out of jail anyone who has a nonviolent drug possession conviction. What a shameful injustice that is!"

But as this means not winning, it isunderstandable why they don't say it.

All candidates have to stifle themselves on some stuff or else they won't win.

Now on the Muslims stuff, yes, he should have said what Josh said because it would tie into his greatest point: that we reacted out of fear and we better cut it out. That's why my policy will be different than Hillary's. I will be watchful of cirminals and terrorists but I will never denigrate all Muslims and I refuse to let us sacrifice our freedoms for our deense blah blah blah.

But he dind't. So, more proof that anyone who claims to be the One Who Will Totally Change the System by Being a Transcendant Figure is, well, still partly just an old school realist politician.

Yes, there's lot of gray out there in the real world, and little purity and no saintliness.

Feel bad for 5 minutes then go organize anyway.

Posted by unPC | January 16, 2008 11:27 AM

his answer was not morally wrong. it was practical.

it's not like saying...

not that there's anything wrong with that!

would change anyone's sentiment about muslims. it would just point out the obvious: there's nothing wrong with being a muslim except that americans don't seem to trust them at all.

Posted by infrequent | January 16, 2008 11:31 AM

I can't believe people are razzing Obama for straight-forwardly answering a question.

People like you are why we can't have nice things, dammit!

Posted by NapoleonXIV | January 16, 2008 11:43 AM

If Indonesia is the best example of a stable democracy that Islam can offer, then you've proved my point. Sukarno, Suharto, East Timor, and matter-of-fact daily censorship of the media. That's Indonesia.

Posted by Old School Democrat | January 16, 2008 12:31 PM

Should he have stopped carefully debating/campaigning for a moment to Do The Right Thing and stick up for Muslims? Sure. If he's a moral crusader not trying to win the nomination. Did he do the right thing in NOT handing the GOP and Fox News a clip of "Obama Defends The Terrorists"? Damn right. Political calculation? Sure. Do you want him to get the nomination and presidency, or do you want a well-meaning, moral, politically ineffectual Black Jimmy Carter?

Posted by andy niable | January 16, 2008 12:44 PM

@24 -

Do you want him to get the nomination and presidency,

Actually, no, Josh doesn't want that. He can easily demand Obama take a stronger stance in the name of losing votes, because he is a Clinton supporter.

Posted by please. | January 16, 2008 1:07 PM

OBAMA is an appeaser? Wait a minute, who sponsored an amendment to ban the nonexistent plague of flag burning? Oh, that's right . . . Hillary Clinton, Josh's candidate. Presumably she did so out of heartfelt conviction.

Posted by Brendan | January 16, 2008 2:57 PM

I definitely had the same reaction. I hated the points that the moderators brought up, especially the first two questions and then this one. I did not like Obama's answer. He acted like it was a big deal that he was Christian. I would have liked for him to say that while he is Christian, it should not be a problem if he were of a different faith. I almost wonder if we will ever be able to elect a president who is not Christian. That is when we will make true progress in America.

Posted by UC | January 16, 2008 5:32 PM

I'm as progressive as they come and I'd love to live in an America that would support a Muslim candidate for president, but it's unfair to slam Obama for responding the way he did. He happens to be the only candidate who's falsely rumored to be Muslim. If he responded by saying "I'm not sure why that matters," he'd essentially be writing off his campaign in order to stake the moral high ground in territory that Clinton and Edwards never even have to venture into. Sure, I'd respect him for it, but I'd rather he just tell the truth about his religious beliefs and remain a viable candidate.

Posted by rk | January 16, 2008 5:58 PM

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