Politics has found its Jack-In-The-Box story for the day, courtesy of Ben Smith's article on two Muslim women who were denied the chance to sit behind Obama because they looked too Muslim-y. The story itself is fine and worth the read, and my political take on it is banal: of course there is a sensitivity within the Obama campaign anything that fuels the rumors that Obama isn't a Christian. (I half expected Obama to join the First Christian Evangelical Catholic Christ Church of All Saints when he quit Trinity). Ben's reportage makes it clear that there's a consequence to being too sensitive; not only do your volunteers pick up on the vibes, they take it upon themselves to "protect" Obama, and in doing so, inevitably raise the very issue that they seek to avoid. (Remember when a staffer planted a question for Hillary?)
Sadly, being Muslim in America carries undue baggage after 9/11; for months, the Obama campaign has tiptoed along the tightrope of denying that he's a Muslim while making sure that Muslims know that he thinks it's OK to be one of them. (Kind of like folks who have to deny that they're gay but don't want people to confuse their denials with anti-gay prejudice.)
That tightrope snapped today, courtesy of volunteers. (Here's a picture of Obama the next day that might tamp down some of the more lurid conspiracies.)
Incidentally: the media covers John McCain's volunteer/advance work very carefully; this mistake by an Obama volunteer is as egregious as anything McCain's advance team has ever done -- lime green background included.
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