The Obama campaign has had to fight an intensive e-mail spam campaign that claims Obama is secretly a Muslim, and his wife is a black radical. Campaign spokesman Bill Burton called the New Yorker cover over the top.
“The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Senator Obama’s right-wing critics have tried to create,” Burton said.
First off Burton isn't giving much credit to the readership of the New Yorker. Not to sound elitist, but I suspect the vast majority of the subscribers of this magazine are sophisticated enough to recognize satire when they see it. Burton would have us believe that subscribers to the New Yorker are of the same mentality of those that drool over the National Enquirer.
Secondly, Obama missed the train on a potential political knock out punch. That being the opportunity to address the tedious "conspiracy" theories that, because of the debunked "fact" that Obama attended a madrassa in Jakarta and the fact that his middle name is identical to that of a fellow named Saddam (a virtually secular Baathist tyrant whom Osama bin Laden hated) he is some sort of Islamic 007. That he'll steer the US into the flames of Wahhabist rule or whatever nonsense the uber Obama haters espouse these days.
Obama could have spent 15 seconds in front of a camera and taken artist Barry Blitt's explanation, accepted it and utilized the free media attention to both add momentum to his campaign and directly address the nonsense of conspiracy without the guilt of "sinking to their level." Instead we're left with Obama the "victim" and the New Yorker cover is "vilified" and so becomes a contentious issue rather than a productive boon. Certainly hindsight is 20/20 but Burton appears to be straggling through ideological jungle here without a compass. Given the very recent exposure of one of America's greatest intellectual sadists, Obama would do well to steer clear of the tedious ideology of "victim" and instead concentrate on a more forward thinking platform when faced with such media conundrums.