Monday, July 14, 2008

The Message Behind New Yorker's Obama Cover

The recent cover of New Yorker Magazine, a publication noted for a liberal bent and elitist flare, shocked most readers this month with a satarical depiction of Mr. and Mrs. Obama celebrating their victory in the Oval Office of the White House. In the drawing, Barack Obama is wearing a turban and his wife is sporting an Afro and carrying a machine gun. Meanwhile, in the background you see an American flag burning in the fire place and a picture of Osama Bin Laden hanging on the wall.

Both the Obama and McCain campaignd have declared the cover "offensive" and there is an expectation of an apology. It was suppose to be funny, even outrageous, but for some reason it has struck a nerve. New Yorker Editor David Remnick told the Huffington Post that “Obviously I wouldn’t have run a cover just to get attention — I ran the cover because I thought it had something to say. What I think it does is hold up a mirror to the prejudice and dark imaginings about Barack Obama’s — both Obamas’ — past, and their politics, I can’t speak for anyone else’s interpretations, all I can say is that it combines a number of images that have been propagated, not by everyone on the right but by some, about Obama’s supposed ‘lack of patriotism’ or his being ‘soft on terrorism’ or the idiotic notion that somehow Michelle Obama is the second coming of the Weathermen or most violent Black Panthers. That somehow all this is going to come to the Oval Office.”
The same magazine has depicted Bush as a maid serving Dick Cheney (reported by Fox News) and even a "Brokeback Mountain" comparison between the President and Vice President. Bush and Cheney wisely ignored the comparisons because they are laughable. But Obama has been up in arms, almost as though the satire hits a little too close to home. Many are convinced that he is protesting too much for his own good.
Many Americans actually believe Obama is Muslim (12 percent according to Newsweek). Bloomberg was early in reporting Obama's relationship with "William Ayers, a former member of the radical group the Weather Underground who is now a professor of education at the University of Illinois in Chicago. Ayers donated $200 in 2001 to Obama’s Illinois state Senate campaign and served with him from 1999 to 2002 on the board of the Woods Fund, an anti-poverty group."

"The Weather Underground carried out a series of bombings in the early 1970s — including the U.S. Capitol and the Pentagon. While Ayers was never prosecuted for those attacks, he told the New York Times in an interview published Sept. 11, 2001, that 'I don’t regret setting bombs.'
Bill Burton, Obama’s spokesman, said Ayers 'does not have a role on the campaign.' Ayers said he had no comment on his relationship with Obama." These are the type of stories that have over shadowed Obama for months and would have likely derailed his campaign if they came out early. I'm sure this will keep Hillary Clinton anxiously waiting in the wings.
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Kevin Price is Host of the Houston Business Show (M-F at 11 AM on CNN 650) and Publisher of the Houston Business Review. Hear the show live and online at HoustonBusinessShow.com. Visit the archive of past shows here.

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