There’s evidence, not just “his word”

In an overly “bipartisan,” but otherwise spot-on critique, Slate’s John Dickerson takes Republicans to task for failing to properly “refudiate” the ridiculous Obama is a Muslim idea:

Sunday on Meet the Press, Mitch McConnell was asked about the Pew poll that showed 31 percent of Republicans believe Obama is a Muslim. He said, “The president says he’s a Christian. I take him at his word. I don’t think that’s in dispute.”

If McConnell wasn’t trying to stir the pot, he also wasn’t trying to lower the boil. What you didn’t hear McConnell say was that the whole notion that Obama is a Muslim is ridiculous because by any standard we use to evaluate the religious beliefs of our leaders, President Obama is a Christian. Nor did he go on to say that any politician who tries to benefit from this urban legend—by courting either Islamophobes or conspiracy nuts who think Obama is engaged in some kind of systematic deception—should be ashamed of himself.

Jon Chait explains exactly what is so disingenuous about this formulation:

To say that you “take him at his word” means two things. First of all, it suggests that the president’s word is the only information we have to go on here. Of course, that is absurd. Second, if further suggests that, the evidence being weak or inconclusive, McConnell is taking the high road by accepting Obama’s testimony.

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

One Response to There’s evidence, not just “his word”

  1. brettlittle says:

    It appears the Republican Party loves playing politics with the religion of Islam. Why should I be surprised though? FixedNews is always playing politics with Christianity too! Ugh..

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