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“Barack”

By Matthew Yglesias

"“Barack”"

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Mike Allen begins the attacks on Barack Obama while pretending to be reporting on the attacks others will be beginning shortly. Allen’s first gotcha? “Why has he sometimes said his first name is Arabic, and other times Swahili?” As Brad DeLong points out, he’s sometimes said “Barack” is an Arabic word because it is an Arabic word. At other times, he’s described “Barack” as a Swahili word because . . . it’s also a Swahili word. Yes, yes. Some words are words in more than one language. Shocking stuff. I also enjoyed Allen’s account of why Obama is too liberal:

“Audacity of Hope” advocates civil unions for gay people (a position held by most national democratics), declaring tartly that Obama is not “willing to accept a reading of the Bible that considers an obscure line in Romans to be more defining of Christianity than the Sermon on the Mount.” He says he doesn’t “believe we strengthen the family by bullying or coercing people into the relationships we think are best for them – or by punishing those who fail to meet our standards of sexual propriety.”

He writes that Bill Clinton and conservatives turned out to be “right about welfare as it was previously structured.” He adds, “But we also need to admit that work alone does not ensure that people can rise out of poverty.”

So he has one stand that all Democrats adhere to, but has an unusually compelling, Bible-based rationale for it. That won’t fly! Then he says Bill Clinton was right about welfare reform (so very liberal!) but also that “work alone does not ensure that people can rise out of poverty.” But does anyone deny this? It’s a matter of math. The minimum wage is so many dollars per hour, those dollars per hour times a forty hour workweek equals sub-poverty living for many families. To avoid being objectionably liberal these days we need to pretend all full-time work pays a non-poverty wage even when it doesn’t?

UPDATE: Michael Crowley: “if this is the best people have got (which I doubt: the really saucy stuff will spill in more dramatic fashion) then Barack shouldn’t sweat.” Agreed.

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