George Bush – America’s first Muslim President?


by Sunny
24th August, 2010 at 4:03 am    

There’s an excellent article in Foreign Policy mag (hat tip @HabibaHamid)

Muslim Americans are, by and large, both socially and economically conservative. Sixty-one percent of them would ban abortion except to save the life of the mother; 84 percent support school choice. Muslims overwhelmingly support traditional marriage. More than a quarter — over twice the national average — are self-employed small-business owners, and most support reducing taxes and the abolition of the estate tax. By all rights they should be Republicans — and not long ago they were. American Muslims voted two to one for George H.W. Bush in 1992. While they went for Bill Clinton by the same margin in 1996, they were brought back into the Republican fold in 2000 by George W. Bush.

If Clinton was, as the author Toni Morrison once quipped, America’s first black president, Bush was, at least momentarily, the country’s first Muslim president. As early as 1999, he hosted a series of meetings between Muslim and Republican leaders, and paid a visit himself to an Islamic center in Michigan — the first and only major presidential candidate to do so. The 2000 Republican convention in Philadelphia was the first in either national party’s history to include a Muslim prayer. On the campaign trail, Bush celebrated the faith of Americans who regularly attended a “church, synagogue, or mosque.” After Muslim community leaders told him of their civil liberties concerns over a piece of 1996 immigration enforcement legislation signed into law by Clinton, Bush criticized it himself in one of his presidential debates against Vice President Al Gore.

The work paid off. By election day, Bush had been endorsed by eight major Muslim American organizations. He won more than 70 percent of the Muslim vote, including 46,200 ballots in Florida alone, prompting longtime conservative activist Grover Norquist — one of the few prominent movement figures to caution against the current wave of mosque demagoguery — to proclaim in the American Spectator that “Bush was elected President of the United States of America because of the Muslim vote.

The problem for Republicans is that while fear-mongering is always good at getting the base fired up – ultimately it comes down to the demographic numbers and the votes. The party has turned psychotic – not just over the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ but even going far as saying that children born in the US of foreign parents should not be allowed to become citizens (that one aimed clearly at Hispanics).

The numbers of Latinos in the US matters more obviously and several pollsters have pointed out (see Huffington Post) that Republicans simply can’t win several states in the south (New Mexico, Colorado, Florida, California, parts of Texas) without the Hispanic vote. Get abandoned by these voters for a generation and the Republicans will stay out of power for the same time.

Also worth noting: New York Times gives context to ‘GZM’ imam’s quotes / The Wall Street Journal points out that Jihadists are loving the hate that Americans are churning out at Muslims.


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  1. Chris McCray — on 24th August, 2010 at 5:04 am  

    Aaaand relax. So the tea-party movement is reactionary madness by a bunch of right-wing loons[+]. The ground-zero mosque (which isn’t a mosque nor is it at ground-zero) rejectionism is all hot-air by media-hyped 1st-amendment denialists. And the anti-hispanic divisive rhetoric will lose the Republicans more votes than it will gain them.

    I’m off down Ladbrokes to place my bets on the Democrats sweeping the board in the mid-terms in November. *Joke*. The Democrats seem hell-bent on losing Congress to the GOP in November. The GOP in turn seem hell-bent on dividing the USA along some very disturbing battle lines.

    All the GOP need is to select the right candidates for 2012, and they could turn Obama into Carter and be a one term president. Watch out for Palin-Jindal 2012. Or maybe Jindal-Palin. Maybe I’m talking rubbish. I do hope so.

    [+] Bill O’Reilly likes to use the word “loon”. It needs wrestling back from the right and used against them imho

  2. Ravi Naik — on 24th August, 2010 at 8:59 am  

    All the GOP need is to select the right candidates for 2012, and they could turn Obama into Carter and be a one term president. Watch out for Palin-Jindal 2012. Or maybe Jindal-Palin. Maybe I’m talking rubbish. I do hope so.

    Well, in my view, you are talking rubbish, Chris. Despite the media hype, the GOP has no candidate to beat Obama in 2012, and Sarah Palin polls so badly that she will never win the Republican nomination.

  3. Cauldron — on 24th August, 2010 at 9:34 am  

    @Ravi Naik

    “….the GOP has no candidate to beat Obama in 2012, and Sarah Palin polls so badly..”

    That’s what they were saying about the GOP in general and about Reagan specifically in 1977…

    And, not so very long ago, what was the conventional wisdom about there being a black President of the USA?

  4. cjcjc — on 24th August, 2010 at 11:43 am  

    That’s what they were saying about the GOP in general and about Reagan specifically in 1977…

    Maybe so. But who is the Reagan de nos jours?

  5. Cronous — on 24th August, 2010 at 12:18 pm  

    @Ravi

    “Well, in my view, you are talking rubbish, Chris. Despite the media hype, the GOP has no candidate to beat Obama in 2012, and Sarah Palin polls so badly that she will never win the Republican nomination.”

    It is still pretty early to decide upon contenders for 2012. Seriously no one heard of George W. Bush in 1998 for the 2000 Presidential election.

  6. Cronous — on 24th August, 2010 at 12:26 pm  

    “The problem for Republicans is that while fear-mongering is always good at getting the base fired up – ultimately it comes down to the demographic numbers and the votes. The party has turned psychotic – not just over the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ but even going far as saying that children born in the US of foreign parents should not be allowed to become citizens (that one aimed clearly at Hispanics).”

    Nevertheless the Republican’s “fear-mongering” agenda is leading in the polls. The Muslim vote is irrelevant in the US. Muslims comprise 0.8% (according to the Pew Forum) of the population and are heavily dispersed across the country, making their impact even more negligible. Latinos tend not to vote that often as other groups. Also 2nd generation Latinos are not as fired up about the immigration debate as their parents were.

  7. Kismet Hardy — on 24th August, 2010 at 12:40 pm  

    It’s a bit like how first gen Asians in this country have strict conservative values and just love the queen. They never eat chocolate bars either, other than bounty, but that’s possibly irrelevant

  8. joe90 — on 24th August, 2010 at 2:18 pm  

    For me it is irrelevant which party wins the US elections their foreign policies are still as brutal as ever, regardless if its the republicans or democrats in power.

  9. Ravi Naik — on 24th August, 2010 at 3:20 pm  

    That’s what they were saying about the GOP in general and about Reagan specifically in 1977…

    Sarah Palin is in Dan Quayle’s territory, it is absurd to compare her political path to Regan’s.

    The Muslim vote is irrelevant in the US. Muslims comprise 0.8% (according to the Pew Forum) of the population and are heavily dispersed across the country, making their impact even more negligible.

    If you re-read this post, you will see that it had an impact in Florida.

  10. Jai — on 24th August, 2010 at 6:47 pm  

    Ravi, Sunny,

    The party has turned psychotic – not just over the ‘Ground Zero Mosque’ but even going far as saying that children born in the US of foreign parents should not be allowed to become citizens (that one aimed clearly at Hispanics).

    There’s currently an article on CiF which you should both read:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/aug/24/obama-backlash-us-racism

    The backlash against Obama’s blackness

    From Arizona to Ground Zero via birthers, the Republicans are riding a wave of white resentment. It’s reckless and frightening

    The August madness into which America has descended is about several things. It’s about the still-sputtering economy, of course, and the fear it engenders. It’s about xenophobia, never far below the surface. And it’s about a rightwing media-political complex that plays on the public’s ignorance.

    But there’s a unifying theme that few wish to acknowledge. What we are witnessing at the moment is the full, ugly furore of white backlash, aimed directly and indirectly at our first black president.

    Far worse is the racial, ethnic and religious hatred that has been unleashed, starting with the proposed Islamic centre to be built in New York several blocks from the devastated World Trade Centre site, which Obama endorsed and then (to his discredit) unendorsed, sort of, the next day.

    The case was made, inadvertently, in a Wall Street Journal op-ed piece last week by Republican congressman-turned-lobbyist Dick Armey, the godfather of what might be called the Tea Party movement’s corporate wing. Armey and his co-author, Matt Kibbe, proudly dated the birth of the Tea Party to 9 February 2009.

    Barack Obama’s $800m stimulus bill was not approved until three days later. Which is my point. The most notorious political movement of the Obama era, grounded in racial fears if not flat-out racism, sprung into being within weeks of Obama’s inauguration, before he’d had a chance to do anything, really. If Obama was for it, they were against it.

    …..But to experience the pure fury, you have to watch this video of a black man who had the temerity to walk through a group of people protesting the centre. It is a terrifying moment.

    …..The continuing phenomenon of Sarah Palin, who, at long last, feels empowered enough to reach inside the deepest, darkest recesses of her tiny little heart and embrace a fellow rightwinger’s repeated use of the N-word.

    Read the article in full; make sure you also watch the video mentioned above along with reading the URL-linked HuffPost article about Palin’s support for that racist radio presenter.

  11. Sunny — on 24th August, 2010 at 7:22 pm  

    Latinos tend not to vote that often as other groups. Also 2nd generation Latinos are not as fired up about the immigration debate as their parents were.

    I suggest watching how the Hispanic vote has comprehensively abandoned the Republicans post Bush to read up on this properly.

  12. Cronous — on 24th August, 2010 at 8:23 pm  

    @Ravi

    “If you re-read this post, you will see that it had an impact in Florida.”

    Theoretically that argument (that you should appeal to Muslims who represent an extreme minority) could be applied to any other small group (White supremacists, anarchists, etc.). No one campaigns expecting such a close margin. More importantly no one is willing to support a small unpopular group at the risk of alienating a large majority. Being an anti-Islam/anti-Ground Zero Mosque will get you votes, no wonder Harry Reid (and Howard Dean) are coming out against it.

  13. Cronous — on 24th August, 2010 at 8:42 pm  

    @Sunny

    “I suggest watching how the Hispanic vote has comprehensively abandoned the Republicans post Bush to read up on this properly.”

    Not sure how this impacts the whole fear-mongering narrative (in this case through immigration policy). Hispanics overwhelming voted for Obama even when McCain had a pro-immigration posistion. Latinos, like everyone else, were swayed by the tide of Anti-Republican sentiment in 2008.

    And even if the Democrats were to gain Latino votes, most political operators view immigration as a win for Republicans. Many blue collar whites, blacks, and even latinos that live here legally don’t like unemployment that illegal immigrants create not to mention the driving down of their wages.

  14. Cronous — on 24th August, 2010 at 9:00 pm  

    @joe90

    “For me it is irrelevant which party wins the US elections their foreign policies are still as brutal as ever, regardless if its the republicans or democrats in power.”

    Don’t worry, with Repubs likely to increase their share of elected officials come November, we should be getting a bit more brutal.

  15. Fedrico Lister — on 25th August, 2010 at 2:29 am  

    I hope Bloomberg stands as an independent.

  16. damon — on 25th August, 2010 at 1:58 pm  

    Jai @10

    …along with reading the URL-linked HuffPost article about Palin’s support for that racist radio presenter.

    I think that’s just one way of looking at things. There are others.
    http://www.theroot.com/views/lets-make-deal-n-word

    We need to strike a deal. If blacks are going to go about slinging the n-word around at one another — and they are — then we will also stop pretending that there is no difference between quoting the word and saying it. That is not only fair but also a matter of exhibiting basic intelligence.

    But I understand that doesn’t sit well with a ”57 things you never knew about the BNP” approach to issues like this.

  17. Cauldron — on 25th August, 2010 at 2:34 pm  

    @16 Do you think the Guardian is talking about the same klan-supporting supremacist Sarah Palin who endorsed Nikki Haley?

  18. Shamit — on 25th August, 2010 at 4:41 pm  

    @5 “Seriously no one heard of George W. Bush in 1998 for the 2000 Presidential election.”

    Really – you are exposing your lack of knowledge about US politics. In 1995, he beat a very popular Governor of Texas, Anne Richards who was a real political heavy weight.

    By 1998, it was certain that the Republican base was backing George W Bush, with his born again Christianity message – and at the same time, he had the minority support from Latinos and Muslims as this post points out. he is a ruthless politician and while people may make fun of him – he went to Yale and Harvard. The name helps but still you need to graduate on your own.

    Comparing Sarah Palin to Reagan or Bush junior is a bit naff and shows ignorance.

  19. Shamit — on 25th August, 2010 at 4:50 pm  

    Also about 1980 presidential elections:

    - Reagan came a close second to Gerald Ford in the 1976 nomination battle and while Bush senior was the favourite – New Hampshire primary was won by Reagan and he defined US politics for the following decade.

    - Carter had two more problems – one called Edward Kennedy, one who I have scant respect for and the other is called Iran and the hostage crisis.

    *******************************

    And, in Obama’s case, if the Atlantic Monthly is accurate, Israel just might turn the vote in favour for Obama and against GOP – if they strike Iranian nuclear facilities.

    ********************************

    If I were to put my money right now, who could be good candidates against Obama – Pawlenty and Haley Barbour.

    And the wild card candidate – David Patraeus.

    Bill Clinton was worried about Powell running – believe me Obama would be worried about Patraeus if he quit and decided to run. But most likely, Obama will appoint him Chairman JCS and thus make it the next guy’s problem.

    *********************

  20. Cronous — on 26th August, 2010 at 2:38 am  

    Shamit

    “Really – you are exposing your lack of knowledge about US politics. In 1995, he beat a very popular Governor of Texas, Anne Richards who was a real political heavy weight.”

    I was referring to him nationally. Of course people knew him Texas as their governor.

  21. Jai — on 26th August, 2010 at 9:30 am  

    @16 Do you think the Guardian is talking about the same klan-supporting supremacist Sarah Palin who endorsed Nikki Haley?

    A person can be racist towards Group A without necessarily also being racist towards Group B.

  22. damon — on 26th August, 2010 at 12:39 pm  

    A person can be racist towards Group A without necessarily also being racist towards Group B.

    Indeed they can. And just looking up Nikki Haley on Wikipedia, she’s of Sikh origin, but converted to christianity to marry. So that’s not as clear as it might be.

    Of course you can also be deemed as racist if you don’t follow the agenda laid down by people who think they can dictate the agenda of what anti-racism is.
    Or if you are black or ethnic minority, be called a coconut or something. Like that guy I linked to in my last post often is.

    I listened to Dr Laura quite a lot when I was in the States – as it’s good company to have that on the radio on long drives …. and as conservative as she is, and as reactionary as she is, to call her a racist is rather cheap. When she is no more ”racist” than most of the people shown in this documentary last night.
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00tkr8b

  23. joe90 — on 26th August, 2010 at 1:15 pm  

    post #22

    Dr laura was racist to the caller trying to defend her is lame. She is a right wing bigot and it was only a matter of time before she flipped.

    As for the bbc programme how are the people in the programme racist?

  24. Wibble — on 26th August, 2010 at 2:11 pm  

    Sorry Damon, powerful White people using the N-word in the US is serious because of the historical background. a few years of “PC going Maaaad!” “oppressing” you is not the same.

  25. damon — on 26th August, 2010 at 2:34 pm  

    Joe90, I don’t take you too seriously since your comments about the bus driver and the woman in the niqab, when you suggested it was for him to prove himself innocent of charges of islamophobia.
    Dr Laura has said it’s best for people to not marry across colour lines – which is ”shock horror” shocking for a white (Jewish) peoson to say, but if it is the majority opinion of the people in that BBC programme about the East London Mosque, then it’s considered just a cultural and religious choice.

    Wibble, did you take any notice of the point I made @16? When I quoted this?

    …then we will also stop pretending that there is no difference between quoting the word and saying it ..

    .
    If you are not picking up that point, then you are missing the point.
    Although I know that it is a distinction usually ignored, and the same lazy points are made again, year after year.
    It’s why I don’t regard myself from the same part of the left that Jai is part of (for example).

  26. Jai — on 26th August, 2010 at 2:49 pm  

    It’s why I don’t regard myself from the same part of the left that Jai is part of (for example).

    I’m not part of “the Left” — I’m part of the Khalsa.

    Whole different ballgame, pal.

  27. damon — on 26th August, 2010 at 3:05 pm  

    Well, you learn something new every day. Thanks to Wikipedia, I now know this:

    The Khalsa is the reflection of my form, The Khalsa is my body and soul, The Khalsa is my very life…. ….Our enemies are vanquished by the steadfastness of Khalsa, Unlike countless others, we are adorned by the Khalsa.

  28. Wibble — on 26th August, 2010 at 3:07 pm  

    Damon – nope, I read it perfectly well and disagreed.

  29. damon — on 26th August, 2010 at 5:16 pm  

    I’m not sure what you disagreed with Wibble.
    That there was a difference between using ”the N-word” and even referring to it?
    If you just google ”dr Laura n word” you come up with loads of commentary about it. And that’s my point really. There isn’t just one way to look at things all the time. This article in The Root is better than most of the ”OMG, what a racist that Dr Laura is” points of view, which I have said so many times I find tiersome, and Jai, (the non left winger) has told me it didn’t matter how many times I said such things, I was always wrong about them (or something like that anyway) … but here’s what it said in The Root.

    Let’s stop giving the Schlessingers and Limbaughs of the world the authority to hijack the news cycle whenever they feel like it by saying just two syllables. Because while what Dr. Laura said was trite and boring and shallow, it wasn’t racist, and it’s time we acknowledge that.

    http://www.theroot.com/views/n-word-isnt-issue

    Do you disagree with that as well Wibble.
    Personally I think it’s quite good – and makes those who jump straight to the ”racist” accusation about a person, look quite shallow.
    Did you see this on the 2nd page of that article?

    Schlessinger’s ultimate point — “Black people say ‘nigger’; why can’t I?” — is, of course, historically ignorant, culturally ignorant and, worst of all, hackneyed. But what she said wasn’t racist, and claiming that it is gives both her and the word more power than they deserve.

  30. Jai — on 26th August, 2010 at 6:21 pm  

    Jai, (the non left winger) has told me it didn’t matter how many times I said such things, I was always wrong about them (or something like that anyway)

    Provide an exact quote of what I have allegedly said, along with relevant URL links for the comments concerned.

  31. joe90 — on 26th August, 2010 at 8:36 pm  

    Post #25

    likewise i don’t take your comment seriously either, especially when you say you enjoyed listening to right wing nutjob in dr laura who is not even a proper doctor in the first place.

    As for the bbc programme if people said they choose their partner on the basis of religion that is hardly racist even you know that much.

  32. damon — on 26th August, 2010 at 8:47 pm  

    Joe90, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying wild and wacky radio. There’s plenty of people in America who won’t date across colour lines too. Frown on it even. And they certainly aren’t all white.

    Jai, if you’ve forgotten and care to look it up, you just need to google ‘pickled politics tit damon jai’ and that should get you there. The last posts on that thread. I can’t be bothered with it myself.

  33. Jai — on 27th August, 2010 at 10:14 am  

    you just need to google ‘pickled politics tit damon jai’

    Very useful. Now readers of PP can simply google the above and see for themselves how much Damon is grossly distorting matters in his attempt to misquote me.

  34. damon — on 27th August, 2010 at 3:22 pm  

    Sorry if I misquoted you Jai, I can’t remember exactly what I said the other day, but my opinion of the thread I just showed in the google search is that (I thought) you just jumped in one evening and decided to ”put some manners on me”.
    You were being less than blunt, but Refresh reckoned you were calling me a tit without actually saying it yourself. Not that I mind. I know that this is how ”the internet” can be.
    I also get some grief on an Irish website, as I’ve been going along to political/cultural parades in Northern Ireland and been giving my impressions of them – and seem to always upset some side or another.
    I was even told to ”Go Home” the other night.
    And ”Get the boat”.

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