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The Right to Say ‘Hussein’

Victor Davis Hanson writes an atypically concise post about President Obama’s middle name. He wants Europeans to know the name, says Hanson, but:

It is forbidden at home; any American who employs the tripartite presidential name does so only to fan religious, racial, or ethnic prejudice.

Is this still true? Absolutely, the Obama presidential campaign was uncomfortable with political usage of his middle name in its effort to make the country comfortable with its candidate. (The Onion had some fun with this.) But “Barack Hussein Obama” took the oath of office, and the White House Website calls him “Barack H. Obama.” Anyway, not many people in politics use their middle names in daily parlance, although Victor Davis Hanson might have personal feelings about this. During the 2008 presidential race, Obama’s middle name became a tool for those interested in fanning anti-Muslim sentiment by raising questions about Obama’s heritage. As Americans grow used to the president, will that stop being true? It might. It’s a strange thing to worry about.

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