In his book The Grand Jihad, Andrew McCarthy invokes numerous smears, myths, and falsehoods to portray President Obama as an “Islamist.”
McCarthy: Obama not a Muslim, but he has “Islamist sympathies”
Book jacket: Obama's “Islamist sympathies run deep.” From the dust jacket of McCarthy's book:
In The Grand Jihad: How Islam and the Left Sabotage America, bestselling author Andrew C. McCarthy provides a harrowing account of how the global Islamist movement's jihad involves far more than terrorist attacks, and how it has found the ideal partner in President Barack Obama, whose Islamist sympathies run deep.
McCarthy: "[N]o reason to doubt" Obama's profession that he is a Christian, but his “faith” is “neocommunism.” From The Grand Jihad:
[T]he president's Islamic heritage is deeply rooted. As we shall see, to the extent Obama had a religious faith in his formative years, it was Islam. That doesn't make him a Muslim, much less the Muslim “Manchurian candidate” of anti-Obama paranoia. There is no record of his ever having professed Islam as an adult (profession of the faith being the first pillar of Islam). While much about Obama remains a mystery -- despite the 850 pages' worth of autobiography and policy prescriptions he had published by the age of forty-five - the religion he publicly professes is Christianity, and there is no reason to doubt him on that score.
No reason because his formal religion is nearly irrelevant. The faith to which Obama actually clings is neocommunism. It is a leftism of the most insidious kind: secular and uncompromising in its rejection of bourgeois values, but feverishly spiritual in its zeal to tear down the existing order, under the banner of its all-purpose rally-cry: “social justice.” [pages 11-12]
McCarthy: Obama “seem[s] ... disposed” to “advance the cause of Islam in the world.” McCarthy wrote:
Finally, there are the Islamists -- those hundreds of millions of Muslims who take their sharia quite seriously but, as we've seen, take it with varying degrees of nuance. Most of them believe that all humans, regardless of parentage, are called to Islam at birth. The question for them is whether, as an intellectual matter, a person affirms or rejects this call. Such Muslims are apt to see in Obama a man who, while never clearly affirming the call, has never really rejected it either. To the contrary, they see a man who not only has been solicitous of Muslim concerns but wants very much to be understood as being solicitous of Muslim concerns. These legions of Muslims are also apt to see Obama as a very powerful and useful man: A man in a position, if so disposed, to advance the cause of Islam in the world.
He certainly does seem so disposed. [page 212]
McCarthy: Like Islamists, Obama does not like “America as it is,” his agenda “jibes perfectly with the Islamist scheme to destroy America from within.” McCarthy wrote:
Obama professes a love for this country. So does many an Islamist. What they love, however, is a vision of America, not America as it is: E Pluribus Unum -- the Many who are transformed into One by freedom, not ideology. For the president as for the Islamists, the object of their affection is not our Unum, the glorious inheritance we pluribus cherish through generations past, present, and (one prays) future. That Unum earns only their disdain.
Move through Obama's career as a community organizer, his embrace of ACORN, his radical associations: the common denominator is a purpose to break down the Unum at its foundations, what he calls the “grass roots.” For America, he plans an atom bomb. Or, to be precise, an atoms bomb: countless communities in cities and towns across the land, organized along Saul Alinsky's brand of Marxism, into socialist enclaves. It fits hand in glove with Yusuf Qaradawi's voluntary apartheid, the enclave strategy of the Muslim Brotherhood. Each atom smothers the individual freedom and enterprise that have defined the American character, replacing them with welfare states that prize dysfunction and reward the rabble-rousers.
To be sure, there is an Unum that Obama sees. It is in his mind's eye -- clearer on the horizon now than when he began his project twenty-five years ago. It will arrive when the atoms reach critical mass and finally devour the hollowing carcass of our present society. This, too, jibes perfectly with the Islamist scheme to destroy America from within, the Grand Jihad. [pages 225-226, emphasis in original]
McCarthy obsesses over alleged “bowing,” Obama's middle name
McCarthy: Obama “bowed” to Saudi leader to honor their “shared dream” of Islam. McCarthy began his book by referencing an alleged bow by Obama toward a world leader, a regular focus of right-wing commentators:
And so he bowed.
Barack Hussein Obama swept into the royal reception hall. With the election won and power assumed, it was suddenly all right to hype “Hussein” again, and the new president had adjusted accordingly. All successful politicians are manipulators of language, of course, but even masters of the game had to marvel at Obama's prowess. This wasn't just the routine squaring of “equal protection” with “affirmative action” or transforming “abortion” into “choice.” This guy had actually managed to morph his own name from calling card to epithet and back in nothing flat, as if it were the most natural thing in the world. Which, for him, it was. No wonder that even here, in Buckingham Palace, he was the center of rapt attention, as he had been for each of the seventy-two days since his inauguration. In fact, it had been this way ever since his improbable run caught fire two years before.
Suddenly his purposeful strut came to a halt. Then it happened, for all to see.
The 44th President of the United States of America bowed deeply, reverentially, before King Abdullah bin Abdul Azziz, Keeper of the Two Holy Mosques, the absolute monarch of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
What could Obama have been thinking instead? That there was an American presidency owed to sheer defiance of this majestic setting. That there was a United States owed to America's exceptionalism - the historically unique determination, forged in the blood of patriots, to refuse submission to a tyrannical power. This history is the steel in America's backbone. It is why United States presidents look foreign royalty straight in the eye, with a dignity befitting leadership of the world's most powerful, most munificent, most freedom-loving nation. They don't bow.
Obama had seemed to grasp that ... at least when it came to the United Kingdom, that bastion of Western imperialism so reviled by his Kenyan Marxist forebears.
So, of all the planet's potentates, why would an American president demean his station in homage to this one? Because Saudi Arabia is the cradle of Islam. More specifically, it is the bottomless purse and symbolic crown of a movement which aims at nothing less than supplanting Western political, economic, and cultural values. The subversion of those values is Obama's fondest wish: the work of his presidency, the Hope behind the Change. The president was bowing to a shared dream. [pages 1-2, 4-5]
McCarthy: Obama “deployed” middle name as “code” to “antiwar leftists in America and their Islamist allies.” Echoing another right-wing obsession from the 2008 presidential campaign, McCarthy focused on Obama's middle name, asserting that Obama “deployed” it as part of a “code” to “antiwar leftists in America and their Islamist allies.” McCarthy also suggested that Obama was “intentionally evoking images of Islam's Prophet,” Mohammed, when Obama told PBS, “I am the messenger who can deliver that message.” From Grand Jihad:
Long before humbling himself to Abdullah, Barack Obama had signaled his intention to steer the United States toward submission and appeasement. This was back in October 2007, the heady days before the Democrats' nomination battle intensified and invocations of Obama's middle name by political adversaries ignited fusillades of media indignation. The candidate grew downright whimsical when he told PBS,
Well, I think if you've got a guy named Barack Hussein Obama, that's a pretty good contrast to George W. Bush. ... If you believe that we've got to heal America and we've got to repair our standing in the world, then I think my supporters believe that I am the messenger who can deliver that message.
Such beliefs were indeed shared by Obama's acolytes, to whose ears the incantation “Barack Hussein Obama” was music. This progressive vanguard ached for the antidote to “Bushitler” and his “war on Islam” -- a.k.a. the “war on terror” or what, in Obama parlance, is now called the “overseas contingency operation.”
“I am the messenger who can deliver that message,” the candidate had told PBS. Would anyone seriously believe that believe that Obama, a deft communicator and no stranger to celestial imagery, was not intentionally evoking images of Islam's Prophet in remarks fashioned for Islamic consumption? For Muslims, after all, Mohammed is the “excellent model of conduct” who ceaselessly announced himself as “the messenger” -- the last in a line of “messengers,” including Moses and Jesus, sent by Allah to call mankind to the one true faith. For argument's sake, though, let's pretend this thought never crossed Obama's mind. There can still be no denying that the candidate was seeking to highlight the incandescent power of his middle name, “Hussein.” It is, after all, a name straight out of Islam's glorious lore. Hussein, Mohammed's grandson, was a central figure in the triumphant campaigns of the Islam's original “rightly guided” caliphs. His is among the most common names in the Muslim world.
As Obama deployed it, Hussein was not merely a name. It was a cipher. The sleepy American press would not break the code, but antiwar leftists in America and their Islamist allies worldwide instantly got the message. For those dreaming jointly and hungrily for the anti-Bush, Obama was offering an overture of empathy, of like-mindedness. They would seize on Obama's ties to Islam, and the “hope” those ties portended for undermining the last remaining superpower, the object of their mutual disdain. [pages 8-9, 10; emphasis in original]
McCarthy: Obama “flaunt[ed] his Muslim roots” in interview as “fitting warm-up act” for bow to Saudi king. Describing Obama's interview with the Arabic TV network al-Arabiya, McCarthy wrote:
The president also used his first interview to flaunt his Muslim roots. It was another reversal for Obama: he'd initially played up his heritage as a post-American calling-card; then -- once it was clear that America wasn't quite ready to ride off into the sunset -- he bridled at the mere mention of his middle initial. But now he changed his tune again: “I have Muslim members of my family,” Obama now exclaimed. “I have lived in Muslim countries.”
It was a fitting warm-up act for his prostration before the Saudi king at Buckingham Palace. [pages 241-242]
McCarthy repeats discredited smears of Obama
McCarthy on Pakistan visit: “Was Obama a citizen of an Islamic country?” McCarthy wrote that Obama visited Pakistan in 1981 “during the height of Pakistan's Islamicization under the martial law imposed by General Zia ul-Haq,” adding, “While there was not a categorical ban, there was a State Department advisory against Americans traveling to Pakistan.” McCarthy continued:
Of all places, why would Obama travel to Pakistan at that time? And how did he enter the country? Did he use an American passport to enter a police state in which it was dangerous for Americans? If not, did he have travel documents from another country -- which would raise the question also posed by his Indonesian years: Was Obama the citizen of an Islamic country? Those questions weren't pursued. [page 208]
In fact, NY Times, State Dept. gave instructions in 1981 on how to enter Pakistan. A June 1981 New York Times article stated that “Tourists can obtain a free, 30-day visa (necessary for Americans)” to enter Pakistan “at border crossings and airports.” Further, an August 1981 State Department travel advisory explained how Americans could obtain visas for visiting Pakistan.
McCarthy falsely claimed that Obama “lamented” Warren Court didn't address “redistribution of wealth.” McCarthy wrote:
The Warren Court “wasn't that radical” after all. Barack Obama, now a state legislator in Illinois, was giving an interview to Chicago Public Radio in 2001. Sure, the Supreme Court justices who held sway in the Sixties and Seventies had invented abortion rights under the rubric of “privacy,” forged a revolution in the rights of criminals against the society on which they preyed, and put down the markers for today's imperial judiciary. In the end, though, they'd flinched. They had failed, Obama lamented, to confront “the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society.”
By 2001, as he eyed national office, Obama put on mainstream airs. He couched his radicalism in soothing euphemisms like “economic justice.” This is the finance angle of “social justice,” the idée fixe of Obama and his coven of Change-agents. Such Leftists give the Warren Court high marks on non-economic “progress,” but flunk the justices on redistribution: the purported right of society's ne'er-do-wells to pick the pockets of its achievers through the coercive power of government. As Obama sees it, the Warren Court failed to “break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution.” Instead, the justices clung to the hoary construction of the Constitution as “a charter of negative liberties”: one that says only what government “can't do to you.” Obama explained that real economic justice demands the positive case: what government "must do on your behalf" (emphasis added).
This philosophy is a reprise of what Jonah Goldberg elegantly calls the “apotheosis of liberal aspirations.” [pages 221, 222]
In fact, Obama was saying that Warren Court wasn't as radical as some have claimed. In the 2001 interview on Chicago radio station WBEZ, Obama did not “lament” that the Supreme Court under Chief Justice Earl Warren did not address “redistribution of wealth”; rather, he was explaining that the fact it didn't do so is evidence the court “wasn't that radical.” From the interview:
OBAMA: I mean, I think that, you know, if you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court, I think where it succeeded was to vest formal rights in previously dispossessed peoples so that I would now have the right to vote, I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order in, as long as I could pay for it, I'd be OK. But the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of more basic issues of political and economic justice in this society.
And, to that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn't that radical. It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the Founding Fathers in the Constitution, at least as it's been interpreted, and Warren Court interpreted it in the same way that, generally, the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties -- says what the states can't do to you, says what the federal government can't do to you, but it doesn't say what the federal government or the state government must do on your behalf, and that hasn't shifted.
Obama went on to say that the court is “just not very good” at addressing redistributive issues. Contrary to McCarthy's suggestion that Obama wanted the Court to address “redistribution of wealth,” Obama said later in the same interview that he was “not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts, adding that ”the court's just not very good at it, and politically, it's just -- it's very hard to legitimize opinions from the court in that regard." From the interview:
OBAMA: You know, maybe I'm showing my bias here as a legislator as well as a law professor, but, you know, I'm not optimistic about bringing about major redistributive change through the courts. You know, the institution just isn't structured that way.
You know, you just said -- look at very rare examples wherein, during the desegregation era, the court was willing to, for example, order, you know, changes that cost money to a local school district. And the court was very uncomfortable with it. It was hard to manage, it was hard to figure out. You start getting into all sorts of separation of powers issues, you know, in terms of the court monitoring or engaging in a process that essentially is administrative and takes a lot of time.
You know, the court's just not very good at it, and politically, it's just -- it's very hard to legitimize opinions from the court in that regard. So, I mean, I think that, although, you can craft theoretical justifications for it legally -- you know, I think you can, any three of us sitting here could come up with a rationale for bringing about economic change through the courts -- I think that, as a practical matter, our institutions just are poorly equipped to do it
McCarthy falsely claimed Obama judicial nominee “barred state legislators from uttering the name of Jesus Christ,” approved “the name of Allah.” Repeating attacks by other conservatives, McCarthy wrote that Obama's “very first judicial nominee to the all-important federal appellate courts was the Leftist jurist David F. Hamilton,” who once “infamously ruled that the First Amendment's Establishment Clause barred state legislators from uttering the name of Jesus Christ in any invocations ... but that referring to the name of Allah was fine” [page 350].
Hamilton struck down “sectarian” prayer in Indiana legislature, noted that “Allah” can be used in non-sectarian way. Using Supreme Court precedent, Hamilton ruled in Anthony Hinrichs, et al. v. Brian Bosma that prayer in the Indiana House of Representatives “should refrain from using Christ's name or title or any other denominational appeal” and that such prayer “must be nonsectarian and must not be used to proselytize or advance any one faith or belief or to disparage any other faith or belief.” Hamilton wrote that the “sectarian content of the substantial majority of official prayers in the Indiana House therefore takes the prayers outside the safe harbor the Supreme Court recognized for inclusive, non-sectarian legislative prayers in Marsh v. Chambers, 463 U.S. 783 (1983).” In a post-judgment motion, Hamilton wrote that "[t]he Arabic word 'Allah' is used for 'God' in Arabic translations of Jewish and Christian scriptures" and that "[i]f those offering prayers in the Indiana House of Representatives choose to use the Arabic Allah, the Spanish Dios, the German Gott, the French Dieu, the Swedish Gud, the Greek Theos, the Hebrew Elohim, the Italian Dio, or any other language's terms in addressing the God who is the focus of the non-sectarian prayers contemplated in Marsh v. Chambers, the court sees little risk that the choice of language would advance a particular religion or disparage others." He continued: “If and when the prayer practices in the Indiana House of Representatives ever seem to be advancing Islam, an appropriate party can bring the problem to the attention of this or another court.”
McCarthy pushed debunked claim that Obama campaigned for Kenyan candidate
PolitiFact: “no evidence to indicate that Obama 'openly supported' Odinga.” As Media Matters previously documented, Chapter 13 of The Grand Jihad is built around the debunked claim that Obama, during a 2006 visit to Kenya as a senator, campaigned for presidential candidate Raila Odinga. PolitiFact.com found “no evidence to indicate that Obama 'openly supported' Odinga.” McCarthy also claimed that Obama's purported campaigning and his criticism of Kenyan corruption during his trip violated the Logan Act; in fact, a Congressional Research Service report stated that the Logan Act is designed to “prohibit unauthorized persons from intervening in disputes between the United States and foreign governments,” and that no one has been prosecuted under it in its more than 200 years of existence.