Barack Obama himself has never had the guts to say it.
Indeed, while it is famously difficult to prove a negative, it seems apparent that few people in all of politics and media have had the guts to say it. Did John McCain ever say it? Did Rick Santorum or Bill O’Reilly?
So let us plant a little flag for, mark with a yellow highlighter, the thing Rep. Raul Labrador said Sunday on Meet The Press: that “it wouldn’t matter” if President Obama were a Muslim. And if it seems rather much to be handing out medals for such a modest statement of principle, well . . . the principle has been under fire for so long that even a modest statement feels momentous.
In recent years, public figures have made news for refuting (like McCain) or failing to refute (like Santorum) the canard that Obama is a follower of Islam. But outside of Colin Powell, who did so a few years back on Meet The Press, it is difficult to think of many – or any – who have dared to confront the notion implicit in the lie. Namely, that being a Muslim is incompatible with being an American.
Leonard Pitts Jr. applauds Idaho Republican congressman Raúl Labrador’s statement on the NBC news/interview programme Meet the Press.