The Obama Flag Flap

February 12th, 2008 1:25 PM

The blogosphere began buzzing yesterday afternoon because of a Cuban flag superimposed with a picture of Che Guevara that was flown in an volunteer, unofficial office for Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama in Houston, Texas, captured by a local Fox News affiliate.

Allahpundit likened it yesterday to be the equivalent of flying a Timothy McVeigh flag in a John McCain office, and noted that if that had occurred, media outlets would have more than likely made more of an issue of it than they have in this instance.

I don't however, share the condemnation heard yesterday of the Obama campaign itself over this particular story from some of my friends on the right. I think James Joyner's take on the issue is even-handed, in that:

...Che is a terrorist who shouldn't be honored by decent people. Che worship (or, alternatively, the wearing of Che t-shirts as a statement without the slightest clue of who he was) seems to be a phase that certain left-leaning activists go through in their youth; it generally passes. Driscoll's characterization of it as "juvenilia" is spot on.

For reasons I'll certainly never understand, a contingent on the fringe left does and has long had a special affinity for this particular terrorist, but that in and of itself should not reflect upon Obama, unless he also shares those views or had advance knowledge of such a flag being placed in this volunteer-established office (which I strongly doubt).

What the flag may come far closer to representing is the historical cluelessness of some potential voters, and the sad flocking to cults of personality by those who feel politically marginalized, as noted by the U.K.based satire site Anorak News which said dryly:

"...The stakes could not be higher in the battle between Ron Paul and Barack Obama for the hearts and minds of America's young people, as this picture shows."

But it isn't just the young and uninformed who flock to such cults of personality, as we've all seen our fair share of Paulites and Obama supporters of every age and education level.

There are many people who feel politically lost who will flock to those voices that offer seemingly easy "change," whether that voice offers workable solutions or empty platitudes.

Considering that this story is largely confined to the blogosphere at this moment, there is probably very little desire in the official Barack Obama campaign to issue a statement against the displaying of this terrorist-hyping flag in a volunteer office. Though it would be a nice gesture, such a refutation may make this into a larger story than it would otherwise be.

Cuban-Americans, however, may find this political calculation to be less than satisfactory.

It is rather sad that the Obama campaign is in a position where it had to decide whether denouncing a terrorist is a smart move, but when a candidate runs on a platform offering so little substance or experience, being quiet and vague is perhaps precisely what they are counting on.

Cross-posted at Confederate Yankee.