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...a sweatshop of moxie

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Dare Not Speak His Name

Look, this idiot could be anyone. It could even be a Republican troublemaker disguised as an extremist who wishes to behead people if they insult Obama.

But it's harder to dismiss this latest bit of news. A Lee County (Florida) sheriff is being investigated because he dared to use Senator Barack Obama's middle name, Hussein, publicly.

One day after Lee County Sheriff Mike Scott sparked a national controversy by referring to Democratic presidential candidate as Barack Hussein Obama, the federal government is investigating a complaint about his remark and members of the local NAACP have called for an apology, saying Scott’s action was racist.

Meanwhile, Scott’s office has been inundated with more than 600 calls from people registering their support or opposition to what he said, and a record of more than 1,000 posts had been made to the developing story on news-press.com Tuesday night.

Opponents claim he was taking a swipe at Obama by attempting to falsely link him to Muslim terrorist ties.

Scott said he had no ulterior motive for his choice of words.

“Unless he changed his name, my position hasn’t changed,” Scott said. “It seems very clear to me that people have one of three stances on this thing: There are those who dislike it, there are those who like it, and there are those who think it’s a whole big deal about nothing, which is where I stand. ...

“As of this writing, I am unaware of having done anything to generate all this attention other than using the senator’s full name.”

The Republican sheriff, who is up for re-election, maintained he spoke only for himself at the rally and not on behalf of his agency or residents of Lee County.

A complaint sent to the U.S. Office of Special Counsel Tuesday alleged Scott violated the Hatch Act, which prohibits federal employees from engaging in partisan political activity, because his agency receives federal dollars, and Scott was engaging in political activity while on duty and in uniform and using his position to sway an election. Erica S. Hamrick, senior attorney at the special counsel, said in an e-mail an investigation was being opened. Neither she nor her office could be reached for further comment Tuesday.

It is standard procedure for an agency to open an investigation when someone files a complaint. Scott said just because an investigation is initiated does not mean there is evidence of wrongdoing.

“When someone calls and makes a complaint, you don’t just say, ‘Well thanks for calling, but we’re not going to do anything about it,’” he said. “No, you open up an investigation. But I still stand by the fact that I did nothing wrong.”

Calls flooded the sheriff’s public information office Tuesday with both criticism and support, and a news conference was held by members of the Fort Myers Coalition for Justice and the NAACP, pulling their support for Scott unless he makes an apology.

Scott admitted he never expected the firestorm.

Representatives for McCain and Palin distanced their camps from Scott’s use of the name.

“The use of a name that has a Middle Eastern sound was used to insinuate the Muslim faith,” said Adrianne Marsh, spokeswoman for Obama's Florida campaign. “The fact of the matter is Sen. Obama is Christian, and always has been.”

Marsh said much of the information provided at the rally was inaccurate or misleading.

“Monday’s rally by the McCain-Palin campaign contained a number of false negative attacks, which clearly shows they are offering more of the same divisive politics of the past,” Marsh said. “These attacks are nothing more than distractions around the economy, which we should be talking about.” [...]

I don't know what to think.

First, the man was wrong to speak at a political event wearing his uniform, but my God, you can't use Obama's middle name, even if you're an official, without having a federal investigation launched at you??

That's nuts.

I thought I felt a chilly wind of censorship from the Obama Truth Squads in Missouri, but this is just adds to the increasing froideur...

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