...The magazine says the cartoon is intended as a satirical comment about some of the distorted right-wing attacks on the Democratic senator.
An Obama campaign spokesman said the cartoon was "tasteless and offensive".
A spokesman for John McCain, Mr Obama's Republican rival in the presidential election, also criticised the cartoon.''
We've probably all read the discussion of this in the blogosphere or heard the endless cable news discussions of it. As the above quote indicates, the New Yorker claims that the cartoon was not intended to be anti-Obama, which is exactly what anybody familiar with the New Yorker would expect. But nonetheless Obama and his cult followers are going to get the maximum grievance mileage out of this incident.
Which, I think, may be what the cartoon was designed to do: to give Obama and his camp an opportunity to once again play the race card, the 'victim' card, and rail against bigotry. It's not as though McCain is giving them much opportunity to do this, as we can see by the official McCain reaction quoted above. McCain and the Republicans in general are tiptoeing around in their criticisms of Obama lest they be accused of 'racism' or bigotry of any sort. So Obama et al have to manufacture incidents which enable them to mount their high horse and inveigh against 'bigotry' and unfairness in general. I think this is the horse on which Obama expects to ride all the way to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. So they have to maximize the chance to strike the wounded victim pose for the rest of the campaign.
In the process, the New Yorker's claim of 'distorted right wing attacks' on Obama is once again brought to the forefront. In particular the idea that Obama has Moslem roots is being greeted with feigned outrage by his supporters. 'How dare you say Obama might be a Muslim! Everybody knows he is a Christian.'' Well, a Christian who says that the sound of the muezzin's call to evening prayer is 'one of the the prettiest sounds' is rather an odd duck of a Christian. To me, the prettiest sound is the sound of our local church bells playing 'Amazing Grace' of an evening. And Obama, despite his 'admission' about not speaking any other language, is quoted as having recited prayers in fluent Arabic.
The Times' Nicholos Kristof wrote Obama recited, "with a first-class [Arabic] accent," the opening lines of the Muslim call to prayer.''
Yet the 'mainstream media' insists that Obama is a Christian with no Moslem ties and decries the 'Islamophobic' slurs about Obama.
So yes, there is some raising of this issue on the right, and justifiably so. There is nothing 'distorted' about raising these questions.
The New Yorker probably wants to use the cartoon as a weapon against the 'bigots' on the right while Obama gets the benefit of being a wronged victim again. This is the kind of thing that rallies his followers.
Likewise, am I cynical for wondering if the recent crude remarks by Jesse Jackson, supposedly while he was unaware of a live mike, were in fact a set-up?
It may be that there is some personal envy between these two men but I believe their common purpose overrides any personal animosity there. 'No enemies to the left' is the liberal credo, and we can't underestimate racial solidarity. So I wonder if the Jackson remarks were, again, meant to generate some false controversy and to rally those sympathetic to Obama.
Still, this is all ultimately a tempest in a teapot, and it won't substantially change the election outcome.