On November 16 we noted Washington Times editor emeritus Wesley Pruden's claim that President Obama "has no natural instinct or blood impulse" for what America "is about" because "[h]e was sired by a Kenyan father, born to a mother attracted to men of the Third World and reared by grandparents in Hawaii, a paradise far from the American mainstream."
In today's column, Pruden responds to criticism of his "observations" by asserting that Obama's four years in Indonesia "inevitably" instilled in him "a distorted image of his native land" because "How could a little American boy, learning in cultural isolation in a Muslim school 10,000 miles from home, absorb anything but a strange and different culture?" Pruden adds, "Such a culture has its charms and merits on its own terms; some would regard it as a better culture than our own, but it isn't necessarily the culture to nurture a boy who would be president of the United States."
From Pruden's November 20 Washington Times column:
Now that every nut in America is equipped with a laptop computer, you're likely to run afoul of a nut on the loose almost anywhere.
I observed in this space earlier this week that Barack Obama's curious compulsion to travel the world to make endless apologies for America could stem from his spending the most formative years of his childhood in the Third World. I mentioned two observable facts, neither in any way accusatory or rude, that his father was a Kenyan (Marxist) and the mother who raised him was obviously attracted to men of the Third World. She married two of them.
These observations, and how that might have influenced a child, struck several readers - I've heard from them all - as unforgivable xenophobia, arrogance and, of course, the mindless all-purpose indictment, "racism." My observation that the president's mother was attracted to the Third World was, incredibly, taken as insult, as if being attracted to "men of the Third World" is bad. But bigotry, like beauty, lies often in the eye of the beholder, or in this case in the eye of the accuser. Most of the e-mails were crude, obscene and, worse, cast in the language of the schoolyard. Some included the obligatory shot at George W. Bush. With friends like these the president needs no enemies.
Mr. Obama himself writes about his birthright at length in his memoir, "Dreams From My Father" -- one of the best memoirs from any of our presidents. Since every one of us is the extension of our life's experiences, I observed that the impressions of his childhood could explain the president's obsession with making apologies and amends for his country's sins and shortcomings, perceived and otherwise.
No president before him, Democrat, Republican or Whig, had felt such compulsion to tug at his forelock. But these are familiar complaints heard in the Third World. When I lived and worked there years ago, I heard them often. Everything America does is suspect, usually meant to wound and humiliate, even its good-hearted attempts to do good. Such complaints are usually driven by resentment, covetousness and even malice. A child growing up in such an atmosphere inevitably absorbs a distorted image of his native land, missing something of his birthright.
How could a little American boy, learning in cultural isolation in a Muslim school 10,000 miles from home, absorb anything but a strange and different culture?
"I was introduced to dog meat (tough), snake meat (tougher) and grasshopper (crunchy)," he writes. The strangeness was "one long adventure, the bounty of a boy's life." Such a culture has its charms and merits on its own terms; some would regard it as a better culture than our own, but it isn't necessarily the culture to nurture a boy who would be president of the United States.