HMM: Rep. Ellison: Clinton Trying To Reap Benefit Of Obama-Muslim Smear. “I think that Barack Obama’ s Democratic opponents will say and do anything to try and win.” Well, yes.
But why does Ellison think calling someone a Muslim is a “smear”? If somebody called me a Muslim, I wouldn’t feel smeared, any more than if someone called me Jewish.
Nobody is actually this obtuse, right? This is just a disingenuous way of implying that Democrats are anti-Muslim bigots, right? Well, just in case, let’s remind ourselves what the (relevant sense of the) word “smear” means:
To stain or attempt to destroy the reputation of; vilify: political enemies who smeared his name.
Glenn’s response would make sense if the word used had been “insult.” An insult is basically a binary relation: The defining factors are the intentions of the speaker and the reaction of the person to whom he refers. Two people alone in a room can insult each other. They can’t smear each other, because a smear is inherently public; it involves the (anticipated) reactions of third parties. So I can smear someone by insinuating that he is a Muslim, even if we both agree that there’s nothing wrong with being a Muslim, provided it’s understood that there are plenty of others out there who do think there’s something wrong with it. Is anyone actually going to dispute that this last condition obtains in the contemporary United States?
So congratulations, reader: You are now qualified to pass a third grade vocabulary test and overqualified to teach law at the University of Tennessee.