Ari Berman in The Nation on the smears against Mr. Obama:
“No one knows if it’s the Clintons, a rogue agent or a Rove agent,” says Congressman Steve Cohen, a Jewish Obama backer who represents a largely black district in Memphis. Likely it’s a combination of the three.
Yesterday, I was listening to Steve Malzberg on the radio. ((An officemate had his radio show on.)) Mr. Malzberg certainly knows how to get under my skin – and I’ve heard parts of his show a half-dozen times in the past few weeks. In these sporadic listenings, I estimate that I’ve heard Mr. Malzberg say, in a tone of voice showing how supremely fair-minded he is to give the benefit of the doubt, about twice every half hour that he “personally” [strongly emphasized] doesn’t consider “Barack Hussein Obama” to be a “secret Muslim.” Yesterday however, he did directly follow the above with the fact that he didn’t see how any “religious person”, or “patriot”, or even how any person who “loves America” could vote for Barack Obama. Not that he thinks he’s a secret Muslim.
It’s a poison – this deliberate and manipulative smearing. A poison in the body politic.
Someone is betting that the American public is too lazy and gullible and conspiracy-minded and embittered and most important – disengaged from power – to see past this.