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Why did Obama do something no American president does: bow to the Saudis?

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Choosing Muslims For Appointments

Why did Obama do something no American president does: bow to the Saudis?

During the presidential campaign, one of the stickiest rumors surrounding Barack Obama was that if he was elected, America could look forward to having a Muslim in the White House.  Now that Obama is president, that rumor may prove correct.  

President Obama says he’s a Christian, but that doesn’t mean he won’t appoint Muslims to key positions in his administration in return for Muslim support during the election.  Muslim groups are fretting that none have been appointed yet, and they want that to change.  Polls showed about nine in 10 American Muslims voted for Obama last fall, and they want something to show for it.  Don’t be surprised if Obama gives them what they want.

Politicians usually reward their supporters.  But the way they do it — and just who they reward — is quite important.      

Last weekend, news broke that various “community groups” are urging our “community-organizer-in-chief” to hire more Muslims.  The Los Angeles Times reported that J. Saleh Williams, program coordinator for the Congressional Muslim Staffers Association, “sifted through more than 300 names” and forwarded a book of 45 résumés to the White House.  Evidently, the White House is eager for the vetting help.  The effort, stated the Times, was “bumped up two weeks ahead of schedule because White House officials heard about the venture.” 

The Times quotes Abdul Malik Mujahid of the Muslim Democrats saying, “Muslims are not looking for handouts. We’re just looking for equal opportunity and inclusiveness.”  Not to mention a little influence.  A spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations didn’t mince words, saying, “We’re hoping that once [Attorney General] Eric Holder puts the [Justice] department in order and places people in different positions, we can reestablish what were very positive relations [with the FBI] in our 15-year history.”  You may recall that the FBI terminated its “very positive relations” with CAIR after it was declared an unindicted co-conspirator in the government’s case against the Holy Land Foundation.

Such faith-based hiring comports with the liberal ideal of equal representation, whereby each constituency is represented in every area of public life in direct proportion to their numbers in the overall population. 

Every possible demographic variable must be accounted for: sex, religion, race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, and so forth.  When Obama gets around to filling the more than 8,000 administration jobs that remained unfilled, his administration will end up looking like a cross-section of America. 

Except, sadly, when it comes to two groups — tax cheats, from which the administration seems determined to oversample, and conservatives, of whom we can expect none.  Which is a shame since most Americans want a variety of political viewpoints in the room when big decisions are made.  

There is a tinge of hypocrisy in the Left’s desire for faith-based hiring.  I remember the hyperventilating in Washington when it was learned that the Bush administration made an effort to hire graduates of Regent University Law School, which was founded by Pat Robertson. 

The liberal blogosphere blew up, citing it as yet another example of Bush subordinating ability to politics in hiring decisions.  Reporters were aghast to discover that the school’s mission is to provide “Christian leadership to change the world.”  They mocked the university for having the temerity to teach that man’s law ought not to preclude God’s law.  Leftwing groups warned that America was on the verge of a theocracy and that the “separation of church and state” was under assault. 

I’m not hearing much concern about the “separation of mosque and state” today from those groups.  Of course, according to the Left, it is preferable to have ardent Muslims in the White House than it is to have believing Christians.  For as Rosie O’Donnell once blurted, “radical Christianity is just as threatening as radical Islam in a country like America.”   

Will Obama hire Muslims only for the political value?  He needn’t — he’s already done plenty to win them over.  The press gleefully told us that Obama was the first president to mention Muslims in his inaugural address.  And his first sit down interview was with the Arabic Al Arabiya news channel.  During that encounter, Obama “reassured” Muslims the world over that that Americans are not their enemies.  In recent days, the president sent a video to Tehran with the plea to begin a new relationship “…that is honest and grounded in mutual respect.” 

As naïve as that is, Obama did something yesterday that no US president should ever do:  he bowed to a foreign leader.  Worse still, he did it to the Saudi King. At the G-20 Summit yesterday, Obama did a full bow from the waist when he met King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia.  This is never done!  A U.S. president is never supposed to bow before foreign royalty.  He didn’t bow before Queen Elizabeth yesterday.  His act has many wondering whether it is another signal to the Muslim world.

Obama’s message of “mutual respect” is also the one Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been delivering around the world.  When she hasn’t been reassuring China that its egregious human rights record will be no obstacle to warmer relations with the U.S., Clinton has been apologizing to Muslim governments for the supposedly egregious human rights violations of the Bush administration, which included liberating millions of their brethren in two countries at the cost of thousands of American lives.

In response to the book of Muslim résumés sent to the president, White House spokesman Shin Inouye said, “The White House appreciates the input from concerned outside organizations as we fully consider all applicants regardless of their religion or national origin, and as we continue to fill positions throughout the administration.” 

Advocacy groups have every right to send their lists to the White House.  It’s standard practice. And the president can pick whomever he wants to fill out his administration.  But if Obama’s choices are being made on the basis of identity politics rather than ability and competence, it would mark a clear departure for an administration the media have been telling us is made up of the “best and the brightest.”  On the bright side, it may awaken the few Americans still clinging to the fantasy of a post partisan presidency.

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Written By

Former presidential candidate Mr. Gary Bauer is president of American Values and chairman of the Campaign for Working Families.

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