Obama Speaks Other Countries Funny

by evanmcmurry

During last Monday’s foreign policy debate, the conservative twittersphere went apeshit over Obama’s pronunciation of Pakistan, i.e., Pock-ee-stan. “I can’t wait for a President who knows how to pronounce Pakistan like a real American,” went a typical tweet; “Who does he think he’s impressing?” went another. The snarky complaints were so numerous it was as if Obama were rolling out some Harvard-Ebonics combo.

Anyhoo, here’s a quote from Dave Weigel’s article about why Obama is winning the Jewish vote, especially in the crucial state of Florida, despite the neo-conservative opinion that he’s spent the past four years giving Israel the middle finger:

“Talking about Yad Vashem—that resonates with Jewish voters, especially when he pronounces it correctly,” says former Rep. Robert Wexler, the overtaxed Obama surrogate on Israel issues. “It resonates when he explains why he then was motivated to spend money on the Iron Dome.”

Mark this down as another in many examples of epistemological closure on the right, wherein Obama’s slightly-higher-than-average globalism is a fault, not an asset. It’s one thing to yuk it up about Sir Kenya’s accent when he’s pronouncing other countries in a debate; it’s a whole other thing when he’s winning crucial voting blocs you thought you’d fearmongered into your column.