The latest right-wing game is to pin controversial figures, who might have said or done anything objectionable at any point in their lifetimes, to Barack Obama. Then make him apologize for them. Then make him denounce and reject them. And then say he hasn't done enough to "distance" himself from them.
It could be his pastor, it could be his neighbor, it could be someone he served on a board with, it could be someone who donated to him, it could be someone who gave him an unsolicited endorsement (Louis Farrakhan) or it can just simply be someone who is black (Harry Belafonte).
So, let's play the six degrees of Barack Obama game and see who else he should denounce and reject. I'll start off the festivities. I'm an easy one. I connect to him in only two degrees. I know Josh Orton, who worked on the online side of his campaign for some time. Bingo. Obama now owns everything I have ever said.
He's not going to like what he finds. Although I am perfectly reasonable in politics (though given to fits of vitriol), I am a fervent agnostic. I have argued vehemently against religion. Quotes of mine in this field could be devastating to Obama. I'll provide no links here; it wouldn't be fun if I did the media's job for them. Have fun, it's a treasure hunt.
Worse yet, I was born Muslim. I went to school in Turkey until I was eight (that will be translated as "attended a madrasa" by Fox "News" Channel). His connection to a known Muslim and atheist (come on, who is going to bother with the distinction between agnostic and atheist in the sound bite world) could be devastating. Is America ready for non-flag wearing, Muslim, atheist two heart beats away from the president?
If you think it's damaging that I am only two people removed from Obama, it gets worse. I often speak favorably of Obama on our show and among the remaining candidates he is clearly my favorite! Aha, that's the equivalent of an endorsement. He might not have asked for it, but just by the virtue of me issuing it, he's stuck with it.
I hope he at least does me the solid of denouncing my words and not my entire existence. It's gotta sting to have your whole being denounced and rejected.
I invite all of you to play along. See how many degrees it takes you to get to Obama and how enthusiastically and vociferously he has to denounce you.
Now, unfortunately, there is one man who is not allowed to play -- John McCain. Because the media has decided that while it is eminently fair to attach any person Obama has ever met (or in some cases not even met) to him, you can never look into anyone that John McCain has ever been associated with. He is a maverick, moderate, war-hero, straight-talker. So, obviously he doesn't need to answer for anyone in his past or undergo any of the Obama treatment. Sorry, John. This is one fun game you'll have to sit out.
Though there will be this awkward moment when people realize Barack Obama knows John McCain. And he is therefore is responsible for everything McCain says -- even though he is running against him. Wrap your mind around that one.
I do have some concerns about this though. I wonder if this game will distract from the real issues. I wonder if people will see through it as an obvious attempt to smear Obama by association. I wonder if people will realize it has absolutely nothing to do with how Obama would govern if he were elected. I wonder if people will wonder why it's only done to one candidate and not the others.
Nah, probably not. Don't want to ruin the fun, let's just keep mindlessly playing it until November and see what happens.
Follow Cenk Uygur on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheYoungTurks