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Posted by on Jun 28, 2008 in Politics, Religion | 6 comments

Led by Columbus, OH, Obama supporters change name to Hussein

From the New York Times:

Jeff Strabone of Brooklyn now signs credit card receipts with his newly assumed middle name, while Dan O’Maley of Washington, D.C., jiggered his e-mail account so his name would appear as “D. Hussein O’Maley.” Alex Enderle made the switch online along with several other Obama volunteers from Columbus, Ohio, and now friends greet him that way in person, too.

“I am sick of Republicans pronouncing Barack Obama’s name like it was some sort of cuss word,” Mr. Strabone wrote in a manifesto titled “We Are All Hussein” that he posted on his own blog and on

New Husseins began to crop up online as far back as last fall. But more joined up in February after a conservative radio host, Bill Cunningham, used Mr. Obama’s middle name three times and disparaged him while introducing Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee, at a campaign rally. (Mr. McCain repudiated Mr. Cunningham’s comments).

The practice has been proliferating ever since. In interviews, several Obama supporters said they dreamed up the idea on their own, with no input from the campaign and little knowledge that others shared their thought.

Some said they were inspired by movies, including “Spartacus,” the 1960 epic about a Roman slave whose peers protect him by calling out “I am Spartacus!” to Roman soldiers, and “In and Out,” a 1997 comedy about a gay high school teacher whose students protest his firing by proclaiming that they are all gay as well.

The friend I’ve known the longest, since we were four years old, and I always used the other’s last name as our second (or third) middle name. She’s Italian Catholic and so had a confirmation name, so she had five names, but I had four. We did it as a sign of how close we were to each other and each other’s family. It is a wonderful, warm memory.

I don’t think I’ll be adding Hussein to my name, but I can understand the appeal for those who are doing it. Cute, very cute. I like those kinds of symbolic efforts.

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  • Holly_in_Cincinnati

    That’s just silly.

  • JSpencer

    I love it! Kind of takes the wind out of the hot air bags who try to make a big deal out of it. Very clever.

  • vwcat

    We started doing this on the barack obama blog a while back. many of us have the hussein middle name.
    Never used it outside of that but, maybe I will just to get a rise out the wingers.

  • While giving a nod to the cuteness or feelgood factor, I would note that (at least here in New York) it costs money and takes time to legally change your name in any instance other than marriage. It involved a trip to court and posting a legal notice in the newspaper. It seems to me that what may seem like a good idea now may, in years to come, be a cause for regret, much like that “Pam and Tommy Lee 4Ever” tatoo you got back in the 90’s. 🙂

  • How many of the middle names were changed from “Princess Jasmine”, “Cinderella”, or “Anastasia” to Hussein? How soon will they change back?

  • Well, I think it might be a move that means more to the ones doing it than to those of us reading about it, do you know what I mean? On my blog, where I posted this as well, the couple of responses so far have said the opposite: they think that it’s a dumb tactic that will merely spread the name when that’s the last thing that should be done.

    I cann see both sides. But in general, I do like the idea, generally speaking, of trying to re-brand or redefine something the way I want people to read or understand a phrase or a symbol. So, in that sense, I like what these supporters are doing. But we do have to take into account who if anyone it will impress and will the impression be a net positive or net negative. I just don’t know.

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