Charita Goshay: Presidential rumors steer us away from matter at hand

Charita Goshay

Have you heard? Barack Obama is a closet Muslim extremist who refuses to salute the flag or recite the Pledge of Allegiance!

Did you hear? John McCain’s adopted, Bangladeshi daughter actually is a BLACK child whom McCain fathered out of wedlock!

Word is, John Edwards’ hair stays so perfect because he’s an android! Just like Bill Belichick!

Rumor has it that if Rudy’s elected, he’s going to dump his third wife and take up with Linda Tripp!

Also going around: Mitt Romney’s first name is Willard!

OK, that’s actually true.

Instant credibility

In an era when Internet postings are awarded instant credibility no matter how ludicrous, truth during a presidential campaign often ends up as roadkill on the Information Highway.

But shouldn’t we demand that the election of the next leader of the free world be grounded in fact? Anything else steers us away from the matter at hand -- namely, who is best able to lead this country?

John McCain won last week’s South Carolina Republican primary, in part because he dispatched “truth squads” to tamp out Internet-fueled lies about his military service and his family. But what does it say about the process, that a candidate even has to resort to such measures?

Truth is, some people -- both inside and outside the process -- aren’t interested in truth, or even “truthiness” for that matter. They spread spin and gossip and innuendo because it works, and it works because it feeds those prejudices we already harbor toward those we don’t like.

Devil with a blue dress

What’s sad is, it doesn’t take much to divert our attention.

Just let Clinton get a face-lift, or Romney grow a mustache, and watch any focus on the issues come to a screeching halt.

Hey, did you hear? Hillary sold Bill’s soul to Satan -- No, wait -- she IS Satan!

Last week, actor Chuck Norris suggested that McCain, at 71, is too old to serve. Let’s get this straight: A fake tough guy is questioning the capability of a real-life tough guy who flew fighter jets and survived five years in a Viet Cong prison camp?

I’ll take John McCain for $400, Alex.

To Obama’s credit, he never distanced himself from his father’s Muslim roots, and really, why should he? For those who wonder aloud how Obama can run -- his being born in Hawaii and all -- his Christianity remains suspect, even in the face of such clues as “Church of Christ.”

Obama never took an oath of office using the Koran, as has been repeatedly rumored, but Rep. Keith Ellison of Minnesota did. In 2006, he became the nation’s first Muslim elected to Congress. It should be noted that the Koran that Ellison used for his swearing-in ceremony, once belonged to Thomas Jefferson.

How trippy is that?

Well, at least, that’s the rumor.

Reach Repository staff writer Charita Goshay at  (330) 580-8313 or e-mail