10:30 p.m. — See UPDATE below.
The following came in an e-mail from a trusted source. I cannot verify its accuracy, but my source vouches for it.
With that qualifier, here goes, with no additional commentary on the letter’s content (with very minor editing to include hyperlink; bold is mine; e-mail me if you have further corroboration or other examples of administration response):
A concerned friend of mine called Strickland’s office yesterday to express his dismay at Strickland’s appearance with CAIR, his arrogant presumption to speak for all Ohioans in praising CAIR, and to alert him to this recent article at FrontPage.
He spoke with someone named Charles in Strickland’s office, and he said that Charles vigorously defended CAIR, and made this rather astonishing statement. Quoting my friend…
“Charles of his staff stated that he did a lot of research on CAIR and they were an organization that does a lot of good and no more terrorist than the Jewish Defense Fund or Dr. James Dobson.”
This came to me in an email, so I called my friend to make sure this was an accurate quote from Strickland’s staffer (spokesman?), and I was assured that it was. My friend tried to make sure “Charles” knew of the fact that Sen. Schumer, among others, has renounced CAIR, and he then called Schumer’s office to ask that Schumer personally speak with Strickland on this matter.
My friend had pointedly asked Charles if what he was saying was that the Jewish Defense Fund was a terrorist organization. The reply. “Some people think so”.
He also reminded Charles that Hamas too, presumably “does a lot of good”, and that this makes them no less a terrorist organization. No coherent answer was forthcoming to that one from Charles.
Not that this necessarily proves or disproves anything, but Strickland’s January staff announcement doesn’t have a “Charles” listed. “Charles” could be a newer hire or lower-level staffer, or could have been a higher-up answering the phone pseudonymously (if that’s a word; it is).
UPDATE, 10:30 p.m.: Well, my source got to talk to Charles, so he’s real. Here is what my source reported about the conversation –
I did get to speak with Charles this afternoon, and spent about 10 minutes on the phone with him, plus another 10 minutes or so with his supervisor after that.
Without disclosing to him that I was personally acquainted with his earlier caller, I just registered my own “not in my name” sentiment, and asked him to clarify what he said about Dobson and the JDF.
He was backtracking a bit, and claiming that what he had said had been misinterpreted. He said that no matter what group or organization the Governor spoke to, they would get calls from people claiming that this or that person or group was “extremist” and offering web resources to back up their claims.
When pressed that one caller’s claims about the dangers to the republic of say, Dr. Dobson, might not be given equal weight as the documented history of CAIR founders and officers being indicted, convicted, deported, etc. for actual, not perceived, “dangers”, he didn’t really have a response.
He decided instead to pass me along to his superior, who defended the appearance at the CAIR function as just one of many groups that the Governor is required to attend to “be nice”, and that his appearance there in no way means that the Governor advocates the positions taken by the organization. He also denied vehemently that the appearance had anything at all to do with the contributions the group had made to the campaign.
He also said they had consulted in advance of the appearance with the Dept. of Homeland Security, (I guess with a concern only for assuring that the Governor’s personal security wouldn’t be threatened by such an appearance??) He also tried to argue that since this was just an appearance at the Ohio Chapter of CAIR, it wasn’t as significant as an appearance at some national function might be. I suggested he substitute the KKK for CAIR in that argument, and asked him if he thought his argument would still hold water.
In fact, I offered to provide him with web resources specifically linking members of the Ohio Chapter to terrorist activities and groups, he suggested (obviously not “getting it”) that I provide such information to DHS authorities. Both he and Charles declined to provide me with email addresses where I might direct more information that their “research” into CAIR had apparently not turned up. If he gave out that information, he said, they would be “inundated” with emails so that their Inboxes would never be emptied again. Oh, the humanity!
He obviously wasn’t interested in learning more about CAIR, saying only that he would “register” my disapproval with the Governor. Yawn.
But I got it off my chest.
That “only Ohio CAIR” argument also doesn’t fly because CAIR’s national Chairman of the Board was present at the event. CAIR’s press release made a point of letting us know that.
UPDATE 2: The Columbus Dispatch’s blog goes for the trivial while ignoring the big picture.