Connie Pashall, 56, of Portland, is ignorant

Portland’s Willamette Week went door-to-door to find people who aren’t voting for Obama and to ask them why not. The article is fuzzy on why the newspaper did this, exactly — Willamette Week is often fuzzy on why it does a lot of things — but one of the answers they got caught my attention.

It’s from Connie Pashall, age 56, who says she’s an independent. Willamette Week’s summary of her position:

A supporter of President Clinton during the 1990s, Pashall admits that conservative websites have given her pause about Obama’s heritage. “If there’s anything to his Muslim background, then we’d have al-Qaeda working on our country from the top-down.”

Assuming Willamette Week quoted her correctly, this means Connie Pashall is an astonishingly ignorant woman, one of those people you know exist but rarely encounter, like a billionaire, or a hunchback.

First of all, she apparently believes that being Muslim is the same thing as being connected with al-Qaeda. Really? There really are people who actually think this? I mean, I guess I knew there were. Like I said, it’s just weird to actually come across one.

But what’s more, in Connie Pashall’s view, you don’t even have to be a faithful, practicing Muslim now — all you need is a Muslim background, and that’s enough to make you in league with the terrorists.

I hope the “conservative websites” that have given her pause are on the fringe and don’t represent normal, rational conservatives. I don’t think they do. There are plenty of valid reasons not to vote for Obama, but the belief that his possible Muslim background equals a current sympathy with al-Qaeda is not one of them. That’s an invalid reason, a dumb reason, a reason held by dumb people, a dumb reason held by dumb people such as Connie Pashall, age 56, of Portland. Who is dumb.