August 1, 2008


Race issue moves to center of campaign (JONATHAN MARTIN & BEN SMITH, 8/1/08, Politico)

Behind the accusations from both sides in the last 24 hours lies a furious battle to frame the racially charged conflict many in both campaigns have been girding for and to find effective ways to blame the other campaign for any unpalatable racial subtext to a race that — in theory — could actually show the better angels of America’s nature.

Both sides face risks and opportunities: Obama's pioneering status is inspiring to some voters and discomfiting to others, and the way in which race is discussed may push voters toward or away from him. McCain could benefit from discomfort with race or he could — like Hillary Rodham Clinton, his predecessor in battling Obama — be distracted and ultimately diminished by constant charges of racism, accurate or not.

McCain aides say their goal is to pre-empt what they believe is Obama's effort to paint any conventional campaign attacks as race-based.

Obama’s aim, in the view of the McCain camp: "to delegitimize any line of attack against him," said McCain aide Steve Schmidt. He said he saw that potential trap being sprung when Obama predicted in Missouri Wednesday that the GOP nominee would attack the Democrat because he "doesn't look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills." [...]

To campaign watchers, in fact, Obama's warning Wednesday seemed less a direct attack on McCain than as part of a running effort to cast all attacks on Obama in the worst possible light: as products of ignorance at best and bigotry at worst.

But Schmidt said McCain had learned the lesson of Clinton's campaign, which began by taking her and her husband's affinity with African-American voters for granted but wound up seeing days and weeks consumed by racially charged gaffes and allegations, ranging from a New Hampshire supporter's suggestion that Obama had dealt drugs to Bill Clinton's own comparison of Obama's campaign to the Rev. Jesse Jackson's.

Remarkably, in fact, Schmidt sees a sort of political soul mate in Bill Clinton. "Say whatever you want about Bill Clinton," Schmidt said, "but it's deeply unfair to suggest his criticism of Obama was race-based. President Clinton was a force for unity in this country on this subject. Every American should be proud of his record as both a governor and president. But we knew it was coming in our direction because they did it against a President of the United State of their own party."

A former chief strategist to Hillary Clinton, Howard Wolfson, echoed Schmidt's comparison.

"I think the McCain camp watched our primary on the Democratic side very carefully and they know that any accusation of racial divisiveness can be very, very harmful for a candidate's prospects," Wolfson said on Fox News Thursday, adding that the allegations against Clinton were unfair. "They heard something that Senator Obama said and they felt they had to respond quickly to make sure that nobody got the impression that they were engaged in those kind of racial politics."
The problem is that the Senator from Cook County and those around him come from an academic and political culture that both assumes that all whites should be consumed with guilt over the historic treatment of blacks, women, Native Americans, etc. and where you can indeed shut someone up just by accusing him of using racist tropes. But the election isn't occurring in that cloistered intellectual setting--it's happening in the broader country, in a cultural setting that hasn't felt much guilt since the urban riots of the late sixties and that deeply resents it when you attribute rather mainstream attitudes to racism. So when the Obama camp tries to make race an issue between its candidate and Maverick it is making race an issue between its candidate and the voters.

Now, were it the case that Maverick were a racist and/or using racist themes to attack the One, then Americans would react against Mr. McCain because of their simple sense of fairness. But when you're compared to two white bubbleheads like Britney and Paris and you say that's racial you not only seem silly but desperate in your retreat to the racial defense.

Of course, the final nail in Senator Obama's coffin is that he doesn't have an actual defense to the charge that he's a vacuous pop star rather. There is no substance, no record of achievement, no nothing to answer with. And if you take away his Mau-Mau option there's nothing he can do but saddle up the Unicorn and charge into the incoming fire.

GOP Lumps Obama With Madonna and Clooney in New Quiz (Jake Tapper, August 01, 2008, Political Punch)
Barack's "Tragic" Emphasis (Ben Johnson, 8/01/08,

Backlash over John McCain’s “Celebrity” advertisement and Obama’s playing the race card (who would have seen that coming?) drowned out far more significant words from the lips of The Anointed One this week. “There's no doubt that when it comes to our treatment of Native Americans as well as other persons of color in this country, we've got some very sad and difficult things to account for,” he said. “I personally would want to see our tragic history, or the tragic elements of our history, acknowledged.” The media’s favorite candidate then underscored his belief in reparations: “I consistently believe that when it comes to whether it's Native Americans or African-American issues or reparations, the most important thing for the U.S. government to do is not just offer words, but offer deeds.”

Seeking to further push the notion that Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, is an out-of-touch empty-headed celebrity, the Republican National Committee this morning launched a new interactive website --
-- where users can guess whether Obama or a member of the glitterati uttered a particular quote.

For instance: "You have only a short period of time in your life to make your mark, and I'm there now."

Was that said by Obama, Madonna, David Beckham or George Clooney?

Race is one thing, comparison to soccer players may be below the belt, not that you could hurt a soccer player by hitting him there...

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 1, 2008 8:56 AM

I wonder if the pundits and MSM elites, and even some members of the McCain campaign, are fundementally mis-reading the potentcy of the "racism" charge. The merciful fact is that we are gradually getting to a point where accusing someone of racism, when they are not, is going to be every bit as insulting or out of bounds as actually denigrating someone's race is.

Equal to the point, I myself have a reaction that I think is shared by many: namely that, after the past seven years, nothing, and I mean NO THING, is out of bounds. So accuse McCain of "being racist". Whoop de do. Bush has been accused of murdering three thousand of his fellow countrymen on 9/11, and Democrats basically mumbled that they "didn't necessarily agree.... BUT WHAT ABOUT.....???"

That's every single nanoparticle an evil an accusation as any one of "racism" ever was. So ya know what? Call McCain racist. WE DON'T CARE ABOUT YOU SAYING THAT. You're just being idiot crybabies, and everyone knows it. And after what the Left has done and said vis a vis Mr. Bush, they don't have an iota of foundation whine about any attack behavior at all, real or alleged.

Deal with that.

(BTW, can you compare Obama to a chimp? Google 'Bush + Chimp'. Number of hits: 1,640,000. Yes, we can.)

Posted by: Andrew X at August 1, 2008 10:21 AM

It is called 'compassion fatigue'. "It isn't that I do not comprehend your plight, it's that I don't care about your plight any longer."

I am forty-two: I didn't do it and I'm sick of the McCarthyite smear of 'racist' being tossed around to silence opposition and I'm sick of con-men trying to guilt trip their way into my wallet.

Oh, by the way - the 'racism' charges that worked so well against Sen. Clinton were lodged during the Democratic primaries. This is the national race and the composition of the electorate has changed.

Posted by: Mikey at August 1, 2008 11:21 AM

Did Clinton really lose because of perceived racism? Or did she lose because Obama had more money to spend than Bill Gates and because Democrat voters fell for his messianic electability con?

Posted by: Jorge Curioso at August 1, 2008 11:43 AM

Orrin, I believe that this will expose your vicious slander for the lie it is!

Posted by: Jorge Curioso at August 1, 2008 11:47 AM

Too dumb to wear a cup?

Posted by: Mikey at August 1, 2008 12:36 PM

Unlike baseball players, soccer players actually have to run quite a bit -- the equivalent of many miles in a single game. Cups are impractical, to say the least.

Posted by: Jorge Curioso at August 1, 2008 12:55 PM

Why not compare Obama to Jesse Jackson? Both community organizers in Chicago and the Church Obama attended for 20 something years was probably just as racially charged as Jackson's own church. Both hung with the same terrorists..uh I mean college professors.

Posted by: h-man at August 1, 2008 12:56 PM

No need for them.

Posted by: oj at August 1, 2008 1:02 PM

What do yeast infections have to do with anything?

Posted by: oj at August 1, 2008 1:03 PM

She lost because she ran Left until it was too late for swinging back Right to save her, though she made it close once she did.

Posted by: oj at August 1, 2008 1:04 PM

What we need are for the Brights of Euro-land to breed metric-football players who don't need a cup. (Maybe that's one of the reasons why in the US soccer is a girl's game?)

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at August 1, 2008 1:51 PM

Jesse believes in and has done stuff. When has Obama even successfully shaken down a major corporation?

Posted by: oj at August 1, 2008 4:11 PM

Oj, this is yeast infection. Note the lack of concussive impact prior to the activity.

Posted by: Jorge Curioso at August 1, 2008 4:18 PM

Yes, they're Europeans.

Posted by: oj at August 1, 2008 8:40 PM
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