Monday, August 4, 2008

Obama Caught with Race Card in Mouth, Admits Comments Were Racial; Media Shills Look Dumb, Clinton Dems Rejoice

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by David Jamaal

Well, I didn’t think it would be Rick Davis, but I’m glad somebody finally had the courage to bring to an end a tactic that has rankled rank-and-file Democrats who have been saying ‘no deal’ to Obama since January: his campaign’s constant, vile abuse of the race card to silence those who see through him:

From Obama’s loudmouth, dad-bashing campaign co-chair Jesse Jackson, Jr. claiming Hillary was insensitive to Katrina victims, to the now infamous ‘leaked’ memo claiming the Clintons and all around them were racist;

From the contrived overreaction to Bill Clinton’s observations that Obama’s Iraq war opposition was a “fairy tale” to similar fake outrage when Mr. Clinton compared Obama’s South Carolina primary win to Jesse Jackson’s;

From the Obama campaign’s pretending to be postracial in public while threatening black superdelegates in private to Obama waiting until black voters vaulted him to the nomination before bashing black fathers with lame stereotypes, the Obama campaign at every turn has sought to use racial politics as a bludgeon, beating the opposition into submission.

In the process, they have set race relations in America back immeasurably, splitting the Democratic party and demonizing Democratic icons in the process.

Not content with the path of racial destruction they’ve already burned through the Democratic party, Obama and his media minions are now determined to ignite the entire electorate, attacking a McCain ad that questions Obama’s (lack of) credentials, gravitas, and qualifications as…of course…racist.

The ad in question, released Wednesday July 30, juxtaposed images of Obama before his fans in Berlin with footage of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton. The execution was clumsy and heavy-handed, I thought, but the theme merely echoes a valid and very old criticism of Obama — that his appeal is based mostly on charisma and not any real record of serious accomplishment, that he is a media creation and not a leader. There’s nothing new here. Certainly nothing racist. But somehow, the Obama camp didn’t see it that way.

Witness Obama transparently playing the race card in response in running around the country Wednesday claiming that these attacks were scare attempts meant to remind voters that Obama “doesn’t look like all those other Presidents on the dollar bills” (*wink, wink):

Witness Huffington Post bloggers echoing the New York Times editorial board’s lame attempt to justify Obama’s claims with wholly laughable explanations of why the ad did in fact have racial overtones (summary for those who don’t like to read left-wing dreck: some foolishness about Harold Ford, Jr., blonde bimbos, how the juxtaposition of the black man and white girls automatically raises the spectre of miscegenation).

Both are way off. To Obama’s point, the ad was meant to scare voters about electing an underqualified, inexperienced hack to the hardest job in the world. Not to remind them of the finer points of your ethnicity. To the New York Times’s point…get a grip.

We see in these half-baked responses the modus operandi of the Obama campaign — and yes, the New York Times and the Huffington Post are now part of the Obama campaign for all intents and purposes — which is to label as ‘racist’ any charge leveled against Obama that is too effective, any ad that hits them right in their teeth fillings, especially when they have no comeback to the central charge. Calling Obama arrogant is racist. Calling Obama elitist is racist. Calling Obama inexperienced is racist, as we learned when the Times helpfully informed us that Hillary’s ‘3 AM ad‘ was racist because it showed a litte white girl sleeping.

It’s easy to see why the Obamanation clings to the race card. A well-played, effective response to these ads and arguments would be “Actually, Obama is a serious, trustworthy candidate whose relevant qualifications are X, Y, and Z and whose consistent record of experienced leadership will accomplish 1, 2, and 3.” But since he is none of the above, such a response is impossible. Thus, all Obama and his minions are left with is race. It can’t be that Obama’s lack of experience and constant flip-flopping deters voters. That’s too simple. No, any white, Asian, or Latino person who doesn’t support Obama is a racist who hates black people. Any black person who doesn’t support Obama is an uncle Tom who hates black people.

Honestly, how can anyone stomach the thought of 4-8 years of this utter nonsense?

Hillary — who Obama’s good buddy Ludacris is now calling an “irrelevant bitch” — never adequately addressed Obama’s near constant deployment of racist politics against her and those around her. I don’t know what that says about that myth that she would say and do anything to win, but I do understand the delicacy of her situation. Perhaps because I’m black and I just get annoyed, not scared, when the race card is diminished by abuse and overuse by people like Obama. Frankly, I like having the race card as a tool in my arsenal to get things done as a black American. But it needs to be played with caution, i.e., only in response to actual racism and even then only in carefully selected instances. As it stands, the race card has been used so much as to accomplish nothing anymore, except to initiate eye-rolling irritatation in people who think like me and frighten those who don’t into submission and silence.

I’m glad to know John McCain and those around him are not among those people.

Jake Tapper, ABC’s Senior Correspondent, laid the groundwork for McCain’s response, noting on Wednesday night that McCain had never tried to use race against Obama and that Obama’s accusation was thus “inflammatory.”

Rick Davis, McCain campaign manager, followed-up Thursday morning with swift, short, strongly-worded response: “Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck. It’s divisive, negative, shameful and wrong.”

From Davis’s mouth to God’s ears.


Since the McCain campaign cannot be ignored — unlike, for example, Prof. Sean Wilentz and others who wrote multiple diatribes about Obama’s dirty race games — Davis’s retort started a firestorm.

Resident media blowhard Keith Olbermann hemorrhaged.

Obama headquarters flat-out lied about it — shocker — sputtering that Obama’s comments referred to “history” and were “not about race” (more on that later).

Sen. McCain, for his part, gamely dug-in, reiterating Davis’s point.

NBC Political Director Chuck Todd exposed the media’s obliviousness, tellingly remarking that “Obama’s remark yesterday seemed innocuous” and “wouldn’t have been seen as playing the race card if Davis hadn’t issued this release.” Wouldn’t have been seen as playing the race card by whom, Mr. Todd? By you and your Obama voting friends in the media? Because the rest of us have been seeing it for what it was for months. I guess isn’t real until ultra liberals in the media see it!

Davis surfaced on MSNBC Thursday afternoon and ripped Mrs. Greenspan, the Obama-salivating Andrea Mitchell, to shreds as she tried — and failed — to blame the dustup on John McCain.

Joan Walsh, editor over at Salon, tried to play both sides and the top and the bottom of the fence, claiming that McCain’s “low-road” attacks were “appalling,” but acknowledging that charges of racism against McCain’s ad were spurious, but also refusing to admit that Obama was playing the race card because his comments “didn’t feel mainly about race,” but also noting that Obama made similar comments in June that were explicitly about race. One wonders how Walsh rose to the level editor when apparently no one ever told her the cardinal rule of essay writing: choose one, lucid argument and stick to it. But then again, that Walsh saw the Mitchell-Davis interview and walked away thinking “Andrea Mitchell pummeled Davis” shows you how well her judgments and conclusions can be trusted.

But it was Andy Romano, one of Newsweek’s many malarkey-spewing Obama shills, who wrote the funniest Obama Apologia of the day, playing dumb about the racial overtones of Obama’s remark (”What did Obama say? I asked myself.”) Hey, Andy? If you at twenty-some-odd years old heard Obama’s comments and didn’t put two-and-two together that he was referring to race, that does not bode well for your Ivy League alma mater or your powers of elucidation. Romano also argues that because McCain did not point out Obama’s use of the race card “the dozens of other times Obama expressed similar sentiments” then McCain’s couldn’t have been upset about it. Or *gasp* maybe McCain finally got fed up?

Todd, Walsh, and Romano among other Obama media apologists all ended up with egg on their faces when ABC reported Friday morning that the Obama campaign flip-flopped — shocker — and finally admitted that Obama’s ‘dollar bill’ remarks did, in fact, refer to his race. [UPDATE: Later on Friday, the Obama camp walked away from Obama's 'dollar bill' statements completely. So much for innocuous, Mr. Todd?]

Ha. Who hires these people?

Meanwhile, Clinton Democrats — reminded of their woes during the Obama-initiated race wars of the primary season — were loving it. In a nod to them, McCain aide Steve Schmidt told Politico that they, unlike Hillary, would not be timid about hitting back hard on Obama’s ‘leaked’ race memos and race games that saw too much of the primary season “consumed by racially charged gaffes and allegations” and “ultimately diminished” Mrs. Clinton. Calling Bill Clinton a “force for unity” on race, Schmidt noted “we knew it was coming in our direction because they did it against a President of the United State of their own party.”

Proof that President Clinton — whose denunciations of Obama’s use of the race card earlier this year fell on deaf ears — was somewhere smiling came from a carefully-worded statement of neutrality (or a defense of McCain, depending on how you read it) from Hillary’s communications director Howard Wolfson: “I think the McCain camp watched our primary on the Democratic side very carefully…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.”

In other words, Hillary should have responded much earlier to Obama’s nasty, shameless use of the race card against her.

I can’t disagree.

With everybody, including nervous Democrats, wondering lately why Obama cannot break out a big lead over McCain in the polls, it’s good for McCain that he learned Hillary’s hard lessons early. And good riddance to the Obama race card. You got caught with your racist pants down and got called out; hardy, har-har.

[UPDATE: In one more indication that McCain will push back hard against accusations of racism, his campaign slammed the Times in response to its claims that the 'Celeb' ad had racial overtones:

"If the shareholders of the New York Times ever wonder why the paper's ad revenue is plummeting and its share price tanking, they need look no further than the hysterical reaction of the paper's editors to any slight, real or imagined, against their preferred candidate. This campaign has never engaged in 'racially tinged attacks,' and the Obama campaign conceded as much yesterday in a statement clarifying that "Barack Obama in no way believes that the McCain campaign is using race as an issue."

That the Times made this allegation in a blog post rather than running it on the editorial page indicates that they either knew the charge was bogus or they didn't have the nerve to make their case in full view of the public. But in their new role as bloggers, the paper's editors seem to have all the intelligence and reason of the average Daily Kos diarist sitting at home in his mother's basement and ranting into the ether between games of dungeons and dragons. They also have about as much care for the facts--the "board" has already been forced to append a correction."]

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