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The Fairy Tale Revisited

Barack Obama is having a press conference this morning and it is being dominated by questions about the 'race card.' That makes it a good press conference for McCain. The big hook for McCain is the fact that Obama supporters disgracefully smeared Bill and Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primaries. The McCain riposte to pushback from Obama supporters is "that's what you said about Bill and Hillary Clinton." Take Bob Herbert for instance. Today he writes:

John McCain didnít appreciate them. RACE CARD! RACE CARD! The McCain camp started bellowing, and it hasnít stopped since. With great glee bursting through their feigned outrage, the campaignís operatives and the candidate himself accused Senator Obama of introducing race into the campaign ó playing the race card, as they put it, from the very bottom of the deck. . . . Senator McCain is the head of a party that has viciously exploited race for political gain for decades. Heís obviously more than willing to continue that nauseating tradition.

Here's the problem -- Bob Herbert spent the entire Democratic primary accusing Bill and Hillary Clinton of having no class, being persons without scruples and of playing the race card. He is now disqualified from pushing back against John McCain's race baiting and disgraceful campaign. Indeed, McCain welcomes a blast from Bob Herbert. Why? Because he can quote what Herbert wrote and said about Bill and Hillary Clinton. More . . .

A few examples. This one:

The Clinton camp knows what itís doing, and its slimy maneuvers have been working. . . . [I]tís legitimate to ask, given the destructive developments of the last few weeks, whether the Clintons are capable of being anything but divisive. The electorate seems more polarized now than it was just a few weeks ago, and the Clintons have seemed positively gleeful in that atmosphere.

It makes one wonder whether they have any understanding or regard for the corrosive long-term effects ó on their party and the nation ó of pitting people bitterly and unnecessarily against one another. What kind of people are the Clintons? . . .

Or this one:

Class is not a Clinton forte. But itís one thing to lack class and a sense of grace, quite another to deliberately try and wreck the presidential prospects of your partyís likely nominee ó and to do it in a way that has the potential to undermine the substantial racial progress that has been made in this country over many years.

The Clintons should be ashamed of themselves. But they long ago proved to the world that they have no shame.

These are just a couple of examples and this was seen all over Obama World, from Bob Herbert, Eugene Robinson, to Jim Clyburn to bloggers like Josh Marshall, Kevin Drum, Matt Yglesias, Ezra Klein, etc.

The fairy tale has come home to roost. All the dirty work these folks did during the primaries to slime Bill and Hillary Clinton is now fodder for John McCain. Of course he was going to going dirty, ugly, negative and would race bait. The wonder is none of these folks realized that when they said and did anything about Bill and Hillary Clinton to favor Obama that all of it would come back to haunt Obama in the general election.

Of course their behavior was disgraceful, but more than that, it harms Barack Obama now.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

(Comments over 200, thread closed.)
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    Well.... (5.00 / 8) (#2)
    by lambertstrether on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 08:46:23 AM EST
    ... you're obviously a racist.

    NOTE For the irony challenged: If you think this note does not apply to you, consider that it might.

    You're hurting my brain this morning! (5.00 / 2) (#51)
    by BoGardiner on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:38:59 AM EST
    My cup of irony never runneth over so well as yours.  Especially before I've had my morning coffee... after you've kept me up too late with another masochistic headpounding about such trivia as Obama's seismic shift on offshore drilling.  

    Parent
    The money quote: (4.75 / 12) (#203)
    by Robot Porter on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:13:36 AM EST
    "If, in order to get that passed, we have to compromise in terms of a careful, well thought-out drilling strategy that was carefully circumscribed to avoid significant environmental damage -- I don't want to be so rigid that we can't get something done."

    I guess the real fairy tale is that Obama will take a principled stand on anything.

    Sigh.

    Parent

    Double points for Irony (5.00 / 15) (#3)
    by ruffian on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 08:53:08 AM EST
    because when they weren't writing about the Clintons' horrible racism, they were writing about the horrible Clintons saying things about Obama that McCain could use against him in the general election, eg. hadn't crossed the CiC threshold, etc. (all the things McCain would have obviously used anyway).  

    It took them to give him the ammo that he would not have otherwise had.

    Can I be forgiven one mordant chuckle?

    Good point (5.00 / 9) (#7)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 08:58:09 AM EST
    It turns out Obama supporters have handed McCain  his most potent GE weapon.

    It is worthy of a post. I will do one later and credit to ruffian for thinking of it.

    Parent

    Hey, thank you (5.00 / 2) (#9)
    by ruffian on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:02:29 AM EST
    You will do it more justice than I can.

    Parent
    Obama has really (5.00 / 11) (#180)
    by TruthSayer on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:02:40 AM EST
    You keep saying yesterday and today that McCain is playing the race card but fail to mention what we all know that it is Obama who brought up the topic that McCain will go after his race. That's the reverse race card and Obama was trying to smear McCain as a racist when McCain did nothing to deserve that.

    Why is it you don't mention that it was Obama that instigated this race thing and is playing the race card - not his supporters.

    And yesterday a number of posters who disagreed with your take that McCain was the one playing the race card asked you to explain why it was him and not Obama doing so. You said you would do that but have not. In fact you are here today blogging the same false myth as yesterday.

    Obama is the one who played the race card in the same way that he did against Clinton and you are giving him a pass. Why?

    Parent

    The bigger irony (5.00 / 11) (#98)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:15:15 AM EST
    to me is that the Very Serious charge against the Clintons initially, by Josh Marshall very strongly and by others in actual media, was that the Clintons were dropping subtle racialized hints precisely in order to provoke a defensive reaction from Obama on race so that he would end up having to define himself as a black man (which of course nobody had noticed up to that point).

    And now here we are in the general, and who starts talking about race with zero provocation?

     

    Parent

    Now, nobody noticed it in Iowa (5.00 / 9) (#127)
    by Cream City on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:34:30 AM EST
    even before the primaries began.  Nobody noticed a six-foot-tall African American woman in Iowa, taller even than the corn that grows there.  

    That is, not until Michelle Obama shouted out there that "Ain't no black people in Iowa!"  

    Before the first vote was cast.

    Parent

    Huh. Maybe McCain would (5.00 / 10) (#121)
    by Cream City on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:31:35 AM EST
    not have noticed that Obama never had a whit of experience -- in the military, on a committee, even one where he showed up -- for CiC.  That's what an Obaman in my family told me when blaming Senator Clinton, she of armed services committees and such, for bringing Obama's inexperience to McCain's attention.

    Ah-ten-shun!

    Parent

    Of course they wouldn't have noticed (5.00 / 10) (#133)
    by cmugirl on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:37:42 AM EST
    Republicans are stupid people, didn't you know that? Especially their strategists and people who run their campaigns.  They would NEVER have known to look at his record or his words without Hillary and her supporters telling them.

    Parent
    Haha (5.00 / 2) (#140)
    by JimWash08 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:42:15 AM EST
    I do remember reading that RNC and 527 personnel had been dispatched to various key places (Chicago, Harvard University, Hawaii, the law firm in NYC where Obama worked, etc.) to mine information for a supposed 1,000-page dossier on him for the GE.

    Parent
    Sen. Obama could walk a very (5.00 / 10) (#5)
    by zfran on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 08:55:48 AM EST
    fine line between being black and white and go back to his theme (way back before the primaries)of being post-racial. He seems to only want to play up the black side. Of course, he may lose some AA votes, but hey, he may gain more white votes. I thought being post-racial was a good move to begin with but he has slipped away from that. If the Obama campaign can talk about McCain personally, instead of policy issues, why can't McCain do the same? The only "racially charged" rhetoric seems to be coming mostly from Obama's side.

    Ludacris still on his iPod, even though Obama said (5.00 / 4) (#15)
    by catfish on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:08:19 AM EST
    he was concerned about his daughters hearing those types of lyrics (but Ludacris is a "great talent" and a "great businessman.) Notice they had a spokesperson denounce the lyrics of the latest rap, where he called Hillary a b**.

    Parent
    Why, Of Course (5.00 / 7) (#31)
    by JimWash08 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:21:35 AM EST
    When a mouthpiece does the talking for you, you walk away from the issue unscathed.

    Obama, himself, should have come out against Ludacris' ludicrous raps if he really felt strongly about its harsh and demeaning implications.

    Reminds me when he dealt ever-so-lightly with Bernie Mac and some stupid comments he made at a Chicago fundraiser recently. T'was basically a slap on the wrist.

    Parent

    It was - that was bad. Just kidding. (5.00 / 2) (#64)
    by catfish on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:49:42 AM EST
    Stuff like that makes my blood boil. Cannot explain it.

    Parent
    " Just messing with you man" (5.00 / 3) (#177)
    by Andy08 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:02:06 AM EST
    is what what Obama told Bernie Mac after the weak attempt to ... (not sure to what.).

    Parent
    Here's the 411 (5.00 / 3) (#194)
    by JimWash08 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:07:13 AM EST
    That's why he might pick Sebelius (5.00 / 5) (#18)
    by catfish on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:09:10 AM EST
    he could highlight yet another facet of his bio, his typical white mother from Kansas. Mommy! You're my veep now.

    Parent
    "Slipped away?" Yes indeed, if you (5.00 / 3) (#99)
    by derridog on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:17:46 AM EST
    call deliberate and choreographed behavior designed to demonize your opponent "slipping."  I guess O just has no idea that he "periodically" meanders into the dark side.

    Parent
    About the "fairy tale" (5.00 / 13) (#6)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 08:56:38 AM EST
    From Sean Wilentz:

    The Obama campaign's "fairy tale" gambit was particularly transparent. Commenting on Obama's explanation of why he is more against the war in Iraq than Hillary Clinton, and disturbed by the news media's failure to report Obama's actual voting record on Iraq in the Senate, the former president referred to what had become the conventional wisdom as a "fairy tale" concocted by Obama and his supporters. Time to play the race-baiter card! One of Obama's most prominent backers, the mayor of Atlanta, Shirley Franklin, stretched Clinton's remarks and implied that he had called Obama's entire candidacy a fairy tale. (The mayor later coyly told a reporter for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she had not intended to criticize Clinton: "Surely you don't mean he's the only one who can use the phrase 'fairy tale,'" Franklin said, in a tone that the reporter described as "mock indignation.") Appearing on CNN, one of its pundits, Donna Brazile, hurled the wild charge that Clinton had likened Obama to a child. "And I will tell you," she concluded, "as an African American I find his words and his tone to be very depressing." With those kinds of remarks--"as an African American"--the race card and the race-baiter card both came back into play. Although Brazile is formally not part of Obama's campaign, her comments made their way to the South Carolina memo, offered as evidence that Clinton's comment was racially insensitive.



    Ah, the greatest hits (5.00 / 18) (#8)
    by ruffian on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:01:22 AM EST
    This is when Obama lost me as a supporter - he did nothing to shut this down, in fact he and Michelle encouraged it.

    He did not lose me as a voter, but as a money-giving, time-spending supporter. Since i live in Florida, my money would be more useful than my vote.

    I just mention this because I want it clear that actions have consequences.


    Parent

    For a supposedly "post-racial" candidate (5.00 / 12) (#93)
    by BernieO on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:11:43 AM EST
    he sure goes out of his way to inflame racial tensions. And tolerates others doing so, too, (like Rev. Wright) if it benefits him. I cannot imagine Colin Powell pulling this kind of garbage. I wish he would call up Barack and chew him out and threatened to publicly criticize him if he doesn't stop playing the "victim of racism" card.
    I know several people who are afraid to speak honestly now or write letters to their newspaper criticizing Obama because they are afraid their AA coworkers and friends will think they are racist. I assume that was Axelrod and O's intentions because I cannot believe they really think people like the Clintons are racist.

    Parent
    Good thing (5.00 / 3) (#107)
    by pie on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:22:27 AM EST
    no one can see how we vote then, isn't it.

    Parent
    Your vote would help. How can you vote for him (5.00 / 2) (#104)
    by derridog on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:21:20 AM EST
    when you see so clearly what he is doing?

    Parent
    Have you noticed how Michelle and BO (4.36 / 11) (#162)
    by Shainzona on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:54:05 AM EST
    slip out of their "Harvard diction" into AA speak when they appear before certain audiences?  I remember seeing one video of Michelle (I think in SC) when you would have thought she was right off the streets of some big city, talking about "folks" and "you know".

    They are quite a pair of actors/frauds.

    Parent

    But when (5.00 / 3) (#227)
    by BackFromOhio on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:24:19 AM EST
    Hillary does it, the media calls her out.

    Parent
    Sean Wilentz (5.00 / 4) (#183)
    by Andy08 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:03:44 AM EST
    wrote repeatedly about this during the primary.
    They were all excellent pieces.

    I wish they were quoted, posted and reposted during the primary...

    Parent

    I thought you said you disagreed (none / 0) (#10)
    by andgarden on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:05:20 AM EST
    with Wilentz on that?

    Parent
    In fact (5.00 / 4) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:09:21 AM EST
    I think I blogged as much as anyone about the fact that Obama the Senator had the same record on Iraq as Hillary clinton. They were both too timid.

    Parent
    Yes. You did. (none / 0) (#109)
    by derridog on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:22:47 AM EST
    On the fairy tale? (none / 0) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:07:25 AM EST
    Never.

    I disagree with Wilentz that Bill Clinton's mention of Jesse Jackson was not racial. He was attempting to diminish Obama's win in South Carolina and used Jackson as the comparison. It was very wrong of Clinton to do that.

    Parent

    Gotcha (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by andgarden on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:08:42 AM EST
    Jesse Jackson, Himself, Didn't Think So When Asked (5.00 / 6) (#26)
    by JimWash08 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:15:37 AM EST
    about the comment.

    He was attempting to diminish Obama's win in South Carolina and used Jackson as the comparison.


    Parent
    But he was reacting to the storyline (5.00 / 14) (#108)
    by BernieO on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:22:36 AM EST
    that was being pushed in the media that Obama's win in SC was amazing, when in fact it was anything but. It was nothing new for an AA candidate to win there since African Americans are the largest demographic group in the SC democratic party, and black candidates can easily win in that state's primaries.
    I remember being shocked to see just how poorly Obama had done with the white voters, coming in dead last behind Edwards and Clinton, and that media was ignoring this important sign of potential weakness in favor of acting like this win was strong evidence for Obama's viability as a candidate in the GE. Convincing the SD's of this was a way to undermine Clinton's support with them, so perception of GE strength was extremely important.

    I still do not see what was wrong with Bill pointing this out, except for the fact that by then he should have known that the media would spin it to make him look bad. Using overwhelming support from a demographic group that only makes up 12-13% of the US population to prove a candidate's will be strlong in the GE is just silly, especially when that candidate's opponent is favored by women who are the largest group in the country at +50%.

    Parent

    Exactly. I entirely disagree with BTD (5.00 / 16) (#136)
    by Cream City on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:40:16 AM EST
    and others on this who saw it as racial.

    When Clinton won in states with women governors, women in Congress, etc., it was pointed out that women did well in those states.  (Of course, when she pointed out that she was up against in the states of Iowa and Mississippi with their sorry records on electing women, she was being bad bad bad for pointing it out.  And NO one, not even Clinton, pointed out how much she was up against it in Wisconsin, the last state to send a woman to Congress -- not until 1999.)

    Parent

    Reactive Campaign Tactics (4.91 / 12) (#164)
    by BackFromOhio on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:54:55 AM EST
    Those of you who have the chronology down pat -- I'm asking if focusing on every little thing the Clintons so as to be able to call the Clintons out for playing the race card wasn't a strategy of the Obama campaign for solidying the AA and "faculty lounge" bases to win the primaries? It seems to me it was and, unfortunately, the Clintons were caught unaware until it was too late. If the Dems are doing this now as a strategy to win the GE, imo, it will continue to backfire.  

    Parent
    It was. It was also very wrong of (5.00 / 11) (#111)
    by masslib on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:25:17 AM EST
    Obama to run around SC and imply to african american audiences that the Clintons were trying to "hoodwink", "bamboozle" and play them the ole "hokey doke".  I think BC was pissed and he handled it poorly.

    Parent
    He Did That In S.C. Too? (5.00 / 4) (#135)
    by JimWash08 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:38:41 AM EST
    I thought he did that in Alabama and Louisiana before the primaries in those states.

    I distinctly remember him saying that at a pre-Primary rally in Alabama and the CNN reporter pointed out how it was the one time she hardly saw any white voters in the auditorium.

    So, it seemed quite apt for him to use those words then.

    But in S.C.? Wow, that is really low and despicable of him. Urgh.

    Parent

    Yes, he did it in SC, with great abundance. (5.00 / 5) (#157)
    by masslib on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:49:54 AM EST
    Indeed in SC (5.00 / 7) (#192)
    by Andy08 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:06:52 AM EST
    is where it started full blown. Remember the
    Obama campaign sent to reporters in SC labeling Bill Clinton as racist? Russert brought it up
    later on on one of the debates.

    Parent
    Similar Tactics (5.00 / 2) (#206)
    by BackFromOhio on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:14:13 AM EST
    Isn't the campaign using similar tactics now against McCain with not so subliminal code words for "he's too old"?

    Parent
    I will always respectfully disagree on this (5.00 / 17) (#114)
    by Jjc2008 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:26:52 AM EST
    Comparing a black candidate to a black candidate is no different to comparing a woman to a woman.  The next woman that runs a successful campaign will be compared to Hillary.  Some will probably scream sexism and I will disagree (though I don't imagine I will still be alive to see such a thing).  
    Comparing Bill Clinton to Jimmy Carter because they were both southern white men was logical.

    One's ethnicity is as much a commonality as ones accent, religion, regional origins, gender are used because statistically there is a reason.  An AA democratic candidate will have some different appeal or non-appeal to certain groups but a common appeal or non appeal with some groups.  Just like having a southern accent might.  Just like being a northeaster white male.  Just like being catholic.  I guarantee that the next time a catholic runs close to winning the WH, he/she will be compared to JFK, particularly in how he/she does in the south.

    Yes, it was racial but not racist.  The Obama campaign and/or its surrogates made it racist and I found that quite insulting to Jesse Jackson and all the positive gains he made for the African American community over the years.  I know Jesse has made some mistakes and gaffes  But at the same time, Jesse made people thing, made them feel uncomfortable enough to rethink some things.  He pushed the envelope.   And yes as much as that alienates some it also brings issues of race to a point of discussion at a time where people were way less open to change than they are now.  
    Just my point of view.

    Parent

    I agree it was deeply insulting to Jackson (5.00 / 15) (#153)
    by BernieO on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:48:06 AM EST
    that people acted as if comparing Obama in any way to Jesse was comparable to comparing him to someone like Hitler, or maybe a pedophile. At the time I was shocked that Obama said nothing to walk this back a little. When Jackson made his infamous castration comment I immediately assumed his anger was rooted in the fact that Obama had stood by and allowed the media and his supporters to talk about Jackson in this incredibly humiliating way as if he were some kind of monster.
    I, too, have issues with some of the stupid things Jesse has done, but he has also worked his entire life to improve life for the African American community and has made a real difference. For him to see his own community allow him to be dissed like that had to be excruciatingly painful, just as being tarred as racists was for the Clintons - and their supporters.
    The right loves to demonize Jackson because they hate that he has pressured American corporations like Coca Cola to improve their hiring of minorities and he has often succeeded. You would think by their reaction that Jackson had gone around murdering CEOs. All most people ever hear about are the dumb things he has done. But in addition to effectively putting well-deserved pressure on corporate America he has also preached personal responsibility to the AA community for years through his Operation Push something conservatives love to hear.
    Despite his obvious flaws, Jackson deserves better treatment than this.

    Parent
    Well stated! (5.00 / 10) (#185)
    by EL seattle on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:03:52 AM EST
    I agree completely that "Yes, it was racial but not racist."

    They say that when you're carrying a hammer, every problem looks like a nail.  This campaign is bound to have a lot of challenges for the Obama team.  Some of these challenges are not related to race at all.  Some are slightly related to race.  And some will actually be racist matters.  But for folks to cry "racist!" at every problem is as productive as using a hammer to fix a crack in a windshield.

    Parent

    If Clinton's remark wasn't racial... (5.00 / 1) (#171)
    by Shainzona on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:57:29 AM EST
    then why was the reference to Jackson "wrong".  I've never clearly understood that.

    Parent
    Even if you know that a woman is pregnant... (5.00 / 1) (#198)
    by EL seattle on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:09:59 AM EST
    ... it's wrong to mention that at the wedding.  

    There's a time and a place for everything , and it's impossible to look graceful when you're trying to extract your foot from your mouth.

    Parent

    You can only believe that if you (5.00 / 13) (#226)
    by derridog on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:24:02 AM EST
    believe that mentioning Jackson's name in the same sentence with Obama was an insult to Obama. Therefore, Jesse Jackson is, by implication, a person so low as to taint anyone associated with him. Is it any wonder that Jesse didn't see why this was an insult?

    I didn't either. It took me five minutes listening to the pundits talk about this before I figured out why it was racist of Clinton to mention that Jesse Jackson had also won SC in 1988.  Yes. Jackson is black, so, by mentioning him, Clinton was making note of the fact that Obama was also black, but Obama was constantly playing up his own blackness in spite of the fact that he's half-white and that he was running as the "postracial candidate."  In fact, he still does that. The person most concerned with Obama's blackness is Obama.  

    There's also the fact that the Clintons may be a lot of things, but racist isn't one of them.  Clinton was friends with Jackson and it's entirely possible he just made this comment without even thinking about it.  And then there is the question of who benefitted?  Why would the Clintons go into SC and deliberately alienate black voters?  Does that make any sense at all?  Who DID benefit?  Obama. By claiming racism, Obama took the black vote away from Hillary, when it had earlier been split. So please don't talk about the Clintons' dirty politics. Give me a break.

    In fact, I would rather have Jackson running today than Obama.  At least Jackson cares about blacks, the poor and stands up for things that I believe in and isn't just faking it.

    Parent

    and the revisiting (5.00 / 13) (#13)
    by ccpup on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:07:45 AM EST
    of how the media played the race card against the Clintons with Obama is yet another unfortunate and angry reminder to those who supported Clinton just what kind of candidate Obama really is and how the Clintons were unfairly and savagely maligned.

    Not exactly the best way to get all aboard the Unity Express.  Funny, though, how it looks like the underside of a bus.

    Huh.

    You know what they say about karma... (5.00 / 8) (#129)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:35:37 AM EST
    It is a big ole b!tch...

    Parent
    The haunting. . . (5.00 / 2) (#20)
    by LarryInNYC on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:10:19 AM EST
    I have to say, I don't necessarily see this:

    The wonder is none of these folks realized that when they said and did anything about Bill and Hillary Clinton to favor Obama that all of it would come back to haunt Obama in the general election.

    I'm afraid that the logic and depth of political interest that leads you to your conclusion -- that if Bob Herbert et al make claims about racism those claims ought to be considered suspect and political on their face -- is not shared among the wider electorate.

    I agree with you that those claims launched against the Clintons were largely spurious and that they call into question the honesty and judgment of the people who promulgated them.  I just don't think the broader population will follow that argument.

    That doesn't mean this will be a net positive for Obama.  In the Democratic primary the claims may have helped him more than they hurt him (and I believe they did hurt as well as help).  In the general election the net balance may well be negative.  But that's not due to the primary history -- just to the fact that Obama has worked hard to present himself as a candidate for all people, not the quote black unquote candidate and anything that interferes with that narrative will probably trigger some degree of backlash voting.

    Talking about race is bad for Obama (5.00 / 7) (#23)
    by andgarden on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:12:09 AM EST
    Not what he called talking about race in one of his world's greatest speeches, but stuff like what we're seeing now.

    It isn't South Carolina anymore.

    Parent

    Talking about race in this way. . . (5.00 / 3) (#27)
    by LarryInNYC on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:16:55 AM EST
    is bad for him.  Discussion of "race cards", "entitlement", etc is bad.

    But there is a racial narrative that I think would work for him, and that's the idea that middle-of-the-roaders have the opportunity to vote for this candidate who is centrist, masculine, Christian, etc and to receive some form of absolution for their own personal histories and the national history of racism.

    I don't know how Obama gets this idea across (you can't state it baldly, obviously) but that kind of narrative works for him, I think.

    Parent

    In other words, what I said. :-p (5.00 / 2) (#28)
    by andgarden on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:19:28 AM EST
    Yes, but. . . (5.00 / 5) (#30)
    by LarryInNYC on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:20:27 AM EST
    I used more words.

    Parent
    The idea was (5.00 / 6) (#40)
    by Fabian on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:29:19 AM EST
    for Obama to foist the responsibility for the National Dialog On Race onto the American people.  Obama does his part by making a speech and he's done, quits, over, fini.  

    Clever.

    Parent

    what 's a good way to talk about race (5.00 / 1) (#105)
    by Katherine Graham Cracker on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:21:26 AM EST
    In way Obama kind of started a better discussion when he talked about his grandmother's personal prejudice but it was picked up and twisted by the media.   Race, as has been pointed out before, is always a part of American political campaigns.  The media (sic) as always merely covers the sensational and things they can twist but the rest of us could do a better job.  When the Clinton's tried to start a national conversation on race I attended a couple of workshops(for lack of a better word) and was sorry when the conversation ended.  I thought it was a good start at helping people understand racial issues and how to move forward.

    Parent
    The race narrative you propose (5.00 / 5) (#144)
    by Valhalla on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:43:49 AM EST
    is the same assuage-white-latte-liberal-guilt undercurrent that did work well for him in the primaries.

    But now it's the GE.  That riff does not work nearly so well with the general voting population, since the major demos that are susceptible to it are already supporting him, and made up a much higher percentage of Democratic voters than they do the general population.

    Since that sub rosa meme has already been circulating for 6 months and has not been successful  in garnering any significant additional support so far, it seems unlikely to be a winner going forward.

    Parent

    Exactly. Only liberals have white liberal guilt. (5.00 / 5) (#152)
    by masslib on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:46:59 AM EST
    And some liberals don't see a vote for Obama as a way to rid them of that.

    Parent
    He doesn't have it in him, his memoir revealed thi (3.66 / 3) (#29)
    by catfish on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:19:58 AM EST
    he is very obsessed with race (and I cannot blame him.) But he IS suspicious of everybody. That's OK, I understand it, a few white presidents were probably suspicious of black people. And he talked about reparations at the UNITY '08 conference for journalists of color. I thought reparations were a fringe idea, but he brought it up in his law teaching days too.

    Parent
    Feh. (5.00 / 4) (#36)
    by LarryInNYC on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:25:38 AM EST
    When asked about reparations:

    "There's no doubt that when it comes to our treatment of Native Americans as well as other persons of color in this country," Mr. Obama said, "we've got some very sad and difficult things to account for."

    "The best reparations we can provide," he said, "are good schools in the inner city and jobs for people who are unemployed."

    Which is spot on, if you ask me, and certainly not a statement in favor of reparations.  I think you're treading on the Talk Left prohibition against spreading false information.

    Parent

    He brought it up (5.00 / 0) (#65)
    by catfish on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:51:20 AM EST
    at UNITY '08. What is he talking about with deeds? Can a reporter find out so we can put it to rest?

    Parent
    Agreed (5.00 / 0) (#70)
    by BoGardiner on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:54:20 AM EST
    There's enough real concern about Obama without making up stuff.  Let's keep it real.

    Would so prefer to see us debate the argument and not the potential derangement of the commenter.

    Parent

    I am FOR racial diversity (5.00 / 0) (#76)
    by catfish on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:59:34 AM EST
    we need MORE judges of color, candidates of color and journalists of color. This is a question that needs to be aired. What did he mean when he said this.

    Parent
    Carlos Mencia, a comedian, (none / 0) (#95)
    by Radix on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:13:53 AM EST
    already came up with this. Quite funny really.

    Parent
    The only thing missing from Herbert's (5.00 / 16) (#32)
    by Anne on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:22:14 AM EST
    column was the tag line: "I'm not Barack Obama, but you can be sure he approved this message."

    The only thing that makes me feel any better about Herbert's column is that probably the only people who are still reading him are people who are so in-the-tank that they accept what Herbert writes - then and now - as actual fact.  I made an exception today to see more than just the snip BTD provided, and even then, I could not get all the way through it it was so vile.

    I'm no McCain fan, trust me.  I listened to part  of the Q & A's from an appearance he made yesterday, and it was awful, just awful; I am no more interested in a President McCain than I am in a President Obama.

    But McCain's ad wasn't racist.  And just because the audiences Obama is delivering his they're-going-to-demonize-me speeches appreciated his "warning," doesn't mean Obama's motives and meaning were the purest-of-the-pure; his remarks were clearly designed to (1) float an accusation of something that had not happened as if it already had, (2) eliminate the discussion of race by appointing himself judge and jury on the whole issue and (3) effectively tell people the only way to make up for the consider-them-real-injustices-because-they-are-inevitable, visited upon Obama is to (4) vote for him.

    Post-racial my patootie; if anything, this campaign (Obama's) is moving us farther away from a true post-racial environment than we have been in decades, and people like Herbert are willing and active participants.

    Heh (5.00 / 2) (#50)
    by lambertstrether on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:37:18 AM EST
    Anne:

    His remarks were clearly designed to (1) float an accusation of something that had not happened as if it already had, (2) eliminate the discussion of race by appointing himself judge and jury on the whole issue and (3) effectively tell people the only way to make up for the consider-them-real-injustices-because-they-are-inevitable, visited upon Obama is to (4) vote for him.

    So what's not to like?

    Clearly, "smart" politics.

    Parent

    Not so smart if people (5.00 / 8) (#94)
    by Anne on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:12:01 AM EST
    are calling BS on it, though.  "Smart" is when it doesn't turn around and bite you in the butt.  "Smart" is when you get away with it.

    No, this was not smart, it was all kinds of stupid.

    Parent

    And (5) to shut down legitimate criticism (5.00 / 11) (#115)
    by BernieO on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:26:56 AM EST
    by making opponents fear they will be portrayed as racists. I have heard several pundits say that calling Obama arrogant is racist, even though this was and is a common criticism of Bush.

    Parent
    Ah, must have been pundits here (5.00 / 11) (#141)
    by Cream City on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:42:41 AM EST
    coming to visit TL when they tied up threads with the same line here the last couple of days, saying that "arrogant" is racist.

    Unfortunately, I know a lot of arrogant folks.  Wait 'til I tell them that they're black.

    Parent

    Bet they will be shocked (5.00 / 2) (#156)
    by BernieO on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:49:47 AM EST
    to find that out.
    Hilarious!

    Parent
    LOL (5.00 / 2) (#207)
    by Rhouse on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:14:30 AM EST
    obama's latest backpedal/flip-flop (5.00 / 1) (#131)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:37:08 AM EST
    is that McCain isn't racist, he's cynical!!


    Parent
    Ha. There is nothing more cynical (4.91 / 12) (#145)
    by Cream City on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:44:09 AM EST
    than a Chicago machine pol.  Aka Obama.

    Well, and the American voter these days.  I can see his cynicism and raise him a chip.  To match the one on his shoulder.

    Parent

    Cream....and might I just say OOH SNAP!! (5.00 / 4) (#200)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:10:42 AM EST
    This and the new book Obama Nation (5.00 / 1) (#34)
    by Saul on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:24:02 AM EST
    is not going to help either.  The author of Obama Nation was the Swift Boat author also.  He claims everything he says about Obama is footnoted with web sites to go to if you don't believe him.

    Oh, goody. (5.00 / 3) (#38)
    by LarryInNYC on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:27:37 AM EST
    Web sites.

    Parent
    Sounds familiar... (5.00 / 4) (#130)
    by blogtopus on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:36:45 AM EST
    Oh yeah. "If you want to know more about his positions, go to his website!"

    Or, his books. Take your pick.

    Parent

    The interesting thing about how (5.00 / 12) (#37)
    by samanthasmom on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:27:00 AM EST
    this is playing out is not that the dynamics have switched - even if only temporarily, but how this will affect Obama's ability to combat any negative campaigning that John McCain might do in the future. Obama will no longer be able to accuse the Republicans of being racists and/or race-baiters and expect the burden of proof of innocence to fall on McCain. Obama is going to have to be able to show definitively that he has been the object of racism. As long as McCain keeps it subtle enough for plausible deniability, he has a free ride. If this were a game of chess, "Check" from McCain.

    What it means is that Obama has to go negative (5.00 / 2) (#39)
    by andgarden on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:29:12 AM EST
    Yup - for samanthasmoms reasons (5.00 / 17) (#47)
    by ruffian on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:36:10 AM EST
    and also because the other thing McCain did this week was steal Obama's thunder by using all of the best images from the foreign trip against Obama. I'm sure Obama wanted to make some ads using the scenes of adoring crowds, looking presidential, etc.  McCain has effectively ridiculed all of that this week by using those images in his own ads.  I think he stole Obama's positive campaign.

    These guys are not playing around.

    Parent

    True. (5.00 / 11) (#55)
    by Fabian on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:41:30 AM EST
    It trivialized the trip and it was a pre-emptive smackdown of the meme of populism.

    Strike at their strengths!  

    Parent

    And Dems fight back (5.00 / 17) (#60)
    by ruffian on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:47:28 AM EST
    by whining about Paris and Britney in the ads.

    Parent
    Didn't obama compare himself to (5.00 / 4) (#142)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:43:21 AM EST
    Paris or Britney waaaay back when?

    Parent
    Yes, he compared himself to Paris Hilton (5.00 / 5) (#149)
    by Cream City on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:45:27 AM EST
    a week after he got into the Senate.  The link is on an earlier thread.  Haven't seen it in media yet . . . but give it time.  McCain camp has got it, I betcha.

    Parent
    Good Analysis (5.00 / 7) (#61)
    by JimWash08 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:47:45 AM EST
    Also, Obama did not get the "Bump" he and his handlers were expecting, and according to reports of various polls I've seen, not many thought the trip helped him beef up his poor foreign policy/relations credentials either.

    The McCain ads changed the talking points for the Obama campaign, which was a slick, but smart move.

    Parent

    I heard Candy Crowley on CNN (5.00 / 7) (#66)
    by ruffian on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:51:22 AM EST
    say something like 'Obama, traveling overseas to get foreign policy credentials....'

    I don't think that was the kind of description he really wanted out there.  We are in a world where not only what candidate do but why they do it are completely transparent.  JFK did not have to deal with that when crafting his image.

    Parent

    the Media (5.00 / 1) (#69)
    by ccpup on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:53:40 AM EST
    is in the tank for McCain.  Not all of them, mind you.  But the people in the shadows who write the pay checks for the people who write the pay checks for the on-air talent or journalists have always been for McCain.

    You won't see it now, but, post-convention, it'll be obvious in very subtle and not-so-subtle ways who they're rooting for.

    Parent

    That May Be True (5.00 / 4) (#89)
    by JimWash08 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:07:58 AM EST
    To an extent. I also believe that Obama also has contributed to the bias.

    But, now that you mention it, the media honchos may have sought to prop Obama up during the Primary to pair him with McCain, bacause many have often said that Obama would be the easier candidate to beat than Hillary.

    But, maybe that's just the conspiracy theorist in me, all hopped up on coffee this morning, talking.

    Parent

    you're right (5.00 / 5) (#101)
    by ccpup on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:18:25 AM EST
    I always believed the Media has been in-the-tank for McCain and shamelessly pushed Hillary out of the race -- with a confusing assist from the DNC and her own Party -- because they knew she was the real threat, not Barack.

    And now, as we head towards Fall, you'll begin to see subtle and not-so-subtle indications -- especially during the debates and the post-debate coverage -- of the Media loyalty to McCain.

    Parent

    Media and McCain (5.00 / 2) (#211)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:15:35 AM EST
    I have to say I think you are quite wrong on this.  I see very little serious criticism of Obama, just enough to keep a veneer of credibility, but they're hitting on McCain quite seriously.  Almost all of it is on non-substantive stuff, to be sure, but almost nobody in media is talking about substance these days.

    Out of the thousands of talking heads I've seen on TV yapping about Obama's "dollar bill" remarks, I've heard only one acknowledge that he did, in fact, specifically and by name refer to the McCain campaign in one of those riffs.  They're twisting themselves into the very familiar pretzels to explain why Obama wasn't talking about McCain.

    Margaret Carlson, unbelievably, insisted that the "dollar bill" riff was Obama "reaching out" to white voters.

    Parent

    The media is mad with Obama (5.00 / 2) (#113)
    by MichaelGale on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:26:39 AM EST
    I am not an Obama fan but they are pouting and sniffling like five year old petulant little brats.

    They are angry about his ducking them to see Hillary in DC and they are upset at few personal interviews and smarting over being treated like a orphan children in Middle East and Europe as they were fed info and had no access.

    The entire bunch belong in the fairy tale as people are watching:

    Media Darlings

    Parent

    oh wow (5.00 / 9) (#67)
    by ccpup on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:51:22 AM EST
    I had never thought of that.  Of course, the overseas trip was, in part, an opportunity to gather footage of Obama looking "Presidential" as well as "popular".  Now that McCain has used that footage against him -- in a clever bit of political jujitsu --, it becomes much more difficult to use not only the overseas footage, but also the crowd footage of events here at home.

    Obama will, of course, use it still.  But whatever positives it would have had have been blunted and the threat of backlash or of people responding negatively (or not at all, which is worse) is greater.

    I hate to say it, but the McCain camp ran circles around Obama on this one.  I'm reluctantly impressed.

    I wonder when the Obama Team will have it's Democrat Party Leader ordained shake-up?

    Parent

    Thanks for fleshing it out (5.00 / 4) (#72)
    by ruffian on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:55:13 AM EST
    That's exactly what I meant.  Now whenever I see an Obama ad with the big crowds, I'm gonna be thinking  'huh - britney!' on some level anyway.

    I saw yesterday that McCain just made an ad buy to send those ads out wider.  They must be having the desired effect.

    Parent

    McCain is also (5.00 / 8) (#83)
    by ccpup on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:03:58 AM EST
    using YouTube for other ads.  And it seems to be working as the Views are impressively large.

    I fear Obama has underestimated McCain and his team.  In fact, I suspect that he and his campaign team got a bit cocky and thought it would be something akin to a cake walk against The Old Guy into the White House.

    But McCain and those advising him are old hands at winning campaigns.  I'm not so sure about Obama and his team as, in all reality, this is the first serious campaign Barack has had to compete in (losing his first race for Congress, then legally purging his opponents off the ballot for his State Senate Seat and then running against non-resident Alan Keyes for US Senate after knee-capping his Republican opponent by releasing his private divorce papers).

    Chicago politics ain't National Politics.

    Parent

    You left out using the DNC and their surrogates to (5.00 / 4) (#100)
    by Angel on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:17:53 AM EST
    take Hillary's nomination away.

    Parent
    Obama camp knew McCain would go neg (5.00 / 3) (#132)
    by catfish on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:37:18 AM EST
    they eagerly awaited it as a chance to raise money. Politico: McCain attacks rake in dough for Obama.

    But money can only go so far. It's like Joe Trippi saying the Internet can win an election. Like he wants to run some avatar for president. You need a candidate.

    Parent

    And Obama needs 3 to 5 times as much (5.00 / 6) (#155)
    by Cream City on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:49:23 AM EST
    as McCain to beat him, according to earlier quotes from Obama's camp on the game plan.  Just as Obama had to outspend Clinton by three to five times as much in the states in the primaries -- and even then, couldn't beat her in many of them.  The last time that worked was in Wisconsin, where Obama spent five times as much as Clinton, according to tallies here.  (And I think many other factors were as or more important.)

    Obama will not have three to five times as much available to him, from the fundraising so far -- in terms of total funds.  The DNC's fundraising is abysmal.  But the RNC has huge bucks to help back McCain, which -- with the public funding -- puts him ahead overall.

    Parent

    on another note (5.00 / 11) (#97)
    by ccpup on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:14:34 AM EST
    it's more than thinking 'huh - britney!' than it is linking Obama to being a Celebrity.  Most Americans (and especially those considered blue collar and rural -- voters Obama didn't make any in-roads into during the Primary and which are sitting ducks for McCain) have a low opinion of Hollywood and of vacuous celebrities who, in their opinion, don't work at all.  They're given a great deal -- millions of dollars for a movie and special treatment wherever they go -- for really doing "nothing".

    To effectively begin the linking of Obama to those who allegedly do nothing and are given great rewards in return is a brilliant plan.  Why?  Because Obama does not have the resume to back up his assertion that he DOES work hard and deserves the "prize" of the Presidency.  American know him as the guy with adoring crowds who faint when they see him.  

    And when you're a candidate for President up against an opponent who has a long record of service, you're on very, very shaky ground when you have to convince people you work hard.  Because when you start defending something, people automatically question Why you're defending it.

    I suspect there were those in the Obama camp who understood the direction the ad was leading in and tried to change it by insisting it was racist.  

    But, as they had grossly overplayed that hand against the Clintons in the Primary, it blew up in their face and, now, the ad has gotten more attention than it would have, the Obama camp is temporarily knee-capped in making claims of racism and John McCain has reminded everyone why Republicans usually beat Democrats in Presidential Races.

    Parent

    That's what I meant with the (5.00 / 2) (#126)
    by ruffian on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:34:29 AM EST
    'huh- Britney' shorthand.  Should have been 'huh - another celebrity. '

    You are dead on about the resume.  He would not have had to make a transparently obvious trip to get foreign policy credibility if he already had a record to stand on.  

    Parent

    Another tidbit (5.00 / 5) (#118)
    by ruffian on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:30:02 AM EST
    This I heard in an interview with a woman on McCain's communication team yesterday on XM. They used the best footage from Obama's trip so that they could not be accused of using deliberately unflattering footage of him.

    That is what I call firing on all cylinders.  I could be wrong - I've heard most of liberal talk radio calling these the worst ads ever for McCain, and laughing at how good they make Obama look.  I think they are missing the point.

    Parent

    I think most liberal pundits (5.00 / 8) (#172)
    by Valhalla on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:59:25 AM EST
    are missing the very, very important point that these ads are not aimed at them.  Of course they think the ads help Obama -- the ability to draw big crowds was a key selling point to them in the first place.

    Parent
    God forbid (5.00 / 1) (#173)
    by ccpup on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:59:44 AM EST
    they ever catch Obama getting into an SUV with tinted windows clutching an iced coffee.

    That'd be all, folks.

    ;-)

    Parent

    I am not a McCain supporter by any means... (5.00 / 3) (#179)
    by Maria Garcia on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:02:36 AM EST
    ...but isn't it striking that even Obama's opponents have to be careful to not use footage about him that is "too negative?" That's a very stunning PR victory that Obama has won, especially I think by accusing Clinton of dogwhistles in their campaigns. So they reap the rewards, but now also have to accept the repercussions of that strategy.

    Parent
    Popular? (5.00 / 6) (#182)
    by BackFromOhio on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:03:44 AM EST
    Why are you "popular" if a concert before your speech brings a huge crowd?  How do we know how many would have come to see & hear Obama speak but for the concert?  And how do we know that most in the crowd were supporters as opposed to people interested in hearing what a potential president of the U.S. had to say?  The assumption by all the pundits that Obama is popular based on the crowd in Germany is like much of the campaign reporting, lacking any critical analysis.

    Parent
    The Times of London beat McCain to the punch (5.00 / 6) (#106)
    by catfish on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:22:03 AM EST
    with their parody of Obama's World Tour He ventured forth to bring light to the world.

    Parent
    That piece in the Times (5.00 / 2) (#125)
    by MichaelGale on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:33:31 AM EST
    Is very clever. Thanks

    Parent
    Scathingly brilliant (5.00 / 2) (#234)
    by sj on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 12:50:08 PM EST
    Ouch!

    Parent
    Yes, Obama is now playing (5.00 / 3) (#54)
    by samanthasmom on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:41:25 AM EST
    defense instead of offense, which interferes with his message of being a new kind of politician. And as the campaign moves on, Obama's stand on the issues becomes closer to McCain's rather than further apart. Is he going to make this an assault that's personal or policy-driven? The campaign is in swampland now.

    Parent
    Go negative? (5.00 / 2) (#124)
    by BernieO on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:32:22 AM EST
    He has been doing that already, at least in his speeches.
    I have to say I get sick and tired of people saying it is wrong to be negative in a campaign. There is a difference between being negative about your opponent's positions and smearing him or her. I want to hear what a candidate stands for and how it contrasts with the other side, which means being critical of opponents' positions. Even bringing up character is not always wrong. For example pointing out that the other side has said one thing then done another is information voters' need in evaluating him or her. As long as this is done honestly I think it is not only acceptable, it is what voters need to hear in order to make up their minds. Polls show that voters have no problem with this kind of "negative" campaigning. It is just character assasination and exaggerations that they hate.

    Parent
    An important distinction. (5.00 / 6) (#169)
    by Cream City on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:56:50 AM EST
    And thank you for it.  Yes, if the other candidate is being dishonest, duplicitous, etc., it is good for the voters to hear it -- especially because we can't point on media pointing it out, reliant on press releases and incapable of actual journalism as they are.

    But it's not enough for me for a candidate to say the other side is being dishonest.  Show me.  Cite the evidence, say what the other guy said, etc.

    That is not character assassination at all, as you say.  Character assassination was Bush saying that McCain's adopted daughter was his love child.   Character assassination is saying that Obama is a Muslim.  And character assassination was the Obama camp saying -- and clearly, from its memo, plotting to say again and again -- that the Clintons are racists.

    For that alone, I cannot vote for Obama.  Nor can I vote for the other presumptive nominee.  This is a first for me.  That's how bad this campaign has been, when a Dem candidate has conducted character assassination as awful as what Republicans do.

    Parent

    Hillary, OTOH, (5.00 / 8) (#56)
    by pie on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:42:10 AM EST
    could not and did not preemptively accuse people of sexist attacks.  Even though it was quite blatant, even a mention of it brought screams of protest from Obama supporters and the media.  Very few with a megaphone came to her defense.   It was only after the fact that anyone thought to say something.  Too late.

    Parent
    And McCain was careful to wait (none / 0) (#166)
    by BernieO on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:55:31 AM EST
    until Obama has specifically named him before punching back. Otherwise Obama could have said he was not aiming his remark that "they" will try to make you afraid of me because I don't look like other presidents at McCain, just Republican operatives. The media would have sided with Obama had that happened. They are trying to do so now, but most know they are not credible.

    Parent
    oh obama is trying...and it looks silly... (none / 0) (#138)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:40:49 AM EST
    link

    The general census of opinion last night on Washington Week is that obama doesn't look or fare well when he is on the defensive...oh well.

    Parent

    I don't know whether to be angry or feel sorry (5.00 / 8) (#43)
    by kempis on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:33:22 AM EST
    for Bob Herbert when he writes this:

    Now, from the hapless but increasingly venomous McCain campaign, comes the slimy Britney Spears and Paris Hilton ad. The two highly sexualized women (both notorious for displaying themselves to the paparazzi while not wearing underwear) are shown briefly and incongruously at the beginning of a commercial critical of Mr. Obama.

    The Republican National Committee targeted Harold Ford with a similarly disgusting ad in 2006 when Mr. Ford, then a congressman, was running a strong race for a U.S. Senate seat in Tennessee. The ad, which the committee described as a parody, showed a scantily clad woman whispering, "Harold, call me."

    Both ads were foul, poisonous and emanated from the upper reaches of the Republican Party. (What a surprise.) Both were designed to exploit the hostility, anxiety and resentment of the many white Americans who are still freakishly hung up on the idea of black men rising above their station and becoming sexually involved with white women.

    Methinks he doth deconstruct too much....I am sympathetic to the fact that Herbert's experiences make him sensitive to race-baiting. But his analogy is strained to the point of irresponsibility for a columnist: "Call me, Harold" is not the same thing as showing young women, not interacting with the candidate in any way, not because they're white but because they're pop culture symbols of vapid celebrity. That's the connection the ad was attempting to forge. It would be fair to argue against that implied claim. However, Herbert digs deep for a more sinister, racial, "fear the black man who wants our white women" subtext--simply because shots of Britney and Paris appear in the ad. No question that subtext was present in the horrible anti-Harold Ford ad. But Herbert is tilting at windmills in this one.

    Oh, come on, be reasonable (5.00 / 5) (#52)
    by lambertstrether on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:39:26 AM EST
    Obama doesn't wear underwear?

    How ridiculous is that?

    Parent

    When people say Condi, rather than Colin (5.00 / 3) (#73)
    by catfish on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:57:09 AM EST
    did more damage with her "mushroom cloud" quote than he did with his U.N. testimony, I often assume yep-sexism. Or if they say I would vote for a woman, just not Hillary. Sexism, I think silently.

    So I think Herbert is being sincere, I just don't agree that the "celeb" ad is racist. I think it's celeb-ist.

    Parent

    What he and others don't get (5.00 / 3) (#174)
    by Cream City on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:00:50 AM EST
    I think, is that the ad mostly mocks Obama's more fanatic followers, not Obama.  Of course, the aim is to not vote for Obama so as to disassociate from such fandom.  But -- what's funny to me is to hear such groupies see the ad as mocking Obama, when it's really mocking them.  John Donne's marvelous poem comes to mind; these fans need a gift from the giftie -- to see themselves as others see them. :-)

    Parent
    Wait until (5.00 / 1) (#188)
    by cmugirl on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:04:46 AM EST
    They have ads showing the young girls fainting at his rallies.

    Parent
    Maybe he read (none / 0) (#49)
    by katiebird on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:36:36 AM EST
    Gosh they are the ones with the dirty minds... (5.00 / 1) (#190)
    by Maria Garcia on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:05:23 AM EST
    ..aren't they? The word presumptuous doesn't conjure up those images to me.

    Parent
    Ugh. (none / 0) (#58)
    by pie on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:43:23 AM EST
    Did he say that?

    Parent
    Bizarre, isn't it? (none / 0) (#59)
    by katiebird on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:44:21 AM EST
    Yes. (none / 0) (#71)
    by pie on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:54:22 AM EST
    This election season has been a real eye-opener.

    Parent
    well ... (none / 0) (#74)
    by dws3665 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:57:30 AM EST
    he was just trumpeting a post from TPM (which is mostly what Atrios does anyway -- add a snarky tagline to someone else's writing).

    Parent
    I'm a bit surprised (5.00 / 8) (#46)
    by nycstray on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:35:39 AM EST
    that the Obama camp and followers didn't see the huge freakin' writing on the wall on this issue (and others, lol!~) during the primaries. And did they really think McCain and Co was in a sound proof room during the primaries? They spent the primary writing the repub ads. And that's without the race issue.

    I am also surprised Obama's answering press questions this AM!  ;)

    Dems walked right into that one (5.00 / 4) (#85)
    by Valhalla on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:04:21 AM EST
    I really think the Repubs were lying in wait on this one.  They knew Obama's camp would call something racist that was patently not so.

    Meanwhile, the O camp couldn't wait for the first ad from McCain so they could jump all over its racist-ness.  They just didn't have the patience to wait for a real one, and have now upped their Cry Wolf quotient significantly.

    The Obama campaign really, really needs to pivot to the GE.  They're still stuck in their primary strategies, repeating things that worked against Clinton back in Jan. and Feb.

    Parent

    However (5.00 / 2) (#146)
    by MichaelGale on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:44:26 AM EST
    he will give a speech today to explain it all and the followers will be grateful and everything will be ok.

    He will speak about being taken out of context and he will say that America has changed in re to race and he is grateful for that. He will state that this is the Old politics of the Republicans and McCain and he is for changing that.  He will accuse McCain of dividing America when we all have to stick together. Then he will offer many comparisons to McCain and Bush and old politics.

    In the end, everything will be okay and he will be hailed for his exceptional speech on Aug 2, 2008.

    Parent

    Whew! n/t (5.00 / 0) (#176)
    by Valhalla on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:01:46 AM EST
    Just Plain Facts (5.00 / 4) (#63)
    by Missblu on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:49:18 AM EST
    The thing I love most about this site is the intellectual honesty of BTD.  Facts are facts and when laid out before you as he does so well in a historical way right conclusions can be drawn. I have said in an earlier post the early strategy to neutralize the Clinton black loyalty was planned. Whether trying to draw Obama into THIS GAME FROM THE OTHER SIDE WORKS for McCain is a question.  Those of us who saw Hilary's black support fall through the floor by unfair strategies are rather enjoying the dance.

    I was looking at some numbers today. (5.00 / 2) (#238)
    by BarnBabe on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 02:58:29 PM EST
    Until Obama pulled the race card on Bill, Hillary was winning 60 % of the AA vote. Obama had 20%. I guess they figured it worked once, go for it again.

    Parent
    Let's be clear here (5.00 / 8) (#68)
    by Steve M on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:51:44 AM EST
    There can be no doubt that McCain is running a cheap and disgraceful campaign.  With all the problems in the world, this is what he thinks voters should base their decision on?  Whether Obama is an overexposed celebrity like Paris Hilton?

    For a candidate with his (largely undeserved) reputation, who loudly promised to run a "respectful campaign," this crap is way below the standards he has set for himself, and it's way below what the American people should expect from a candidate for the highest office.

    So fine, talk about that.  Use it as an opportunity to show what a hypocrite John McCain is and that he wouldn't know a respectful campaign if it bit him on the rear.  If you're Barack Obama, or one of his supporters, don't blow the opportunity by trying to point out all these "racist dogwhistles" that the vast majority of the country doesn't perceive.  Take the easy opportunity and don't be so frickin' obsessed with finding racism in everything.

    Ah!!!! But this seems to be the M.O. (5.00 / 6) (#77)
    by zfran on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:59:54 AM EST
    of his campaign. If Obama would change the subject and stop saying things like his supporters are going to be told "he" (Obama) looks different, or doesn't look like presidents on a bill, then maybe some of this would stop. I think these type of things are feelers on both sides to see what sticks.
    I disagree that McCain is running a "cheap/disgraceful campaign" I think both candidates are pandering to each other rather cheaply.

    Parent
    Heh (5.00 / 3) (#96)
    by Steve M on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:14:15 AM EST
    Have you seen this?

    John McCain's own MOTHER called the Paris Hilton ad "stupid."

    But instead, the sort of liberals who spot racism a million times a day think we need to have our umpteenth conversation about race, and instead of just calling the ad stupid and debasing, they feel obligated to prove to a skeptical public that it's racist.  Why are people so dumb?

    Parent

    outrage addiction (5.00 / 1) (#102)
    by Fabian on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:19:54 AM EST
    Why wrestle with difficult problems like the every increasing cost of energy when you can just jump up and down and holler "How DARE John McCain do that!".

    Parent
    good point - and an empty playbook (5.00 / 7) (#117)
    by dws3665 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:28:41 AM EST
    They did it to the Clintons, and it worked because Democrats care about racism, equality, and such. The "high dudgeon" was easy to conjure up among large swaths of the Democratic electorate (especially in the context of barely concealed misogyny and CDS).

    I have believed for some time now that these tactics, which are nearly the sum total of the Obama campaign's playbook, simply will not work in the general. Moderates/independents/whatevers will not respond to these tactics, and in fact will be alienated by them.

    It is going to be difficult (though it shouldn't be) for Obama to stand toe-to-toe with McCain on the issues and argue that he is right and McCain is wrong. He lacks the credible experience to do it (even though the Dem positions are right). Ergo: "Hey, the new FISA 'compromise' ain't so bad, and offshore drilling? Yeah, that could work!"

    And now we're probably going to get Sebelius as a VP? Fighting Dems my patootie.

    Parent

    Roberta McCain (5.00 / 5) (#110)
    by JimWash08 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:23:25 AM EST
    Well, reading that article and what's quoted, it doesn't quite make sense.

    Oh, well, I didn't see it -- I think it's kinda stupid. I'm just too old-hat for it. In fact, the other two, I didn't even know who they were. I knew who Paris Hilton was, but then there were other two young girls..

    1. Mrs. McCain hasn't seen the ad.
    2. She didn't even know how many "girls" were in it.
    3. She said that Obama "definitely" did "inject racism into the campaign."

    So, I'm willing to bet that the HuffPo, as it's wont to do, is misrepresenting what Mrs. McCain said. For all we know, they even made the whole article up to benefit Obama, because, yes, they are capable of doing that.

    Parent
    That's probably true (none / 0) (#122)
    by Steve M on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:32:07 AM EST
    I wouldn't use a quote where the candidate's own mom says "I think it's kinda stupid."  That would be too easy.

    Parent
    "It's Think It's Kinda Stupid" (5.00 / 2) (#175)
    by JimWash08 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:00:56 AM EST
    From the way I read it, I don't think Mrs. McCain said the ad was stupid -- how could she when hadn't even seen it -- but the brouhaha over race.

    Considering that she did agree that Obama has played the race card, I think she means the fact that Obama would play the race card is stupid. And I actually agree with her.

    She may be well into her golden years, but she is a smart, opinionated and spry woman.

    Parent

    She may think it's a stupid ad, (5.00 / 2) (#128)
    by zfran on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:34:40 AM EST
    you may think McCain has stooped low, but hey, we're talking about it, yesterday, the day before, today, and perhaps tomorrow. Obama viewed it as racial, the media even thought Obama went overboard (see CNN's Roland), and Obama has lost being in charge of the discussion. Sometimes "stupid" works.
     

    Parent
    Well (5.00 / 1) (#143)
    by Steve M on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:43:47 AM EST
    I think what gets people talking about it is the decision to react in a stupid way.

    I think if you react by shaming McCain, by saying "is this really the best he can do?" then people may still talk about the ad, but they'll talk about it in those terms.  Because let's face it, no one is going to call this anything but stupid if you put the question to them.

    Now, to some extent they've tried to do that.  I mean, it wasn't the Obama campaign that said "this specific ad is a racist dogwhistle."  But by choosing to argue over and over that McCain will run a racist campaign, they've basically invited their supporters to go on a racism hunt, and that's how you end up with the clueless NYT editorial board talking about McCain's racist ad.  The surrogates and supporters blow it by talking about race, but they wouldn't have done it had Obama not signaled that this was the type of campaign he wanted to run.

    Parent

    If Obama's gonna talk about dollar bills (5.00 / 7) (#193)
    by Cream City on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:07:10 AM EST
    could it please, please, for once not be about him?

    He ought to turn that line of his around, but fast, and make it about the voters -- so many of us who are seeing far fewer dead presidents and other dead white guys on any dollar bills these days.  I frankly don't give a flying you-know-what which dead guy is on the bills in my wallet, if only there were a few more of them.

    And at least I have a job this fall, although once again, because I work for the gummint, my pay falls farther behind in real dollars, due to inflation.  But I'm thankful when I read headlines like this morning's about more than 50,000 jobs that just "disappeared" in July, in the last month alone.

    Those more than 50,000 folks and me, we don't care if the guy on the dollar bills is black or white, as long as they're green.  

    Parent

    they are co-opting (5.00 / 2) (#78)
    by dws3665 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:00:00 AM EST
    the victim role from Obama. Without it, his campaign staff will scramble for footing.

    Parent
    It's called "the politics of oppression" (5.00 / 13) (#209)
    by Cream City on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:15:04 AM EST
    in Chicago, where it works every time in Obama's district.  It's just not working as well on the road -- and not this year, when many millions of folks are a lot more oppressed than a millionaire with a Hyde Park mansion.  And not when millions of folks now know that a guy with two parents with Ph.D.'s, a guy who keeps saying he was raised by a single mom on food stamps, when she was single for only two years and was only on food stamps because she was a student, etc. . . . it's just not working for him now.

    And as you say, they don't seem to have another script.  And there is another obvious one out there -- from FDR.  He was born into privilege but a fatherless guy, too.  He didn't go on and on and write books about it.  He didn't make his campaign about himself.  He made it about the people, and he gave them what they needed -- which wasn't even to make them the victims, much as they were.

    FDR projected optimism.  Not victimism. :-)  Obama had something going with the hopey-changey thing, and he needs to get back to it.  Or it's hopeless for him.

    Parent

    Well said, Steve M (5.00 / 3) (#79)
    by BoGardiner on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:00:57 AM EST
    Get the feeling this point of view is too nuanced for overheated Dems these days?

    I'm sick and tired of fellow Dems trying to force me into one of two categories:
    a) cult follower
    b) GOP shill

    Why don't we just declare the Democratic Party a religion and be done with all debate?

    Parent

    Well (5.00 / 9) (#154)
    by MichaelGale on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:49:01 AM EST
    speaking for me and perhaps millions of others, Obama ran a disgraceful primary campaign

    Parent
    Exactly (none / 0) (#81)
    by ruffian on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:02:44 AM EST
    Say something along the lines of - 'in 2000 they told you that  Al Gore wasn't who you wanted to have a beer with, and look what we got.  In 2004 they told you John Kerry was 'French'.  Do you want to have another election based on accusations like that, or do you want to talk about the economy? John McCain said he wanted to talk about the issues, so let's do that.'

    Maybe that's what Barack said in his presser today.

    Parent

    But then Obama has to be ready to talk about (5.00 / 9) (#120)
    by Valhalla on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:31:31 AM EST
    issues himself.

    That is the last thing the Obama camp wants to do.  The Dems absolutely want a mandate of no mandate at all.  They want to win on a 'platform' of vague hopey-changey rhetoric, Millenial self-esteem boosterism, latte liberal white guilt expiation, and rapidly shiftable political platitudes regarding bread-and-butter issues.

    Then if they get the WH they will be bound to nothing and beholden to nothing -- no principle, no constituency and not a single promise that needs fulfilling.  They can continue on the path of repetitious moralizing and lecturing without doing the work to materially improve people's lives. (Anglachel)

    This was all entirely presaged with the Dem's victories in the 2006 Congressional elections and their subsequent failure to act except in capitulation to Blue Dogs and Republicans.  And it ain't gonna change.

    Parent

    Thank you for that link (5.00 / 3) (#235)
    by sj on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 12:51:49 PM EST
    to Anglachel.  Not only was the post well thought and articulated but so were the comments.  

    Parent
    The Republicans are, for now, (5.00 / 6) (#84)
    by Radix on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:04:16 AM EST
    firmly in control of the election. Obama has conceded the argument for off shore drilling, as well.

    "My interest is in making sure we've got the kind of comprehensive energy policy that can bring down gas prices," Obama said in an interview with The Palm Beach Post.

    "If, in order to get that passed, we have to compromise in terms of a careful, well thought-out drilling strategy that was carefully circumscribed to avoid significant environmental damage -- I don't want to be so rigid that we can't get something done."



    This is the crap I knew (5.00 / 9) (#86)
    by Stellaaa on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:05:13 AM EST
     was going to happen.  McCain now dominates the discussion and swoops all the Democratic issues under the table.  Adios, replay Gore and Kerry.  

    After Axelrod swiftboated Hillary, I tell you, he has no play book for the GE.  For such a "brilliant team"  they are struggling with a cadaver and the cadaver is getting the best of them.  

    Exactly (5.00 / 4) (#91)
    by TeresaInSnow2 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:09:47 AM EST
    As I said somewhere (here, maybe?) months ago, the Axelrod strategy was about winning one election, not two.

    Parent
    Yep (5.00 / 4) (#112)
    by stillife on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:26:26 AM EST
    They just assumed that considering Bush's disastrous Presidency, the Dem candidate would be a shoo-in in November. They may have won the battle (sort of) but that doesn't mean they'll win the war.  

    Parent
    McCain Campaign Agrees with BTD (5.00 / 1) (#119)
    by Dan the Man on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:30:56 AM EST
    Says his attack on Obama justified by Obama's shabby treatment of Clinton.

    "The McCain campaign was compelled to respond to this outrageous attack because we will not allow John McCain to be smeared by Senator Obama as a racist for offering legitimate criticism, he said. "We have waited for months with a sick feeling knowing this moment would come because we watched it incur with President Clinton. Say whatever you want about President Clinton, his record on this issue is above reproach.""

    Since I'm a nice guy, I won't accuse BTD of being a useful idiot for McCain.

    You don't think the McCain camp (5.00 / 1) (#161)
    by Radix on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:53:30 AM EST
    noticed this all on their own? Also, Team Obama could have chosen not to go there in the first place, no issue then. But since my second option makes Obama responsible for Obama, I guess that's a non-starter.

    Parent
    Good post BTD (5.00 / 1) (#150)
    by Andy08 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:46:00 AM EST
    What goes around, comes around; and in politics it one takes a milisecond before the boomerang hits you in the face.

    "it only takes" (correction) (none / 0) (#163)
    by Andy08 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:54:33 AM EST
    The Facts (5.00 / 1) (#151)
    by liberalone on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:46:57 AM EST
    Rush Limbaugh consistently referred to Barack the Magic Negro during the primaries.

    Countless journalists, politicians, and regular folk consistently reference Barack's middle name.

    Articles and news commentators discussed the flag pin and whether Barack places his hand over is heart for the national anthem.

    All these things have continued since the primary.  I do not agree that Obama and his campaign are falsely accusing anyone of anything. There are many who will not vote for him because of patriotism, religion, and/or race. (Yes, I realize there many real and valid reasons why one would not vote for him.)  Let's stop pretending a post racial America is free of vestiges of the past.

    While comments and even ideas can be racist, comments in and of themselves do NOT necessarily make one racist.  Acknowledging the realities of race in America, does NOT necessarily mean anyone is calling you a racist.  One could just as easily say the same thing of sexist or xenophobic comments.

    Well (5.00 / 6) (#159)
    by Steve M on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:51:02 AM EST
    I disagree that it's okay to accuse McCain of racism because Rush Limbaugh is a racist, but your mileage may vary.

    In my experience, many liberals are so committed to the self-evident truth that Republicans are a bunch of racists that they think it can never, ever be wrong to accuse a Republican of racism.  All I can say is, those aren't the ground rules that the body politic as a whole has agreed to.

    Parent

    And (5.00 / 12) (#181)
    by cmugirl on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:03:13 AM EST
    If this theme continues, it is not good for Obama.  Many people, who are not racists, but just plain, regular people of all stripes, do not like hearing that they are considered racists.  If that is the subtext coming from the Obama camp (And I believe it is - "If you don't for Obama, you must be a racist"), then people are going to think twice about voting for him -even those who might be disposed to do so.

    Trying to make people feel guilty for something they haven't done or don't feel is a sure fire way to tick them off.

    Parent

    Not the point (none / 0) (#189)
    by liberalone on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:05:19 AM EST
    I mentioned on the other Fairytale post that I do not believe that Obama was calling McCain a racist.  I still don't believe that.  I was merely pointing out the fact that race has been a scare tactic used by Republicans.

    Secondly, I did not mention the idea that Republicans are a bunch of racists.  (Although some might be.)  Nor do I feel that it is a winning strategy to use.  

    Are there liberals who believe that Republicans are racist? Sure.  Should they point out racism if they see it? Sure.  Liberals should not however paint with a broad brush and say that all Republicans are racist.

    Parent

    Well (5.00 / 7) (#196)
    by Steve M on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:09:05 AM EST
    the distinction between calling McCain a racist and saying that McCain will run a racist campaign is, I think, lost on most people.  Including myself.

    You don't just get to say "McCain's campaign is going to be about my race" and then say oh, come on, everyone knows that's how the Republicans campaign.  Yes, it pretty much is how they campaign, but the accusation is way too inflammatory to just go throwing it around in advance.

    Parent

    not exactly (5.00 / 1) (#216)
    by liberalone on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:18:35 AM EST
    Have you listened or read the quote from Obama?  There was no name calling in the quote.  The delivery was actually comical and mimicking.  

    He did not say that McCain will run a racist campaign.  My facts back up the statements from his comments.  Fear tactics that have and will be used against him.  

    Please listen to the quote or read it in its entirety.

    Parent

    really? (5.00 / 8) (#201)
    by dws3665 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:12:51 AM EST
    You don't think that pointing out how different Obama looked from other Presidents was about his race?

    Even Axelrod has admitted as such. You're a little behind.

    Parent

    Acknowledging realities (5.00 / 11) (#222)
    by Valhalla on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:23:01 AM EST
    What you say is true, but it doesn't apply here.

    If this were about acknowledging the reality of racism -- if the Obama campaign could have just held their horses until the Republicans actually put out the type of clearly racist ad of which they are capable -- then defending the Obama campaign on the basis that they are acknowledging the reality of racism would apply.

    But millions of people saw how the card was played against Clinton in the primaries, so Obama starts with a deficit in credibility when he starts talking about racism vis-a-vis the McCain campaign.  He turned off plenty of people who would have been likely sympathetic had he not done that.

    So when he jumps in with the same thing where it's (being charitable) a stretch to consider McCain's ad racist, it only increases the Cry Wolf effect.

    And the one thing this discussion has ignored is that the definition of what is racist or not in the context of this political campaign will not be decided by those who endlessly dwell on decanting racist meaning from coded vapors.

    Obama is no longer lecturing to a bunch of college kids who will nod and agree that x is racist as long as he says so.  Racism will be defined by the weight of the general voting population.

    Not to mention, while racism is a very important issue, it is not the only important issue in the world.  The more race is dwelled upon, the less people hear Obama talking about a few of the other things on people's minds, like the economy and the war.

    Parent

    what is your point? (4.71 / 7) (#184)
    by dws3665 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:03:45 AM EST
    The Obama comments were about the GOP and McCain, not Rush Limbaugh and the "countless journalists, politicians, and regular folk."

    He basically accused, without adequate grounds (the argument goes), the McCain campaign of being racist. It is being pointed out that, in the primaries, he did the same thing to the Clintons, and that he is unjustifiably playing the victim and trying to delegitimize any and all criticism of him by saying it's all about his race.

    BTD's point is that the people who are now assisting him in crying "racism" against the McCain ad (which BTD agrees, unlike others here, is actually racist) have lost their credibility by virtue of their disgusting behavior in the primaries.

    What is your last paragraph about?

    Parent

    My point (3.33 / 3) (#199)
    by liberalone on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:10:31 AM EST
    The point is that Obama was NOT calling McCain a racist.  He was speaking of scare tactics that his opponents might use.

    No one is assisting him in crying racism.  Actually, it was the McCain campaign that cried racism first.  It is a matter of perception and interpretation for those who view McCain ad as racist.  

    My last paragraph is fairly clear.  Just because someone makes a comment does not necessarily make one a racist, nor does it necessarily mean that someone is calling you a racist.

    Parent

    your take on this (5.00 / 9) (#213)
    by dws3665 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:16:27 AM EST
    is very questionable. As noted above, even Obama's campaign manager said that Obama's comments were about his race and ethnicity.

    And it is simply a distortion of the facts to say that Herbert's column, excerpted by BTD, does not advance the contention that McCain is race-baiting. McCain's campaign cried racism first? That's absolutely absurd. They have simply pointed out -- rather effectively, imho -- that they will not allow Obama to use the race-baiting against him that he used against the Clintons. That is not racism - that's politics.

    Parent

    Again, please explain how McCain race-baited? (5.00 / 7) (#160)
    by JoeCHI on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:52:14 AM EST
    Of course he (McCain)  was going to going dirty, ugly, negative and would race bait.

    Once again, BTD accuses McCain of race-baiting without citing any examples from the public record.  I agree that "journalists" like Alter, Klein, Herbert, Robinson, et al. destroyed their own credibility during the primaries.  However, that doesn't prove your charges of race-baiting by McCain.

    However, the public record provides us with this whopper from Obama himself:

    "They're going to try to make you afraid of me. `He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. And did I mention he's black?'

    McCain stood his ground and fought back against Obama's scurrilous charges, and rightfully so.   Of course, this got some "journalists" into such a tizzy, that Greg Sargent actually wrote a sentence as absurd as this:

    "Look, let's be as clear as possible about what's really going on here: By charging that Obama is playing the race card, the McCain campaign is itself playing the race card.  

    So, again, I think it's fair to ask; how, exactly:

    1.  McCain race-baited

    2.  Obama didn't play the race-card


    Obamafans already achieved their main goal: (5.00 / 6) (#195)
    by pluege on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:07:59 AM EST
    beating the Clintons.

    Obama's primary was run as if they had no intention of winning the GE - after all Obama is young, a loss this year doesn't hurt his future.

    Obamafans are a combination of stupid as hell and egomaniacal. Their arrogance is sickening. They did great damage to the democratic party and the country.

    pleuge (5.00 / 5) (#236)
    by tek on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 12:53:30 PM EST
    I would agree with what you say except that I don't think it's just "Obama fans."  Unfortunately, I believe the Party leaders are the people most responsible for this fiasco, they even came out themselves and repeated that the Clintons are racists and that the Clintons were "attacking Obama" in a shameful way.  All lies.  

    This and the corruption of the entire primary process is what makes me think twice about supporting the Democratic ticket this time around.  It isn't revenge or a grudge.  It's that I don't think this bunch of Dems have enough sense to run the country any better than Bush, and they seem just as corrupt.  

    Way back when (5.00 / 1) (#240)
    by fctchekr on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 03:57:04 PM EST
    I thought the claim against the Clintons was bogus..

    Now it's resurfacing, a not so subtle reminder that what ye shall sow ye shall reap...

    The irony is OB's campaign ethics have not been stellar..

    Question to all, what will this do the statistical dead heat? Will McCain rise in stature? Significantly, enough to give him mo till November?

    Axlerod admits truth (4.80 / 15) (#35)
    by jimakaPPJ on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:25:36 AM EST
    But Obama's chief strategist, David Axelrod, acknowledged on "Good Morning America" Friday that the candidate was referring, at least in part, to his ethnic background.

    When pressed to explain the comment, Axelrod told "GMA" it meant, "He's not from central casting when it comes to candidates for president of the United States. He's new to Washington. Yes, he's African-American."

    That seemingly obvious reference sparked the first real fireworks between the two camps as backers of both candidates accused the other of trying to subtly inject race into the presidential contest.

    Link

    If Obama wants to bring up the subject of race that is his business. But once he did, then the subject was on the table.

    It is rather obvious that Obama is trying to label everything negative said about him as racist. That's the purpose of his claims.

    It's very upsetting to me (3.00 / 2) (#1)
    by andgarden on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 08:43:22 AM EST
    That's in part because in this case, Herbert is obviously right.

    If Obama loses the election, it will be because of this.

    No doubt (5.00 / 0) (#4)
    by ruffian on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 08:55:48 AM EST
    this whole topic send Independent voters heading for the hills.

    Parent
    I don't think so, McCain's adopted daughter (5.00 / 5) (#11)
    by catfish on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:06:05 AM EST
    is from Bangledesh and he was the victim of racism (or race-baiting, whatever) in South Carolina in 2000.

    What other stars could they have used in the celeb ad? Beyonce? Oprah? That would have been seen as racist too. Obama's got the entire country in a double-bind: if he loses the election, it's a racist country. And there will be no holding a President Obama accountable. Not all black candidates would do this, but Obama is doing it.

    Parent

    I suspect (5.00 / 9) (#21)
    by ccpup on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:10:57 AM EST
    if one were to look back over Obama's life, he's probably not responsible for a lot of what happened to him or for the consequences of his own actions.  It was probably always the other person's fault or due to the other person's not understanding what Barack really meant.

    I'm just guessing here, but it seems to be a pattern.  And I've known people like that.  It's infuriating.  They never learn and they never grow up and it's always all about them.

    Ugh.

    Parent

    Look at the NYT article on his law teaching days (5.00 / 10) (#25)
    by catfish on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:13:28 AM EST
    They scanned his course syllubi and final exams with his suggested answers. The first one apologizes to students for getting the finals back two months late, and blames his secretary.

    Parent
    <snort!> (5.00 / 2) (#42)
    by Fabian on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:32:54 AM EST
    That's too funny!

    Parent
    Here it is (5.00 / 5) (#90)
    by catfish on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:08:40 AM EST
    how this relates to the fairy tale is I see Obama using it as a way to innoculate himself from criticism, and a president of any party who cannot be held accountable makes me more nervous than a scary one who can. Here he is blaming his secretary as a law teacher:
    First, let me apologize for the extreme tardiness in getting this memo to you. Due to a miscue between me and my secretary in Springfield, I thought it had been faxed to the registrar and distributed over two months ago.

    Minor, but it's a pattern.

    Parent

    I mean it in the sense (5.00 / 0) (#24)
    by ruffian on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:12:23 AM EST
    that they have no patience for either racists or others crying wolf about racism.  Most independents i know are very pragmatic people and just want everybody to get along and get on with life.  This is one reason why McCain is popular with Independents.

    Parent
    No group identity affiliation? (5.00 / 1) (#48)
    by Fabian on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:36:31 AM EST
    Wonder if anyone has done a study on Independents and tribalism in the context of identifying strongly with any particular group.

    Parent
    That would be interesting (5.00 / 2) (#57)
    by ruffian on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:42:16 AM EST
    I bet there is something to that.  

    Parent
    NPR did a story Independents don't vote on issues (5.00 / 1) (#92)
    by catfish on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:10:49 AM EST
    in fact all the Independents they interviewed were puzzled when reporter asked them what issues were important to them. Issues? Like, what are issues? Moderates and Independents are different too (just learned that fact this year.)

    Parent
    Really? (5.00 / 13) (#14)
    by JimWash08 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:08:19 AM EST
    If Obama loses the election, it will be because of this.

    C'mon! I think you have to give the people who don't care for Obama (a majority of them, at least) the benefit of the doubt.

    I don't care whether Obama is black, white, red or blue. He is just not what I want to see in a future president. If he wasn't inexperienced, incompetent in several aspects, and just plain NOT-ready for the job, he'd have my vote.

    I could overlook his questionable associations with a few people of his past; and while it'll be difficult, I also could overlook his horrible behavior during the Primary season ... but he just isn't ready, or proven to be ready, to take this country on a new road.

    ----

    But coming back to the topic of the "race card." YES, he DID play the race card in the Primaries, and has continued to play the race card since he became the presumptive nominee.

    Also, Axelrod admitted on Good Morning America that the "dollar bill" remark had to do with race.

    Except for those who are visually impaired, it is plain to see that he IS a black man. He had no reason to say the following comments, because then he's bringing the subject up all on his own.


    They're going to try to make you afraid of me - 'He's young and inexperienced and he's got a funny name. And did I mention he's black?' (Jacksonville, Fla. -- June 22, 08)

    So nobody really thinks that Bush or McCain have a real answer for the challenges we face, so what they're going to try to do is make you scared of me. You know, he's not patriotic enough. He's got a funny name. You know, he doesn't look like all those other Presidents on those dollar bills, you know. He's risky. That's essentially the argument they're making (Springfield, Mo. -- July 30, 2008)


    Parent
    Who can do more damage? (5.00 / 4) (#123)
    by blogtopus on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:32:17 AM EST
    Someone who is fairly malevolent, or someone who is inexperienced and has rather questionable judgement?

    It's a tough question, and the one at the heart of my anguish this election year. In no way will I ever consider voting for McCain, but the answer to this question will decide if I can consider voting for Obama.

    I have three nephews who will reach draft age during the next presidential administration... is this something I want to risk? Is it a moot point at this juncture, with Obama not really having any solid stances on Iraq and withdrawal anymore, and McCain's '100 years' comment being grossly misinterpreted (when he was referring to Japan and Germany, where we have had soldiers for 60+ years and nobody complains)... which candidate will do less damage?

    My real question is: In the case of an emergency, one that makes 9-11 pale in comparison, who do I want in charge? It's a tossup for me, deciding between a Bush-clone who nevertheless has more experience and likely a stronger conscience when it comes to his country, or a JFK-wannabe with no experience and fairly obvious delusions of grandeur, wanting to make history but untested in times of true stress?

    I'm going to have to think about my nephews when it comes to this decision -- one that may have repercussions for the next generation in ways we don't expect.

    Parent

    Disagree. My close friend whom I've written (5.00 / 5) (#116)
    by Angel on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:28:40 AM EST
    about before told me last night that he was wrong not to support Hillary.  He is disgusted with Obama for all his flip-flops.  It has nothing to do with race.  It is because Obama is not what he said he was.  People are finally waking up to this truth.  

    Parent
    Angel....took long enough didn't it? (none / 0) (#168)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:56:08 AM EST
    Hope the damage can be undone at the convention...

    Parent
    GOP (1.00 / 1) (#103)
    by johnrestaino on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:20:30 AM EST
    It is simple for the GOP: McCain has no vision or ideas. Except "bomb,bomb,bomb, bomb, bomb,Iran"  Do whatever you can to be against Obama.  It's never been and will never be a vote for McCain.  Remember Henry Ford Jr.?? The GOP hopes you do.  The race baiting has only just begun!!

    To be sure (none / 0) (#139)
    by ruffian on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:40:51 AM EST
    As the saying goes, Obama could say, just because I'm paranoid it doesn't mean everyone's not out to get me.

    Parent
    Lpalooza '91 (none / 0) (#41)
    by Slado on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:31:02 AM EST
    Right before my college days...

    Sousie and the Banshees
    NIN
    Janes Addiction
    Living Color
    Body Count (Ice T)
    Butthole Surfers
    Rollins Band

    It was awesome.  After that it was never as good and I'll always remember it as the second best concert I've ever been too.

    AC/DC is the best every time but I'm a huge fan.

    Bob Herbert's Surprise (none / 0) (#45)
    by KeysDan on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:34:44 AM EST
    Gee, he didn't see this coming from McCain, even though a Republican.  What else does McCain have going for him?  No programs, no policies--and those he does have he does not seem to understand.  God, guns and gays needed an update for these guys.   Senator Obama and supporters had better just brace themselves, the Atwater/Rove derivatives are on the payroll with the full blessings of McCain.  The choice for them is to mine the deepest fears and run with them, or lose.

    Yep, gays next (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by lambertstrether on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:40:36 AM EST
    Too bad Obama threw them under the bus, too, Reverend McClurkin.

    Unless there's a subtext I've already missed.

    Parent

    He already threw "no off shore" drilling (5.00 / 3) (#80)
    by Radix on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:01:05 AM EST
    under the bus. A big win for McCain, I might add.

    Parent
    I believe obama just "modified" his (5.00 / 1) (#178)
    by PssttCmere08 on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:02:15 AM EST
    stance on off-shore drilling.  Could "modified" be code word for flip-flopped?

    Parent
    Actually (5.00 / 5) (#187)
    by Steve M on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 11:04:37 AM EST
    It was just a "refinement."  And everyone agrees we need more oil refining.

    Parent
    If You Keep Beating This Horse (none / 0) (#237)
    by flashman on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 12:58:53 PM EST
    I'll be forced to report you for dead animal abuse.

    I have promised to take a rest from (none / 0) (#241)
    by MarkL on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 05:42:20 PM EST
    bashing Obama for a while.
    So.... the grey makes him look distinguished, don't you think?

    the Media hyped the race comments (none / 0) (#242)
    by Wisewoman on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 06:24:18 PM EST
    in SC.  The silliness of the Jessie Jackson comments being connected to race-baiting was that the comments were uttered at 10:00 AM before nearly all voting occurred.  Rep Meeks, an AA who was with Bill Clinton at the time went on several daytime talk shows to try to point that out.  The media, Donna Brazille, and Clyburn, however, were intent on lying by saying that the comments were made after Obama had won the SC primary.  That way they could "claim" that Bill was "minimizing Obama's victory because of race".  You see people they themselves knew that was a lie.

    Race card (none / 0) (#243)
    by Miri on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:53:00 PM EST
    Obama is where he is because of two things;

    1. Adoring media coverage - for almost two years his groupies in the media put him on a pedestal, declared him a Messiah and trashed Hillary 24/7

    2. Race card - he used the race card throughout the primaries, painting the Clintons as racists. This helped him with African Americans and white-guilt liberals

    He is trying to use the race card again, this time against John McCain. It won't work because because McCain is going to fight back. He knows he is not getting the African American and white-guilt liberal votes. And unlike Hillary McCain has his own media organs. He can get his message out with FOX, talk radio, wSJ etc.

    McCain (none / 0) (#244)
    by Miri on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 09:58:11 PM EST
    In defense of McCain he has no history of race baiting for political gain.

    I have not heard him say anything remotely racist in this campaign.

    Reagan was a race baiter. He used all kinds of code words to appeal to racists. I haven't seen that from McCain.

    Good point (none / 0) (#245)
    by Miri on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:08:32 PM EST
    "It isn't only the false claims of race-baiting against Hillary or Bill Clinton, and/or the Clinton campaign, it is the dismissive claims of racism against Democrats who were Hillary supporters."

    Obama with the help of his groupies in the media portrayed Clinton supporters as racist. All those voters in Florida, Ohio, Michigan who voted for Hillary were voting for her because they were racists.

    There was an unstated assertion that voters had to "prove" they were not racists by voting for Obama.

    One could just as easily argue that people who voted for Obama were voting based on his race and sex. But no, this was never claimed. It was always a case of voters having to "prove" they were good, decent, non racists by voting for the Messiah.

    Agree (none / 0) (#246)
    by Miri on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:13:23 PM EST
    "I'm asking if focusing on every little thing the Clintons so as to be able to call the Clintons out for playing the race card wasn't a strategy of the Obama campaign for solidying the AA and "faculty lounge" bases to win the primaries?"

    The strategy worked for Obama in the primaries because if gave him the African American and white-guilt liberal votes. It was especially effective in caucus states.

    It is a whole different game in the general election. If he tries to pull that stunt it will backfire.

    Platform (none / 0) (#247)
    by Miri on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:47:36 PM EST
    "They want to win on a 'platform' of vague hopey-changey rhetoric, Millenial self-esteem boosterism, latte liberal white guilt expiation, and rapidly shiftable political platitudes regarding bread-and-butter issues."

    This is not a political platform. It is an Oprah/Dr Phil show.

    Obama is not running on ideas or policy. He is running on Hallmark card slogans like lets hold hands and get along.

    This is why he is constantly flip flopping. He doesn't really stand for anything other than getting along. Which means if drilling will make us get along let drill!

    This is the opposite of the FDR model. His presidency was based on ideas and policies. He was not worried about getting along. He didn't care if the republicans hated him.


    It's worse than that (none / 0) (#248)
    by Miri on Sat Aug 02, 2008 at 10:54:28 PM EST
    "Someone who is fairly malevolent, or someone who is inexperienced and has rather questionable judgement?"

    Someone who is inexperienced and has a rather questionable judgment and has Messianic delusions of grandeur.

    Increasingly Obama reminds me of Bush. Like Bush he has few accomplishments, poor judgment, massive ego.