Election 2008: Pick a race card, any race card [Karl]
After I noted Josh Marshall’s effort to impose a double-standard on the campaign under which John McCain must ritualistically repudiate any person or any comment about Barack Obama deemed to beÃ‚Â inappropriately racial or ethnic, while Obama is excused from discussing his less savory associations,Ã‚Â Allahpundit flagged a piece at TNR by Historian4Hillary Sean Wilentz, noting how Obama has played the race card against Hillary Clinton (though I agree with AP that Wilentz overdoes it a bit).Ã‚Â Allah writes:
If you want to see a politician remaining ostentatiously above the fray while winking at cretinous race-baiting by his supporters, look no further than the TNR piece about how deftly the Ã¢â‚¬Å“post-racialÃ¢â‚¬Â candidate has leveraged ye olde racial playbook these past few months.
Obama’s positioning as the “post-racial” candidate is a key factor in the strategy.Ã‚Â As Ben Smith reports at the Politico:
In the course of the primary campaign, and perhaps in a preview of the fall election drama, Senator Barack Obama has accepted the apologies of three United States senators, a former senator, CNN and various lower-level supporters of Senator Hillary Clinton.
Most of them have apologized for saying something insensitive about ObamaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s race, his name, or his heritage. And the dynamic of outrage and offense this campaign has proved race to be a much touchier subject than gender. At times, ObamaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s campaign has sought to downplay burgeoning outrage. At others, heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s stoked it for political advantage.
But most of the flaps ended the same way: With Obama forgiving the alleged offender. Sometimes heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s accepted the apologies graciously, sometimes sternly, but always in line with his message. And that message of reconciliation Ã¢â‚¬â€œ often explicitly racial reconciliation Ã¢â‚¬â€œ is a central part of his campaignÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s appeal. With a general election that appears likely to open him to more Republican attacks, and more line-crossing, the campaign ritual of offense and forgiveness appears likely to be repeated often this year.
Indeed, Clinton was busy repudiating again today, even though the Clinton supporter is largely unknown toÃ‚Â political junkies, let alone the general public.Ã‚Â Should the incident be brought to Obama’s attention he will likely again play aÃ‚Â variationÃ‚Â of the “magic negro” and comfort all that the unpleasantness has been set aside.Ã‚Â Of course, that term will not be used, so as to avoid further manufatured outrage.
For that matter, Smith’s colleague at the Politico, Peter A. Brown, asks:
If Obama says his heritage makes him uniquely qualified to work well with leaders of non-Western nations, is it fair game for an opponent to show him in a picture that reminds American voters of his African roots and ties?
The answer is clearly “No.”Ã‚Â Brown better get in line to make his Obamapology for having the gall to even pose the question.
On the other hand,Ã‚Â ObamaÃ‚Â served on the board of the Woods Fund with confessed domestic terrorist William C. Ayers (who helped launch Obama’s political career) during a period in which the fund reportedly gave a $40,000 grant to an Arab group co-founded by Columbia University professor Rashid Khalidi –Ã‚Â a director of the official PLO press agencyÃ‚Â duringÃ‚Â the time when the US State Department considered the PLO a terrorist organization and the PLO was involved with terrorist attacks.Ã‚Â Ã‚Â Any question about those relationships will be met with the charge that Obama is being “Swift-Boated.”Ã‚Â To the extent that the term is defined as exposing hard truths aboutÃ‚Â Democrats, it would be an apt description, though the Left likely means something else entirely.