“It is going to be very difficult for Republicans to run on their stewardship of the economy or their outstanding foreign policy,” Obama told a fundraiser in Jacksonville, Florida. “We know what kind of campaign they’re going to run. They’re going to try to make you afraid.
“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?”
It is interesting how Obama managed to play the race card while arguing that it will be the Republicans who will play the race card. This is preemptive race baiting and is shameful and unnecessary. It is also curious that he is trying to lump all of these arguments together. Is Obama suggesting that they are in the same category? I would think he’s smarter than that.
Clearly John McCain sees the difference. While he has routinely spoken about Obama’s inexperience, McCain has been outspoken against the use of race and ethnicity as an argument against Obama. McCain has called upon the GOP to pull ads that used Obama’s associations with Rev. Wright to argue that Obama is racist. He immediately and publicly disowned, without any prompting, Bill Cunningham in Ohio after the radio host enphasized Obama’s middle name (Hussein) in his introductory remarks. And these comments should be denounced because they are counterproductive and take the focus away from the real issues.
And for the record, wasn’t it Clinton that made more of an issue out of Obama’s race than McCain ever did. After all, it was the Clinton campaign that sent pictures of Obama dressed in African garb to the Drudge Report. It was Bill Clinton who suggested that Obama’s victory in South Carolina was no more significant than Jesse Jackson’s in 1988. It was Hillary who explicitly went after the white, working-class vote in the later primaries that bruised Obama so badly.
I think what we need is to be consistent. Call racism out where we see it, no matter who it is coming from. I think it is indefensible that a group thought it appropriate to produce pins that say: “If Obama is President. . . will we still call it the White House?” These pins are racist and should be denounced. In fact, the Texas GOP did just that.
In the same way, Rev. Wright should be called out for what he is — an unabashed racist. We should not shy away from a legitimate discussion about Obama’s association with Rev. Wright for the past 20 years — a man who believes that this country gave AIDS to black people and believes that we somehow deserved the 9/11 attacks. Obama knew that Rev. Wright would be a problem when he uninvited him to a function where he announced his bid for the presidency. When Wright’s comments first surfaced on YouTube and were quoted in the media, Obama said that he could no more disown Wright than his grandmother. It was not until after Wright made comments at the National Press Club (http://elections.foxnews.com/2008/04/28/transcript-rev-wright-at-the-national-press-club/ ) that Obama finally felt the need to disown him. Obama now disingenuously argues that this Rev. Wright is not the man he knew for 20 years. It defies logic that someone could sit in the pews of a church for 20 years and have no idea the kind of hate spewing from the pulpit. Rev. Wright was only right about one thing — Obama distanced himself for political expediency — not because anything Wright said came as a surprise.
I happen to believe that racism coming from whites and that coming from blacks is equally egregious. The problem is that racism directed at whites is not considered racism at all — but legitimate, mainstream comedy. I believe that racism is racism — no matter the speaker. Calling out Obama’s pastor and his attendance at Trinity United for so long is not using the race card but legitimate discourse on Obama’s judgment. We should also condemn the use of the race card in politics — by either party.