Here comes the race card

Rick Moran
I actually expected this earlier in the campaign given John McCain's surge in early-mid September. And, of course, we have had hints of the race card all along from the Obama campaign.

But these remarks by a couple of black Congressmen reveal a strategy change by Obama; take the race card out of the deck and throw it in the face of the American people:

As the McCain campaign ratchets up the intensity of its attacks on Barack Obama, some black elected officials are calling the tactics desperate, unseemly and racist.

"They are trying to throw out these codes," said Representative Gregory Meeks, a Democrat from New York.

"He's ‘not one of us?'" Mr. Meeks said, referring to a comment Sarah Palin made at a campaign rally on Oct. 6 in Florida. "That's racial. That's fear. They know they can't win on the issues, so the last resort they have is race and fear."

"Racism is alive and well in this country, and McCain and Palin are trying to appeal to that and it's unfortunate," said Representative Ed Towns, also from New York.

In recent days, as polls have shown a steady lead for the Democratic ticket, Mr. McCain and Ms. Palin have used reports of Mr. Obama's loose association with Bill Ayers, a former member of the '60s radical group the Weather Underground, as evidence that he is different from them.

"Our opponent," Ms. Palin told donors in Englewood, Colo., "is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country."

She added, "This is not a man who sees America like you and I see America," she said. "We see America as a force of good in this world. We see an America of exceptionalism."

An Associated Press analysis characterized those remarks as "unsubstantiated" and carrying "a racially tinged subtext."

That last bit about the AP helping out the Obama campaign by also playing the race card proves that the Democrats will have a willing partner in their attempt to smear McCain/Palin - and by extension, their supporters - as racists.

Any GOP attack from now until the election that can hurt Obama will be answered with the race card. The question is; will it backfire? Will the American people see it for what it is and rebel against becoming pawns in Obama's attempt to shame them into voting for him?

Don't underestimate the power of this line of attack. It worked against Hillary Clinton quite nicely. There's no reason to think it won't work against McCain.

What can McCain do to counter? I believe he must get angry. Yes, there is a huge risk of him showing his emotion what with his reputation for flying off the handle. But Americans will wonder if the charge is true unless McCain denounces in no uncertain terms this attempt to paint him and Palin as racists. Hillary never responded adequately (leaving it to Bill who botched it) and it cost her dearly. McCain must not allow Obama the high ground. He must criticize the use of the race card as having no place in American politics. He must convince the American people that he feels injured by this false attack. Otherwise, the attack will succeed because there will be lingering questions about whether they are true or not unless McCain shows by his attitude that there is not a speck of truth in them.

No doubt the McCain camp has been expecting this and have a response already in the works. Let's hope its a good one.



I actually expected this earlier in the campaign given John McCain's surge in early-mid September. And, of course, we have had hints of the race card all along from the Obama campaign.

But these remarks by a couple of black Congressmen reveal a strategy change by Obama; take the race card out of the deck and throw it in the face of the American people:

As the McCain campaign ratchets up the intensity of its attacks on Barack Obama, some black elected officials are calling the tactics desperate, unseemly and racist.

"They are trying to throw out these codes," said Representative Gregory Meeks, a Democrat from New York.

"He's ‘not one of us?'" Mr. Meeks said, referring to a comment Sarah Palin made at a campaign rally on Oct. 6 in Florida. "That's racial. That's fear. They know they can't win on the issues, so the last resort they have is race and fear."

"Racism is alive and well in this country, and McCain and Palin are trying to appeal to that and it's unfortunate," said Representative Ed Towns, also from New York.

In recent days, as polls have shown a steady lead for the Democratic ticket, Mr. McCain and Ms. Palin have used reports of Mr. Obama's loose association with Bill Ayers, a former member of the '60s radical group the Weather Underground, as evidence that he is different from them.

"Our opponent," Ms. Palin told donors in Englewood, Colo., "is someone who sees America, it seems, as being so imperfect, imperfect enough, that he's palling around with terrorists who would target their own country."

She added, "This is not a man who sees America like you and I see America," she said. "We see America as a force of good in this world. We see an America of exceptionalism."

An Associated Press analysis characterized those remarks as "unsubstantiated" and carrying "a racially tinged subtext."

That last bit about the AP helping out the Obama campaign by also playing the race card proves that the Democrats will have a willing partner in their attempt to smear McCain/Palin - and by extension, their supporters - as racists.

Any GOP attack from now until the election that can hurt Obama will be answered with the race card. The question is; will it backfire? Will the American people see it for what it is and rebel against becoming pawns in Obama's attempt to shame them into voting for him?

Don't underestimate the power of this line of attack. It worked against Hillary Clinton quite nicely. There's no reason to think it won't work against McCain.

What can McCain do to counter? I believe he must get angry. Yes, there is a huge risk of him showing his emotion what with his reputation for flying off the handle. But Americans will wonder if the charge is true unless McCain denounces in no uncertain terms this attempt to paint him and Palin as racists. Hillary never responded adequately (leaving it to Bill who botched it) and it cost her dearly. McCain must not allow Obama the high ground. He must criticize the use of the race card as having no place in American politics. He must convince the American people that he feels injured by this false attack. Otherwise, the attack will succeed because there will be lingering questions about whether they are true or not unless McCain shows by his attitude that there is not a speck of truth in them.

No doubt the McCain camp has been expecting this and have a response already in the works. Let's hope its a good one.