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I steer clear of cable news, much the way I try to avoid toxic fumes or rabid dogs.  But Jon Stewart's recent anthology of clips featuring the idio-punditocracy's use of "card" to describe every tactic by either campaign – culminating, of course, with McCain's playing of the "race card," helped me realize something.

The "race card" has virtually nothing to do with defining Obama and everything to do with McCain defining himself.

David Gergen's already famous observation that McCain's bizarre "The One" ad was a dog-whistle to the racist right has been largely misconstrued, I think.  To the dolts on the Sunday talk shows, this means McCain is defining Obama as an outsider.  As a black man.

But that's just silly.  The racists, covert and overt, to whom the McCain camp is appealing hardly need to be told that Obama is black.  Nor do they need to have their fear of a black president codified in cryptic TV ads featuring 50-year-old clips of Chuck Heston.  They already know how they feel about Obama, and it's pretty much how they feel about any dark-skinned person who presumes to step into a position of authority.

What they may not know is how to feel about John McCain.

These ads (and whatever nasty shit McCain's surrogates are stirring up with flyers, push polls, e-mail smears, etc.) are about defining McCain as racist-approved.  White-power certified. A good ol' boy who's standing up to, um, well, you know who.

Because the GOP cannot win an election without the racist vote.

This is John McCain quietly saying, "Don't worry, I'm one of you.  A racist."

Of course it has to be done discreetly, to give the candidate deniability.  Just as Dubya is always ready with a smiley platitude about Dr. King even as his underlings wage war on anyone who doesn't belong to the GOP country club.  

John McCain is defining himself.  The villagers just haven't gotten it yet.

Originally posted to Alvin K on Wed Aug 06, 2008 at 10:48 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  A little perspective... (0+ / 0-)

    We had a special election a few years ago here in California.  It was said to be the most expensive House of Representitives election EVER, since there was an attempt to win Duke Cunninghams old seat.

    I was quite active and participated in a few debates as a second to Francine Busby, our candidate.  Republican Brian Bilbray's coda on his election material was as follows:

    "He's one of us"

    Now this would have been seen as clearly racist except for one thing, both candidate were white.  My point is that the generalized claim of identity with the majority electorate is standard operating procedure, when you can get away with it.

    While in this case it may have racial overtones, it just ain't necessarily so.

  •  and I am believing (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    that train has pulled out of the station when they all weren't looking...sigh.

    The good old boys are has-beens and Mac is a wanna be has-been, imo.

    Join us at Bookflurries: Bookchat on Wednesday nights 8:00 PM EST

    by cfk on Wed Aug 06, 2008 at 10:55:50 PM PDT

  •  Gergen Was Totally Incorrect. Stupid, or Propgnda (0+ / 0-)

    "The One" is a dog whistle to the RELIGIOUS RIGHT to frighten the presently apathetic Christianists into mobilizing to be a strong Republican GOTV force in the fall.

    It has almost nothing to do with race, everything to do with Christianism.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Wed Aug 06, 2008 at 11:01:21 PM PDT

  •  You need a stronger argument (0+ / 0-)

    to indict McCain as appealing to racists. Especially if you want people in the press to go with it.

    It seems that you are saying that McCain can't count on the racist vote unless he sends coded messages that he himself is a racist. Do you know how absurd that sounds?

    •  There is a point re: enthusiasm. Especially give (0+ / 0-)

      n Dobson not endorsing McBush yet.  (Do you really doubt he won't? He's just holding out to see if McSame will up his bid, currently standing at SCOTUS, the federal courts and $ billions.  Probably wants the VP, since he'll almost certainly be running the govenrment defacto if not dejure before McBush's term is up.)

      The diarist has a point, tho its not so obvious as 'McSame is identifying himself as X'.  He's telling the Rethug base that - regardless what he has to say for the rest of the electorate - he 'gets' them and they can count on him once he no longer has to sucker the rubes.  Exactly the same thing Bush did - ran as a moderate, ruled as Attila the Hun.

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