It is really hard to excerpt any of this, it is so perfectly laid out:
The racial fantasy factor in this presidential campaign is out of control. It was at work in that New Yorker cover that caused such a stir. (Mr. Obama in Muslim garb with the American flag burning in the fireplace.) It’s driving the idea that Barack Obama is somehow presumptuous, too arrogant, too big for his britches — a man who obviously does not know his place.
Mr. Obama has to endure these grotesque insults with a smile and heroic levels of equanimity. The reason he has to do this — the sole reason — is that he is black.
So there he was this week speaking evenly, and with a touch of humor, to a nearly all-white audience in Missouri. His goal was to reassure his listeners, to let them know he’s not some kind of unpatriotic ogre.
Mr. Obama told them: “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.”
The audience seemed to appreciate his comments. Mr. Obama was well-received.
But John McCain didn’t appreciate them. RACE CARD! RACE CARD! The McCain camp started bellowing, and it hasn’t stopped since. With great glee bursting through their feigned outrage, the campaign’s operatives and the candidate himself accused Senator Obama of introducing race into the campaign — playing the race card, as they put it, from the very bottom of the deck.
Whatever you think about Barack Obama, he does not want the race issue to be front and center in this campaign. Every day that the campaign is about race is a good day for John McCain. So I guess we understand Mr. McCain’s motivation.
Nevertheless, it’s frustrating to watch John McCain calling out Barack Obama on race. Senator Obama has spoken more honestly and thoughtfully about race than any other politician in many years. Senator McCain is the head of a party that has viciously exploited race for political gain for decades.
He’s obviously more than willing to continue that nauseating tradition.
Go read the whole thing. The other reason the McCain campaign is so excited to accuse Obama of “playing the race card” is that one of Obama’s strengths is that he is not perceived by the wider American public as the aggrieved black man- he is no Jesse Jackson or Al Sharpton. By claiming Obama is playing the race card (however absurd the charge), they can turn him into the angry black man.
It really is shameless and disgusting, and while I had seen no racial component to the Britney ad earlier, I can understand where Herbert is coming from now. I just didn’t see it before.
The thing you need to remember is that this is not an accident. The McCain campaign is not doing this willy-nilly. This is a plan. This is a strategy. They know damned well what they are doing. And John McCain has not only signed off on it, but he is actively participating on it.