Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Circle Game

Political reality 08: Obama makes racial insinuations and plays pretend president on a foreign stage. McCain responds and becomes the instant bad guy. Then the New York Times steps in to explain everything:
..the Obama campaign can wield a rhetorical gutting knife. There simply was no percentage for the first black major-party presidential candidate in the nation’s history to draw too much attention to his race, much less get into a shooting war with the Republicans over the combustible issue.
The Times knows Obama has been mentioning his own race and "funny name" (Muslim-sounding) since the beginning in an effort to both accuse the opposition of racism they haven't committed (they would never) while simultaneously taking the issue away from them, daring a response, which if leveled causes even more racism charges. It's really quite brilliant.

The Times also knows (we're assuming here) the issue isn't him pointing out the obvious. For instance, if Obama said something like, "yeah, I'm new and I have a weird name, and I don't look much like past presidents of these great United States" that would be fine, and expected. The issue is him pointing to the opposition and saying they will say that:
“So nobody really thinks that Bush or McCain have a real answer for the challenges we face, so what they’re going to try to do is make you scared of me,” Mr. Obama said. “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.
That's clearly suggestive that specific people are working to target his race and heritage. McCain was named--he had little choice but to hit back. Then it begins.

As Hillary found out, Obama's apparatchiks and media fans are very effective spinmeisters, which apparently includes the Times, who mentioned Obama's defense of the crowd being 98 percent white without questioning whether the crowd was likely 97 percent Obamafans. And therein lies the conundrum for team McCain. He has to hit back, but when he does he becomes a low-road politician playing the race card. It's debatable as to whether Rick Davis and company have enough mental horsepower to effectively derail this slick circle game.

With that, here's this week's musical selection...

That was the familiar version. Joni Mitchell actually wrote the song.

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