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Monday, August 4, 2008

Some think that John McCain's race-baiting is smart - because it's subtle:
"In a dispute about race, the McCain campaign knows it will end up with the larger half," Serwer argues. "For the most part, most white people's experience with race isn't one of racial discrimination. They can only relate to racial discrimination in the abstract. What white people can relate to is the fear of being unjustly accused of racism. This is the larger half. This is why allegations of racism often provoke more outrage than actual racism, because most of the country can relate to one (the accusation of racism) easier than the other (actual racism). For this reason, in a political conflict over race, the McCain campaign has the advantage, because saying the race card has been played is actually the ultimate race card."

The Republican attack machine knows what it is doing. The race--er, contest--between Obama and McCain is tight and is tightening. (Rasmussen even has McCain now slightly ahead.) Obama needs to start fighting back with some attacks of his own that demonstrate equal measures of punch and sublety.

I love how some rather smart White folks seem to be just discovering this strategy. This is the "Southern strategy", refined for 2008. Ain't nothing new.

Granted, there are those who still resort to the overt stuff, even when running the lightest Black man, perhaps, in American political history ("Harold, call me!"). But have you ever heard of an animal hitting up against an electric fence, invisible or otherwise, regardless of the pain it may cause them? They're searching for weaknesses in the barrier. What some call "political correctness" (and others call mere kindness and mutual respect) is the fence in 2008, and John McCain's campaign has shown no shame in trying to test it. They know they can't produce any Willie Hortons or, say, an ad decrying quotas - the MSM would eat them alive (for a day or two).

They have to be so, so careful. And so they are.

So, they capitalize on hidden fears, such that of many White Americans that their daughter marry Black dudes. Granted, the flames of xenophobia and racism that are stoked are hidden and unspoken. But they are given voice by the coded allegations of the campaign that seeks to benefit. They insinuate that we're too popular, that we're too smart, that we're too...Presidential?

Perhaps it's well past time we turned up the voltage in the fence, and made candidates like McCain truly pay for wallowing in the cesspools of campaigning. If the shock they received from testing that fence was great enough, maybe they'll learn to operate within the parameters of human decency. Or maybe they'll keep going until they suffer the consequences, and their political viability ends up much like that snake up above.



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