Get Your Racial Decoder Ring!

It is now clear that any criticism of Barry is considered racist. The irony is that the coming of Barry was supposed to produce a new peaceable kingdom where people of all races, genders and proclivities would reside in perfect harmony. I suspect that Obamadom will actually produce a kind of Potemkin village where the silence of terrified would-be dissenters will be mistaken for the achievement of that much-longed-for “new tone” in our political and cultural discourse.

Michelle Malkin examines a small part of the Democrats’ wall-to-wall racialization of the campaign:

…– Obama supporters on the heavily trafficked Democratic Underground website (where such mainstream Democrats as Elizabeth Edwards hang out) saw the ghost of the Ku Klux Klan in Sarah Palin’s white suit jacket. Yes, white clothes equal racism.

“Palin is wearing white again, inciting the racist crowds. She should just drop all pretense and put on her white hood and light up a cross. She is a despicable human being,” fumed a DU poster. “Grand Princess of the KKK,” proclaimed another. They’re “trying to send subtle signals to their rabid base,” declared yet another member of Obama’s rabid base.

My racial decoder ring must be on the fritz. I’m not getting the signal. If she wears white stockings, drinks a vanilla milkshake and refers to budgetary black holes, are those incitements, too? And what about her gorgeous white teeth? Perhaps she should drink more coffee — hold the white cream! — to avoid emitting further racial radiation.

— Such paranoia is not limited to the fever swamps of the Internet. Earlier this week, the Associated Press disseminated an “analysis” accusing Palin of injecting a “racial tinge” into the campaign because she criticized Obama for his longtime relationship with Weather Underground terrorist Bill Ayers. Palin’s comments were completely unobjectionable: “This is not a man who sees America like you and I see America.”

I saw a vice presidential candidate drawing stark philosophical differences between two tickets. The AP saw Freddy Krueger with lipstick and a noose.

“Whether intended or not by the McCain campaign, portraying Obama as ‘not like us’ is another potential appeal to racism. It suggests that the Hawaiian-born Christian is, at heart, un-American,” the AP piece frothed.

Obama is half-black. Ayers is white. One of the Weather Underground’s victims was black police officer Waverly Brown of Nyack, N.Y. Where do I buy a pair of the super X-ray glasses that can detect the racism in Palin’s remarks about the Obama-Ayers alliance?

— I’ll have to borrow those hysterical-colored spectacles from Time’s Karen Tumulty, who spotted racist goblins in the recent McCain ad criticizing Obama for seeking advice from Fannie Mae corruptocrat Franklin Raines. “Sinister images of two black men, followed by one of a vulnerable-looking elderly white woman,” Tumulty balked in a blog post titled “McCain plays the race card.”

Um, “sinister”? The ad’s photos of Obama and Raines were standard shots — some with dour expressions, others smiling. The fact that Tumulty perceived them as “sinister” suggests that she should perform a self-racism exam before diagnosing anyone else.

— A parade of congressional witch hunters for Obama also detects the specter of George Wallace behind every policy bush. Democratic New York Gov. David Paterson says conservative criticism of Obama’s community organizing days is code for “black.” Democratic Rep. Gregory Meeks complained to the New York Observer: “They are trying to throw out these codes.” In the same piece, Democratic Rep. Yvette Clark divined segregationist intent in Palin’s references to Joe Six-Pack and hockey moms. “It leaves a lot of people out.”

And Democratic Sen. Majority Leader Harry Reid echoed Time’s Tumulty on the McCain camp’s Obama/Raines broadsides: “The only connection that people could bring up about Raines and Barack Obama is that they both are African-American, other than that there is nothing.”

The Washington Post reported that Obama’s office phoned Raines for housing advice and has stood by its reporting. Is the newspaper part of the McCain/Palin hooded racists’ coven, too?

Obama’s witch hunters better beware. When there’s racism in every hiccup, nobody’s air supply is safe.

Charles Krauthammer also examines the racialization of the campaign and rightly blames McCain’s “overflowing sense of personal rectitude” for his decision to disarm himself:

Convicted felon Tony Rezko. Unrepentant terrorist Bill Ayers. And the race-baiting Rev. Jeremiah Wright. It is hard to think of any presidential candidate before Barack Obama sporting associations with three more execrable characters. Yet let the McCain campaign raise the issue, and the mainstream media begin fulminating about dirty campaigning tinged with racism and McCarthyite guilt by association.

But associations are important. They provide a significant insight into character. They are particularly relevant in relation to a potential president as new, unknown, opaque and self-contained as Obama. With the economy overshadowing everything, it may be too late politically to be raising this issue. But that does not make it, as conventional wisdom holds, in any way illegitimate.

McCain has only himself to blame for the bad timing. He should months ago have begun challenging Obama’s associations, before the economic meltdown allowed the Obama campaign (and the mainstream media, which is to say the same thing) to dismiss the charges as an act of desperation by the trailing candidate.

McCain had his chance back in April when the North Carolina Republican Party ran a gubernatorial campaign ad that included the linking of Obama with Jeremiah Wright. The ad was duly denounced by The New York Times and other deep thinkers as racist.

This was patently absurd. Racism is treating people differently and invidiously on the basis of race. Had any white presidential candidate had a close 20-year association with a white preacher overtly spreading race hatred from the pulpit, that candidate would have been not just universally denounced and deemed unfit for office but written out of polite society entirely.

Nonetheless, John McCain in his infinite wisdom, and with his overflowing sense of personal rectitude, joined the braying mob in denouncing that perfectly legitimate ad, saying it had no place in any campaign. In doing so, McCain unilaterally disarmed himself, rendering off-limits Obama’s associations, an issue that even Hillary Clinton addressed more than once.

Obama’s political career was launched with Ayers giving him a fundraiser in his living room. If a Republican candidate had launched his political career at the home of an abortion-clinic bomber — even a repentant one — he would not have been able to run for dogcatcher in Podunk. And Ayers shows no remorse. His only regret is that he “didn’t do enough.”

Why are these associations important? Do I think Obama is as corrupt as Rezko? Or shares Wright’s angry racism or Ayers’ unreconstructed 1960s radicalism?

No. But that does not make these associations irrelevant. They tell us two important things about Obama.

First, his cynicism and ruthlessness. He found these men useful, and use them he did. Would you attend a church whose pastor was spreading racial animosity from the pulpit? Would you even shake hands with — let alone serve on two boards with — an unrepentant terrorist, whether he bombed U.S. military installations or abortion clinics?

Most Americans would not, on the grounds of sheer indecency. Yet Obama did, if not out of conviction then out of expediency. He was a young man on the make, an unknown outsider working his way into Chicago politics. He played the game with everyone, without qualms and with obvious success.

Obama is not the first politician to rise through a corrupt political machine. But he is one of the rare few to then have the audacity to present himself as a transcendent healer, hovering above and bringing redemption to the “old politics” — of the kind he had enthusiastically embraced in Chicago in the service of his own ambition.

Second, and even more disturbing than the cynicism, is the window these associations give on Obama’s core beliefs. He doesn’t share Rev. Wright’s poisonous views of race nor Ayers’ views, past and present, about the evil that is American society. But Obama clearly did not consider these views beyond the pale. For many years he swam easily and without protest in that fetid pond.

Until now. Today, on the threshold of the presidency, Obama concedes the odiousness of these associations, which is why he has severed them. But for the years in which he sat in Wright’s pews and shared common purpose on boards with Ayers, Obama considered them a legitimate, indeed unremarkable, part of social discourse…

I wouldn’t be so sure that Obama does not share many of the views of Wright and Ayers, as inconvenient as they may be now. I think Krauthammer is too generous in giving Barry the benefit of the doubt. I also think Krauthammer is wrong in thinking that most liberals are as outraged at Bill Ayers as he thinks they ought to be. Many of the liberals I know, even in my own family, really don’t consider the actions of 60’s radicals all that bad, as opposed to people who, say, oppose abortion or gay marriage. (After all, Ayers and his FBI-Most-Wanted-List wife may have planted bombs and killed innocent people, but at least they did it to “end war and racism.”) Many equate the Weathermen, if they know about the organization at all, with those wild, wacky, fun 1960’s, sort of like having been to Woodstock, smoking dope, and listening to the Doors.
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