The liberal punditocracy hardly knows where to go with the failed race card gambit by Barack Obama. E.J. Dionne is a model of doubletalk:
Last week’s dust-up over race between John McCain and Barack Obama was entirely disappointing. Obama spoke first about how his opponents would try to “make you scared of me,” noting that he “doesn’t look like all those other presidents” on our currency. What Obama said was true, but he made the tactical mistake of suggesting that McCain was complicit in overtly racial politics.
Well, actually it wasn’t true because McCain and his campaign haven’t said anything remotely like what Obama claimed. So that would make it more than a “tactical mistake,” wouldn’t it? It would make it false. And then he continues with his tour de force of inneundo:
The great opportunity this year for less scrupulous Republican strategists is that Obama is both black and a Columbia-and-Harvard-educated former professor who lived in the intellectually rarefied precincts of Hyde Park in Chicago, Manhattan’s Upper West Side and Cambridge, Mass. They can go after him subtly on race and overtly on elitism. They can turn the facts of Obama’s life into mutually reinforcing liabilities.
Great opportunity? Except for the fact that no one in the McCain camp has gone after him on race. And so it goes in the spinning on the single greatest error Obama has made to date.
Eugene Robinson picks up on theme, suggesting it’s all Lindsey Graham’s fault for calling Obama out on his race card gambit. Robinson opines that McCain needs to undermine Obama’s credibility and then leaps to this conclusion:
One way to do that would be to fabricate the impression that Obama is demanding special treatment and privilege because he is black — in other words, turn a self-made man into a stereotypical beneficiary of affirmative action.
Again, that would be one way to do it, just not the way McCain has done it.
So where does all this protesting too much and presumed racism come from? Well, it’s not hard to figure out. After all it is precisely what Obama did: take a legitimate attack on his thin resume and bizarre cult of personality and say “there’s racism in there.” Somewhere. Just not anywhere they can identify.
The pundit spin doctors aren’t helping their patient any. First, every day and every pixel spent on this re-enforces the obvious point that Obama is no post-racial candidate. If he and his supporters are going to invoke race at every turn, it’s about as far from post-racial as you can get. Second, the pundits — like their favorite candidate — aren’t doing anything to address the real issue which is the one which is getting traction: what’s Obama done to deserve his celebrity status? Rather than combat that very real problem, they (like their candidate) have chosen to concoct an entirely different straw man (race) upon which they can set their sights. But that’s not what the vast majority of undecided voters care about. They want to know if this candidate is presidential material. Refusing to address that concern won’t make it go away. And coming up with a far-fetched distraction which just happens to undermine a central premise of Obama’s campaign has the makings of a disaster.
As a smart observer noted, sometimes the media adoration can be a very bad thing. When the Obama-rooting press reinforces a self-destructive tactic by their favorite candidate, it is a very bad thing indeed.