Saturday, August 02, 2008

That Sounds About Right

Dennis Perrin on McCain and the politics of race:
Many observers are amazed that McCain would use race this early in the campaign. But really, what choice does he have? McCain's only shot at winning the White House is to stir up as much racial anxiety and fear among American whites as he can. He cannot compete with Obama as a speaker, as a perceived agent of "change," and certainly not as an inspiring symbol. Obama has youth, verve, sexiness, and global appeal. McCain is still bitching about gooks. And yet, that may be his saving grace. It's a vile approach, but it could work. Never underestimate the power of personal racism. A lot of whites might not be crazy about McCain as a man or a candidate, but at least he's not black with a foreign name. You work with what you got.
I agree (not a surprise) with Perrin. McCain only has one card to play and he is playing it. BTW, check out the last paragraph of Perrin's piece, those of you who think Perrin might actually be an Obama shill.
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  1. If speaking up when your opponent is saying that you're going to use racist tactics to win the election is racist, then yes, I suppose that John McCain is a racist.

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  3. See, I don't think McCain is a racist, any more than I think Dalton MCGuinty is a racist. Both though don't seem to have any difficulty appealing to that dark side of human nature, if only obliquely. Remember McGuinty during the last campaign used the Paris riots as an example of what we don't want in Ontario, when all Tory was doing was advocating for funds for religious schools? McCain, on the other hand is surrounding himself with Rove's people who love to juxtapose images of black men with white women as a way to make a nice subconscious message to voters. Is McCain a racist? I don't know, I can't see into his heart. Is he allowing his campaign to play with race? Yes, most definitely. Is that fair to Obama? Obama is a a big boy in a rough game. He had better be able to handle the Rovians or he won't win. I think he is smart to claim that he isn't saying the McCain is racist but only that he is cynical and leaving the real mud flinging to his surrogates.

  4. Which is a very good way of describing how race is used in modern politics, yes.

    It just doesn't have any relationship to the truth in this particular case.

    McCain has been very vocal about people on "his" side who have tried to bring up race/religion either directly or obliquely -- it's gotten a lot of people on the right pissed off at him. (They see him as a sanctimonious SOB.)

    Obama tried to smear him this week, and then got called on it. And now some of his supporters are trying to re-write it to put the blame for the exchange on McCain.