Politics

Obama and McCain Get Childish Over Race

By  | 

I’m losing hope that this campaign will be any less petty and deceit-filled than any other in recent history. Take this story:

Yesterday, Barack Obama was stumping in Missouri and said:

“Nobody thinks that Bush and McCain have a real answer to the challenges we face. So what they’re going to try to do is make you scared of me. 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 the dollar bills.'”

Today, John McCain’s campaign took offense, saying Obama was playing the race card from the bottom of the deck and that his remarks were “divisive, negative, shameful and wrong.”

O.k., sure, it’s not really fair for Obama to accuse McCain of pointing out matters of race when the McCain campaign hasn’t stooped to those tactics. But McCain’s campaign is overreacting, feigning shock and horror in an attempt to generate headlines and sympathy. Such strategies are evidence of a weak campaign unable to make positive news.

But, wait, we’re not done with this story. Obama spokesman Robert Gibbs has denied Obama was talking about race. Gibbs said:

“What Barack Obama was talking about was that he didn’t get here after spending decades in Washington. There is nothing more to this than the fact that he was describing that he was new to the political scene. He was referring to the fact that he didn’t come into the race with the history of others. It is not about race.”

I’m surprised Gibbs didn’t also say that Obama was talking exclusively about powdered wigs.

Clearly Obama meant to point out the race of those “other presidents” on the bills. If he meant to say McCain was going to use experience as a factor, he’d have just said “he’s young” or “he’s not gray haired.” For the Obama campaign to pretend otherwise is insulting to voter intelligence.

For those keeping score at home, both sides lose points here. As Bugs Bunny would say: what a bunch of maroons.

  • gerryf

    I have no issue with Obama’s original comments…and I am not certain by your comments if you do, either.

    Whether you want to admit it or not, everything he said there has been coming out of the right wing talking point pool for months. He’s not patriotic enough….this Barack Osama is a muslin….and yes, now he’s arrogant (read “uppity black person”).

    If you doubt that message is streaming from the right, spend some time with the far right, white bread, conservative base. It may not have traction with people of a more moderate persuasion, but the message is coming in loud and clear on the far right. I’ve spent some time in the past week on a church building project and they are receiving the code just fine.

    You can say that the right wing slime machine is separate from McCain, and to some degree I will buy that, but there is also enough healthy skepticism to argue that McCain is simply letting the smear campaign work while he stays comfortably in the background.

    For McCain’s folks to feign outrage, though, is pushing it. He knows what Obama is responding, too….

    As for Obama’s response to McCain’s response….ugh. How embarrassing. We are not being played for idiots.

  • kranky kritter

    I think this is an EXTREMELY effective and extremely accurate argument. I think Obama should keep saying this in every stump speech. It provides a dead stop to counter the points that his opponent’s team are going to try to make.

    Obama is black, and young compared to McCain, and he looks different from what we’ve seen. In general, poor reasons to vote for or against him. McCain is old and white and looks like every other guy elected President. That’s his problem, even though those are also poor reasons to vote for or against him. It’s also JMs problem that most of the folks lukewarmly supporting him seem obsessed with making the case against Obama and not the affirmative case for McCain.

    Obama would be utterly foolish to back away from this statement even an inch.

    The more everyone drops the offhand phrase “playing the race card,” the less I understand what it’s supposed to mean. He’s black. Get over it. McCain is old. Get over it. Let’s play all the cards, and get them all out on the table. And decide whether they matter.

  • http://maverickviews.blogspot.com/ Alan Stewart Carl

    gerry: yeah, I’m fine with Obama’s original comment — as I said it’s not really fair to say that stuff is coming from McCain, which seemed to be Obama’s implication based on the “Bush and McCain” lead in. But it’s not inaccurate for Obama to point out such tactics have been used if not by McCain directly than by others seeking to defeat Obama.

    This would have been a “McCain is over-reacting” post, except the Obama camp had to go and try to spin their way away from the quote. That part is ridiculous.