Monday, February 25, 2008

Racist attacks on Obama? Say it isn't so!

Mark Halperin thinks that McCain will have certain advantages over Obama that Clinton does not. Most if it a lot of bullshit that doesn't actually suggest McCain should try challenging Obama on policies (for instance, he thinks McCain could "Exploit Michelle Obama's mistakes and address her controversial remarks with unrestricted censure"--because his wife's comment is central to his campaign?). But some of them are more than just bullshit, they're racist bullshit. Halperin suggests McCain can, and by extension ought, to
Emphasize Barack Hussein Obama's unusual name and exotic background through a Manchurian Candidate prism.

Yes, since he has an "unusual name" and an "exotic background" (compared to what?), he must be a sleeper-cell terrorist Islamofascist!

Although it seems that Clinton's campaign has been able to do just that. I'm particularly incensed at the response from Clinton's campaign manager, Maggie Williams:
"Enough," Williams said in a statement. "If Barack Obama's campaign wants to suggest that a photo of him wearing traditional Somali clothing is divisive, they should be ashamed. Hillary Clinton has worn the traditional clothing of countries she has visited and had those photos published widely.

"This is nothing more than an obvious and transparent attempt to distract from the serious issues confronting our country today and to attempt to create the very divisions they claim to decry."

What a crock of shit. No, making sure that photo got sent to the Drudge Report is an "obvious and transparent attempt to distract from the serious issues confronting our country today", since you clearly weren't winning when people are paying attention to them. His response to it, on the other hand, is an expression of tolerance of other cultures and a condemnation of the attitude that finds this picture to be scandalous. It is the exact opposite of divisiveness--it is inclusion.

Unfortunately, the Clinton campaign seems to have adopted the right-wing talking point that up is down in matters of race. As Dave Neiwert writes,
[T]hey'll tell us with a straight face that in transcending identity politics, Obama is in fact all about identity politics. Why, the Queen of Hearts couldn't have argued it any better.

Of course, we've been hearing variations on this schtick for some years: Efforts to overcome the effects of institutionalized racism, such as affirmative action, are in fact acts of racism themselves, we're told. Being intolerant of racists is just another kind of bigotry. And it's those minorities and their identity politics who are all obsessed with race -- why, whites (and especially white conservatives) are now perfectly color-blind, dontcha know?

So when Obama's campaign insists that one should be tolerant and acceptive of other cultures, including wearing the traditional clothing of a culture that one visits, that is "being divisive."

It's disgusting that the Clinton campaign has apparently bought into that kind of bullshit.

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