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Andy Ostroy Headshot

The Right Wing Attack Machine and the Race Card

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Sen. Barack Obama last week attempted to defend himself against subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) racist attacks from the Right by telling an audience that "They're going to try to say that I'm a risky guy. They're going to try to say, Well, you know, he's got a funny name, and he doesn't look like all the presidents on the dollar bills." Oh no
he di-int!

In response, Rick Davis, campaign manager for Sen. John McCain, said "Barack Obama has played the race card, and he played it from the bottom of the deck. It's divisive, negative, shameful and wrong."

Oh, puleeeeze. This is the kind of projection Freud would be quite proud of. To be sure, whether directly or indirectly, everyone from Camp McCain to the GOP to conservative talk-radio hosts have been playing the race card since Day-One. What do you think the Rev. Wright scandal was all about, simple incendiary rhetoric? The imagery of an angry, unpatriotic black preacher against that of a supposedly angry, unpatriotic black presidential candidate was not just intentional, but exploitative of Americans' worst fears about race. How come there was virtually no major backlash or outcry over McCain's relationship with Rev. John Hagee? The leader of the 19,000-member Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Tex. has said the Nazis "operated on God's behalf" in driving Jews from Europe to Israel. He's also called the Catholic church a "great whore." I guess when it's white-on-white it's allright.

Or how about the fiery race-baiting ad created by Floyd "Willie Horton" Brown before the North Carolina primary that describes the murders of young people killed in Chicago gang violence and concludes by stating that Sen. Barack Obama, while an Illinois State Senator, voted against the death penalty for gang members convicted of murder. Not about race, you say? What was the ad about then, Chicago's terrifying Jewish street gangs?

Or how about the attack ad last Spring produced by the North Carolina Republican Party which featured Wright's "God Damn America" speech in an effort to align Obama with the two Democratic candidates for Governor, Bev Purdue and Richard Moore, both of whom had endorsed the Democratic presidential hopeful. Hence, don't vote for them because they support Obama, the supporter of an angry, black, unpatriotic, hateful preacher. Not about race, you say?

Or how about the non-stop attacks on Obama by Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity and others in the right-wing media? Hannity uses the words "radical" every three seconds to slyly imply that Obama's nothing more than an angry black man with "radical associations." I don't recall, even in the highly contentious '04 campaign, hearing the word "radical" used--and used so often--to describe Sen. John Kerry.

Or how about Bill O'Reilly's constant lapsing into Stepin Fetchit-talk when he discusses Obama? Funny, I don't hear any black slang from him when he discusses McCain.

Or how about Sirious Satellite Radio's Andrew Wilkow who weeks ago pointed to a NY Times photo of Michelle Obama and commented how 'mean and angry' she looked, and that if she were a teacher her students would be frightened. Not an image intended to conjure up an angry black woman, you say?

Obama was 100% right when he refered to "they," and the picture "they're" trying to paint of him. The race card's being played alright, but not by Obama. Let's not confuse playing the race card with pointing out the playing of a race card. Just as the media insists Obama acknowledge the "success" of the surge while they give McCain a free pass for voting for the war and inaccurately predicting we'll be greeted as liberators and that Iraq's oil will pay for it all...the media is now choosing to turn a blind eye to the rampant racism that clearly still exists in America while vilifying a black man for defending himself against it.