The New York Times last week ran its first front-page story of the season on political "race-baiting" -- except it raised questions about Democratic rather than Republican campaigns. There are really three stories here.
Whether Republican candidates are sending subtle or coded messages to white voters, or simply displaying commonplace racist attitudes, these candidates clearly appear afflicted with the age-old American condition of racism. The pattern is not hard to see.
It was predictable and laughable how conservative talk show hosts, bloggers, and web sites all quickly snatched a worn page from Clarence Thomas and screamed that Cain was being mugged by the liberal media because he was a black conservative.
Racism is not the sole explanation for the hateful rhetoric that has been leveled at the President, it may not even be the driving rationalization, but to suggest that it plays little or no role is both wishful thinking and naïve.
This election didn't inspire that "pox on both their houses" feeling, and some felt they couldn't participate wholeheartedly in a play whose satirical targets were going to include the first black person to ever stand as a presidential nominee for one of the two major political parties.
Responding to the idea that the GOP candidate unfairly listened in to the Faith Forum questions in advance, a McCain spokesperson said that "the insinuation that John McCain, a former prisoner of war, cheated is outrageous."